Teacher Training

Meet Loukia, YBD Teacher of the Month

Meet our first Teacher of the Month of the new year! Loukia has such an amazing story of transformation and following your heart. After leaving her career as a high school administrator, she completed her teacher training with us at YBD and has been inspiring students ever since. We are very grateful to be part of Loukia’s road to happiness and are grateful she shares her joy with our YBD community!

6am, YBD2 95°-Western Springs


6am, YBD1 95°-Naperville


4:30, YBD1 85°-Elmhurst


4:00, YBD1 85° & 5:45, YBD2 105°-Downers Grove


12:00, YBD2 95° & 1:30 Restorative-Western Springs

When and how did you come to yoga?
I began regularly practicing yoga in 2011 when YBD in Wheaton opened. I had a number of physical ailments so I thought yoga would help. I was also looking for a way to reduce stress from my role as a high school administrator.  The heated studio felt detoxifying and relieved my stress after a long day of work.  The candles of the dimly lit studio exuded an aura of calm and it was a rare opportunity for quiet time in my day. I found yoga to be physically challenging with the added benefit of challenging me mentally every time I stepped onto my mat.  As I began to move in and out of the poses in the vinyasa flow classes, my body began to feel alive, my mind began to quiet, turning my negative self-talk into positive, self-love.

Why did you start teaching yoga?
I experienced a series of losses in 2014 and practicing yoga healed me from the inside out. Being on yoga mat helped me heal and come to terms with all the pain of my loss and grief. In 2015 I decided that if I could help even one person feel better and find peace through yoga, then training to be a yoga teacher would be worth it for me. I completed my training in the fall 2015 and have been enjoying the journey of being a new teacher this past year.

What is your favorite pose?
My favorite pose is tree pose, vrksasana. The essence of tree pose is to find balance. However, in tree pose you might sway, like a tree does in the wind but your foot stays rooted in to the ground. Allowing myself the freedom for my body to move and find its balance while I visualize still being rooted into the earth allows me to find acceptance of my body and my life in that present space and moment. Balance is something I work really hard at on and off the mat so I love tree pose because of that!

Who inspires your teaching?
My own yoga teachers have been my inspiration.  I’ve been blessed to have caring, kind, and compassionate yoga teachers and realize the impact a teacher can have on students every time they step on the mat.

Tips for beginners…
Learn to live in the uncomfortable.  You will inevitably find your first class challenging and a bit awkward and uncomfortable as your body moves in and out of the various poses.  Learn to live with that uncomfortable feeling of a beginner because everyone at one point or another was a beginner, even your yoga teachers!

What’s your favorite quote?
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.

Meet Heather, YBD Teacher of the Month

Heather has been an integral part of Yoga by Degrees so it is about time that we celebrate the amazing gifts she brings to our community. She is YBD’s senior manager, overseeing Wheaton and our western studios, a leader of our 200-hour Teacher Training and is one of our only 500-hour level certified instructors. Heather pours her heart out into everything she does and backs up that nurturing energy with a strong support of anatomy knowledge. Come check out her class at the Wheaton studio:

Tuesday, 9:30am YBD1

Wednesday, 1:30pm YBD2 95

Thursday, 9:30am YBD1

Thursday, 12pm Restorative

Saturday, 8am YBD2 85

Saturday, 10:30am Restorative

Saturday, 12pm YBD2 95, 75 minutes*

Get to know Heather better below:

When and how did you come to yoga?

I began a consistent practice in 2007 after the separation from my ex-husband.    While I had “dabbled” with practicing yoga this time it stuck.  There was a little studio walking-distance from my house and the more I practiced the better I felt.  When I began I couldn’t touch my toes; down dog was NOT a resting pose and chaturanga (yoga push up) was torture.  After it was all over I felt strong, empowered, calm and centered.  No matter how bad the day was or how difficult my life was at the time, I felt at peace.  Over time my physical practice improved but no mater how I struggled in my practice, I was at home on my mat.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

The funny thing is I never intended to teach yoga.  I never wanted to teach yoga.  I got my 200-hour yoga certificate in 2008 as a way to deepen my own practice and dive deeper in the philosophy of yoga.  I wanted to understand why I felt so good even in times of struggle.  My teacher training was for personal growth and nothing else.  One day a fellow teacher asked me to sub one of her classes while going out of the country for a month.   I said no without hesitation.  After a lengthy conversation about why I was not a yoga teacher she said to me “Heather, I think my students would like you and please think about it.”  After some searching I said to myself, “You are a sub.  If you aren’t good at this they never have to see you again.” So I subbed for the month and I fell in love.  I just shared what I loved about the practice and let that lead the way.  I am a very different teacher today than I was back then.  I received my 500-hour teaching certificate back in 2010 and use my knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology to help students in their practice.

What is your favorite pose? 

This a difficult question to answer.  Even poses that aren’t my favorite, I love what they do for me.  A few favorites are pigeon, down dog and wild thing.  Wild thing (camatkrasana) is a heart opener that makes me feel loving and graceful.


Who inspires your teaching?

There is no one person that inspires my teaching.  Inspiration can come from anything at any time.  I am inspired daily by all my fellow instructors and students.  Watching my students practice, seeing their moments of success, struggle and acceptance makes me want to be a better teacher for them.  In the end, it is about their experience.  I am blessed to work with wonderful teachers that ALL bring something special to the mat.  I try to use everything as an opportunity for growth both personally and as a teacher.

Tips for beginners…  

Remember that you ARE good at yoga.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard “I’m not good at yoga, but…..”  (I’d have some serious coin). Yoga means to yolk or unite.  Yoga brings us together.  Yoga doesn’t care how strong or how flexible you are.  Yoga accepts you in THIS moment just the way you are.  That means tight, feeling weak, injured (please honor your body. If it hurts, don’t do it), happy, or sad.   Show up on your mat for you, work toward self acceptance, and self improvement comes along for the ride.  Your time on your mat belongs to you and it is a chance to breathe, move and reconnect with yourself.

What’s your favorite quote?  

I say this every class: “Practice makes progress. You are already perfect.”   The more you practice, the more your practice improves. Perfection is already within you. We just cover it up with fear, expectations, judgments and thoughts that don’t serve us.  Strip it all away and there lies your perfection.

Winter 2016 Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training

Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training
Winter 2016
At the Elmhurst and Downers Grove Studio
Led by
Carole Gatsch; 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified
Nadja Lalvani; 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified
Inspire, Grow and Change lives by becoming a Yoga Sculpt Teacher

Yoga Sculpt teacher training will help you reach new heights in your personal practice, while giving you the tools to teach a safe, effective and inspiring Yoga Sculpt class.

Sculpt Teacher Training Sessions

Saturday, February 6th -10:30am-6pm at the Downers Grove Studio

Sunday, February 7th -10:30am-6pm at the Downers Grove Studio

Thursday, February 11th -6pm-9pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Thursday, February 18th -6pm-9pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Saturday, February 20th -10:30am-6pm at the Downers Grove Studio

Sunday, February 21st -10:30am-6pm at the Downers Grove Studio

Thursday, February 25th – 6pm-9pm at the Elmhurst Studio


Certificate Requirements

Attend all 7 Class Lectures (successfully makeup any missed sessions)

Attend 6 YBD Sculpt Classes

Attend 2 YBD1 Classes

Attend 2 YBD2 Classes

Observe 3 YBD Sculpt Classes

Complete 4 Homework Assignments

Successfully complete Practicum (Final) Exam

Teach 1 Group Community Class (scheduled by Sculpt TT Leads)


Karma Yoga

Group Fitness Class with weights and music


Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training Leads

Carole Gatsch 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified

Nadja Lalvani Yoga 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified


Questions? Contact meghan@yogabydegrees.net



$1199 (includes 1 month of free yoga)

$1100 early bird and YBD Teacher Training Alumni (includes 1 month of free yoga)

$999 for Members (auto pay, annual and annual plus)

$840 for current YBD Teachers

*Yoga by Degrees wants to offer you any help we can in being a part of our teacher training programs. We will work with your individual financial situation to help give you the opportunity to be a part of the program.

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Testimonials, Hear What Our Graduates Are Saying!


Video Review Disucssion

Video Review Discussion

Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching

Still undecided about Yoga by Degrees 200 Hour Teacher Training Program wondering  if it will be right for you?  Listen to what a few of our recent graduates have  to say word for word:

“The 200 hour Teacher Certification Program at Yoga by Degrees is phenomenal. I cannot recommend it highly enough…Led by YBD Managers, Meghan Rhode & Samantha Raphael, the training went above & beyond my expectations. Meghan & Sam (along with Loreta & other talented mentors from previous training), skillfully and intuitively led us through a journey that not only taught us the skills & philosophy of yoga, but they also provided a safe, nurturing environment for learning.  The wisdom and experience they both bring to the training is a gold mine, and their presentation/teaching style is so engaging, interesting and intelligent. In addition, it was just a fun place to be and learn… They take their yoga very seriously and are extremely professional & knowledgable, but also made me feel so at ease with their grounded personalities and wonderful sense of humor : )  

In addition to the amazing training I received, another unexpected bonus was the amazing friendships I developed with the other trainees. The high caliber of people YBD attracts to this program adds a whole other layer of “wonderful” to the experience. You log a LOT of hours with your fellow trainees, in such an intimate setting… And I can honestly say it was a joy and blessing to spend so much time with such an inspiring group, & I truly feel I’ve made some lifelong friendships, rooted in integrity and a love for yoga. 

It was a pleasure and gift to go through this teacher training at YBD.  Not only do I feel confident that I gained all the skills needed to teach yoga, but Meghan, Sam & Loreta provided a unique, safe, creative,  nurturing environment which gently & consistently encouraged me to grow & blossom, Their passion for yoga, coupled with their wisdom and natural gifts for teaching, make this program a life changing experience!  It is with 100% confidence and enthusiasm that I highly recommend YBD Teacher Training!”  – Lisa Whittingham Brennan, Yoga by Degrees Teacher Training Graduate / Winter 2014


“Yoga By Degrees’ 200 hour teacher training program was so much fun! I was surprised too see how much there truly is to learn about yoga- postures, philosophy, history, anatomy, Sanskrit, class structure, and more. The biggest take away for me however, was what I learned about myself and my journey along the way. I would recommend this program to anyone who is passionate about teaching, and also for someone looking to enhance their practice tenfold. Best of luck, yogi!”-  Kristin Ehlers Yoga by Degrees Teacher Training Graduate/Winter 2014


“In our training both of you mentioned that it would be a good idea to start teaching at local community centers.  I applied, auditioned and was fortunate enough to get on the schedule for LaGrange Park (for the summer)!  Thanks again to both of you.  This has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. ” 
– Ali Zygmunt , Yoga by Degrees Teacher Training Graduate / Winter 2014

Spring / Summer 2014 Starts March 4th!  Click here for more info. or call any of our YBD locations or stop by for today!



Winter 2017 YBD 200 Hour Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher Training

Yoga by Degrees 

Yoga Alliance 200 Hour Teacher Training

 Winter 2017 Information & Schedules

Training Led By: Samantha Raphael, E-RYT, Colleen Taylor, E-RYT, Loreta Medoniene, E-RYT, Heather Avery, E-RYT 500, Jenny Thiede, E-RYT & Meghan Rohde, E-RYT

Trainings held at Yoga by Degrees in Elmhurst – 1042 South York Rd.

Free Information Session: Wednesday, January 11th 6:30 – 7:30 PM At YBD Elmhurst Click here to sign up! 

Teacher Training Information & Schedule 

Every Tuesday Night, (Aprox.)Two Sundays Per Month & One Saturday (4 Months Total)

Tues.  6 – 9:30 PM Saturday 12:30  – 6 PM Sundays 10 AM – 6 PM
February 7, 14, 21, 28 12, 26
March 7, 14, 21, 28 11(Anatomy) 12 (Anatomy), 26
April 4, 11, 18, 25 9, 23
May 2, 9, 16, 23 7, 21
Curriculum Includes:

Opening Meditation

Pranayama – Breathing

Asanas – Poses

Teaching Skills


Teaching In Small Groups

Yoga For Special Groups

Yoga Philosophy

Koshas – Sheaths

Gunas – Qualities of Nature

Chakras – Energy Centers

Ayurvedic Healing Techniques


Yoga Ethics Business of Yoga

Practical Test

Written Test


10 Classes of Observing A Senior YBD Teacher

18 Hours Elective Off Site Yoga Workshops

10 YBD Paid Yoga Classes

6 Hours of YBD Paid Workshops

12 Hour Anatomy Workshop

Teach Two Community Classes

Observing Reports From 5 Classes

CPR Training

Monthly Homework Assignments Written Thesis

Required Reading:

YBD Yoga Teacher Training Manual

T.K.V. Desikachar – “Heart of Yoga- Developing A Personal Practice”

“The Key Muscles of Yoga” – Ray Long

“Inside The Yoga Sutras: A Comprehensive Source Book For The Study & Practice of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras” – Jaganath Carrera

“Light On Yoga” – B.K.S. Iyengar

Pricing and Discounts: $250 Deposit* To Reserve Space**

*Deposit Deducted From Tuition **Class Size Limited To 20.

Tuition  – Due By January 20, 2017: $2800 (Includes Anatomy Training)

Payment Plans:  Based on your individual situation, we can arrange a monthly or bi-weekly auto-payment plan.  First payment due by: January 15, 2017 and last payment due by: May 15, 2017.

Platinum Members Receive A 10% Discount On Tuition. (i.e. Platinum Member Tuition Rate is  $2520)

To Meet 10 YBD Class Requirement:

Optional $54.50 Platinum Membership

(Reg. $109)

Specialty Discount Drop In Rate

($17 per class)

10 Class Packs


Additional Costs:

$30 per YBD Workshop x 3 = $90

(Platinum Member Cost: $20 per Workshop)

Offsite Yoga Workshops  Aprox. $350

Book Costs = Aprox. $100

In The Event of Cancellation Refund of Full Amount Paid Less:

Before Classes Begin – $150

After 1 Week – $250

After 2 Weeks – $500

After 3 Weeks – $750

No Refunds After 3 Weeks From Start Date

Question about pricing or the program?  Click here to go to “Frequently Asked Questions” 

Space is limited to 20 Students; Stop by either Yoga by Degrees location or call for more info.

Application and registration information is below. Email completed application to: samantha@yogabydegrees.net 

Yoga by Degrees Locations: 241 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton IL 60189 – 630-690-9642 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 16, Western Springs IL 60558 – 708-783-1226 1042 South York Road Elmhurst, IL 60106 – 630-782-9642 54 Ogden Ave., Downers Grove IL 60515 – 630-969-0820, 941 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn IL 60137 – 630-793-5500, 3420 Lacrosse Lane Suite #110, Naperville, IL 60564 – 630-305-8214

##### YBD Yoga Teacher Training Program Application #####

Please answer the following questions below and please note: A $50 non-refundable application fee* is required after submitting your application. Upon receiving your completed application, you will receive a confirmation email within 24-48 hours with a link to submit your application fee online.  Once you have paid the fee, your application will become eligible for review and you will be notified of your acceptance status within 3 business days. *Your Application Fee will be applied towards your tuition or refunded back to you only, if for any reason, you are not accepted in to our program.  

Name: Full Address:



What session you are applying for:

Please limit your responses to 2 pages in total for all questions.

  1. How long have you been practicing yoga?
  2. Why do you do yoga?
  3. Why do you want to take a yoga teacher training?
  4. What do you want to do once you finish the training?
  5. Why did you choose the Yoga by Degrees teacher training program and how did you hear about it? (If somebody referred you, please let us know who.)
  6. What is the most important thing you want to learn during the training?

YBD 200 Hr. Teacher Training Certification Program Kicks-Off March 19th – Reserve Your Space Today!

RYS200_CMYK_300dpi_3inchYoga By Degrees Spring/Summer 2013 Yoga Alliance Certified 200 Hour Teacher Training Information & Schedule

Training led by Samantha Raphael, E-RYT, Meghan Rohde, RYT, Loreta Medoniene, RYT

and other YBD Teachers

Informational Meeting: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 – 6:30 – 8:30 PM Western Springs

Tuesdays 5:30 – 9:30 PM In Western SpringsMarch: 19, 26

April: 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

May: 7, 14, 21, 26, 28

June: 4, 11, 18, 25

July: 2

Sundays 10 AM – 6PM In WheatonMarch: 24

April: 7, 14

May: 5

June: 16, 23

July: 7



Curriculum Includes:Opening MeditationPranayama – BreathingAsanas – Poses

Teaching Skills

Review of Sequencing

Teaching in small groupsYoga For Special GroupsYoga PhilosophyKoshas – Sheaths

Gunas – Qualities of Nature

Chakras – Energy Centers


Ayurvedic Healing TechniquesAnatomyYoga EthicsBusiness of Yoga

Video Review

Written Test


10 Classes of Observing and Assisting a Senior YBD Teacher18 Hours Elective Off Site Yoga Workshops10 YBD Yoga Classes10 Hours of YBD Workshops

Teach 2 Community Classes

Observing and Assisting Reports From 5 Classes

CPR Training

Monthly Homework Assignments

Written Thesis

Required Reading: YBD Yoga Teacher Training ManualTKV Desikachar – “Heart of Yoga -Creating A Home Practice”“Anatomy of Movement” By Blandine Calais-Germain

“Anatomy of Hatha” Yoga By H. David Coulter

Pricing and Discounts:

$250 Deposit To Reserve Space (Limited to 20)Early Bird Price Due By Feb. 28: $2400Regular Price Due By Mar. 15:$2600Payment Plan : $1500 Down / $500 x 3 months – First Payment Due By: Mar. 15, 2013

20% Discount For Current Teachers

10% Discount for Autopay, Annual and Annual Plus Members

To Meet 10 YBD Class Requirement:Optional $50 Monthly Autopay (Reg. $99)Specialty Discount drop in rate ($14 per class)10 Class Packs ($125)Additional Costs:$30 per YBD Workshop x 5  = $150

Offsite Yoga Workshops  Aprox. $450

Book Costs = Aprox. $200


In The Event of Cancellation Refund of Full Amount Paid Less:

Before Classes Begins – $150After 1 Week – $250 After 2 Weeks – $500After 3 Weeks – $750No Refunds Given After 3 Weeks From Start Date

Space is limited to 20 Students; Stop by either Yoga By Degrees locations or call for more information or to register and reserve your spot today!  Yoga By Degrees Locations:

241 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton IL 60189 – 630-690-9642

4700 Gilbert Ave. Western Springs Suite 16 IL 60558 – 708-783-1226