Our Teachers

Our experienced instructors have been teaching in the Chicago/North Shore area for many years.  We are so very fortunate to have such qualified and dedicated instructors for our studio!  In their own words, who they are . . . . .

Susan Burden

Susan began practicing yoga to strengthen her back and improve her posture.  In the process she was amazed at how yoga cultivates a calm mind and an open heart.  While she had attended many yoga classes over the years, a regular practice developed only when her mind was truly open to the ideas of awareness and acceptance.  With practice, yoga teaches you to be present, quieting the inner dialog so that you may fully experience and appreciate what is right in front of you.

Susan completed her teacher training with Sharyn Galindo at North Shore Yoga.  With Sharyn, Susan learned that the eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga are an invitation to happiness and peace.  Study of the Yoga Sutras was especially enlightening.  The guiding principle behind Susan’s yoga practice and teaching is Sutra 2.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam – asana is a steady, comfortable posture.  This sutra specifies balance in yoga practice – balance between tension and relaxation, effort and ease, engagement and letting go – an equilibrium that serves well both on and off the mat.  Susan emphasizes breathing practices as the primary tool for creating this equilibrium and fostering physical and mental stillness.

Susan feels so fortunate to share her love of yoga with others through teaching.  She lives with her husband and 3 children in Golf.

Dolly Cipolla


I originally tried yoga for the exercise.  But what I found was a lifestyle and a supporting community filled with love and tranquility.   Through the practice of yoga I have found a new sense of peace and balance in my life.  During my practice I am learning to let go of stress and concerns.  I am learning to slow down and be in the stillness of the moment by maintaining awareness of every breath while surrendering to my deeper self, finding new insights and strengths.

To further share my love of yoga I received my 200 hour teacher training and am registered with Yoga Alliance.  I currently teach yoga at Oakton Community College and love the diversity of students in every class.  I am in awe of what the students teach me every day.  In my practice, emphasis is placed on helping each student find the safest and most comfortable practice, in order to maximize the physical and mental benefits of yoga.  I love the uniqueness in every student, respecting his or her practice.  I believe what you put out there comes back to you.

I am married with four children living in the wonderful community of Glenview.  I love interior decorating whenever I’m off the mat!   I am forever grateful to all the wonderful teachers, friends and students that have helped guide me in my practice.  I am blessed and honored to be a part of the “Samadhi” family.

Chelle_Costianis picChelle Costianis

Always being involved in sports and physical fitness throughout my life, it was an easy path to follow when introduced to yoga. My excellent pilates instructor encouraged me to try it, convinced I would love it. He was absolutely right! Fifteen years later, because of yoga, I am a better mother to my children, wife to my husband, and overall just a better human being. I love that it builds physical strength, supports emotional balance and encourages personal enlightenment all in one practice. I believe yoga is accessable to everyone, anywhere in the world, at anytime in your life. It is a personal journey that presents itself unique to each individual.
After many years of practicing yoga, I realized I wanted to be able to share this beautiful practice and all of itʼs benefits with others. With encouragement and support from my husband and two daughters, I completed my 200 hour teacher training at Samadhi with Wendy Dahl and Wendy Sadler. Their combined knowledge and dedication to yoga was inspiring throughout the training. I am registered with the Yoga Alliance and continue to enhance my learning by regularly taking classes and participating in workshops. I will always strive to learn more, practice more, and have more of yoga spill over into my life off the mat.
I love traveling with my husband and girls. I cherish spending time with my very best friends, listening to music and snuggling in bed with a fantastic book. I hope to have an overall positive outlook on life and try to enjoy each moment.

Shawna Doran

A runner for many years, I came to the mat in 2002 while in law school. I was seeking an activity that would bring me to the meditative state that I experienced while running, but without the high impact on my joints.  I quickly found that the mental, emotional and physical benefits of yoga far exceeded anything that I had experienced before.  I knew that yoga had to be a part of my life, but I was not entirely sure how to develop a regular practice and what my practice should look like.

A trip to Kripalu in 2004 gave me the insight that I needed to establish a practice that served me – one that took me out of my head and back to my breath, and taught me to observe and appreciate my body in the present moment.  Over the years, my practice supported me through pregnancies, parenthood and a rigorous legal career, but I always felt as if I was meant to do more.  In 2015, fate intervened and a meeting with a yoga instructor led me to Reach Yoga’s 200-hour teacher training course.  With the support of my teachers, Deb Wineman and Paul Weitz, my fellow students and my loving family, I graduated in 2016 and am registered with Yoga Alliance.

My goal as a teacher is to create an environment for my students that is open, supportive and non-judgmental in order to allow them the opportunity for inner exploration and mindful outer expression.  In short, I want my students to feel comfortable and be safe.  My classes are typically set to music and are informal and relaxed.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve the samadhi yoga community.

Denise Espinosa

The first interaction I had with yoga was a DVD by Rodney Yee that I practiced to everyday; little did I know that one day I would meet him and take his workshop at a Yoga Journal Conference. Then I started attending classes and right away I knew, yoga was something I had to follow because I felt its effects on me instantly and the desire to learn more was deep. In 2010, I completed my 200 hours teacher training at Heaven Meets Earth and have been teaching ever since. Twice I was chosen as staff to work at the Yoga Journal Conferences and practiced with many well-known teachers who inspired me to deepen my practice. I am also Reiki attuned Level 1 & 2, as well as children’s yoga and Barre Above certified.

Everyday I feel blessed and grateful to be able to share the gift of yoga with others and I am fulfilled knowing that through yoga I can touch people’s hearts, soothe their souls, and inspire them to follow their own path; whether it’s to lead a healthy lifestyle or to explore the mind and body connection further through yoga.

In my yoga classes I aim to create an elevated experience where participants feel encouraged to be themselves without judgement, but also inspired to become better yogis and utilize the tools yoga offers to become better in all areas of life.

Off the mat you’ll find me in nature when the weather allows, reading books, spending time with my husband and 5 year old son, and traveling. My goal is to take a yoga class in every city and country I visit; so far, I’ve taken yoga classes in Spanish while visiting Mexico and Cuba. I spent my childhood in Greece, have lived in Miami, Atlanta, New York and currently reside in Des Plaines.


Ellen Fogarty

Yoga makes me feel grounded, energized, happy and alive!

Like many people, I came to yoga looking for help with the aches, pains and stresses of my life. I walked into my first yoga class several years ago with low back pain from years of running and intense cardio gym workouts. It was after my first prenatal yoga class about 17 years ago, that I realized there was so much more to yoga than making shapes with one’s body. As a mom with four kids, yoga has truly helped me learn how to feel better in my own skin — both physically and mentally. It is my goal as a teacher to help others have their own positive experience as they take to the mat.

In 2010, I went through Northshore Yoga’s 200-hour teacher training led by Sharyn Galindo. Since then, I’ve continued to take classes and workshops led by many wonderful teachers including Gabriel Halpern, Gary Kraftsow and Desiree Rumbaugh. 

My style of teaching is informal yet hopefully informative. Questions are always encouraged. During each class, my goal is to have students focus on connecting their breath with their movement. This is the fundamental aspect of any yoga practice. It’s a simple idea, yet it’s our challenge every time we step on the mat. It’s the key to unravelling tension and feeling a true sense of peace.

Julie Leahy photoJulie Leahy

Julie’s best friend encouraged her to take a yoga class when her children were babies, and she was immediately drawn to its healing and strengthening effects.  She earned her 200 RYT certification in 2007 through Sharyn Galindo at North Shore Yoga and has taught adults, children, and families over the past decade.  Julie strives to create vinyasa flow classes that are truly a moving meditation; as a perpetual student, she loves that yoga is a fluid and ever-evolving practice that can be tailored to suit any mood or need.  She is grateful be able to share this amazing practice that has benefited her life so much over the years. Julie, a middle school reading teacher, lives in with her husband and two sons in Glenview. ​

bonnie-lucas-picBonnie Lucas

I discovered yoga in 1999 when my children presented me with a videotape for my birthday, Yoga for Stress Relief. That was an important clue that I needed to find more balance in my life, and yoga became my path. I practiced with that tape for six months before I worked up the courage to attend a class, and then I was hooked. Yoga helped me find the greater ease in my body, my mind and my heart that I was seeking.

I still practice regularly with my very first teacher, but I also have been privileged to study with many other talented and generous teachers. I completed my 200 hour teacher training with Blue Sun Yoga and am a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance.When health issues challenged me I discovered the joy and support of restorative yoga, and in 2012 I studied with Judith Lasater to become a certified Relax and Renew® restorative yoga instructor. I love sharing the peace that comes with practicing these nourishing postures.

I still work a full time position in technology, where my yoga practice has earned me the nickname of the ‘Zen VP’. I live with my husband in Wilmette, where we regularly enjoy the tumult and chaos of our six adult children, daughters and sons-in-law, grandchildren, and our 80 pound black lab. I look forward to sharing time on the mat with you, where we can take a moment to step back from our busy lives, and be with ourselves, just as we are.

Lauren pic w:grandmaLauren Malik

Dancing was my main physical activity until I graduated high school in 2009.  I did not have the availability to continue once I began attending college.  During my second year at Oakton Community College, I was going to school for twelve hours a day, four days a week.  I needed exercise in between classes.  I enrolled in a yoga class with Dolly Cipolla.  I was quite intrigued at how different the practice was from dance classes. But strangely, I understood how the body needed to become prepared for each pose so that the benefits could be reached through correct alignment.  I was amazed at the movement of my own body, but what brought me back each semester, was the calmness in my mind and spirit.  I had never felt so at peace.  I finally knew what it felt like to be calm and tranquil.  At this point, yoga was becoming more than a physical exercise.  It was something I wanted to be a part of, whether it was practicing four times a week or becoming an instructor.  I fell in love with the positive energy from yoga, being able to accept myself for what it could do rather than what it couldn’t do.  Yoga has allowed me to love my weaknesses just as much as my strengths.
After practicing with Dolly for about two years, she encouraged me to enroll in teacher training that was being offered at Samadhi in January of 2013.  I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to train with Wendy Dahl and Wendy Sadler.  Yoga is part of my everyday life, whether I am teaching in my two favorite studios, practicing to deepen my knowledge, or just creating my classes to share with my students.  I never would have imagined I would be where I am today in yoga, but I am so glad to share in this beautiful practice with so many incredible teachers and students.  I continue to deepen my love for yoga, learning from my students and instructors.  Certain people come into our lives for a reason.  We may not know what that reason is right away, but they will guide us down this path we never knew existed. 

img_2271Tricia McLeod

Constantly active has always been the most accurate way to describe me. Always moving from one thing to the next and juggling exercise, work and family. And always searching for something that would really make a difference in my life and how I could turn that around to make a difference in the lives of others. Enter yoga.

Yoga provided the direction I was searching for.  I was initially drawn to Ashtanga; and still am inspired by its quiet strength, breath focus, and precise sequence of poses. From that starting point I moved to Vinyasa Flow, enjoying its variety.  My physical practice grew stronger, but I felt there was still a void. This quest for knowledge led me to enter the 200-hour teacher training program at North Shore Yoga. And with that, a door opened and a whole new world of yoga spread before me.   Several years ago I was introduced to Yin Yoga and knew instinctively that this powerful meditative practice would inspire balance in my yang lifestyle.  Since then I have completed a Yin Yoga teacher training course and enjoy introducing this different type of yoga to all levels of practitioners. 

What began as a search to deepen my understanding of yoga has become a life-changing experience. Yoga for me is now not only physical – it is spiritual – a union of body, mind & spirit. Yoga has grounded me; added serenity and balance to my life. I feel settled in my practice, secure of where I am and where I am going. It is my hope to share with others the transformation that yoga can bring about on the mat and in life.

My husband and I have been residents of Glenview for over 30 years.  We are currently empty-nesters with our Wheaten Terrier and you can find me walking her every day!

megan-mc-photoMegan McClung

The whole-hearted feeling of connecting the mind, breath and body is why I love practicing yoga.   I came to yoga 15 years ago and was intrigued by the liberating focus on breath as we moved through a map of our body, strengthening and lengthening it along the way.  I loved learning new ways to connect with my body, feeling like I was a child on a playground.  Ending the class laying down, feeling the calmness wash over me and listening to the teachers motivating words was like a spa massage for my soul.

I experience that same sense of wonder, playfulness and relaxation every time I take to my yoga mat, whether at class or practicing on my own.  To share this joy, I became certified to teach yoga through studying with two amazing and inspirational teachers, Wendy Dahl and Wendy Sadler at Samadhi’s RYT 200 Hour Teacher’s Training in 2014.  As a mother of three busy children, a wife to an ever-supporting husband and a working part-time lawyer, I understand the challenge of finding time to practice.  But yoga awakens my consciousness and allows me to be more present in my life and the lives around me.  The intention of my class is to practice a greater awareness of self – through balance, breath and being.   I am a yoga student for life and will continue to explore and share the wonderful benefits of yoga with my community.  I am grateful to Samadhi for including me in their yoga family!


Megan Miller

I have been passionate about exercise and healthy living my entire life and have always embraced movement.  It was not until I started to practice yoga regularly while my children were young that I began to feel true harmony and balance in body, mind, and spirit.  Physically it built strength, flexibility, and freedom. Mentally it cultivated calmness, mindfulness, and peace. To share all of this, I became certified to teach yoga through Ana Forrest’s RYT 200 Hour Teacher’s Training in 2008.  In March 2012, I completed an additional 200 hours of RYT Teacher’s Training in Anusara Yoga with Kathy Simonik at Pulsation Yoga. I am currently pursuing  a 500 hour RYT Advanced Teacher’ s Training certification through Prairie Yoga with Lori Gaspar. I am so grateful and have been tremendously influenced by these life changing experiences and teachers. Finding yoga endlessly fascinating, I regularly attend workshops, trainings, and classes to enrich my own practice and teaching.

In my classes, I encourage students to strive to create practices that are strong, safe and aligned … to be guided by their inner wisdom, to nurture their uniqueness, and to be joyful, uplifted, and open hearted on their mats.   

FullSizeRender-6Elisa Potter

I discovered yoga when struggling with major foot problems. Unable to attend my routine group fitness classes, I gave yoga a try. It wasn’t easy; I felt tight all over and my mind was constantly fluctuating. But after every yoga class, my mind became more calm and less reactive, my body more open and soft, my spirit more nourished and alive; and these sensations were carried “off the mat.” Yoga has taught me the connection of mind, body, and spirit through breath, and I soon became passionate with the practice. 

In 2013, I completed my 200 hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training and have experienced personal growth, healing, tranquility, and a more healthy way of life.  Whether I am practicing, teaching, or living my yoga, I embrace life with more balance, perspective, gratitude, and self-acceptance. 

I practice and teach Ashtanga Vinyasa, Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga, and meditation. My teaching style is inspired by the connection of breath, mindful awareness, empowerment, compassion, and the teachings of yoga on and off the mat. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to share the gifts of yoga and how good it makes you feel inside and out. 

Wendy Sadler

I began taking Yoga in 1975 at the Himalaya Institute here in Glenview.  It was the only game in town then and I loved it instantly.  I practiced there for 20 years and then became a teacher.  In 1999, I attended the teacher training in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.   I began teaching at the Himalaya Institute in Glenview.

As the years have passed, I have studied other forms of yoga.  Iyengar yoga with Patrina Dobish and Gabriel Halperin.  I traveled to California to study with Geeta Iyengar.  In 2003, I began studying with John Friend, Anusara Yoga.  I traveled to Tuscon, California, Santa Fe and Colorado to study with John and his senior teacher, Desiree Rumbaugh, Sianna Sherman, Noah Maze, Ross Rayburn and others including Martin Kirk.  I am particuarly interested in Yoga Therapy and have studied it extensively.

Yoga is the best and has given more than I can possibly give!

Ellie Salk picEllie Salk

Ellie Salk is certified as a registered Yoga instructor at the 200- hour Yoga alliance certification level. She enjoys teaching yoga to children from toddlers to teens. She loves turning yoga for kids into games, songs and playing adventures. When Ellie is not on her mat, she spends her time as a preschool teacher. She likes letting her spirit shine through her teaching and the style of yoga she practices.

Ellie trained through the Global Family Yoga Program, Kidding Around Yoga and her 200 hour Yoga Teaching Training through the House of Shanti.

As a student I love to experience all types of yoga. My favorite place to be on my mat is in an Ashtanga class. As a teacher, my style mirrors my personal practice and continues to evolve.

Alison Tseng

I was drawn to yoga about four years ago and my love for the asanas and being in a yoga class surrounded by like-minded people grew as time went on. My husband was the person to convince me to try a yoga class. I wanted to exercise, but due to my general anxiety disorder, I had issues going to a gym and attending a class was very challenging for me. My first instructor changed my life. His energy, enthusiasm, and his ability to make everyone in the room at ease and practice as a community was inspiring. Each week I began to look forward to the class until I couldn’t go a week without missing a class.

Yoga can do wonderful things for the mind, the spirit, our self-confidence, and can become apart of our lives even when we step off the mat. My teaching style is vinyasa flow and anusara inspired. I believe it is important to build strength, flexibility, and balance through proper alignment. I hope to inspire a sense of community that creates a fun, rejuvenating, and relaxing environment.

DSC_1568Nicole Weiss

I discovered yoga in 2003 during my first pregnancy as a way of slowing down my vigorous exercise routine. I left my first yoga class feeling happy and energized and wanting more! As I began to feel the transformative effects of yoga in my life I felt inspired to share the gift of yoga with others. I have since received my 200 hour training from House of Shanti, learning from master teachers Lourdes Paredes and Pam Udell.

I believe that the practice of yoga helps to focus the mind, cultivate inner and outer balance and assists us in the management of every day challenges. 

My specialty, Yoga Tone, combines my passion for yoga with my love of strength training. I strive to bring a sense of fun and freedom to my classes that incorporate light weights with vinyasa-based asanas. With an emphasis on breath and physical alignment for safety, I design my classes to cultivate a balance of strength and flexibility in the body.

I live in Northbrook with my husband and two young sons, who constantly teach me to practice patience and kindness!

img_0605-2Jillian Wiederer

I have been practicing yoga for more than 15 years, and recently fulfilled a dream to become a certified instructor in 2016 upon completion of a 200-hour yoga teacher training course at Samadhi. While it was the physical practice that initially attracted me to yoga, it is the philosophy behind yoga that keeps me coming back for more. Yoga provides balance, encourages compassion and honesty and prepares one for life’s challenges. I’ve learned that yoga helps you slow down, quiet the mind, be better person, and honor yourself so that you can honor others. Simply, although it is not simple at all, yoga helps you live more fully and more presently.

I am now eagerly pursuing my passion for wellness and healthy living by helping others find balance and awareness in their bodies. I believe everyone can find comfort in yoga. I have often said that if everyone started their mornings with a yoga practice, our world would be a much happier, safer and more peaceful place.

Off the mat, you can find me running, walking or cooking something I picked up at the local farmer’s market – almost always with my son in tow (he’s learning to love yoga too!).