Jeannine Bush Clinton E-RYT 500

  E-RYT 200 E-RYT 500

Jeannine Bush Clinton E-RYT 500, is the Founder of Essencia Yoga’s Registered Yoga School, offering 200, 300 and 500 RYT Accredited Certifications.

As the Lead Instructor, Jeannine teaches each class with a commitment to share the essence of yoga.  Her intention is to invite all that come through her classes, to grow in their awareness of the gift of breath, through the practical experience offered in class.  The process of movement and breath connection leads the practitioner through the opportunity to connect with the Essence of breath and life.

She integrates the wealth of treasure found through connecting with ancient tradition and ritual, having come through the Sivananda Line of instructors, as well as the very intuitive flow found in more modern expressions of Vinyasa Flow.  Her attention to detail has gradually become highlighted as she has personally experienced a renewed commitment to the growth and development that can occur with cultivating the core structure and alignment of an individual's practice (of asana/of teaching) from the grounding established in the foundational principles of yoga, integrating mind, body and spirit.

This balanced blend is formed and informed by her training received under various styles of instructors, some of which have brought about great affirmation of her intuition and some of which have kept her accountable with a more definitive approach. She incorporates into her teachings, the eight limbs of yoga, asana, pranayama, meditation, world music with tribal beats, silence and the restorative healing found in a more restorative approach as well.

Practicing since 2000, Jeannine views yoga classes, workshops, and trainings as opportunities to create a space for people to make key connections where needed.  Yoga meets us where we are, inviting the breath in, releasing the toxins out, invigorating the muscles, bringing a greater sense of calm, adding greater balance and focus, while eliminating stress.  This will bring about a clearing out of varying forms of doubt, fear and illusion; freeing up the whole person, to shine forth with greater vigor, as they live in greater alignment with their darma, their essence, their life purpose.


Sara Diaz


Sara has found yoga to bring her clarity in a season of great challenge.  Most people consider the teen years to be the most difficult time of life, where there is great vulnerability to the varied levels of pressure found in school, with peers, even in family relationships.  Like never before there is desire for autonomy and acceptance.  Sara believes that if people can accept themselves as they are uniquely, they will experience freedom. Sara would like to encourage other teens to pursue their passions and not worry about their age or what others have to say. She finds her bliss is a gift whenever it presents itself. For herself, Sara draws much of her inspiration from the water, and brings a calm, free-flowing mentality to her classes.

So, get out of your head and onto your mat and explore the possibilities that are available to you, as a teen in yoga. We are offering this class as a "Teen Yoga Sampler" of what might be available to you on a regular basis during the school year.


Katie Dobry

Essencia Yoga Wheaton Katie Dobry Teacher Training

After spending my undergraduate and graduate school years immersing myself in psychology and child development, I found myself drawn towards helping children with special needs. I’ve spent (and continue to spend) my first 7 years in the professional realm working in an alternative school with students who struggle with learning, behavioral and emotional disorders. Through these impactful, eye opening, and sometimes emotionally jarring experiences with students, ages 5-22, I realized that yoga could be an incredible outlet for them to find relief, solace, and positive self-expression. 

It is with this intention that I entered 200 RYT training. As all good things mold and reshape themselves, my training became both an educational resource that I could serve to my students but more surprisingly a personal art form. During my training, I developed a profound passion for the physical and mental melding that occurs during a yoga class. This union of body and mind is what has shifted my individual interest and has lead me to finding personal growth and development through yoga. I am excited to bring my training to both my current students as well as future students as I have personally experienced the insightful impact it can have on one’s life.


Kate Fleming

After a dozen or so years of a committed to one yoga teacher practice Kate decided it was time to delve deeper into the many facets of yoga that comes with teacher training. A life long learner and teacher of many things, Kate discovered how deep and rich the word and world of yoga is. The more that you learn the more you find that you don't know. 

 In the beginning of her yoga teacher journey, Kate enjoyed working with teens, beginners, Tibetan meditation, and discovering all that yoga can offer. But after a chance encounter with another Essencia teacher trainee, Kate met Dana Fish and became certified to teach G.I. Yoga. Working with military veterans and their families has become her calling and now Kate is leading the G.I. Yoga team of teachers.

"strength, flexibility, balance...stress, anxiety, depression...focus, meditation, connection...there is yoga for that!"


Suzanne Fickle

Suzanne uses the word FAITH to describe her attitude towards life: Fierce, Attuned, Inspired, Thankful, and Hope.  She believes life is a gift to explore, learn from, and be challenged by in order to find experiences which make you feel alive. Where we feel most alive, lives the sweet spot of our truest selves. The practice of yoga provides a magical path to reveal this sweet spot.

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Suzanne came to yoga when her 3 daughters were young through Rodney Yee’s VHS tape and continued to take yoga classes in various yoga studios and a health fitness center. She fell in love with how she felt after class; a renewed sense of vitality, a clear mind free of worry and doubt, and a relaxed body cleansed of tension and unease.  

After a journey through several styles of yoga, in 2010 she completed her foundational 200-hour teacher training under Daren Friesen at Moksha Chicago. In 2015, she began her yoga therapy training program through Surya Chandra Healing Yoga School with teachers JJ Gromley and Laura Jane Murphy.      

In her yoga classes, she guides students through sequenced poses and breathwork with the intention to create a state of yoga that quiets the mind chatter, releases body tension and pain while an effortless contentment washes over the student.


Nick Gatti


Nick lives out what he stands by.  His discipline and compassion reveal a beautiful balance that makes for a strong teacher.  From that place he shares:

I walked into my first Yoga class in the Fall of 2012.  Although I cannot remember the exact reasons why I decided to attend, I can feel the clearing of the fog like it was yesterday.  Between now and then, I've chosen varying degrees of devotion - ranging from an everyday practice to nearly nonexistent.  Through this, I've found that the more connected I am to my practice, the more connected I am to everyone and everything around me.  Experiencing growth and gaining perspective is life long, and I have much more to learn, but I also have much to share.  Let’s come together to both see and feel life through the lens of Yoga.


Christina Graham

"Christina has been a student of yoga since 2002. She began practicing in high school to combat stress and anxiety and found that yoga created a healing flexibility in both body and mind. Driven to share this practice with others, and to fuse her background in Western medicine with Eastern philosophies, she completed her teacher training with Tapas Yoga under the guidance of many wonderful teachers.  As a Nurse Practitioner working with adult and geriatric patients, Christina aims to help her patients and her students learn techniques to improve their health through lifestyle interventions including diet, exercise, yoga, and stress reduction. It is her goal to help all individuals maintain health, live mindfully, and foster compassion towards the self. She believes that yoga is for everyone, and enjoys practicing and teaching a slow yet challenging Hatha flow class suitable for all levels. She encourages and enjoys providing modifications for injuries and health conditions to make yoga accessible for all. In her free time, Christina enjoys being in nature, cooking, blogging, and spending time with her family. She is an animal lover, long-time vegetarian, and Certified Plant-Based Nutrition Consultant."


Samantha Ho

Samantha’s yoga journey first started back in 2012 as a result of many life circumstances, which ultimately led to her taking her first exploratory step into the world of yoga. A firm believer in life’s beautiful synchronicities, Samantha has no doubt that a bout of shingles caused by work related stress and depression lead her one day to a meditation class, which later opened the door for her to feel guided to sign up to a surf and yoga retreat in Morocco as a then non-yogi!. That very action ended up being life changing, as it inspired her to teach herself yoga via DVD’s prior to her first retreat, and by the end of her first yoga retreat, she was a converted budding yogi!


Over the years, Samantha has enjoyed exploring and practicing yoga in its many forms (including Power Yoga, restorative, Kundalini, Vinsaya Flow and Hatha), and feels fortunate to have experienced yoga retreats globally as an opportunity to deepen her practice, and connect with so many liked minded yogi souls and talented instructors.  For Samantha, these retreats are investments in her well-being to completely unplug from the noise, chaos and daily grind of work and allow herself space to truly reconnect, re-balance, refocus and reflect on what is important in life.

Samantha has found that her daily practice of gratitude, meditation and mindfulness along with yoga, has helped to cultivate a transformative shift in both her mindset and approach to life itself - which in turn, has changed her life for the better. Yoga has brought her both healing and personal and spiritual growth on many levels. It has helped to equip her with tools that enable her to navigate the obstacles that life can sometimes present, and to tackle life from a place of reflection and gratitude and see challenges as a source of personal growth and expansion. As a HR professional during the day, her yoga practice provides a welcome mental escape from the corporate world, and has brought stillness and balance to help to tame her monkey mind!

A student of life and yoga, Samantha is currently taking her yoga practice to the next level as a student of  Essencia’s 200 RYT program and is the only Brit member of the Essencia Yoga community. She is also a Level 2 Reiki Practioner, Mala Jewelry maker and a creative who enjoys journaling and traveling.


Mary Rittenhouse-Howard

Mary Rittenhouse-Howard 200 hour yoga teacher training customized

Mary Rittenhouse-Howard found yoga for the first time almost 17 years ago. It was not until recently that yoga stopped being something she did and became part of who she is. Mary truly believes that yoga is for everyone despite age, body type or physical limitations and through constant practice and dedication the movements, breath and poses can find anyone. 

As a vegan of 20 years, Mary believes in practicing compassion on the mat and off. A wanderer by heart, she also believes that yoga is a useful tool to help still our sometimes restless minds , bodies and hearts. Her class style is typically playful, inviting, mindful and soothing. Her goal is to share her love for yoga with as many people as possible.

Mary completed her 200hr RYT with Jeannine Bush-Clinton and started her 300hr certification program in early 2016 also under the guidance of Jeannine as well. Her goal is to offer pranyama and meditation to her students, as well as asana, to offer a well balanced  mental and physical practice. Currently Mary teaches a variety of classes at Essencia including Hatha, Vinyasa and Restorative. 


Maggie Markese

Throughout the years, Maggie has had many wonderful yoga teachers, including those in the Essencia Yoga 200
Hour Teacher Training program, who have inspired and guided her. It’s been a long and interrupted
path, but with their guidance she'a gradually arrived at a stage in her practice in which she understands the
meaning of the words, “We are not our bodies, we are not our minds, we are something so much more.”
and these words best describe Maggie's personal yoga journey.
She had a belief that exercise could transform the body from a young age when her mother signed her up
for ballet lessons as a child to help correct her toed in gait, weak ankles and flat feet. Ballet bar exercises
that built strength and stressed having a turned out hip and foot and proper posture and alignment did
help and she continued to love and study dance through high school and also worked as a fitness instructor
for the Chicago Health Clubs during that time.
Maggie remembers being delighted during her first experience with yoga when she was a high school student in
the early 70’s. Her mother had just discovered the new and “ground-breaking” PBS television show
called Lilias and she would join her in her practice from time to time. She remember rolling around
on the living room carpet together and giggling at her clumsy attempts at these new and strange poses.
After that initial exposure, however, she didn’t return to a regular practice until 2004 when she discovered a
studio in the city that offered power yoga. She loved the strength training and flexibility aspects of power
yoga and her main motivation to practice was that it kept her injury free and improved her performance
in long distance running which she had taken up during high school and had enjoyed for many years.
Little by little, Maggie's yoga practice started to include a daily home practice using DVDs, meditation and
pranayama. She started to experience how a regular practice began to make positive changes in the way she
lives her life. It became less about a workout for her body or performance of the postures and more
about increasing awareness and openness in body, mind and spirit. She started seeking out and exploring
new teachers, studios, conferences and workshops and enrolled in teacher training to share this yoga
journey with others.
Maggie hopes to create a space that allows practitioners to generate energy, open their bodies and their minds
and to connect with themselves and the poses on a deeper level, aligning the spiritual practice of yoga
with the physical. She enjoys being a lifelong learner and feels inspired to continually deepen her practice
and knowledge to be able to bring these benefits to class. She retired from teaching at the high school
level a few years ago and during her years of teaching, I experienced that teaching was such a pleasure
and an honor and that I always learned as much from students as they were learning from me. I look
forward to this same fulfilling exchange in the yoga community.


Mai McKeon

Mai is so grateful for the practice of yoga and was inspired to share it with others so they may also experience the empowerment and transformation she has felt each time she steps on her mat. Although she truly believes off of her mat is where she benefits most from her practice. Mai shares, “I know my yoga is working when I’m being tested and my initial reactions are mindful and present rather than rash or impatient. When life seems to spiral out of control, my yoga reminds me I can control my breath and my reaction to any situation.”

Mai is passionate about spreading awareness for health and wellness, and her background as a nurse and educator supports her desire to cultivate feelings of healing, love, and light within her classes. She enjoys putting together creative sequences that celebrate the unity of movement and breath, and she loves organic flows that nurture growth within the mind and body. Her favorite mantra is “live your truth” and she hopes to create the space and energy for you in her classes to empower you to do just that!



Kristin Perkins


Hello. I’m Kristin, a yoga instructor with a zeal for traveling, philosophizing and bringing people together to enjoy the practice of yoga. I received my teaching certification in 2010 and am registered with Yoga Alliance. Additionally, I hold a degree in philosophy. The philosophical richness of yoga is what inspires both my personal practice and teaching. 

When planning my classes, I gravitate towards slow, fluid sequences. I tend to emphasize breathing exercises and postures that increase mobility through the hips so we feel calm and comfortable when we come into sitting meditation at the end of the session. I love welcoming people who are new to either yoga or meditation into my classes. I look forward to you joining me soon! 


Linda Perkins


Linda's yoga journey began almost 30 years ago after attending a class at a community college in Southern California. Being on the mat and moving through the yoga postures gave her the opportunity to relax and breathe. She has attended many types of yoga classes and workshops over the years and felt like the best way to grow in her own practice was to share yoga with others and go through the teacher training process.  She has blossomed with ease as she exhibits kindness and mindfulness in her teaching the way she does in her daily life, both in work and play.  She shares:   "I enjoy teaching a class that moves slowly through the asanas while connecting the breath to the movements and allowing quiet space between the postures to meditate and  go inward. By teaching this type of class it gives me the opportunity to give back the gift I have been receiving from yoga for so many years."


Rachel Rusin

"I began my yoga journey many years ago when I met another mom on the playground who was giving free yoga classes in her husband’s hair salon after hours. I have strayed from yoga here and there over the years, but always ended up coming back to the mat. My teachers have included Daren Friesen at Moksha Yoga in Chicago, where I began the 200-hour teacher training, Gary Kraftsow, and Aadil Palkhivala. I am currently finishing the 200-hour training with Jeannine Bush-Clinton here at Essencia, and will continue on with the 500-hour training. I have never found another activity that engages me on so many levels: yoga is physically challenging, requiring strength, flexibility, balance and concentration; it is mentally and emotionally challenging to stay focused in the present moment, to breathe intentionally, and to ride the emotions that arise; it is spiritually challenging to come to the end of myself in my practice, to connect to something bigger, and to surrender. I also love the aspect of play and joy that yoga brings to the surface as we move our bodies with the music of our breath in a reverent dance. As a teacher, I hope to weave all of these layers of practice together into a coherent and balanced class, one that gets you moving with asana but that also gets you thinking, feeling, worshiping, meditating, and finding freedom."


Michael Ryan

Following a personal path, Michael was given the gift of sobriety in 2009. That same path eventually led him to a Yoga/12 Step Recovery class and ultimately to find Essencia in 2015 to obtain his 200 hour YTT certification. For Michael, the Yoga experience truly exposed a frequency of living that compliments sobriety so very well that It didn't take long for him to realize that part of this path was to share the gift of Yoga with others. 

With a strong focus on the meditative qualities available to you through the practice of yoga, you'll find Michael's teaching style to include many breath exercises (pranayama) and energy (chakra) building techniques. While there is so much still to experience and learn in the yoga world, please join him in energizing your day and balancing your spiritual and physical self. 


David Scott

After practicing yoga in the Chicago land area and all across the country for ten years, obtaining his RYT 200 at the Chicago Yoga Center in Lincoln Park was a continuation of David’s path.   David’s teacher, Suddha Weixler, has focused on B.K.S Iyengar based philosophies at his studio for over 30 years.   “Suddha opened my eyes and practice to so much, it was a blessing to train under Suddha and with my fellow students”.   

This past spring, David was riding his bike and needed a break, so he rested on the chairs outside this studio, not realizing it was a yoga studio.  “That’s yoga, I was open to my next journey, I didn’t try to force anything, and it just happened – Essencia found me”.   He loves practicing and learning along with his students.  The diversity of the yoga community, each person’s story, is highly valued by David.

David believes the change in perspective from ‘being” to “doing” is where the abundance awaits.   He loves adventure and recently took up paragliding while on a trip to California.  Trying new things, meeting new people and being open to learning from everyone.

Alignment, Breathing, Observing, Allowing, Reflecting -- are all part of his classes. 


Elena Spafford


Elena discovered yoga in 2014 and immediately loved it. Practicing yoga became a process of learning to celebrate her body and breath, with gentleness rather than harshness. She loves the opportunity yoga provides to reconcile the body, mind, and soul to each other. As an artist hoping to one day be an Art Therapist, Elena finds yoga to be a creative outlet and means of processing, and hopes to come alongside others as they work through their own healing and expression through yoga and art. She is currently in her 200 RYT training and gravitates towards movement that has flow and the opportunity for creativity.


Anna Thelen

"I fell in love with yoga about ten years ago during a hard and very care-intensive part of my life. Yoga was a space to rest, move, breathe and be gentle with myself. It still is to this day. 

 A year ago I decided to take the leap and do RYT 200 hour training, and completed the course of study in January 2016. I loved every intense and beautiful part of it.  The training itself shaped me physically and emotionally, and taught me more about myself, as well as yoga. 

 I love creating the space and opportunity for my students to find peace and movement on their mats. Touching people emotionally and physically for that time is a joy and a gift that I am grateful to participate in.

Besides teaching yoga in the area.  I am a professional nanny for two wee darlings and a certified Birth Doula. I delight in spending time with my precious friends, salsa dancing, drinking a really good latte while devouring a new book, and always, returning to my mat for my own yoga practice."


Justin Unbehaun

Justin first discovered yoga in 2012, with Bikram Yoga. But he always felt something was missing. He shortly discovered Kundalini Yoga and immediately knew that it contained the missing element. After attending classes and incorporating Sadhana (daily spiritual practice, usually consisting of some yoga, chanting, meditation, etc.) for a few years Justin enrolled in the teacher training course in Atlanta. It was there that, under the guidance of Mukta and Gurusahay Khalsa, Justin received his certification to teach in August of 2016. Justin also recommends a vegan lifestyle as a tool for healing and transformation. Especially fruit!

Stacey Zagortz

Stacey Zagortz

Stacey began practicing yoga in 2000. She initially came to the mat for yoga’s physical benefits and to break up the tedium of a normal exercise routine. After several years of practicing, she began to incorporate yoga’s breathing techniques into her practice which vastly enriched experiences on and off the mat. Stacey credits yoga with helping her be calmer and be a better mother, wife, and human being. A former school teacher, she has been a registered yoga teacher since 2008 and has a Master’s degree in Education.

Stacey became an instructor in an effort to help people have fun and tap into and enjoy all of the amazing abilities of their own, unique bodies. Her intention is to allow all practitioners to discover their own strength and flexibility to bring balance and a sense of equinity to their practice and their lives.

Guest teachers

Farrah Brown

Farrah Brown is a critical care Cardiac RN, 200-RYT certified yoga instructor and mom to two boys and one very spunky Beagle. Her passion is teaching yoga to children and teens, helping them see the physical and emotional benefits that yoga can bring. Her business Thalia Soul Care offers yoga and other workshops and events aimed at helping people find fullness of life through taking time to refresh their soul. 

Lisa Trunkenbolz

Lisa has always had a connection to the exploration of movement and the expression of her heart. She has been studying movement and yoga for the majority of her life and has been teaching since 2008. Her teaching style offers clear, precise alignment that is playful as well as soulful. A testament to the transformative, grounding, and healing power of the Yoga practice, Lisa’s mission is to encourage an inner intuitive listening and to raise one’s consciousness to embrace all aspects of the human experience freely. Through mindful practice, she supports people in honoring and appreciating themselves and provides a safe and non-judgmental space for them to discover their inherent greatness.

Marge Sekowski


Marge Sekowski has been a therapist in private practice for over 25 years.  She specializes in treating adults, couples, and families as well as clients dealing with all types of addiction.  Marge works on a client-centered model with the development of treatment goals and effective strategies to achieve them in a timely manner.  Marge is respected by colleagues, peers, and clients for her professional and caring approach.

Marge received Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Elmhurst College and a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Benedictine University.  She has received additional education in addiction recovery from the Adler Institute of Chicago as well as the Illinois Gambling Treatment Institute.

Marge recognizes the uniqueness and individuality of each person in every case. She diligently strives to provide a safe, confidential, and welcoming environment which respects these values. Once therapy has been initiated, she works with each individual to develop clear goals and strategies which enable symptom reduction and an improved quality of life.


Corie Rectenwald

Corie has had an interest in yoga for many years but did not consistently start practicing until 2013. As a busy mom of 3, she seeks any opportunity she can for quiet moments of stillness and solace, and believes there is no better place to find it than on her yoga mat. While she values the physical strength that yoga offers, it’s the holistic mental and spiritual strength and awareness that keeps her committed to her practice.

She is a RYT 200 Power yoga instructor and Certified Senior Yoga Instructor and her teaching passions include vinyasa, gentle yoga for cancer patients and survivors, chair yoga and yoga for seniors.

Nicole Sopko

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Gopi Om (Nicole Sopko) first discovered yoga by chance and was instantly intrigued. She attended her first teacher training with the sole intention of learning more about the practice, but discovered the teachings of yoga to be so transformational that she couldn't keep them to herself and began teaching in 2005. Shortly after, her practice grew immensely due to the discovery and subsequent influence of her beloved Guru, Sri Dharma Mittra, who gave her the name Gopi. In recent years, Gopi has had the honor of assisting Dharma-ji at workshops nationwide, as well as appearing with him on television twice.


Gopi has completed the advanced level (500 hour & 800 hour) Life of a Yogi teacher trainings at the Dharma Yoga Center in New York. She feels blessed to have received and to carry on these teachings. She strives to live every moment as an offering to the divine and to pass on the teachings of yoga as they have been generously shared with her. She is a vegan of nearly 20 years who knows that veganism was her first yogic practice in embracing compassion for all beings. A believer in the power of yoga as a lifestyle, Gopi feels that a playful yoga practice enables a person to approach the more mundane aspects of life with a lighter heart and a more accepting attitude.


Gopi is the owner/director of Yoga Trek Center in Oak Park, IL where she also leads the teacher training program. Additionally, she works alongside her life partner, Dan, in the operation of his natural foods company, Upton's Naturals, and vegan cafe, Upton's Breakroom.

Samadhi Banks

Samadhi Banks, E-RYT 500, YACEP, IKYTA, has been practicing traditional Ashtanga yoga for nearly 15 years.  She credits this physically challenging yet meditative practice with her personal transformation from casual yoga student to dedicated practitioner, which eventually led to her path as a yoga teacher.  Her personal practice and dynamic teaching style are rooted in a deep passion for philosophical and spiritual understanding, combined with a commitment to the classical yoga principles that also allows for the application of yoga to every body and circumstance.  In her own recovery from colon cancer seven years ago, she used her Ashtanga practice to relieve pain, regain strength, and rebuild her stamina from the ground up after many surgeries and treatments.

In addition to Ashtanga, Samadhi also teaches Kundalini yoga and meditation, The Indigo Project children's yoga programs, and offers Teacher Training and workshops in Chicagoland, Dallas - Ft. Worth, and via destination retreats. She is a regular presenter at The Theosophical Society of America in Wheaton, including the annual Theosofest. Samadhi embraces yoga as a lifetime journey of self-discovery, consciousness, and evolution.