AMALA FOUNDERS AND LEAD TRAINERS
Lela Beem E-RYT, RPYT, C-IAYT - Lead Trainer
Lela is co-owner and founder of Grateful Yoga of Evanston. She is a certified Kripalu Yoga and ParaYoga teacher and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist and one of few yoga therapists certified by the International Assoc. of Yoga Therapy. Lela has been teaching group and private prenatal, and Hatha yoga full-time since 2005. Yoga provided monumental support to her during both of her pregnancies and recovery process, and she is inspired to share her knowledge and experience with yoga teachers. You can learn more about Lela at www.gratefulyoga.com
Cassie Rodgers, E-RYT, RPYT - Lead Trainer
Cassie has been passionate about teaching pre and postnatal yoga in group and private classes since 2007. From her in-depth studies and training combined with her personal practice during both of her pregnancies, she realized first hand the benefits yoga offered to the perinatal experience. Since 2010 she as been training teachers on how to confidently support students during pregnancy using the knowledge of yoga. Cassie provides private instruction, group classes, trainings and mentorships along the North Shore of Chicago. Her aim when teaching is to create a space where students can connect to themselves on a more subtle level yet feel safely challenged in their practice. To learn more about Cassie visit www.anandawithin.com
AMALA FACULTY AND PRESENTERS
Terri Drews, MSW - Presenter
Terri has worked as a social worker in the area of women, children and family health for two decades. Terri is the co-founder of Beyond the Baby Blues, a nonprofit organization that works in collaboration with North Shore/Evanston Hospital’s Perinatal Depression Program to offer therapeutic support groups for women suffering from postpartum mood disorders. She is certified by Postpartum Support International in completing a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Components of Care educational activity in August 2013. As a lifelong devotee of yoga and mindfulness, she is honored to be working with courageous women as they journey through the challenges of the postpartum period. Learn more at www.beyondthebabyblues.org
Catherine Lewan, PT, DPT, CYT - Presenter
Before starting her career as a Physical Therapist, Catherine was a classically trained dancer, dance instructor, certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and STOTT Pilates instructor. This background provided her with a keen appreciation for movement and ample experience working with injured body parts, including her own! Catherine earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2010. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Orthopedic and Women’s Health sections, and she is dedicated to lifelong learning in these specialties.
Catherine aspires to help her patients understand their injuries so that they can return to the activities that are important to them with a sense of how to preserve health, wellness and optimal functioning in their bodies.
She is passionate about bringing awareness to women’s health so that women are empowered to honor themselves and their families by living as radiant examples of health and wellness. Catherine believes that mindfulness, compassion, openness, and present moment awareness create an optimal environment for healing and wellness, and she aspires to bring these qualities to her work as a PT and as an instructor.
firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.andersonvillept.com/about-us/our-team/catherine-lewan-pt-dpt
North Shore Associates CNM: Gaye Koconis and Debi Lesnick - Presenter
Evanston North Shore Hospital. Offices in Evanston and Glenview.
Gaye has worked with childbearing women in and around the Chicago area since 1996 and has been a Certified Nurse Midwife since 2002. Her practice is strongly committed to empowering, supporting and educating women during pregnancy and childbirth.
Debi is a certified nurse midwife since 1993 who is also educated in anthropology, Italian and history. She is fluent in Italian. Her areas of expertise include teens, well women, and pre- and post-menopausal gynecological care.
Becky Paulin-Liston, PT, RYT - Mentor
Becky has been working one on one with pre- and postpartum women in her physical therapy practice for more than 10 years, and instructing group fitness classes including yoga during this time as well. She received her BSPT from Bradley University in 1997 and her 200 RYT in 2001. She has worked as an Outpatient Phsyical Therapist for North Shore University Health System since 1999. While working at North Shore, she coordinated the perinatal exercise program through 2012, and continues to serve as a mentor and educator today. Through her involvement in the program, she has had the opportunity to work with midwife and OB/GYN groups to improve awareness of the benefits of exercise and movement during and after pregnancy to facilitate women receiving individual treatment when needed. Becky has worked extensively with core muscle rehabilitation in pre- and postpartum women and common pregnancy-related dysfunctions including SIJ (sacroiliac joint), low back and pelvic pain, diastisis recti, upper back pain, wrist pain and more.
Becky says: “My own pregnancies, labor and delivery were transformative; I draw from that knowledge as well as my clinical experience when I instruct. Pregnancy is an important time to learn about the changes happening physically and emotionally and learn how to support them. There is a lot to learn, and a lot that we are able to do as practitioners and instructors to guide women through their process.” email@example.com
Corinne Peterson, MPH, LMT, RYT500 - Mentor
Over the past 20 years Corinne has been passionately dedicated to supporting women through the many life transitions that are unique to the female experience. During this time, she has provided support for the childbearing year as a prenatal yoga instructor, massage therapist, birth doula, and infant massage instructor. In recent years she has continued supporting women through the challenges and joys unique to parenting, perimenopause, menopause, mid-life, and elder wisdom years.
She received her yoga instructor certification through the Temple of Kriya Yoga (1994) and a yoga therapy certification from the American Viniyoga Institute (2006). Corinne is certified in iRest® Yoga Nidra Meditation through Richard Miller, PhD of the Integrative Restoration Institute. She has received additional specialty yoga training for specific challenges, including: Trauma-Sensitive Yoga through the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute (founded by Bessel van der Kolk) and Yoga of the Heart – Cardiac and Cancer Certification Training (with Nischala Joy Devi). In addition, she has been a nationally certified massage therapist since 1997 and holds a Masters in Public Health in the area of health education and promotion.
Third Coast Birth - Presenter
Third Coast Birth Services is a community of professionals who share the goal of surrounding parents with support throughout pregnancy, birth, and the first three years of life. With different skill sets, backgrounds, and specialties, they are able to come together to provide a comprehensive support team, consisting of Childbirth Education, Labor Support, Postpartum Support, and New Parent Groups. Founded by Shawna Mertens and Margarita Valbuena, Third Coast was created with community in mind, and that community is at the heart of everything they do. They provide families with an unbiased, compassionate, collaborative approach to birth and parenting support. Learn more at www.thirdcoastbirth.com
Tamara Quinn, RYT, Yoga Swami, Co-Author, FULLY FERTILE - Presenter
Tami is the Co-Founder of Pulling Down the Moon, a revolutionary holistic fertility center that has changed the standard of care for women experiencing infertility. Tami was called to this work after a 14-year career in the corporate world. Tami turned to yoga and discovered ancient healing techniques that not only helped with her stress, but also provided tools to help live a more balanced life. Remembering her own difficulty in conceiving her twins, Tami knew these yoga tools would be meaningful for women experiencing similar challenges.
She became a registered yoga teacher (RYT) through Rod Stryker of the Para Yoga School based in Los Angeles. Her other specialties include Kriology, Ayurveda and reiki master. Her studies have included the doctrine of karma, meditation/guided imagery, hatha yoga, breathing techniques, sacred texts, astrology, religions of the world, kriya yoga philosophy/psychology, dream interpretation, the language of symbols, and pastoral care. Tami also completed Level 1 training in iRest, a restorative yoga technique that has been shown to help soldiers returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder. Tami is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and The Women President’s Organization and co-author of “Fully Fertile, A 12-Week Plan to Optimal Fertility.” Learn more at
Kimberleigh Weiss-Lewit, MA, E-RYT 200/RYT 500, CD/CDT (BAI) - Mentor
Kimberleigh is Liberation Prison Yoga's Program Director, a board member, and co-leads their teacher training. She provides support for the prenatal and postpartum yoga programs, as well as breastfeeding support, at Rikers Island in New York City. She is a registered yoga teacher, certified prenatal yoga teacher, La Leche League leader, birth doula, birth doula trainer and mother. She holds an MA in Drama Therapy from New York University and began prison-based work with Rehabilitation through the Arts. Kim was recently part of the Yoga Service Council’s interdisciplinary writing team for the book Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System (2016-2017) and is now contributing to the next book in the series: Best Practices for Yoga with Sexual Trauma Survivors (2017-2018).