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Yoga Teacher

Teacher Feature: Kate O'Grady

Teacher Feature: Kate O'Grady


Meet one of our newest teachers, Kate O'Grady.

Kate is a life-long learner who holds a M.S. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Performance Studies from SIUC. You can find her most often studying and practicing different types of yoga, movement, wellness and creative expression, and then enthusiastically sharing what she has learned with her students.

Here are some fun facts about Kate in her own words:

  • 😌 I do yoga because It helps me feel balanced in mind/body/spirit, refreshed and centered.

    I discovered it 14 years ago while living in Long Island, NY. My husband and I moved together from Southern Illinois University to Long Island, NY for work. Soon after, we started our family and our son was born. I was living in a new state as a new mom and found myself looking for a way to calm my mind and soothe my sore back. I took my first restorative yoga class and immediately knew that I had found something very special.

  • 🤗 I teach because I want to share what has been taught to me, encourage others, and make yoga and mindful movement accessible.

    Back in New York, I studied and mentored with Diana Ross, founder of Restorative Flow and Breast Cancer Yoga. I earned my certificate at Karma Kids Yoga and taught children’s yoga in NYC. Then came a move to Tampa, FL where I continued teaching children and teens while completing my 200-hr. certification in Creative Kids Yoga with Rosemary Clough. After we moved back to Illinois, I began practicing yoga at YAF.

    I completed the 250-hr. Summer Intensive Yoga Teacher Training at Prairie Yoga with Tricia Fiske in 2015 and began teaching adults. I teach a mindful class with breath and body awareness and strive to make each class welcoming and accessible. I’ve taught Gentle, Restorative, Hatha, Chair Yoga, and Mindful Fitness classes. I’ve also taught cancer patients and caregivers.

  • 👍🏻 I am inspired by My 16-year old son, my students, those willing to do the inner work to grow, transform and reach a higher awareness.

  • 🌊 My favorite place is outdoors. I love the walking and spending time by the ocean— especially the Gulf of Mexico.

  • 🍠 My favorite foods in the summer are grilled sweet potatoes and zucchini.

  • 🚶‍♀️ If I could do anything for the next 30 minutes, I would either go for a trail walk, read an article, or practice legs up the wall.

  • ✈️ If I could do more, I would deepen my faith, travel with my husband and son, and spend more time with friends and family.

  • 👩🏼‍🍳 One thing I’d spend less time doing if I could would be cooking!

  • 📚 I like to read and usually have several things going at the same time. Currently I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama + a few yoga related books and articles

  • 💕 I love my family, friends, and students, my rescue pup and cat, laughing, trail walking, watching soccer-especially my son’s games-and March Madness, creative expression, great food, coffee, tea, and new experiences in life!

  • ✨ Three words that best describe me are caring, encouraging, and funny.


Find Kate on the drop-in schedule on Tuesdays at 4:30pm for the Gentle & Restorative Yoga class.

This class is a blend of Gentle Yoga taught at a slower pace to warm up and ready the body for supported Restorative Yoga postures. A full range of props are used to help support students in experiencing release and relaxation. Students will leave the class feeling relaxed and refreshed. Perfect for all sizes, ages, and abilities. New students are welcome!

20 Years and Forever Blessed

20 Years and Forever Blessed

In January 1998, I signed a lease to begin what would be a leap of faith into being a business owner. I never wanted to own a business, but it became the best way to share the teachings of yoga. That leap of faith is now entering into our 20th year!


One never plans to go into something with a stop date, but its hard to fathom that we are still thriving, and our community keeps growing. As anyone knows running a business can never be sustained unless there is a team and a strong intention. The truth is everyone is invaluable to its success. So I must give a huge, grateful shout out to the amazing and dedicated teachers that have been the foundation of YAF.

Michael Taylor has been the most incredible gift, not only for all his students, but also for keeping the center vibrant with his passionate integrity for teaching yoga. He continued to study and learn over these 20 years, and his teaching have touched hundreds of souls and helped make our center the valuable place of healing it is today. His humor and huge heart have been a blessing in my life and for all who know him.  

Joyce Owens has also been teaching at YAF since our opening. She has never missed a class unless she was out of town on a family trip. In snow, rain, heat waves and cold freezing weather, Joyce was always there for her students. She has touched so many lives at YAF. Her gifts of music and being a healing source of love is why our center is so special. Not to mention that Joyce is enjoying a full life as a yogi in her 70”s! She's a true inspiration for everyone that assumes age stops our ability to be vibrant and healthy in mind, body and spirit!

I also want to thank Ellen Duff, who continues to be the light at YAF. Her devotion to living in her heart has touched so many. We are very grateful she has returned from Florida and is back at YAF.

I don’t think I would have had the courage to open back in 1998 if these special friends had not been in my life to support this group endeavor. 

Now my deepest appreciation goes out to Karen Weber, Pam Keillor, Candy Stevens, Marina Lisjonok, DL Heraty, Meredith Harbor, Patty Bilbro, Julie Pate, Julie Stewart, Therese Carlson, Krista Fox, Lisa Sparagna, Donna Prenta, Megan Llambias, Kay Gilmore and all the many teachers that have shared their amazing wisdom and heartfelt teachings over these past twenty years. Please know that I am forever blessed and full of gratitude for the family we have created and for the students that have shared in our story.

We are planning a big event to celebrate come April. To honor our community, we will be offering gifted classes throughout the month!

Further, if this isn't enough. come July I am holding an amazing  retreat and excursion trip in Greece! Registration is open with an early bird savings being offered through February 15. The trip is limited to 14 so don't wait to sign up. Check the website for details and let's enjoy the beauty of living in the light!

This year my wish is that we may continue to love and nourish the deepest place in each of ourselves, and that may YAF continues to be our home for continuous growth! Happy 2018!!

Many blessings,

Laura Jane

Kay Gilmore is Yoga Among Friends's newest Vinyasa Flow teacher

Kay Gilmore is Yoga Among Friends's newest Vinyasa Flow teacher

I am so excited to be sharing my passion for yoga! I began practicing yoga on a regular basis in 2003, right after finishing my Pilates certification through Romana’s Pilates. The two forms of movement are very complimentary to each other, and I learned more about the body and breath through the practice of both disciplines. I have practiced the breathing and therapeutic techniques of Yoga Therapy with Laura Jane over the last 7 years, and have completed the Fox Valley Yoga Teacher Training program with Karen Weber Manz, with whom I have practiced Saturday morning yoga for over ten years. I feel fortunate to be able to share with students that which has been taught to me by wonderful loving teachers.

I will teaching an all levels Vinyasa Flow class on Wednesdays from 11-12:pm starting Sept 6 – after Labor Day. Hope to see you!