What is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher?
Iyengar Yoga Certification is a rigorous process held to a high standard and governed by the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS). Certificates are earned only after years of training, study, and evaluation. Candidates being assessed for certification are expected to be proficient in many practical and educational skills.
The criteria for these evaluations, as well as the structure of the certification process, were established by BKS Iyengar. This system articulates his teaching methods, and provides credentials for individuals pursuing the path of yoga instruction.
Currently there are many levels, or grades, of certificates. Higher levels indicate that the instructor has a depth of knowledge, practice, teaching skills, and class room experience.
Look for the mark!
The certification mark has been developed to establish recognition for the work and merits of this program. It is your guarantee of a teacher that has developed, and been assessed for, a level of competency and maturity.
Our Teachers are Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructors. Substitute teachers are either certified or working towards certification through IYNAUS.
Patrina Dobish is a Certified Intermediate Junior 3 Iyengar Yoga teacher, and has studied yoga her entire adult life. She helped found the Yoga Tree and is the Managing Director. Patrina has attended 19 weeks at RIMYI (Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute) learning from Geeta, Prashant and BKS Iyengar. She continues her study in the US with certified senior Iyengar teachers regularly.
Patrina contributes to the community locally, regionally and nationally. It includes a 4-year term on the IYNAUS board (iynaus.org), ombudsperson for the 2001 and 2007 IYNAUS convention magazines, and the collaboration/ coordination of the reestablishment of the Iyengar Yoga Association of the Midwest (IYAMW). With the help of local neighborhood organizations and the IYAMW she developed the “Care for Caregivers,” a yoga program addressing the needs of the immigrant community in Logan Square Chicago. As of 2020 Patrina is serving a 3 year term on the IYAMW board.
Patrina feels very lucky to be able to practice and teach yoga. Iyengar yoga injects a glimmer of understanding into this subject. She brings to her classroom a love of yoga, joy and humor. She teaches, as an artisan would work, honing and refining to stabilize and mobilize to integrate the layers of our being.
Achala Jeff LeGro
Achala Jeff LeGro is a certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. He studies regularly with senior Iyengar method teachers, Laurie Blakeney, Chris Saudek and Lois Steinberg. Patrina was his first teacher and continues to be his mentor. Achala will never forget his first class with her because it was on the morning of 9/11!
Achala is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, runs his own remodeling & handyman business, and although yoga started out as something to do with his now departed wife, Achala found it to be a perfect complement to his longstanding zen meditation practice (How better to embody your concentration practice than by doing yoga poses!). He developed a daily yoga practice by the late 2000’s, and became certified to teach in 2014. He brings to his teaching: enthusiasm for the subject, the eye of an artist, compassion for those facing life’s challenges and a desire to have fun along the way.
Ann Socha has been a dedicated student of Iyengar yoga since 1996, when she attended her first class while living in Crested Butte, Colorado. She began teaching in 1999 at the request of her teachers. Since then, she has been certified to teach at the Junior 1 Intermediate level. She is certified as a Yoga Therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She has travelled to India twice to study with the Iyengar family and she continues to study regularly with advanced teacher Laurie Blakeney and she is inspired by senior teacher Carrie Owerko.
Ann volunteered on the planning committee for the From the Heartland conference in 2011 and she served on the board for the Iyengar Yoga Association of the Midwest from 2016 to 2019. She currently is volunteering on the IYAMW 2020 Fall Retreat planning committee. Ann strives to create a friendly atmosphere in her classes and her students describe her teaching style as “challenging yet pleasant and fun.”
Ann is also an accomplished painter, avid reader, bike rider and synchronized swimmer. She loves spending time with her husband, daughter and cat.
Bob Whittinghill has been a yoga practitioner for over 25 years, and instructing Iyengar yoga since 2000. Certified by IYNAUS at the Intermediate level, he cultivates teaching skills and the art and discipline of yoga through avid studentship and self-practice. He has attended the Iyengar Institute in India for more than 4 months of study over 3 visits.
His background in creative and performing arts, and his interest in world civilizations, inform his practice and teaching. Iyengar Yoga embodies a culture. It is rich with traditions, articulated practices, specialized language, iconography and an ethical standard. Bob endeavors that his classes enlighten students on that vast body of knowledge, and inspire them towards their own excavation of, and enculturation into, the opulence of Iyengar Yoga.
Aroused by the power of the spoken and written word, Bob has worked on the editorial staff of the magazines for 2 IYNAUS conventions, Odyssey 2001 and Yatra (2007). He served the editor-in-chief for Lois Steinberg’s Geeta’s Guide to a Woman’s Yoga Practice, Volume 1 (2005), Steinberg’s 2010 Iyengar Yoga Asana Alternatives: The Neck and Shoulders and has contributed numerous articles and interviews for publication on the subject on Iyengar Yoga. Bob served on the Curriculum Committee for IYNAUS’ 2010 REFLECTION convention in Portland OR and as Special Events Chair for the successful FROM THE HEARTLAND, the first Iyengar Yoga conference held in Chicago (2011).
Lorene Zant is currently certified at the Intermediate 1 level and has practiced Iyengar yoga since 2001. Her first introduction to Iyengar Yoga in Long Island, NY was enlightening and informed her decision to become a serious student of Iyengar Yoga, and her early studies and apprenticeship under Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher Joan White was transformational. Since moving to the Chicago area there have been opportunities to study with phenomenal senior level teachers Laurie Blakeney, Manouso Manos and Mary Reilly. In 2015, Lorene attended Yoganusasanam in Pune led by Geeta, as well as classes with Geeta and Prashant in Bellur, India (BKS’s birthplace) in celebration of the opening of a spectacular Iyengar Yoga hall. In fall 2017 she will return to Pune to study at the BKS Iyengar Institute (RIMYI) for the month of October. She also participates in teacher trainings throughout the country as well as national and regional Iyengar Yoga conventions.
Being an Iyengar Yoga teacher lights paths that would not be possible otherwise, and the integration of teaching as well as practicing as a Registered Nurse allows Lorene to create a synergy that is mentally, physically and spiritually supportive. In addition to teaching at Yoga Tree of Evanston, she also teaches weekly classes at a local homeless shelter, and will begin grad school in spring 2018 to pursue becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. Lorene was on the IYAMW (Iyengar Yoga Association of the Midwest) Board of Directors for three years, served as board President, and was chairperson for several committees.