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Our Studio | Downers Grove | %s


Yoga meets you where you are. With yoga, that which is not possible becomes possible.

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Our Studio | Downers Grove | %s


Yoga meets you where you are. With yoga, that which is not possible becomes possible.

About Us

At Yoga Among Friends, we teach yoga to inspire you to be the best version of yourself. 

We manifest our vision by encouraging you to discover inner peace and mental well-being through a regular practice, using all the tools of yoga - including meditation, visualization, breath, mantra chanting, and self-reflection. Each of these tools helps you remove the agitations of your daily thoughts and bring peace to your life.

Here is where potlucks and fundraisers are given, and friendships form. Here is community. Here is yoga —among friends— in a space that welcomes all at whatever stage of their yoga journey. At Yoga Among Friends, we encourage you to be yourself to grow and let go, and to know that you are among friends.


OUR VISION


To provide a safe space to practice the many tools of yoga, for all levels with the intention of redirecting the mind to trust the heartfelt desires, increasing one's ability to listen and respond with clearly and commitment.

To provide a practice focused on improving lifestyle habits and quality of life.

To empower the student to transcend perceived limitations and begin to open to expanded thought; thus, freeing the mind to experience greater happiness and better health.

To take the true essence of yoga out into the world.

To expose and educate young people as well as adults to the benefits of yoga beyond the physical and into the subtle.

To the reveal true nature and live from the heartfelt desire of the soul.

OUR PURPOSE


To provide a safe practice place for the student to share in community while growing and learning new ways to live in conscious compassion.

A community of friendly, dedicated teachers who support and empower students to experience maximum benefit from their yoga practice.

A yoga center bustling with happy, mindful students.

To cultivate loving kindness in ourselves and in the world.

A world alive with loving compassion, working, playing, creating and living life from the heart.
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Our Community | Downers Grove | %s


Do your practice and all is coming.

 

— SRI K PATTHABI JOIS

Our Community | Downers Grove | %s


Do your practice and all is coming.

 

— SRI K PATTHABI JOIS

Our Community

Yoga Among Friends was established in 1998. At our heart, we are a local, west suburban Chicago community. We believe that our yoga practice extends beyond the mat and our students are the heart and soul of what makes Yoga Among Friends so special. Our commitment to fostering community is based on Satsang, the ancient tradition of coming together in for meaningful conversations, to explore spiritual truths and to support the awaking of what is extraordinary in each of us. We offer space & time in between our classes for lingering, making connections and meeting friends—allowing for the deepening of our connections to each other and our purpose.

A Warm & Inviting Space
We are dedicated to making everyone who comes through our doors feel like a welcomed friend, and creating an oasis to balance our busy lives. An authentic smile, a cup of tea, a clean, cozy and supportive space to practice, lounge, and mingle ... These are just some of the ways we love to nourish you on and off the mat and create a nurturing home for our community to connect and thrive.

Extraordinary Teachers
Practice with the Best. Yoga Among Friends' teachers are widely recognized as some of the best in suburban Chicago. We are honored that such a dedicated group of teachers calls Yoga Among Friends their home. Their expertise, experience, and passion shine through in the classroom. It’s a difference in our classes that you can feel.

A Rich Class Schedule
Everyone's welcome. With over 25 classes every week, you’ll always find one to fit your mood, your practice, and your schedule. Our classes are rooted in respected, profound traditions that nurture holistic physical, mental, and spiritual growth. Offerings range from classes designed for absolute beginners to advanced practitioners -- classes that’ll make you move and sweat or slow down and relax, that’ll empower the warrior within you, or that'll simply open your heart and calm your mind to release stress, detoxify, and heal.

Yoga for Health & Wellness
Modern medicine has started to embrace what yogis have known for a long time: that, in the hands of a gifted therapist, yoga has a profound power to heal. Yoga Among Friends' Yoga Therapy program is led by Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy, who's dedicated to affirming and supporting your innate power to heal. Through private one-on-one sessions and periodic workshops and trainings, she's helped countless people leverage yoga to manage conditions, reduce symptoms, restore balance, and regain health.

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Affiliation | Downers Grove | %s


"Breath is the secret of life. For without breath, there is nothing."

 

— LAURA JANE MELLENCAMP

Affiliation | Downers Grove | %s


"Breath is the secret of life. For without breath, there is nothing."

 

— LAURA JANE MELLENCAMP

Affiliation 

We are honored to be an affiliated yoga studio of Surya Chandra Healing Yoga School (SCHYS). Known for its approach to teaching which honors students where they are and gently guides them to progress in their practice, SCHYS trains students to be teachers and teachers to be students. 

SCHYS is a Registered Yoga School (RYS) with the Yoga Alliance for the 200-Hour, 300-Hour, Yoga for Children's and Prenatal Yoga Programs. SCHYS is currently undergoing approval with the accreditation committee of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) for our Yoga Therapy Certificate Program. The accreditation process may take up to one-year.  We believe our program to meet, if not surpass the IAYT standards.

All this gives us the confidence to deliver high quality programs and experiences that are both authentic and powerful. These Training Programs train yoga teachers to become better at their craft, more knowledgable in ways to help others as well as placing emphasis on the transformation of the individual to become more calm and balanced.  We understand that yoga is not just about the movements or postures called asanas.  Evidence-based research shows yoga helps reduce stress and can help with many other therapeutic issues. 

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Honoring Yoga Lineage | Downers Grove | %s


The mind is everything. What you think, you become.

—BUDDHA

Honoring Yoga Lineage | Downers Grove | %s


The mind is everything. What you think, you become.

—BUDDHA

Honoring Lineage

At Yoga Among Friends, we honor the traditional practice of yoga under the umbrella of Krishamacharya and follow the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, Patti Jois, and TKV Deskichar among others. We acknowledge the influences of a variety of yogic lineages which allow us to be part of a living, breathing, dynamic tradition in a modern world. We celebrate the traditions that inspire us and give us the opportunity pass on what we have so graciously been taught.

Patanjali lived between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D., and is often called the "father of yoga," who codified the knowledge of yoga into the Yoga Sutra or 195 concise aphorisms that are essentially an ethical blueprint for living a moral life and incorporating the science of yoga into your life. It includes the overall discipline and vision of yoga and is the greatest classical text of Indian philosophy.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is still the most authentic source text of classical yoga and yoga philosophy. The Yoga Sutra is considered the master text on the system of yoga, and yet you will not find a single posture or asana. It is a guide for living the right life and moral character. The essence of his instruction is Yama (Peacefulness, Truthfulness, Generosity, Conservation, Moderation), Niyama (Cleanliness, Contentment, Simplicity, Self-Study, Dedication), Asana (Postures), Pranayama (Breath), Pratyahara (Introspection), Dharana (Focus, Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation), and Samadhi (Union of Consciousness).

“You may have never have heard of him, but Tirumalai Krishnamacharya influenced or perhaps even invented your yoga. Whether you practice the dynamic series of Pattabhi Jois, the refined alignments of BKS Iyengar, the classical postures of Indra Devi, or the customized vinyasa [of Desikachar], your practice stems from one source: a five-foot, two-inch Brahmin born more than one hundred years ago in a small south Indian Village.” —Yoga Journal, May/June 2001

Krishnamacharya was a Brahmin Indian yoga teacher and Vedic scholar. Often referred to as “the father of modern yoga,” he is widely regarded as one of the most influential yoga teachers of the 20th century and is credited with the creation of hatha yoga and the re-igniting teachings of the Yoga Sutras. He was also a revolutionary innovator who developed and adapted yoga practices that delivered health, mental clarity and spiritual growth. He created yoga practices that are as powerful as they are practical and still relevant even today. His students include BKS Iyengar, Pattabi Jois and Indra Devi.

Source: The Centre for Yoga Studies

TKV Desikachar was the son and student of T Krishnamacharya. Desikachar continued the teachings of his father by focusing on the adaptability and therapeutic aspects of the practice to meet each student’s needs. He called this style viniyoga. He founded the Kirshnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in 1976 to honor and continue his father’s teachings and taught for over 50 years. He is considered one of the world’s foremost teachers of yoga and a renowned authority on the therapeutic uses of yoga.

B.K.S. Iyengar is a legend who practiced and taught yoga for more than 75 years. Iyengar is widely credited as one of the foremost yoga masters in the world and through his emphasis on the fine details of alignment in yoga asanas, he has helped millions deepen their experience and practice of hatha yoga.

He is one of the premier yogis responsible for introducing yoga to the West and remains unsurpassed in his practice and teaching. He has been credited for establishing and popularizing yoga firstly in India and then moreover around the world. The teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar are distinctive for its focus on alignment of each posture and the use of props to facilitate learning.

Source: Cedric Taylor and Mira Mehta

Sri K Pattabhi Jois was the founder of Ashtanga yoga, the physically demanding, dynamic style of yoga embraced by millions of westerners. If ever proof were needed of the health benefits of yoga, Jois was it. Up every morning to start classes at 5am, he rarely missed a day's teaching in 70 years, instructing hundreds of students daily at his shala (school) in Mysore, southern India, until the last year of his life.

What sets Jois's method apart from other forms of hatha (physical) yoga is a technique called vinyasa. Ashtanga students jump back and forward (the vinyasa) between postures (asanas), synchronising movements with their breathing in one long flow. Expertly done, it can look more like a dance or a martial art than a relaxation class. "Ashtanga yoga is 99% practice; 1% theory", Jois would say. "Practise, practise and all is coming" was his mantra.

Our Contribution | Downers Grove | %s


Our Contribution | Downers Grove | %s


Our Contribution

In Sanskrit, Seva means selfless service and we are a portal for those to serve others. We gather regularly to take our yoga off the mat and each year we raise hundreds of dollars and donate countless hours for local and global causes that are close to our hearts.

Support and participate in our collective Seva practice by visiting our blog or subscribing to our newsletter.

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Teachers | Downers Grove | %s


The quality of your practice is ultimately measured by its effect on the quality of your life. In other words, mastery in yoga is mastery of life.

—ROD STRYKER

Teachers | Downers Grove | %s


The quality of your practice is ultimately measured by its effect on the quality of your life. In other words, mastery in yoga is mastery of life.

—ROD STRYKER

Our Teachers

Yoga Among Friends is home to an amazing group of yoga professionals that have come together to offer the highest quality yoga in the Chicago suburbs.  Our teachers have created a warm and welcoming atmosphere in which they are committed and attentive to each of our student's needs.  As a student, you will enjoy a well-planned class, hands-on adjustments, and gentle encouragement in a safe, comfortable, and challenging environment.

Every YAF teacher has completed over 200 hours of training with recognized yoga masters and is dedicated to their own continuing education.  Our teachers strive to evolve and grow their own personal practice to bring new techniques and inspiration to their classes.

Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy, C-IYATE-RYT 500, MA, Certified Yoga Therapist

Laura Jane, founder and director of Yoga Among Friends, has been changing people’s lives for 3 decades. She has led classes, seminars, and workshops throughout the world for leading organizations and individuals. Laura is known for her depth of knowledge, practical wisdom, and unique ability to transmit yogic teachings and practices to students from all walks of life. She enjoys blending her clinical and counseling training in psychology with her yoga therapy certification to provide her clients with a holistic approach to psychological and emotional imbalances that affect the immune system.

Her background includes the following:

Laura Jane's Schedule

  • Mon 6–7:30p, Vinyasa Flow, L1-L2
  • Tue 9:30–11a, Vinyasa Flow, L1-L2
  • Wed 6:30-8p, YAF Book Club—
    Meets 2nd Wed of month
  • Fri 9:30–11a, Vinyasa Flow, L1-L2
 

Julie Pate, RYT 500, Studio Manager

Julie is our studio manager. She first discovered yoga over 20 years ago while working as a personal trainer, Pilate’s teacher and running coach. Julie loved the way yoga balanced her workouts and left her feeling calm and peaceful. In 2012, she graduated from a 200 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with Sara Starnes in the Anusara tradition and is currently enrolled in the Step2 500 hour Yoga Therapy program with Laura Jane Mellencamp Murphy. Julie believes that our bodies were meant to move, and she strives to give you the antidote to sitting and a sedentary lifestyle. She infuses a love of movement and a deep appreciate for life’s many gifts into her classes. When Julie teaches, hers is a heart-felt vinyasa flow style class that weaves a sense of gratitude into the practice leaving you feeling strong, peaceful, and focused.

Julie's Teaching Schedule

  • Tues 11:30a–12:30p, Mommy & Me Ages 2.5-6 years

Candy Stevens, E-RYT 200

Candy began practicing yoga consistently 12 years ago, and found new joy and open horizons in her life as a yoga instructor. As an E-RYT, Candy has taught well over 1,000 hours and is registered with Yoga Alliance. She continues to grow in her practice through ongoing classes with teachers such as Tias Little, Chase Bossart, Richard Rosen, and Elesa Commerse. Candy strives to make her classes stimulating yet accessible, nurturing an atmosphere free of competition and judgment. She provides numerous asana modifications for you because she says, "Not only does everybody have their own range of mobility and flexibility, but each day is different for every one of us, both in body and in mind. We must always honor these truths in our practice, and appreciate how unique we are." She adds, "It is a privilege to teach, and I am so gratified when I see a student blossoming in his/her practice, not just physically, but in confidence, joy and spirit."

Candy's Schedule

  • Mon 8:45–9:45a, Yoga for Total Health, L1-L2
  • Sun 10:30–11:45a, Vinyasa Flow, L1-L2
     

Donna Prenta, RYT 500, Reiki Master

Through the practice of Yoga profound healing occurs. A commitment to class offers you physical, emotional and intelligent health. Donna’s classes inspire connection & independence. This connection unfolds the ability to trust and believe in yourself. You will learn breath awareness and alignment, which strengthens the spine and soothes the nervous system. Donna began teaching classes in 2005 and blends the modalities of trainings.

Donnas' experience includes private, semi-private & group classes:

  • 2002–Reiki Master
  • 2005–Certification in Intuition Dr. Christine Page
  • 2008–Registered Yoga Teacher 200
  • 2010–Registered Yoga Teacher 500
  • 2014–Yoga for the Special Child
  • 2016–Yoga for the Special Child Certificate of Completion

Donna's Schedule

  • By Appointment, Yoga for the Special Child
  • Sun, Jun 25—Change of Seasons Restorative Yoga Workshop

 

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J. Michael Taylor, CYT

Michael incurred Injuries in his mid-thirties which led him to yoga and with extreme luck, to Iyengar yoga.  He started practicing Iyengar yoga with Kathleen Wright in 1987 and began apprenticing and teaching with Gabriel Halpern ofthe Yoga Circle in 1989.  Under the graceful guidance of Lois Steinberg and Laurie Blakeney, he became a certified Iyengar instructor in 2008.  Michael continues to study and practice with Laurie and also with Bob Wittinghill and Todd Howell of the Yoga Circle.  His teaching places a strong emphasis on alignment and the use of props to facilitate learning. Michael’s great sense of humor keeps his students laughing. Yoga gives him the energy to teach photography at College of DuPage and play music, dance, and enjoy life to the fullest.

Michael's Schedule

  • Tue 7:30–8:45p, Iyengar, L1-L2
  • Wed 9:30–10:45a, Iyengar, L1-L2
  • Sat 11–12:15pm, Iyengar, L1-L2
 
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Jessica Castro, RYT, LMT

Jessica has been a certified massage therapist for 14 years. Seeing the relationship between yoga and massage therapy, along with its undeniable benefits,  led her to attend a 200 hr YTT through Soderworld Wellness Center. This training helped to deepen her personal practice and better appreciate the abundant healing knowledge our body has, if accessed with intent. In 2015 Jessica attended her second 200 hr YTT at Garaj Mahal, with Marina Lisjonok and Karen Weber. This training helped Jessica to better understand and incorporate the philosophy of yoga, importance of pranayama (breathwork) and the immense gift, that grace and flow in asana, can offer to your practice. 

Besides teaching clients privately, Jessica also enjoys teaching kids! The tools that come from a steady yoga practice can help to manifest a clear, strong and energetically balanced body, heart and mind.

Coupling yoga and massage helps Jessica to guide students into a clearer body awareness, give practical take home tools to continue strengthening, as well as open them to the many healing components of yoga, meditation and breathwork.

Jessica's Schedule

  • Mon 11:30a-1p, Summer Kids Yoga Series, Ages 6-14

Joyce Eickmeyer Owens, RYT

Joyce has many years of teaching experience and has taught at Yoga Among Friends since its inception in 1998. She received her teacher training from White Lotus Foundation. Joyce teaches her own "slow flow" style of yoga in a gentle yet powerful way. As an instructor and musician she brings a harmonious flow of body, mind and spirit to her classes. Joyce says, "When we value our bodies as rare musical instruments, we create our own music." 

Joyce's Schedule

  • Mon 10–11:15a, Vinyasa Flow, L1
  • Tue 6–7:15p, Vinyasa Flow, L1

Julie Stewart

Julie's intention for her teaching is to present a well balanced practice that includes all aspects of the journey. To bring into her teaching her knowledge of ayurveda, pranayama, meditation and stillness to help us all live a balanced, grounded life. As we say in ayurveda, "living is costly, so use the tools that we have from the seasons, the asanas, meditations, proper intake of foods and lifestyle that will allow us to live in harmony with nature and our fellow beings."

Julie has been lucky enough to study and practice with some wonderful teachers: Erich Schiffman, Barbara Benagh, Laura Jane Murphy, Tias Little, Doug Keller, Todd Norian, Gabriel Halpern, and Tricia Fiske to just name a few. Her blend of style comes from all of these different teachers and outlooks. Her ayurveda training is from Pat Layton who is the director of Bhavana Institute in LaGrange, and she received her panchakarma training from Diva Ayurveda in Milwaukee.

Julie's Schedule

  • Thur 9:30–11a, Vinyasa Flow, L1-L2
 

Karen Weber-Manz, E-RYT 500, LMT

Karen has been teaching yoga since 2002. She is a ParaYoga teacher that uses a vast array of Yogic tools for transformation including Kriya, Bandha, Meditation, Mudra & Mantra. Classes build awareness & cultivate a stable mind, make the unconscious conscious, teach the proper use of effort & surrender, and help you to create new lifestyle patterns so you can live your Dharma. She offers workshops & lectures on Yoga philosophy & practice, offers intensive yoga trainings for non-teachers, runs women circles, leads the Blue Lotus Kiran Band. Karen is also a Kriya Yoga initiate, a licensed Massage Therapist, Ayurvedic Bodyworker, 200 hr Ayurveda Certified educator, Thai Yoga Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher and a proud mother of three beautiful children. 

Karen's Schedule

  • Sat 9:15–10:45a, Vinyasa Flow, L1-L2

Krista Fox, CYKT

Krista was introduced to Hatha/Vinyasa yoga about 10 years ago and immediately took to the practice. She soon discovered a new strength and flexibility in her body, spirit and everyday living and decided to share that with others...specifically kids. She embarked on the journey to become a kids instructor and is now YogaKids® certified! Her background includes the following:

  • Certified YogaKids Teacher, The White Lotus Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA
  • XX years of Yoga Teaching Experience
  • 10 years of Yoga Practice

Krista's Schedule

  • Tue 3:45–4:45p, YogaKids® Ages 3-8
  • Tue4:45–5:45p, Yoga for Tweens Ages 9-12
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Lisa Sparagna, RYT 500, MFA

Lisa has been practicing meditation and yoga for over 15 years. Her daily meditation practice brings her more awareness, calm and clarity, and loves to share this with you. She uses meditation and mindfulness to lead you back to the quiet of your own inner wisdom.

Lisa received her 200-hour yoga training certificate from the White Lotus Foundation and her 500-hour advanced yoga training certificate from Prairie Yoga. She earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as her certificate of completion as a women’s retreat facilitator from The Sedona Women’s Institute.

Lisa's Schedule

  • Tue 6:15–7:15p, Meditation for Adults and Teens
 
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Marina Lisjonok, E-RYT 500, MSW

Marina stepped on the yoga mat in 1994 as yoga appeared to be the sure way to physical, mental and spiritual healing and growth. Since then she studied and experienced various styles of yoga with master teachers and spiritual leaders in Latvia (her homeland), India, Nepal and US. Yoga became her life's journey and teaching yoga became her life's passion. She completed several yoga teacher trainings with Rolf Gates, Andrew Lappa, Natalia Dubinina, and Hersh Khetarpal.  

Her teaching blends dynamic breath-based movements with static holds of postures. Spiritual affirmations, mantra, meditations and themes are woven into each class to give you an experience of your own acceptance, strength, harmony and inner peace. Learn more about Marina at www.livinglightyoga.com. Her background includes the following:

  • Certified Yoga Teacher
  • MSW in Social Work
  • 22+ years of Yoga Teaching Experience
  • 12+ years of Yoga Practice

Marina's Schedule

  • Sun 9–10:15a,  Hatha Vinyasa, L1-L2
  • Wed 6–7:30p, Vinyasa Flow, L1-L2*

*Marina will teach on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays of the month; Pam will teach on 1st, 3rd & 5th Wednesdays .

Meredith Harbour, CYT  500

Meredith received her training with Krishnamacharya Healing Yoga Foundation, studying under master teachers Chase Bossart and Amy Wheeler. Meredith's breath based classes are designed to bring focus to the mind while creating strength & flexibility in the body and reducing stress.  Her practice is perfect for students looking to find balance in their lives.

Meredith's Schedule

  • Mon 7:30–8:45p, Fundamentals of Yoga, L1
  • The 7:30–8:45p, Fundamentals of Yoga, L1
  • Sat 8–9:15a, Fundamentals of Yoga, L1
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Nancy 'Desert Lizard (DL)' Heraty, CYT

DL teaches classic Hatha Yoga with emphasis on alignment and specializes in Yoga Therapeutics for those with specific issues and ailments, particularly those with Scoliosis and spine issues.  She trained with Iyengar teacher, Elise Miller, to become a Yoga for Scoliosis trainer and continues her studies with Gabriel Halpern at Yoga Circle in Chicago. DL is an artist and potter, and her creativity shines through in her teaching. Learn more about DL on her website: www.yogajourneystotheheart.com. Her background includes the following:

  • Certified Yoga Teacher
  • Certified Yoga for Scoliosis Teacher
  • 14+ years of Yoga Teaching Experience
  • 20+ years of Yoga Practice

DL's Schedule

  • Wed 7:30–9p, Yoga for Scoliosis
 
 

Pam Keilor, CYT 500

Pam began practicing yoga in 1978 and knew from the very first class that this was something she would always enjoy.  Throughout the years, Pam has studied with many different teachers and in many different styles of yoga.  In 2007, she received her 500 hour teaching certification.

Pam believes that yoga does it all.  Yoga soothes us when we need calming; it stimulates us when we need energizing; it restores us when we need healing; and it challenges us when we need to develop courage. With dedicated practice you develop strength, flexibility, and endurance as well as peace, clarity, and joy. Her background includes the following:

  • Certified Yoga Teacher
  • 9+ years of Yoga Teaching Experience
  • 35+ years of Yoga Practice

Pam's Schedule

  • Wed* 6–7:30p, Vinyasa Flow, L1-L2
  • Fri 6–7:30p, Vigorous Vinyasa Flow, L2

*Pam will teach on 1st, 3rd, & 5th Wednesdays of the month. Marina Lisjonok on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays.

 

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Patti Bilbro, RYT 500

In 2007, Patti earned her 200-RYT and her Meditation Teacher training from the Temple of Kriya Yoga and continued studying at the Temple as an apprentice teacher. She completedher 500-RYT at The Bhavana Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda.

In her teaching, Patti's emphasizes finding the practice that is right for you both physically and mentally. She believes that through a consistent yogapractice, you will find greater peace, harmony, and joy.

Patti is currently bringing the teachings of yoga to both inpatient and outpatient settings at Good Samaritan Hospital's department of Behavioral Health. She thanks her teachers Joyce Owens, Kathleen Wright, and Laura Jane Mellencamp Murphy for guidance and opportunity.

Patti's Schedule

  • Thu 4:30–5:45p, Basic Beginning Yoga, L1

Shaun Emerson, E-RYT 200

Shaun was encouraged by his wife, Lisa, to start his yoga journey five years ago in the heat of a Bikram studio. What started as a torrid eight-month love affair with Bikram turned into a four month long breakup. Again, encouraged by Lisa, Shaun became a devotee of yoga with weights often attending classes with his wife and two daughters. After about a year, prompted by his daughters and curious to delve deeper into his yoga practice, Shaun entered and completed Yoga By Degrees 200 hour Teacher Training program. During his training, Shaun shifted from sculpt to vinyasa and found, not only his breath, but a love for vinyasa’s quiet, yet vigorous, elegance.

For the last year and half, Shaun has continued his yoga exploration and education with Laura Jane’s guidance deepening his understanding and commitment to his practice.

Shaun's Schedule

  • Wed 6:30-8p, YAF Book Club—
    Meets 2nd Wed of month

 

 

Therese Carlson, RN, CYT 500

Therese is a registered nurse and yoga teacher. Therese has taught hatha, a mindful Vinyasa, and gentle yoga but found a love for Prenatal yoga. She uses her 33 years of nursing experience and her love of yoga to nurture, strengthen and guide moms-to-be through this exciting journey. The teachers that have strong influence on her life and yoga are her mom and dad, Tricia Fiske, Lori Gaspar, Julie Gudmestad and Tias Little. She also works as a nurse in the community and is the mother of 3 young adults. Her background includes the following:

  • Certified Yoga Teacher, 500hr, Prairie Yoga, Lisle, IL
  • Certified Prenatal Yoga teacher, Global Yoga Center, Chicago, IL
  • 8 years of yoga teaching experience
  • 20 years of yoga practice
  • 33 years of nursing

Therese's Schedule

  • Thu 6–7:15p, Prenatal Yoga
 
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Testimonials | Downers Grove | %s


 

 

Be present for all things and thankful for all things.

 

— MAYA ANGELOU

 

 

Testimonials | Downers Grove | %s


 

 

Be present for all things and thankful for all things.

 

— MAYA ANGELOU

 

 

 

Testimonials

Yoga Among Friends offers a wide range of services, from professional training to meditation sessions. Read what our past students and trainees have to say about us! Have an experience you would like to share with the world? Click on the "Submit a testimonial" button at the top right and fill out the “Submit a Testimonial” form that appears.


This morning was so special. When I spend time with my mentor, Laura Jane Mellencamp, I always leave feeling inspired and connected to who I am. I feel at peace, appreciated, and full of love. She’s a true yogi at heart, and lives dedicated to the teachings and of service. Read Lindsay's full account of her time at Yoga Among Friends on her blog, Linyasa Yoga!

Lindsay W.


You will feel at home, inside yourself, as well as inside this space. Yoga, like other mindful practices, has the ability to improve everything about someone's life, the catch is finding a place that can teach you how to cultivate this daily or weekly practice in an honest way. For me, Yoga Among Friends (YAF) has been in & out of my life for over twelve years for just this very reason.  Like a dear friend, the amount of time in between visits melts away upon entering the space and I am right where I left off.  The studio space is clean, simple, and sunlit. I live several towns away, but any chance I get to do something for myself, this is the first place & activity that comes to mind.  There's not one worry about my appearance, if my yoga pants are trendy, my age, my ability, it's a place to just be.  YAF creates an all-welcoming environment by laying an equal foundation for students through focusing on what is possible for each individual then creating an enjoyable collective experience, always taught by capable & caring instructors. I can see this being a good location to try a class if you never have done yoga before all the way through to those who are well versed.  These types of studios are gems!  Downers Grove is lucky to have YAF.

—Melissa S.


Started yoga recently after years of going to the gym, and working with a personal trainer. Yoga Among Friends is awesome.  I look and feel better than I ever have and it's only been 3 weeks. People are friendly and the instructors are very knowledgeable.  They offer different classes for all levels and are very helpful.  

I have been to both Janice's and Laura Jane's classes as well as some of the other instructors: Candy, Karen and Joyce. Each had her own style but they were good classes. Just find which class works the best for you in terms of style and time offered.  There are still other instructors I haven't met. So in terms of classes offered -- this place has it.

—Cheryl R.


This was the first, and only studio I have visited since moving to the area a year ago - there's no reason to go anywhere else. They offer a wide variety of classes and instructors to meet your needs.

The atmosphere is incredible - everyone is so friendly and welcoming. The instructors believe in letting yogis have their own practice, rather than those "gyms" that have a right and wrong way to practice. They're even willing to work with you before/after class and provide tips on improving and getting to where you want to be in your own personal practice. Highly recommended!

—Ashley M.


Ashley Mead, a digital marketing consultant, gives us a rave! Check out her blog for her review of Yoga Among Friends! Thanks Ashley!


I appreciate the integrity of teaching and respect for tradition at Yoga Among Friends. Students receive individual attention and inspiration to grow. If you are new, it is a safe environment to learn. If you're more experienced, you are challenged to deepen. YAF is a sanctuary that nourishes me ~ body, mind and spirit. Also, I love the people and sense of community - it truly lives up to it's name.

—Mary Lothrop


Finding yoga changed my life. It helps me find ways to honor the totality of who I am. I watch as my friend and I age, I am now 67, and I see that those of us us that participate in yoga stay physically and mentally flexible. That is the promise of yoga and it delivers. Yoga Among Friends is a place to experience a caring and compassionate community. It is an oasis in the midst of an often disconnected world. The teachers combine both a professional and personal way of interacting with students. They encourage without pushing. They are special people who are helpful in ways that are hard to express. They made me feel at home at once.

Nancy Hill, LCSW


I was SO THRILLED to find this yoga studio. It's authentic, it's spiritual, it's real!  It's not a chain, it doesn't feel like a gym, it's perfect. They have all types of yoga: Hatha, Ivengar, Vinyasa, and meditation times. There are even classes for kids and teens. There are different levels on the website.  I went to a level 2/3 class (highest) and it was intense.  Headstands, backbends, and crazy yoga postures. The atmosphere in the yoga room can't be beat. Go there. Pick a class that meets your level. Experience it. Love it!!!!

—Stacy C.