Instructors

Kathleen Wright is the founder and director of the Garden of Yoga, and cofounder of Yoga Circle and Wild Onion Yoga in Chicago, IL. She began her study of Yoga in 1974, and has taught since 1976. Kathleen commenced her studies under the direct guidance of Swami Veda Bharati of the Himalyan Tradition. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Movement Education from the University of Minnesota, and is a 1983 graduate of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco’s two-year state yoga teacher certification program.

Kathleen has studied in India with the Iyengar family, including B.K.S. Iyengar and Geeta Iyengar on five different occasions. She also helped host the Iyengars on visits to the U.S., and participated in many Iyengar Yoga national conventions.

Kathleen is a nationally certified Iyengar Yoga instructor at the Junior Intermediate level, and an experienced, registered yoga teacher (E-RYT) with the Yoga Alliance. She is also a Certified Ayurvedic Educator. Her Yoga teachers in the U.S.are Ramanand Patel, Janet MacLeod, and Lois Steinberg. Kathleen serves as a mentor and teacher to many of the Chicago area’s top yoga teachers.

Meg has been studying yoga for over fifteen years. Her yoga teaching experiences include basic, beginning, continuing, partner, chair and restorative yoga. She has created and hosted a number of workshops including yoga for the lower back, practice at home and the application of yogic philosophy in the workplace. She completed her 200 hour studies with the Temple of Kriya Yoga in June, 2004 and her 300 hour studies with the Bhavana Institute in June of 2012. She is a registered teacher with the Yoga Alliance at the e-RYT 200 and 500 hour levels.

In addition to yoga, Meg has trained in Meditation, Usui Reiki, Dowsing, Astrology, Aroma Therapy, Universal Laws, Dream Analysis, and Nomena healing modalities. Meg is also a Reiki Master Teacher Fourth Degree.

With her roots in corporate America and her training in energetic healing, Meg has experienced yoga as a valuable tool for centering, stress reduction, inspiration and relaxation. She also believes that yoga increases wellness while improving the quality of life. With this in mind, she believes that yoga should be made available to people of all abilities.

Kristen has studied Iyengar yoga for over a decade and recently became certified at the Introductory Level. She is an avid traveler, and being far from home made her realize how fortunate she was to have access to many qualified Iyengar yoga teachers in the Chicago area. Ultimately, this is what led her to consider becoming a teacher herself. She hopes to share her love and enthusiasm for yoga with beginning students, as well as encourage continuing students to dig deeper into their practice.
Kristen feels everyone can benefit from a yoga practice and in the classroom, she aims to provide careful instruction in a fun and lighthearted atmosphere.

Carla feels that Yoga is the most direct, comprehensible pathway to the heart.

She has been teaching Yoga since 2006 and practicing since 1998. She has studied Iyengar, Astanga and Anusara Yoga with numerous master teachers and created a fusion of the styles in her classes.

She is passionate, encouraging, and loves to watch the students shift mentally and physically. Her class is an innovative journey of self-exploration through vigorous vinyasa flow, steeped in alignment and great thoughtful cueing. Students leave feeling more balanced, spacious, strong and exhilarated.

Katya has a humbled approach to the classroom; challenging you to mindfully go to your edge, while her grounded, effervescent energy keeps you relaxed yet motivated. She has been a student of Yoga for the last seventeen years but really fell in love with the practice after an injury ended her dancing career. Her time on the mat started as a journey for physical exercise and evolved into a daily practice that healed her physically and mentally. 

She started her training with Brent Holden at ID Gym for Fly Yoga and continued her Yoga studies with CorePower Yoga; completing four of their programs in 9 months. Since transitioning into teaching full time she continues to attend continuing education workshops to further her knowledge of all styles of Yoga and Yogic philosophy. She has primarily looked to Universal Yoga and Andre Lappa for her continued educational training.

Donna Prenta is a RYT500 Yoga teacher. She has been a student of Yoga for over 20 years, with a passion for the mind-body connection. Through the practice of Yoga profound healing occurs. For over 8 years Donna has shared her intelligence, gentleness, and compassion with students in her classes. Her youngest student was born with Down Syndrome. Donna has a special gift for working with special needs. She has also received a certification of intuition under the direction of Dr. Christine Page. (N.I.C.A.B.M.) 2001-2005. Her Sankalpa (intention), for students is to “ignite the spark” that lives in each soul.

Patricia ‘Pat’ Layton is a graduate of the California College of Ayurveda, and has a Master’s Degree in Integral Health Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies. While living in California she owned and operated the Yerba Buena Ayurveda and Pancha Karma Center in San Francisco. She has taught Ayurveda and Yoga-related subjects at several schools and colleges including San Francisco State University (Adjunct faculty), California College of Ayurveda (Core faculty), Kanyakumari Ayurveda (core faculty), and the Iyengar Yoga Institute’s Teaching Training Program (Physiology for Yoga Teachers). She frequently travels to India to continue her studies in both Ayurveda and Yoga. She has been an initiate of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition since 1974 and continues her meditation and philosophy studies with Swami Veda Bharati at his ashram in Rishikesh. Pat is recognized as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) by the Yoga Alliance.

Laughter and work are what Connie Zdenek likes to bring to her traditional Hatha Yoga classes. Her introduction to yoga came in 1991 in Tucson, Arizona, at the local park district. Though she was enthusiastic immediately, it was years before Yoga assumed a prominent place in her life. Her classes include a variety of asana, with the hope that students will experience that which goes beyond muscular exercise of the asana practice.Connie completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training and a Meditation Teacher Training at the Temple of Kriya Yoga. She completed her 500-hour teacher certification at the Bhavana Institute and, with over 1000 teaching hours, is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 200-hour level with Yoga Alliance. She continues to study with her beloved teachers: Kathleen Wright, William Hunt, Janet MacLeod and Kim Schwartz.

nancy DL heraty is a generalist as she teaches classic Hatha Yoga with emphasis on alignment, and a specialist as she teaches therapeutically for those with issues of the spine, and Yoga for Scoliosis. Desert Lizard trained with Iyengar Teacher Elise Miller to become a Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer. Desert Lizard continues to study and assist with renowned teacher Gabriel Halpern at Yoga Circle in Chicago where she has trained in therapeutic and restorative yoga. She has completed more study at Yoga Union and Back Care in New York City with Deborah Wolk and Alison West, Yoga for Scoliosis and Back Care specialists, and study in Yoga for the Pelvic Floor with Leslie Howard.

Janet Bowen, Ph.D., CYT, has been practicing yoga since 2000 and teaching since 2003. Janet is a Certified Yoga Therapist and Teacher in the lineage of Krishnamacharya; she also holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago. Janet brings a keen intellect and warm heart to her teaching. In addition to working individually with students who have health conditions, Janet teaches sutra study, Vedic chant, and general group classes in the Chicago area.

CIYT_nataraj_temple_TYPE_logo_rgbDonna Furmanek began yoga as a compliment to her dance practice in the early 1980’s. Since then, Donna’s practice and teaching have continually evolved. Her training includes certification through the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago, Yoga Kids, Yoga Ed., Certified Movement Analyst through Columbia College, and nationally certified Iyengar Yoga teacher (Introductory II level). Donna has experienced the therapeutic effects of yoga and wishes to share the joy of health and healing with others. She also offers classes in Orland Park, IL at The Academy of Creative Movement Yoga Studio.

CIYT_nataraj_temple_TYPE_logo_rgbLaura Lundy started taking yoga classes years ago as an antidote to a high-stress job working with emotionally disturbed inner-city kids. Yoga has helped her maintain her equilibrium in a high pressure situation. She apprenticed at Yoga Circle in Chicago and has attended many workshops and teacher trainings and is a nationally certified Iyengar Yoga instructor a the Introductory II level.

Although Yoga can be hard work, the joy of practice keeps her at it year after year. Laura thinks Yoga can be fun and tries to pass that on to her students.

nama-logoCheryl Mack-McSherry with Loving Hands Ayurveda has been practicing Ayurveda since 2009. She is a graduate of Bhavana Ayurveda in La Grange, IL and is a member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA). She holds a certificate as an Ayurvedic Practitioner (750 hours) as well as certification as a Panchakarma specialist. She has worked in the health care field serving the public for more than 24 years and has always been committed to a healthy lifestyle.

She thoroughly enjoys the science of life and longevity that is known as Ayurveda, and truly loves bringing this ancient healing practice to her clients through consultations, body therapies, teaching, and organic skin care products.

Julie Loftus, RN, MSN, 200 CYT, has been practicing yoga since 2002. Yoga began as form of exercise but quickly and quietly revealed itself as a healing well for her body, mind and spirit. Julie enjoys incorporating her love of yoga with the healing arts. Julie has extensive experience in perinatal, infertility and school nursing. She is interested in the therapeutic application of yoga for all ages, abilities and stage of life. Julie completed her 200-hour Teacher Training at Prairie Yoga in 2011. Julie strives to create a warm and safe environment where students learn to nourish their bodies, quiet their minds and renew their spirit through movement, breath and meditation.