Essencia Yoga Teachers


Danette Bauer

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A young individual cultivating her skills from experience working with communities, and her love for nature, to contribute to building a brighter tomorrow. She began the practice of Yoga looking for a physical outlet until discovering the numerous benefits that come from observing the breath and stilling the mind. Deciding to become a teacher did not come as a surprise for Danette was heavily involved in her yoga practice which transforms her spiritual, physical, and intellectual perspective on the world.  Sharing the gift of yoga by guiding moments of relaxation, strength, and peace is a beautiful blessing to give. She aims to build up individuals and communities from within to create feelings of hope and freedom as they uncover capabilities of the body. These opportunities of teaching give her a chance to explore a creative and courageous side of herself. Danette will always be a student, learning from the
internal and external worlds, and striving to inspire change and action.


Kathy Brown

Kathy, RYT 500 in training, is known for her compassion-centered teaching style that focuses on bringing her students into their bodies through connecting their body and mind. As a past athlete (she played volleyball for 10 years), Kathy came to the practice of yoga as another way to exercise. But after practicing for a few years, she found it was so much more. She now has been practicing for over 10 years and loves to share her knowledge. If you ask her about nutrition, yoga or fitness, she will light up and can talk for hours.

Kathy’s teaching style includes several forms of yoga, although she loves going back to her roots and teaching more traditional styles of yoga, like Sivananda, of which is the lineage of the school she trained at. She also loves to weave in educational nuggets on nutrition and anatomy as that is what her area of study is outside the yoga world. Kathy is drawn to a holistic viewpoint of health and finds many connections between these areas. In her spare time, she enjoys making evidence-based videos and writing about nutrition and yoga.

Kathy’s yoga philosophy: Yoga is a relationship one builds between the body and mind. Like any strong relationship, it needs regular communication, check-ins and freedom to be unique. Some days a yoga practice is very physical while on other days, it may just be the body lying on a comfortable pillow, just breathing. Both are yoga and both have benefits to overall well-being. Yoga is for anyone with a body. That body does not have to look, act, think or feel a certain way in order to practice yoga.


Jeannine Bush Clinton E-RYT 500

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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.


Justin Butzon

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After the first few months of Yoga and Meditation Practice, I was amazed by the positive impacts & results. The practice of Yoga aided in healing from toxic & unhealthy lifestyle habits, as well as heal my Mental Health. I sleep better, feel less anxious/stressed, am happier and my body is rejuvenated & restored every day I practice. Yoga quickly became the most influential thing in my life and continues to empower, evolve & grow me daily. 

I began to immerse myself into the Yogic lifestyle and it made me rethink many of my beliefs and habits. I learned to Love myself. I learned to Forgive myself & others. From feeling unworthy to empowered, Yoga helped me find passion and meaning in Life, discover amazing things about myself, as well as create a desire to become my greatest version.

The Power of Self Healing is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Yoga  led me down the path of Remembering the power we all have to Heal ourselves within & with the gifts of Nature. Yoga expanded my knowledge of life through its invaluable lessons. I am stronger, healthier, happier, more agile and athletic than I have been in my entire life. My goal as a teacher is to return all the gifts I have received back to you and to share Love & Health with anyone who steps into class.


Maggie Cresto

Maggie became interested in yoga several years ago when she resided in Chicago with her husband, Greg. It took a while for her to move past the asana piece of her practice and find the spiritual and emotional connection that yoga had to offer. 

Maggie continued to practice through pregnancy and beyond. Her passion for teaching others while staying committed to her practice, led Maggie to obtain her RYT 200 , as she has been teaching yoga to adults and children for the past 6 years.

When she is not sharing her guidance on the mat, she can be teaching children, reading, baking, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends.

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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.


Mary Rittenhouse-Howard

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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


After an initial exposure of yoga in 1972, Maggie has had yoga as part of her overall fitness regime.  Maggie worked at the Chicago Health Clubs as fitness instructor. Her background in dance gave her the opportunity to dance with a company in Northern Spain. In the last 20 years Maggie’s love of yoga has deepened as she studied with various renowned teachers including Rod Stryker, Gabriel Halpern, Shiva Rae and Janet Stone.  

Maggie hopes to integrate all of her experiences into creating a space that allows practitioners to generate energy to open their bodies and minds through connecting with themselves and the poses on a deeper level.  She continues to experience, through teaching, how much yoga works on bringing alignment to the spiritual self through physical practice. 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, she experienced that she learned as much or more from her students as they learned from her. She looks forward to this same fulfilling exchange in the yoga community.

Lisa Palmer

Lisa Palmer Essencia Yoga Teacher

It brings my heart great joy to walk with others on their spiritual journey. As Ram Dass says: “We’re all just walking each other home.” It is my intention to cultivate a sacred space where growth, healing + transformation can take place. I teach from a heart-centered awareness, finding inspiration from my teachers, quotes, meditation, Nature and the Divine within. The style of yoga I teach focuses on mindful movement, guided meditation + pranayama. I want my students to leave not only with a deeper sense of connection to their body + soul, but also to me and the community they just shared their practice with. 

I completed my 200 hr YTT with Kula Collective in Mexico. I studied with shaman CJ Ananda who focused greatly on ayurveda, plant medicine + shamanic cleansing. I have a love for tea, aromatherapy, Ayurveda, dancing + cacao! My soul’s purpose is to dwell at the intersection of spirituality, adventure + selfless service. 


Ingrid Pipkin


Throughout her personal development, Ingrid found that seeking knowledge took her through a path that was beyond intellectual gains.  It evolved into a path that taught her to act, reflect, and modify.  Applying these concepts to both the physical and mental is invaluable.  With Yoga, Ingrid found that she can take care of these faculties concurrently, with benefits beyond any expectations set.  

Ingrid Pipkin is currently a teacher at Essencia Yoga,  consistently practicing since 2014.  She also completed a BS in Management Studies from UMUC and a Master of Leadership Studies from North Central College.  


Amy Polich

Amy Polich Yoga Teacher

Amy has been an avid yoga practitioner for the past 10 years, not only practicing, but living the lifestyle. Through yoga, she has been able to recover from injury to her physical body as well as her emotional and energetic bodies. She is a champion for improving health and wellness, sustainability and the environment through education, action & love.  She advocates for the rights of all humans, adores nature and has begun traveling the world, beginning in Thailand. One of her goals is to practice all kinds of Seva and giving back everywhere she goes.  She is spiritual, sensual & conscious of our universal connection, sharing her enthusiasm with everyone she encounters. Her daily meditation practice helps keep her grounded as she moves throughout her day. Amy is 200 RYT, studying in Santa Barbara, CA, and has been teaching for almost 6 years.


Jill Rehm

Like so many people, I began practicing yoga for fitness and stress relief. My body became stronger and more flexible, my mind a bit more quiet. But yoga is awesome because no matter why we come to the mat in the first place, we'll receive all the benefits of the practice if we just keep... practicing.

Over the years I've learned the invaluable importance of showing up as I am, both on and off the mat. I have learned to have more compassion and patience for myself and others. I have learned there is always more to learn!

I am fortunate to have teachers from a variety of lineages - Iyengar, Ashtanga, Sivananda, and Forrest yoga - and I draw from each of these traditions in my personal practice and teaching. Through deliberate movement and body awareness, my goal is to create a space where students can be completely absorbed in the present moment practicing asana as a moving meditation. To strengthen, to soften, to calm. Who knows, we might even have some fun.


Rachel Rusin

Rachel Rusin has been teaching breath-centered, alignment-based hatha and slow flow yoga for 3 years and has been a serious student of yoga in her own practice for over 15 years. Rachel finds inspiration in literature and psychology and draws on her past experience as a high school English teacher to bring poetry, metaphor, and creativity to her classes. Rachel earned her 200 hour certification from Essencia and has studied with many renowned teachers including Aadil  Pakhilvala, Carrie Owerko, Tias Little, Rod Stryker, Judith Hanson Lassiter, and Jason Crandall; her love of learning is reflected in the passion and ingenuity she brings to her classes. A lifelong student, she continues to expand her knowledge through the advanced teacher training program at Prairie Yoga (500 hour) and countless workshops, as well as continuous self-directed study. Rachel teaches classes that challenge students to explore their edge using music, creative and thoughtful sequencing, and compassionate touch to provide space and time for inner listening and healing.


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. 

Essential Yoga Teacher Traits - Poem

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."

Tabitha McDuffee


Tabitha McDuffee trained in several forms of dance, including ballet, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop from the ages of 4 to 15 and had hopes of dancing and choreographing professionally. But during high school she developed fibromyalgia and had to put aside her dreams for a career in dance. Practicing yoga regularly is one part of a holistic treatment regimen that has made it possible for Tabitha to continue dancing occasionally, despite her health challenges. She believes that movement can bring healing and encouragement, as long as we treat our bodies with patience and kindness. 

Though she is not a yoga teacher, she recognizes the many similarities between yoga and dancing and is excited to introduce yoga students to new ways to move and express themselves. She loves to travel and has noticed that Western countries are some of the only places on earth where dancing is not an integral part of life and community. She hopes her students will step out of their comfort zone in her classes and discover a brand new way to express the complex range of emotions that we all experience.