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.

 

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.

 

Brian Grey

Brian is a professional actor (SAG/AFTRA & AEA) and has been practicing Yoga since 2000. He came to Yoga thru actor training as a purely physical discipline. Over time his practice evolved, infusing life on and off the mat with a deeper sense of mindfulness, awareness, and gratitude.

Brian’s approach is accessible, and sustainable and he believes that Yoga is for everyone. Classes with
Brian are fun, often sweaty, and always a journey to somewhere new.

Brian is a Yoga Alliance 200 RYT recognized instructor. His teachers/influences include Jason Crandell, David Duerkop, Rhiannon Kirby, and Rosé. Instagram: @briangreyyoga
#namastrosé

 

Caroline Hennessy

Caroline is a newly minted instructor, having received her formal training from Prairie Yoga in 2019 as one of The Yoga Shop’s inaugural class of teacher trainees. She’s also the studio manager at TYS.

She began practicing yoga in 2010 and was instantly hooked! Experiencing how intimidating yoga can be to those not exposed to its teachings beyond the physical poses, she is driven to make yoga accessible to everyone. Her approach to yoga is playful, welcoming and affirmative. Her gentle yoga class leaves students loosened up and refreshed physically and mentally.

She is a native Chicagoan and grew up blocks from The Yoga Shop, so she really knows the neighborhood! When not at TYS, she is a busy running her marketing consulting business. A lover of all things Irish and furry, she also serves on the Board of the Irish American Heritage Center and as a Digital Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Specialist for Best Friends Animal Society.