Our Team

Jim Cogan - The Yoga Shop ChicagoJim Cogan E-RYT/Owner:

I’m a Chicago native. In a prior life, I was a recording engineer and faculty member at Columbia College Chicago. After moving to Lake Geneva in the early 2000s, I got involved with Yoga; first casually, then decided to go for my 200 hour teaching certificate with Lori Gaspar at Prairie Yoga in Lisle, Illinois. This led to an apprenticeship with the iconic Gabriel Halpern at the Yoga Circle in Chicago. With serendipity playing a huge role, I find myself back in my former neighborhood, Old Irving Park.

Personally, I’m excited to build a business with a sense of “place”. A place where we can meet, restore and rejuvenate in a really cool space.

I’m also a sailor, gardener and author, with wildly varying degrees of skill.


Rachel Meeuwse

Rachel’s experience with yogic philosophy and practice began 17 years ago in her hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan. She moved to Chicago in 2008 and found many amazing teachers and yoga communities that developed her practice into a powerful force in her life, helping to maintain balance and health through the rigors of living and working in the second city. The sense of inspiration, freedom, and comfort in her own skin that she receives from her yoga practice has kept her coming back to the mat year after year.
Rachel’s classes emphasize mindful awareness, cultivated through alignment and the unification of breath and movement; and are designed to guide the student toward a direct experience of their own profound capacity for inner power and peace.



Silvita Diaz Brown, The Yoga Shop ChicagoSilvita Diaz Brown

Silvita Diaz Brown is a certified Yoga instructor, movement teacher, choreographer and dancer. She holds a BFA in Dance from UDLAP (Puebla Mexico) and a MFA in Theatre with a Movement Teaching Diploma from York University in Toronto.

Silvita obtained a 200 hour Yoga certification from Chicago Yoga Center in 2009.

For Silvita, “Yoga has been the blessing of my life!”


Jennifer Diamond

Jennifer is an ERYT 200 who has been a student of yoga for over 20 years and a teacher for 10.  She teaches a grounding and active vinyasa class where students at any level beyond total beginner will feel at home.
Jennifer has a PhD in clinical psychology and has completed multiple trainings on teaching yoga to survivors of trauma. She is available to work privately with students managing symptoms of trauma that occurred in the near or distant past.




Web CS-1Careid Surprenant

Careid Surprenant (500hr CYT) began attending yoga classes in 2010; although she found many of the poses challenging, the way she felt after class inspired her to continue her practice, and later become a teacher. Drawing on her background in the visual arts, she has found that in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and the mechanics of alignment are essential to create a productive and injury-free yoga experience. Locally, she has studied Ashtanga with Todd Boman, Tantric Yoga with Marcelyn Cole and Mia Park, Alignment based yoga with Rich Logan, Iyengar and Therapeutics with Gabriel Halpern. Careid incorporates pranayama & meditation, as well as Ashtanga, Tantric and Iyengar elements into each class. She believes that everything we need is already within us; it is through the practice of yoga that we discover who we are.


Paula BuiPaula Bui

Paula has been practicing and studying both yoga and AcroYoga since 2009. Combined, both practices continue to teach her about patience and how to be a better person.

She became a Certified Yoga and AcroYoga teacher in March and November of 2013, respectively.

You’ll find that through sharing her practice she cultivates a space to foster freedom, growth, and strength of the body and mind. Paula continues to study yoga, bodywork, and acrobatics as often as she can and is grateful for the teachers that have guided her in her path. Though she may be petite, she is probably one of the strongest vegan women you’ll ever meet.


_ND42765Ana Paliza-Brown

A native of the Dominican Republic, Ana started practicing yoga in hopes of relieving the physical and mental stress caused from years of working as a professional cook. After a leg injury, she found that her recovery was exponentially faster once she returned to the mat, which inspired her to become a yoga teacher. She received her 200RYT teacher training certification at It’s Yoga in San Francisco in 2008. She has been practicing daily ever since.

Her practice has completely changed her life, helping her find more balance, acceptance, and connection. This transformation has inspired and encouraged her to transition from her former stress filled work environment into a more wellness focused one, where she can share the love for the practice.

As a yoga teacher, she encourages her students to be compassionate and kind both on and off the mat. Her classes are a balanced mix of physical postures, breath work, meditation and relaxation and she strives to assist her students in bringing their yoga out of the classroom and into their lives.

She has furthered her yoga education by completing trainings in Kid’s Yoga and Yoga to Transform Trauma, and is excited to be currently pursuing a Therapeutic Yoga Certification with Integrative Yoga Therapy. She hopes that these trainings will assist her in her desire to offer yoga to everyone, regardless of their physical, emotional, or mental limitations.

Ana is also very passionate about delicious and nutritious foods and the connection between nourishment, health and happiness. She is always looking for new ways to combine her love for yoga with her love for food.

debby-friestysDebby Fries

Debby found her way to yoga to balance the stress of a high powered advertising career. Having practiced for 12 years she enrolled in teacher training and never looked back. Graduating in 2014 from Yogaview, she studied under Tom Quinn, Claire Mark, Quinn Kearney and Geri Beiber and has been teaching for 2 years. Her classes have a vigorous flow set to inspiring, non-traditional music stimulating the body and soul while enlightening students to the power of breath with their movement. She is rewarded daily by the positive changes yoga brings to both herself and her students.



Keith Glab

Keith began practicing yoga regularly in 2008, primarily interested in its physical benefits. Gradually, he began to delve more into the mental, energetic, and spiritual aspects of the practice. This study drew him to Rishikesh, India to learn from Himalayan Yoga Master Yogirishi Vishvketu first in 2015, then again in 2017 to complete a 200-hour teacher training and receive the spiritual name of Omkar Nath. The holistic style of yoga he learned there incorporates breath, mantra, meditation, and yogic philosophy along with the physical postures. He tries to relay these millennia-old teachings in a manner that is fun and accessible for the modern yogi who does not live in an ashram!
Off the mat, Keith/Omkar obsesses over all things baseball, even making a living working with statistics on the televised games.



Sylvie Schwartz

Sylvie began practicing Ashtanga yoga at the age of fourteen after a childhood in classical ballet and then modern and contemporary dance. While studying at McGill University, she deepened her practice at the Ashtanga Yoga Montreal studio. She feels grateful to have been able to learn from the AYM teachers on a weekly basis for four years and complete her foundational teacher training under the studio founder, Allison Ulan, in the summer of 2017 as well as an apprenticeship in Restorative Yoga with the studio director, Jeanne Mudie, the following winter. Since moving back to Chicago, she has continued to challenge her practice through a more dedicated study of Iyengar yoga and has further pursued her interests in functional anatomy and movement by working towards a certification in the Pilates method. She appreciates the compassionate, intelligent and exploratory qualities of the yoga practice and seeks to provide her students with a working understanding of their bodies in addition to a healthy, balanced and joyful approach to their personal practice.


Jolanta Bieraz

Jola was raised and born in Poland. She is a passionate yoga teacher with over six years of practicing yoga. Jola finished her 200 RYT at Yogaview Chicago in June 2019. During the past few years, she has immersed herself into meditation, spirituality and Buddhism as a complement to her yoga practice. Yoga is an important part of her daily life. Over time, her practice has deepened, from simply accomplishing the physical poses, to relishing the emotional calm and spiritual growth that yoga makes possible. Jola is committed to providing extensive instruction to my students, building strength while motivating them to find true inner peace and their healthiest self. Yoga is something she loves and something she wants to share with others.


Milijana Novakovic, Instagram Instigator

Milijana discovered Yoga and spiritual life 20 + years ago, after a busy career in advertising producing TV ads in USA and Germany. This discovery led to a love affair with India — initially in the bhakti yoga path. Living the ashram life, immersed in India’s spirituality, culture and beauty led her to founding a yoga clothing line that now dresses yogis around the globe in the comfort and beauty of Indian textiles with a vision and mission to dress the globe and redress the world in the universal principal of Love. Milijana lives part time in India part time in Chicago, where she can be found at TYS sneaking photos from her mat and posting on IG.