Meet Jenny Thiede, YBD Teacher of the Month!

Jenny, wild thing. :)

Jenny, wild thing. :)

Jenny has been teaching with Yoga by Degrees since the first studio opened its doors and has been a wonderful part of the community at all the locations thereafter. Just this summer, Jenny stepped away from her full time PE teaching position to pursue yoga teaching full time. She is one of our senior teachers, We are so grateful that she has taken this leap of courage to follow her dreams and that her home studio is YBD. Here is her class schedule though she is subbing and filling her schedule up so check our app or website for the most up-to-date schedules:

Sundays, 4pm YBD2 95 in Wheaton

Mondays, 12pm YBD1 in Downers Grove

Tuesdays, 8am YBD2 95 in Western Springs

Tuesdays, 4:30pm YBD2 105 in Wheaton

Tuesdays, 6pm YBD2 95 in Wheaton

Thursdays, 4:30 YBD2 105 in Elmhurst

Thursdays, 6pm YBD1 in Elmhurst

Fridays, 6am YBD2 95 in Downers Grove

Fridays, 5:45pm YBD2 105 *75 minutes in Downers Grove

Check out her responses below to get to know Jenny T better. <3

When and how did you come to yoga?

I went to Arizona State University so that I could teach dance in Physical Education. My student teaching mentor Teresa Lake taught mostly yoga classes for PE. She developed and implemented the yoga curriculum in the district. As her student teacher, I was responsible for teaching her classes and I had never done yoga before! I showed up early to take her first class of the day, and then copied what she said to her later classes. At first I hated yoga… so much. It was not easy like I thought it would be. It is not just stretching and flexibility little did I know. 

Eventually, I found my voice, saw the students and myself benefit immensely, and fell in love. I was hired on to teach yoga at that school, then two other high schools. I earned my 200 hour YTT in 2011 on the Big Island of Hawaii with the amazing Deborah Koehn. I had already been teaching yoga for 4 years, but this training was life changing  My love for yoga grew as did my teaching style. Yoga has been such a gift to me, I’ve enjoyed sharing that happiness with high school students for eight years, and now in the community.

What is your favorite pose?

Ahh how do you choose?! I make fun of myself while teaching sometimes because I’ll hear myself say a different pose is my favorite every week! But I love so many of them. I feel the best in Uttanasana – forward fold. It’s so calming and you can literally feel your spine and neck (where I carry alllll of my stress) lengthen. But I love playing around with variations in Ardha Chandrasana, and feel expressive in fallen triangle… I can’t pick just one!

Who inspires your teaching?

Students! Their dedication and growth is inspiring! Life is also a big inspiration to my teaching. The way we are on the mat is the way we are in life and vice versa so I pull a lot of what I personally see and feel into my classes. 

Tips for beginners…

Try to enjoy your practice and not over think. The first few times I practiced I was so in my head, it took me far too long to just enjoy being on my mat. Just enjoy the time for you!

What’s your favorite quote?

There are many that inspire me but ‘Choose Joy,’ spoken by my yogi sister Lara in class one day were the two words that really stuck with me and led me to change my life.

Meet Margaret, Teacher of the Month!

Margaret practicing Warrior 2.

Margaret practicing Warrior 2.

This July we are celebrating our very own, Margaret. Her dedication and positive energy have been an amazing contribution to the YBD community. Margaret, we want to thank you for the healing classes you have offered to our students. Thank you so much for the your critical bailouts with subbing whatever class or shift is out there and for saving the YBD staff countless times. Thank you for your sweet smile and constant kindness.

You will find Margaret teaching and subbing all class formats at all studios. There are her permanent classes on the current schedule:

Sundays, 9:00am YBD1 Western Springs

Wednesdays, 6:00pm YBD1 Western Springs

Wednesdays, 7:15pm Sculpt Western Springs

Read on to get to know sweet Margaret more:

When and how did you come to yoga? 

It was my husband Bob, my high school sweetheart and love of my life who gave me a yoga mat and video for Christmas one year.  The video taught me the basic poses and gave me the confidence to attend a class.  Since then I’ve been to countless classes as a teacher and as a student.  It wasn’t long before I discovered that yoga is so much more than the physical poses.

Why did you start teaching yoga?  

Yoga makes me feel good from the inside out so it felt natural to deepen my knowledge and share what I learned with others.

What is your favorite pose?  

I especially like the Warrior Poses.  Warrior poses and their variations teach us stamina, stability, strength and serenity.

Who inspires your teaching? 

I am inspired by many yoga teachers including all those I have the privilege to work with at YBD.   I’m inspired by the ancient yoga philosophy and modern psychology that encourages self inquiry and acceptance.  Lastly, I’m inspired by all the students whom are dedicated to their practice, embrace change and find joy, power and approval within.

Tips for beginners… 

Dress in comfortable exercise clothes.  A fitted shirt/top or one that can be tucked in.  Have a light snack an hour or two before class.  Arrive early, if possible, bring water and a sense of humor.

What’s your favorite quote? 

Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.  By Mahatma Gandhi

It Was Summertime Fun At YBD!

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Friday, June 26th may have been a cool rainy night but that didn’t stop several Yoga by Degrees Platinum Members from seeking out a fun hot night on the beach!  We celebrated our valued Platinum Members with an exclusive, free beach themed yoga party for Members and their guests at YBD Elmhurst.  There were festive decorations, food, drinks and goody bags. (Each one had a YBD T-shirt in it. ) Attendees took part in one or both of Heather’s two fun filled yoga classes, which challenged and motivated students to find their edges, accept them and have fun no matter what! If you missed this Platinum Member Appreciation event, no worries, there is sure to be a another one around the corner…so stay tuned and be sure to join our community by becoming a Platinum Member, if you haven’t yet, because you belong at YBD!

Yoga For P.E. 3-Day Teacher Training

Implementing Yoga in Physical Education

A 3- Day Training

Lead by Jennifer Thiede E-RYT


This program is designed to teach Physical Education teachers how to add a yoga program to their curriculum. During this 3-day/20 hour workshop, you will learn how to confidently lead and teach a multi-level traditional yoga class modified to suit Physical Education curriculum, needs, environment, and standards. Yoga classes offered in Physical Education can give students the tools they need to build confidence and self esteem, relieve stress and anxiety, and practice the 5 health related fitness components throughout their lives. Your training will be lead by Jennifer Thiede who has been teaching yoga as part of Physical Education Departments for 8 years and has developed curriculum for these classes at three different high schools. In the summer of 2011, Jennifer completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training on the Big Island of Hawaii. She has been teaching classes in the community ever since. She will be sharing the basics of yoga, her methods, sequencing techniques, management tools, curriculum, and assessment with those attending the training.


Yoga By Degrees

1042 S. York St.

Elmhurst, IL 60126


Thursday, July 23 8AM- 3:00PM

Friday, July 24 8AM-3:00 PM

Saturday, July 25 9AM- 3:00PM


Thursday, September 17th 8AM- 3:00PM

Friday, September 18th 8AM-3:00 PM

Saturday, September 19th 9AM- 3:00PM

Contact Information:

To Enroll:

  1. Email completed questions from registration form (see below) to:
  2. Send payment, if paying by check, to: Yoga by Degrees, Attn: Jennifer Thiede – 1042 S. York Rd, Elmhurst, IL 60126
  3. Please be sure to write: “Yoga For P.E.”, the session start date and student(s) name(s) in the memo section of the check.

If you prefer to pay with a credit card or cash, please specify that when you email your registration and Jennifer will call you to make payment arrangements.

Pricing information is located at the bottom of this page.  Space is limited! The last day to register is one week prior to the start date of the session you are attending. (two weeks prior to get the early bird discount!) and no refunds will be given one week or less prior to the start date of your session.  Once your registration and payment is received, your spot will be held and you will receive email confirmation.

(Did you know… Many of our attendees have been able to get financial support from their districts!) Questions? Contact  or call (847)722-3429

Registration Form: Implementing Yoga in Physical Education – A 3- Day Training

Name: _________________________________________________

Training date attending:___________________________________

Address: __________________________________________

City: ______________________State: ______Zip:___________

School/Organization/Grade you teach: ______________________/_________________________

Phone: _________-_________-___________________


Please √ if Yoga Experience: Yes: ___________ No: ____________

Please √ your gender: Female: __________ Male: ______________

Yoga For Physical Education Pricing Individual Sign Up Group of 2 or more register together
 Early Bird Pricing $450.00/Participant $400.00/Participant
Registration 14 days or less prior to start date  (Payment due 7 days prior to start date) $499.00 $450.00/Participant

Interested in teaching as a full or part time career or looking to deepen your overall knowledge about yoga? Click Here to learn about YBD’s 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification Program.

Meet Shaun, Teacher of the Month

Shaun in Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon Pose

Shaun in Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon Pose

This month we celebrate Shaun as our Teacher of the Month. Shaun has been loyal to Yoga by Degrees as a student first, then a teacher trainee, and now an amazing teacher. His gentle but strong energy will disarm your stress and ground you throughout class. Also try to guess where he is from by his accent… :)

He subs at every opportunity but check out his permanent classes on the schedule:

6am YBD2 95 on Mondays in Western Springs

6am YBD2 95 on Fridays in Downers Grove

4pm YBD2 105 on Saturdays in Wheaton

2pm YBD2 105 on Sundays in Wheaton

4pm YBD2 95 on Sundays in Wheaton

When and how did you come to yoga?

Some time in 2010, my wife encouraged me to join her at a Bikram class. She thought I would love the sweat.

She was right. But even though I attended Bikram classes and YBD sculpt (and only sculpt) for close to 4 years,

I didn’t know anything about yoga (there’s 8 limbs?) until I started my teacher training in 2014. Once I began

to understand yoga’s breadth and depth, I was in the tank.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I would come to YBD sculpt classes with my daughters, and after one of our instructors announced upcoming

training, they suggested I consider it. Ultimately, I chose to proceed for three reasons: teaching fit similar

things I had done in my past that I enjoyed, I was curious to learn more about yoga and as a big fan of YBD, I

saw it as an opportunity to be more integrated into it’s community. In a weird twist of fate, I had planned to

do sculpt training, but it wasn’t available at the time, so I jumped into the 200 HR program. That experience

has been transformative for me. Shit happens for a reason.

What is your favorite pose?

The next one.

Who inspires your teaching?

While my hope is to be a helpful guide to all that come to their mats, I am particularly inspired to serve those

folks who are new to yoga.

Tips for beginners…

I would offer three tips:

Do your thing and don’t worry about anyone else.

If you’ve lived by the no pain, no gain mindset, let it go.

It’s always a good time for a child’s pose.

What’s your favorite quote?

“To make the most of every minute, to fully embrace every second of every day, we have to accept we

only have a limited number of minutes and seconds left.”

June Pose of the Month

Summer is finally here in full swing and it feels glorious!  How incredible to feel the warmth of the sun on our skin!  It is with gratitude and a full heart we welcome summer with Wheel Pose.

Lie on your back (supine) on the floor. Bend your knees and place the feet hip width apart, close to the hips. Bend your elbows and place your hands next to the head on the floor, palms open and wide, fingers pointing towards the shoulders.

  • Press the shoulders down in the floor, feel how that opens and even lifts the chest somewhat, take the tailbone in. Press the inner feet down.
  • On an inhalation lift the hips to the ceiling. Stay here for a breath or two
  • Inhale and on an exhalation pull the feet in towards yourself, ground the shoulders actively down into the floor to ground your shoulder blades on the back and take the armpits in and press into your hands to lift your body up, onto the crown of the head or straight away up to the ceiling straightening your arms as much as possible.
  • Once up there, inner thighs roll in, tailbone lengthens, upper arms rotate outwards, upper back curls ad you can let your head hang or lift your head a bit to look down to the floor.
  • To come out, exhale and lower yourself down to the floor as you look up to the ceiling, chin to chest.
  • Hold the pose anywhere fro 5-10 breaths and possibly repeat them
  • Feel free to try a variation by lifting a leg or to open the shoulders a bit more go up against the wall and place blocks under you palms

  • Benefits of this Pose

    • Strengthens your arms, wrists, upper back, spine and thighs
    • Opens the shoulders, chest/lungs, groins, front of the thighs
    • Increases your energy and counteracts depression
    • therapeutic for back pain, depression, low energy, asthma, osteoporosis, infertility
    • Open your heart to the possibilities robert sturman wheel

Meet Lisa, YBD Teacher of the Month

Lisa blissing out doing some beach yoga.

Lisa blissing out doing some beach yoga.

Meet our lovely Lisa, yoga instructor and studio manager of our Elmhurst location. A natural teacher, her nurturing classes are highlighted by serene energy, acceptance, and meditation. Take an hour of her therapeutic class and leave feeling relaxed and balanced. You can check out her classes in Elmhurst at:
1:15pm YBD2 105 on Mondays
8:30am YBD1 85 on Tuesdays
12pm YBD2 85 on Tuesdays
1:15pm Restorative on Tuesdays
9:30am YBD2 95 on Wednesdays
1:15pm YBD2 105 on Wednesdays
Get to know Lisa below!
When and how did you come to yoga?
I found yoga 18 years ago when I was pregnant w my 2nd child. I bought a prenatal yoga book, and loved the way it helped me relax & de-stress.
Why did you start teaching yoga?
I decided to become a teacher while I was a student at ybd in WS. Was very inspired by the teachers there, which led ms to the ybd TT. I thought therapeutic benefits of yoga would be a wonderful complement to the work I do as a counseling psychologist.
What is your favorite yoga pose?
Who inspires your teaching?
The amazing teachers at YBD inspire my teaching
Tips for beginners?
Practice patience & compassion with yourself. We are our own worst critics. Just relax & enjoy : )
What is your favorite quote?
“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
– Helen Keller

Pose of the month for May.


April showers bring May flowers, which is why our pose of the month is bird of paradise (aka SVARGA DVIJASANA) the flowers of the Birds of Paradise resemble a brightly colored bird in flight and so the name Birds of Paradise is quite fitting.  Watching someone go into the pose looks as if a flower is blooming.

This advanced standing posture has many benefits:

  • Strengthens the hips, pelvis, and quadriceps.
  • Lengthens the hamstrings and calves.
  • Tones the legs.
  • Opens the shoulders.
  • Challenges your balance.

Take a forward fold and keep length in your spine. Take your feet to the width of your mat. Inhale to reach and lengthen your right arm, then exhale, reach your arm through your legs and wrap it around your right upper thigh (hand on hip). Inhale and lengthen your left arm, reach around your back to bind. If you can, clasp your left wrist with your right hand. Breathe here and open your chest.

Now walk your right foot in slightly, concentrate your weight in your left foot. Keep your abs engaged and on an inhale, come up to standing – bringing your right leg with you. Once you’re up, make sure your heart is open and straighten your right leg. Reach your toes wide. Stay with it. Keep breathing. Now take your gaze over your left shoulder.

This posture can be modified by using a strap if your shoulders are tight, keeping a bent knee in the lifted leg if the hamstrings are tight and you can level up by going from an extended side angle into the pose.  Play, blossom and grow!

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Tree Pose – Pose of the month


With spring finally being here (well at least some days it feels like spring) this pose symbolizes growth and renewal.  Vrksasana aka Tree Pose 

The position helps improve posture and balance. More importantly, it strengthens calves, ankles and thighs. For this reason, you should perform this pose regularly to improve balance and overall well being.

There are also mental benefits of performing vrksasana pose, including better mood and stress reduction. In addition to performing vrksasana pose, you can also decide to add meditation techniques to your regimen to eliminate worry and anxiety. The concentration needed to execute this pose will go along way in relieving stress and can help you enjoy peace of mind away from the hustle and bustle of everyday activities.