Our Teachers

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Lori Gaspar is the Founder and Director of Prairie Yoga. Known as a "teacher of teachers" – she is passionate about training yoga teachers to better adapt the yoga practice so it is accessible to a broader range of students. Lori is a certified yoga therapist, served on Yoga Alliance’s Ethics and Standards Advisory committees and was named by Yoga Chicago as an outstanding woman leader in Chicago’s yoga community. She has been featured in Yoga International, Voyage Chicago, Mantra Yoga+Health, Yoga Chicago, and Yoga Teacher Magazine.
 
Lori has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 20 years. She developed the curriculum and manuals for Prairie Yoga's 200 and 500 hour yoga teacher training programs. Her primary yoga influencers are Tias Little, Judith Hanson Lasater, and Gabriel Halpern. Interested in all modalities related to mindful movement, she became a certified MovNat® Level 1 Trainer and a Functional Movement Systems Screener in 2017, utilizing natural movement to build health and fitness, and completed a year long program with Katy Bowman in Nutritious Movement™. She has many thousands of hours of study and experience and continues to be a life-long student of yoga.
 
Lori’s dynamic teaching emphasizes alignment of the body, mind and spirit; mindfulness; and cultivating inner wisdom. Unfazed by the latest yoga craze, she guides students to look within to realize their dharma. 
 
Lori has a B.F.A., magna cum laude, in visual communications and a M.A. in design management. She is certified by the Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL in Home Landscape Horticulture. She is very active in local issues and served for seven years as President, Board of Education, Community Consolidated School District 89. 
 
Lori Gaspar, BFA, MA, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, MovNat® Trainer Level 1, Functional Movement Systems Screener
Maria Luisa's teaching style draws both from the different yoga methodologies she has studied and also from her background as a modern dancer. After a severe injury, she decided to follow the path of yoga, which ultimately drew her to the Iyengar Yoga method. Her classes range from vigorous to restorative, and she enjoys working with all levels. Certified in the Iyengar yoga method in 2000, she has studied for more than a decade with senior Iyengar teachers such as: Marina Chaselon, Ramanand Patel, Lois Steinberg, Gabriel Halpern, John Schumacher, Patricia Walden, Manuso Manos, and the Iyengars themselves in Pune, India. She has also studied Ashtanga Yoga with Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India, Indra Devi-style yoga in Buenos Aires and Jivamukti yoga in NYC.
Joan Binder, 200 RYT, completed her 200 hour teacher training at Prairie Yoga in 2012. She is the assistant teacher to Tricia Fiske in Prairie Yoga's 200 hour program. Joan also teaches yoga classes in Western Springs, LaGrange and Lombard including Chair Yoga for all ages. She volunteers at Wellness House in Hinsdale where she teaches a gentle/restorative yoga class to cancer survivors. She occasionally substitute teaches at Prairie Yoga.
BA, 500 RYT, has been practicing yoga since 2003, when she faced a life changing injury. She completed her thesis work on yoga for managing emotions for the 500 hour certificate through Prairie Yoga. She received her 200 hour certification from Moksha Yoga Center in 2007. Jennifer brings compassion, insight and joy to her classes which focus on alignment and therapeutic strengthening, breathwork and meditation. These are the tools she believes primarily responsible for her own physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. Additionally, she strives to adapt each practice to meet the students’ individual needs within these realms. Jennifer was a social worker in health care settings for almost 10 years, and also currently teaches yoga for cancer survivors. She is grateful to be part of the exceptional yoga community of Prairie Yoga.
Sharon Carter, Intermediate Junior 1 certified Iyengar teacher, began practicing yoga in 1997 to remedy chronic back and neck pain due to postural misalignment and sports related injuries. After considerable improvement, she realized that the key to health and well being lay in the regular practice of yoga. Since 1999, Sharon devoted countless hours studying with senior teachers to learn the methods of B.K.S. Iyengar and to share this knowledge with the yoga community. She is grateful to her main teachers Lois Steinberg and Chris Saudek as well as Patricia Walden, Manuso Manos, John Schumacher, Laurie Blakeney and Kathleen Wright. Sharon has an M.B.A. In Management, is married and a mom to 3 grown kids.
Lynda Carr, BA, 500 CYT, worked as a software engineer for nearly twenty years, and is now experiencing her second childhood following her passion– YOGA! She has practiced yoga since 1997 and has taught yoga since 2002. Lynda received both her 200-hour and 500-hour advanced yoga certifications through Prairie Yoga. Her lighthearted teaching approach combines an alignment-based practice with a mindful focus on exerting just the right amount of effort. Lynda has taught senior fitness classes for over 17 years, has practiced Tai Chi since 1998, and holds a fourthdegree black belt in Seisan Ryu Karate.
TRICIA FISKE, 500 E-RYT YACP, Level 3 ParaYoga Instructor, has been a teacher since 1999. She is primary faculty for Prairie Yoga’s Teacher Training programs.Tricia is a leader in the west suburban yoga community and continues to train and influence yoga teachers in the area. She has been studying with ParaYoga founder Rod Stryker since 2000 and is one of the first Level 3 certified yoga teachers in the ParaYoga tradition.
Read about Tricia in Yoga Chicago!
Lili Gray, MSSA, LCSW, 200 RYT has over 20 years of experience providing mental heath services. Gray is a popular national trainer for an evidenced based practice for treating recovery from trauma. She is a fully certified Pilates equipment and mat teacher and completed the 200 hour yoga teacher training at Prairie Yoga.
Cathy Hall, 500-CYT, teaches yoga with an emphasis on alignment. She has been practicing yoga since 1999 and has been teaching since 2015. Cathy studies with Lori Gaspar, Linda Troutman and Marinda Stopworth at Prairie Yoga where she received her 200 Hour and 500 Hour teacher training certificates. Cathy has taken various workshops with national yoga teachers such as Tias Little, Baxter Bell, Jules Mitchell and Julie Gudmestad. She recently retired as a corporate manager after a 31 year career and feels yoga has improved her golf game.
Rachel Hall, 500 RYT, LMT, has been practicing yoga for over 12 years and teaching for over 5. She is a graduate of Prairie Yoga's 200 hour and 500 hour teacher training. She has also trained with a variety of teachers who have a wide range of yoga practices behind them, everything from Ashtanga to Tantra. This experience gives her teaching style a unique mixture to pull from, resulting in fun-filled classes that leaves you feeling de-stressed, refreshed and liberated! Rachel is also a licensed traditional massage and Thai massage therapist, and she uses that knowledge of the body to guide her students safely into a deeper asana practice. Rachel continues to take workshops and classes to expand her knowledge so she can give her students the best class experience possible.
500 CYT, is a certified yoga teacher, registered nurse and certified Ayurveda Practitioner. She was originally certified to teach yoga by Moksha Yoga Center and completed her 500 hour advanced yoga teaching certification with Prairie Yoga. Alison teaches Ayurveda in Prairie Yoga’s Teacher Training Programs. Alison’s classes combine her breadth of knowledge in the healing arts. She adapts the practice of yoga to your individual composition and current condition, bringing you into a state of balance.
Tiffany Lichlyter, 200 RYT, is the studio manager for Prairie Yoga and is responsible for our day to day operation. Tiffany is the primary point of contact for our teachers, students, and regularly scheduled classes, and she also coordinates logistics for workshops and for our 200 and 500 hour teacher trainings. For over 20 years yoga has been an integral, deeply grounding, and centering force to her states of physical and emotional being. Through some still unexplained serendipity, Tiffany found Prairie Yoga in 2012 and completed her 200 hour training in 2013. She was, and still is, overwhelmed on a daily basis by the expansive depth of knowledge of Prairie’s instructors and humbled by the deep and utterly unique sense of community she is blessed to feel every day working with staff and students alike.

Reeny, 500 RYT has been a passionate and dedicated practitioner of yoga for 20 years and a teacher since 2001. Reeny received her 500 hour yoga teaching certificate from Prairie Yoga in 2008 and has been a faculty member of Prairie Yoga Teacher Training for 11 years. She has studied extensively with Tias Little and Gabriel Halpern, with a special focus on therapeutics.

Chris Lund 500 RYT started practicing yoga twenty years ago. In 2012, after retiring from the field of art education, she was led to Prairie Yoga for 200 hour yoga teacher training certification. Chris is one of the assistant teachers for Prairie Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training programs working under the direction of primary faculty, Tricia Fiske. She thoroughly enjoys this position as she finds great joy in mentoring and encouraging new yoga teachers along their journey towards certification.

Ellen McKenzie, 500 E-RYT, graduated from the first Prairie Yoga training offered at Cascade Yoga Studio in 2009, and has lived a life dedicated to teaching and study ever since. Ellen has been a Prairie Yoga student, mentor, assistant teacher, and is honored to now step into the roll of lead teacher with Viki Distin for the 2015 training in Grand Rapids, MI. Ellen studies intensively with Tias Little.
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