Fitness Instructor Bios
We have a variety of group classes that take place every day of the week, from early morning to evening, both indoor and outdoor. Classes are led by motivating, upbeat, expert instructors who hold certifications including ACE, NASM, Les Mills, and more! Classes take place at a variety of centers and parks including the CRC, RCRC, Dole, and Taylor Park.
Ashley Christensen took her first yoga class freshman year of college over 20 years ago. Since then, she’s taken thousands of classes as a student and attended four yoga retreats around the world. Ashley received her 200-hour yoga teaching certificate from YogaWorks in Costa Mesa, California in 2012 and has been teaching at PDOP since 2019. Both her teaching and personal practice focus on gentle, mindful movements. Her classes incorporate restorative elements, as well as grounding and meditation.
Noele Sutherland has been a practitioner of yoga for over a quarter century. She has practiced many styles of yoga from the Bikram and Ashtanga to Hatha and Power Flow. Noele was certified as an instructor in 2011 in Colorado with Core Power Yoga. She has and continues to add certifications to her credentials. Her latest certification was with Om Shanti Yoga and Wellness School in Belize Central America. She has been working as a Yoga Alliance certified instructor full time both in San Pedro Belize and Oak Park Illinois. She founded Go-Yoga in Belize and has been expanding the collective of yoga instructors across Central America, US and Canada.
Betsy Grimm has been practicing yoga for twenty-five years and teaches a mix of her favorite things including: vinyasa, kundalini, mantra and sound, and balancing breath practices. Increasingly drawn to the transformative power of Kundalini practices, she completed Radiant Body Academy’s 300 Hour Teacher Training. Her classes are also influenced by her Life Force Yoga training, with its ability to address anxiety and depression. She loves teaching experienced yogis as well as those that have just found their way to the mat.
Teresa Heit-Murray began practicing yoga in 1999 with Rosalia Holt, who was in her late 70’s at the time. Teresa is a Registered Yoga Teacher having completed her 200 hour Pure Yoga training in 2010. She has been taking yoga classes for over 12 years in Chicago and Oak Park. Teresa teaches Restorative, Intro to Yoga, Yang, Yin, Hatha and Vinyasa Flow styles of yoga. Her classes focus on a body/mind awareness in a way that helps individual students find what works for their unique anatomy. She also has special training in healthy back solutions with Gabriel Halpern and Elise Miller (scoliosis specialist) as well as Yin Yoga from Paul and Susan Grilley. Teresa teaches in a way that helps individual students find what works for their unique anatomy, in order to achieve the health benefits of each pose. Teresa has found that if practiced regularly, yoga can help with posture, skeletal alignment, muscular strength, pain reduction, and joint mobility. Teresa’s classes focus on core strength, posture, balance, lengthening of muscles and tissue. Teresa is a dancer and designer who brings much creativity to her sequences and a desire to be a good guide for exploring new poses in her classes. Teresa’s goal as a teacher is to help yoga students of all ages and conditions experience the many health benefits of yoga… and to have fun doing it.
Grace Doi began her journey into fitness almost 10 years ago, when she moved to the Northern California area from Chicago. Although the weather was nicer, nothing in her area compared to running along the lakefront. In order to keep her adrenaline going and heart rate up, she became addicted to group cycle classes. After a few months of attending every class she possibly could, an instructor approached her to see if she wanted to become an group fitness instructor and the rest, they say, is history. Knowing that there is more to a workout than cardio, her pursuit for a more balanced fitness program led her to Les Mills BODYPUMP in 2010. She loves Les Mills’ focus on proper technique, motivation through music, and a workout experience that is truly addictive! She recently moved back to the Midwest and is excited to continue her group fitness journey in this new setting.
Brenda Guido (she/her)
Hello there! I’m Brenda (26 y.o.), and I fell in love with fitness during the pandemic. I understand that fitness can seem intimidating, especially coming from someone who used to believe that working out was not for everyone. However, I’m here to tell you that I was mistaken! Fitness should be inclusive and enjoyable, and that’s precisely what my spin class provides. If you’re interested in trying a low-impact/high-intensity dynamic workout with upbeat music and motivational coaching, then I invite you to join me. Remember, you’re never alone; TOGETHER we ride!
Nathalie Witt-Deutsch has enjoyed being active by playing sports, such as softball, at an early age. However, while in high school, she despised running with a passion. Now she frequently runs in many races and fun runs in the Chicago-area as well as running around Oak Park in her neighborhood. She began taking TRX classes as her first group exercise format at GRC and loved it! She then found herself in a Les Mills BODYPUMP™ class in July 2014 and overcame her fears and decided to make the jump to become certified. She has been a certified Les Mills BODYPUMP™ Instructor since May 2016 and continues to learn and grow while sharing her love and passion for this workout format. When she is not teaching classes, Nathalie works full-time as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst developing ABA programs for children and young adults with autism. At the same time, she loves to spend time with her family, especially traveling and being outdoors. When taking Nathalie’s Les Mills BODYPUMP™ class, participants can expect to challenge themselves at their own level and ability while having fun and sharing in the camaraderie of the class.
Brighid O’Shaughnessy discovered Nia nearly 20 years ago, fell in love with the practice immediately and has been dancing ever since. She is a Blue Belt Certified Instructor, with additional certifications in Nia Moving to Heal and the 5 Stages of Healing. Students describe her classes as “joyful, fun, affirming, soulful, and inspiring” and they appreciate the uplifting way Brighid builds confidence, connection and community among participants. When not teaching Nia, Brighid enjoys spending her time as a Restorative Practices Coach in Chicago Public Schools.
Pamela Berk Five years ago she retired from the Chicago Public School System, after teaching for 26 years. Wondering what to do with the rest of her life, she decided to share the joy of Nia. Nia is a grounded, barefoot dance movement technique, incorporating the martial arts, while listening to heart-stirring music. The best part is the “free dance” portion, where you can lose yourself in the music. This is where participants are likely to find their spirit, their “authentic” self, and perhaps allow self-healing to occur. Pamela is currently a Brown Belt Instructor in the western suburbs, and feels privileged to have the opportunity to help students to find this unique relationship with their bodies. Sensory awareness is sharpened, as well as accessing and directing the flow of energy. Nia’s 52 movements will increase your strength, stability, and mobility, while providing participants with a safe cardio workout.
Andrea Edwards has been practicing Nia since 2004 and has been a certified instructor since 2009. She has a background in Iyengar yoga and dance, but came to Nia after the birth of her first son. She was captivated by Nia’s unique fusion of dance arts, healing arts, and martial arts. “In my first Nia class, I was fascinated by the combination of dynamic kicks and punches with fluid, graceful motion. I felt completely immersed in the class, detached from stress, all while getting a powerful, but fun, workout,” she recalls. Five years later, she received her first belt in Nia. Her students have said Nia class makes them feel both energized and calm, has improved their body image, and is the only aerobic workout that makes them smile. “Each Nia class brings out that same joy in me – and I love sharing that joy with others” she says. She lives in Oak Park with her husband and two sons.
Looking to teach? Reach out to Erin Coffman! we’re always looking to add instructors and classes.