Faculty


AMALA FOUNDERS AND LEAD TRAINERS

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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
 

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Beth Heller, M.S., R.Y.T., Co-Author, FULLY FERTILE - Presenter
Beth is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Pulling Down the Moon, Inc., Integrative Care for Fertility (ICF ™). Beth earned her Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 1999 and prior to founding PDtM, she spent four years working as a Nutrition Researcher for the Women’s Walking Program, a large National Institutes of Health-funded study that examined the impact of walking exercise on the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of menopausal women. As she witnessed women become stronger, less anxious and less depressed as a result of adding walking to their lives Beth had her first introduction to the powerful connection between mind and body.

Throughout every aspect of her own fertility journey, the teachings of yoga and the wisdom of traditional healing therapies were her guide and solace. Beth’s goal in founding Pulling Down the Moon was to teach the tools that allowed her to learn and grow through one of the most challenging times in her life.

Beth is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. She teaches yoga in classes and in one-on-one instruction throughout the Chicago-land area and is a creator, co-director and teacher for Pulling Down the Moon, Yoga for Fertility. 

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Jennifer Jaume, CNM with North Shore Associates - Presenter
Evanston North Shore Hospital. Offices in Evanston and Glenview, www.northshore.org/maternal-health/specialists/, 847-475-1224
Jennifer Jaume earned her nursing certificate and her graduate nursing degree in midwifery at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She’s been practicing for the past 4 years and joined North Shore Associate in Gynecology and Obstetrics in November 2018. Jennifer is Board Certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. She is a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). She also actively participates on the nominating committee for ACNM Illinois affiliate. Jennifer brings to her patients a love for helping women achieve wellness during their reproductive years. She has a particular interest and specialty in helping women achieve unmedicated low intervention births.

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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.
catlewan@gmail.com / http://www.andersonvillept.com/about-us/our-team/catherine-lewan-pt-dpt

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Nicole Miles, Doula, CLC - Presenter from Chicago Volunteer Doulas
Nicole joined Birthways in the fall of 2018 as a labor support and postpartum doula. She brings years of experience as a doula, childcare provider, and community volunteer and a deep love of supporting newborn families. She is excited to focus in on expectant and new parents. Nicole graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a BA in Sociology and is completing her Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences at Roosevelt University. Familiar with navigating hospital settings as a volunteer in a physician’s office and as a Community Outreach Assistant at Advocate Trinity hospital in Chicago, Nicole is comfortable and skillful at advocating alongside her clients and helping build connection and support across resources. Over the years, she has found herself drawn more and more to the childbearing years and to the scope of care that a doula is able to provide.

As a labor support doula, she trained and certified in 2012 with Warm Welcome Birth Services. She has supported dozens of labor support clients throughout Chicago since then with Chicago Volunteer Doulas and privately. She is a wealth of knowledge and skills when it comes to prenatal preparations and day-of support: working with comfort measures, positions, visualizations, encouragement, and resolving fears. Committed to being a resource for breastfeeding mothers, she completed her Certified Lactation Counselor training through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice in the summer of 2018, allowing her to provide current, evidence based support for mom and baby from the first latch throughout the entirety of the breastfeeding relationship.

Nicole also has extensive experience as a childcare provider, sitter and recently completed her Newborn Care Specialist certification. A calm and patient presence, Nicole enjoys working with first time parents as well as those welcoming a new baby to their growing families and has supported twin families too. Sensitive to the needs of the new family as a whole, she offers a hand wherever it may be needed, including practical support like laundry and meal preparation. Her advanced certifications allow her to be a great resource and support for navigating feeding strategies, as well as sleeping needs and newborn milestones.

Attuned to the physical and emotional transitions of pregnancy and the entire postpartum period, Nicole brings warmth, ease and knowledge to this exciting and often challenging time.

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Kay Warren, LCSW
Kay is a licensed clinical social worker with over 8 years of therapy experience and almost 15 years of healthcare experience. Kay serves clients from adolescence into adulthood specializing in perinatal and reproductive mood disorders in women, eating disorders in adolescents and young adults, and women's mental health related to menopause, parenting, significant others, work stress, etc. She has worked in major hospitals, primary care clinics, nonprofit organizations and assisted living/nursing homes. She believes in the importance of using both physical and mental health to understand the individual completely, with the ability to articulate the connections between mind/body and how our physical health contributes to our mood and vice versa. Currently, Kay works part time in a primary care clinic and has a private practice in Lakeview and Hyde Park Chicago.

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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).