Feature Teachers

Anna del Castillo

Practice live with Anna (virtually AND in person at Vibez Fit!) Monday 10/23 at 7:15pm CT by clicking  here to register to the virtual class or emailing hello@vibezfit to register for in person class at Vibez Fit River North.

Anna’s passion for movement began with dance–studying ballet from a young age, and dancing through college. She became a certified yoga instructor in 2016, and she currently teaches yoga, strength training, and 1:1 training sessions in corporate settings. Anna strives to foster equitable and accessible spaces—particularly regarding mental health, mindfulness practices, and self love. In 2020, she completed continuing education to incorporate trauma-informed and psychologically sensitive approaches into her teaching. By combining her love for yoga and passion for mental health, she hopes to cultivate a community where all feel welcome to find healing on and off their yoga mat.

Anna has chosen to dedicate her series to The Simple Good, an amazing Chicago-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect the meaning of good from around the world to empower youth to become positive activists through art and discussion.

If you would like to join Anna in helping The Simple Good spread the message that no matter where you go in the world, good means the same to all of us and that is what connects us as human beings, click here and select “Anna del Castillo- The Simple Good Fundraiser” from the PayPal Dropdown menu.

Learn more about Anna and follow her on Instagram here.

Tsha Marie

Practice live with Tsha (virtually AND in person at Vibez Fit!) Wednesday 8/9 & 8/16 at 7:15pm CT by clicking  here to register to the virtual class or emailing hello@vibezfit to register for in person class at Vibez Fit River North.

Tsha Marie is a former professional dancer turned yogi. She has spent most of her life in either a dance or yoga studio and knows first-hand how daily mindful movement can change you from the inside out. As a dance teacher she found her voice and as a yoga teacher, found her purpose. Her classes are a blend of fluidity and strength with an emphasis on curiously discovering oneself through movement and grace. Tsha believes how we move on our mat is how we move through our life.

Tsha received her 200hr with Yoga Six (Vinyasa) in San Diego, 300hr certification with YogaMea (Hatha/Ashtanga) in Italy and 50hr Yin certification with Drishti Yoga. Tsha is an E-RYT 500hr, ACE Certified, Trauma informed, Yoga Alliance continuing education provider and is lead facilitator for Yoga Six 200hr Teacher Trainings. When she is not on her mat, you can find her near the water or traveling the world.

“Witnessing students grow and have “ah ha” moments light me up. Watching my friends live their passions fills me with joy. Traveling fills me with awe. A great glass of wine and a sunset can cure anything!”

Tsha has chosen to dedicate her series to Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, an amazing organization that got the “Baby Safe Haven” law passed in Illinois and whose mission it is to save babies from being abandoned in dumpsters and other unsafe environments. After Tsha and her brother were abandoned in Seoul, South Korea at only 2 and 6 years old, she knows firsthand how it feels to be alone and without care and is passionate about the importance of the work SABF is doing

If you would like to join Tsha in helping Save Abandoned Babies Foundation spread awareness about the safe and legal options available so that innocent babies are not abandoned, click here and select “Tsha Marie- Save Abandoned Babies Foundation Fundraiser” from the PayPal Dropdown menu.

Learn more about Tsha here and follow her on Instagram here.

Mary Adkins

Practice with Mary virtually on Thursday 8/31 & 9/7 at 6pm CT/4pm ET,  register now!

Mary began practicing meditation and yoga regularly in 2016, received her 200HR Vinyasa Yoga certification in 2017 and completed her 300HR certification in 2020.  Up until the beginning of this year, she was the Studio Manager of YogaSix Milwaukee and taught weekly yoga classes for a handful of yoga studios in Wisconsin.  This year she is taking time to celebrate her recent marriage and travel the US with her husband, Brandon, and cat, Griz.  Mary always layers in an energetic component into her teaching and is passionate about educating her students about the transformative path that yoga can offer.

Mary has chosen to support American Foundation for Suicide prevention because she values the work that they do in supporting mental health and suicide prevention. As someone who continues to struggle with their own mental health, Mary wants to bring more awareness to a subject that is often perceived as taboo. To join Mary, consider making a donation by clicking here and selecting “Mary Adkins- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Fundraiser” from the PayPal dropdown menu.

Learn more about Mary here and follow her on Instagram here.

Diane Rawlinson

Practice with Diane virtually and in person at Extensions Dance Center (3933 N Elston Ave, Chicago) Thursday 7/13 at 7pm CT and Sunday 7/23 at 11am CT register now!

Diane began her yoga and somatic practice journey while completing her degree Dance Education at Ohio State University over 40 years ago. Throughout her life she complimented her dance training with Pilates, Alexander Technique, Bartenieff Fundamentals, InterPlay Improvisation, Brain Dance, Anatomy, Kinesiology, Injury Prevention, and a large range of teaching methods and alternative movement approaches. After decades of teaching and leading yoga and dance, Diane returned to the basics and completed an immersive 300 Yoga Teacher Training with Swastha InterNational in Costa Rica (pre pandemic) and is a registered Experienced Yoga Teacher. That experience reignited her passion for sharing yoga in new ways.

Diane holds a degree in Dance Education from Ohio State, MFA from UW-Madison, and was on dance faculties at Northwestern University, UW- Stevens Point, and University of Akron. Ms Rawlinson was one of the first certified leaders of InterPlay worldwide and is currently the InterPlay in Education Coordinator. A writer/editor for Dance Spirit/Dance Teacher magazines from 1997-2019 she was named NDA Midwest Dance Educator, UW-Madison School of Education Distinguished Alumni, District 214 Friends of the Arts Award, Illinois Teacher of the Year Meritorious Award, and 2014 Chicago’s Ruth Page Award Recipient for her work as an advocate, mentor and educator.

She has presented InterPlay at state, national, and international conferences and workshops including: International InterPlay Conference Illinois State Theatre Festival, National/Regional HS Dance Festival, DePaul University, Illinois State University, Loyola University, Dance Teacher Magazine Conference, Bill Evans Somatics Conference, CNADM, NDEO Conference, Hubbard Street Professional Development Institute, and Gibney Dance Center (NYC).

Diane recently retired after 30 years as the dance/yoga teacher and Orchesis director at Wheeling HS (IL) where she directed/co-directed 5 performances a year and created a semester long yoga class within the district Physical Education program.

Diane has chosen to dedicate her series to InterPlay, an amazing nonprofit that she has been involved with for over 30 years in various roles. She is currently coordinating their InterPlay in Education training track. InterPlay is devoted to building community and a nonjudgmental environment to see the good in what people bring to the experience as they are. To join Diane in supporting this worldwide movement of affirmation, community, and artistry, consider making a donation by clicking here and selecting “Diane Rawlinson-InterPlay” from the PayPal dropdown menu.

Diane will be leading a “Essence of Being” retreat at a charming 1880s farmhouse on September 8-10th. It’s located just 75 miles outside of Chicago and situated on 40 peaceful acres with stunning native prairie views, a winding creek, ancient oaks and maples, and a lush organic garden. It is the perfect opportunity for you to be yourself, be your ideas, and be in community to take care of yourself, and celebrate the unique qualities in one another. Learn more about Diane’s retreat here.

Learn more about Diane here.

Rachel Scott

Practice with Rachel virtually on Tuesday 6.20 at 11am MT/12pm CT,  register now!

Fiesty, precise, and full of fun, Rachel loves to create a practice space that invites students back to their bodies, breath, and presence. With a keen eye for detail and alignment, Rachel’s challenges students to meet postures afresh and with depth. She offers lots of adaptions and modifications to help students fit the body to the pose (rather than the pose to their body), and use posture as a tool for greater self-connection.

Visit her wealth of resources for students and teachers at her YouTube channel, on Instagram, or her website.

Anna Maddy

Practice live with Anna on Tuesday 5/23 at 6 pm CT register now!

Anna Maddy has been a yoga + mindfulness teacher since 2017. She is based out of Chicago and the western Chicago suburbs. Anna studied Hatha Yoga at Sangha Yoga institute in Kalamazoo, MI. Since her initial training she has spent time learning and practicing vinyasa flow, restorative yoga, and yoga for kids + teens. Her education is continuous and is always immersing herself in new modalities and learning from her teachers. Anna teaches a flowy intentionally sequenced style vinyasa class inspired by her previous dance career.

Anna has chosen to dedicate her class to Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, an amazing nonprofit that creates a space where children and their families can heal after painful trauma caused by abuse. She believes in the importance of caring for our youths’ emotional, mental, and physical health and chose to support ChicagoCAC because of her love of Chicago and those who are offering their love and knowledge to help young people through tough times.

If you would like to join Anna in helping ChicagoCAC help children and their families heal after experiencing abuse, click here and select “Anna Maddelein- Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center” from the PayPal Dropdown menu.

Follow Anna on Instagram here.

Become one of our Feature Teachers!

Are you a yoga teacher? Do you know a yoga teacher that would like to utilize their gifts to help people in need? If so, fill out our Teacher Application by clicking the button below, we’d love to partner with you!

It is our intention that Giving Hearts Yoga be a place where teachers can come together as a community to provide assistance to those in need during this difficult time while raising awareness and funding for the causes that matter most to them. It is our sincerest hope that teachers are able to utilize this platform to help create positive change in the world.

Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.
– Ryunosuke Satoro

Our Team/Teachers

Welcome to the Team: Jenny Kaufman!

Director, Yoga Teacher

Jenny loves many things about yoga: it provides valuable feedback about one’s energy, it promotes a balance of effort and ease, it gives us information on our level of patience, kindness, and humility. While a practice can be deeply personal, yoga also teaches us that we are all connected and all human.

In Jenny’s professional journey as a yoga teacher, mentor, studio manager and facilitator she has been honored to create many communities. With over 20 years of experience in the yoga wellness community, she is thrilled to find some new ways to broaden her experiences and share with others. Recently she has been concentrating on diversity and inclusion for students and teachers within yoga spaces. She is thrilled to join the board of Giving Hearts Yoga who provides free yoga classes to raise awareness and funds for worthwhile organizations. May the gift of awareness, patience, breath, and honesty bolster our communities.

Learn more about Jenny here.  

Welcome to the Team: Margi Young!

Director, Yoga Teacher

Margi is a bright, sophisticated, inspired yogini who teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area and leads retreats and trainings locally and in New York, Brazil, Mexico, Bali, Italy and other places around the world.

Leading online classes since the pandemic erupted, she finds that feeling feet, breath, sky, lungs, roots, softness and all the things we do on our mat at home are quite simple compared to the chaos of the world — and quite simply more necessary than ever.

Sonima, a wellness brand that promotes living healthy, balanced, and happy lives, named Margi one of the most influential yoga teachers in America. Along with her first 200 hour teacher training at OM Yoga Center in 2001, she has certifications in restorative yoga (Judith Hanson Lasater), mindfulness (Mindfulness Training Institute), prenatal yoga (Integral Yoga Institute), pelvic floor yoga (Leslie Howard), and craniosacral therapy (Ellen Mossman). She is currently in a year long training, in the spirit of Giving Hearts Yoga, called Engaged Buddhism with Roshi Joan Halifax.

Her classes can also be found on Yoga Anytime and on her on-demand library through her website.

Learn more about Margi here.  

Laura Maynard

Founder/CEO, CFO, Yoga Teacher, Administrative Assistant, Teacher Coordinator, Production and Sound Crew, Video Editor, DJ, and everything in between. 

Laura created Giving Hearts Yoga because given the current state of the world, we need to take care of each other. Now more than ever. For Laura, giving to and taking care of others is what fills her up. As such, everything that she has put into creating this platform, all of the work that she will continue to put into it, is her gift to whoever wants to receive it.

Laura discovered her love for yoga 17 years ago while studying at the University of Iowa where she obtained a BBA in Finance and Law Degree. She is a licensed attorney who has experience in creating and sustaining successful businesses. Through yoga, Laura discovered how to navigate through the stresses of college, a career, and life in general while accomplishing more with her physical body than she ever thought possible. It still makes her smile to think that she once thought that touching her toes was a physical impossibility.

Laura strives to bring the same sense of inner peace and self-acceptance that she found through yoga to her students, while empowering them to become more in touch with their physical bodies in a fun and safe environment. Teaching and helping her students to discover how mentally and physically strong they truly are has become Laura’s greatest joy.

Laura’s classes are playful, alignment-based classes mixed with the breath to movement vinyasa elements that many of her students crave. She is a certified teacher at the 500 hour level with certifications from YogaSix, The Maze Method, and the Amala School of Prenatal Yoga.

When not teaching, Laura spends her time cooking, swinging in a hammock by Lake Michigan, and spending time at her home in Chicago with her husband Sean and two poms Brutus and Lycan.  

Lindsay Kahler

VP, Director, Secretary, Yoga Teacher

Lindsay discovered her love of yoga through our Founder, Laura Maynard. Years of work in high volume hospitality establishments in Chicago, left Lindsay desiring a sense of calm. She found that, and much more through her yoga practice. Once the pandemic took hold, and in person classes were no longer an option, Laura began teaching a small group via Zoom, these classes helped the group to feel connected and were what got them through the hardest times. Those small group sessions inspired the idea for Giving Hearts Yoga.

For Lindsay, yoga has profoundly helped relieve the stress and anxiety of dealing with such uncertain and stressful times. Over time Lindsay was guided to grow further by completing her 200 hr YTT with Zen Yoga Garage.

Lindsay has a Bachelor of Arts with a Business Minor, which she puts to use behind the scenes at Giving Hearts. She also has an artist’s eye and is Giving Hearts’ behind the scenes photographer.

When Lindsay isn’t practicing yoga, she enjoys cooking and concocting fresh green juice recipes. You can find her roaming the city in search of legit snacks, and of course a unique cocktail. Maybe you can find her at a plant shop, gathering supplies or a new baby to add to her plant collection, which also grew during the pandemic.  

Alece Demaray

Director, Yoga Teacher

Alece is honored to be a part of the Giving Hearts Yoga team and mission. Her love of yoga has blossomed into a multifaceted career of teaching and management. She began teaching in 2012 and has experience managing yoga and fitness studios since 2015. From programming to operations to training and sales…she has done it all!

What motivates Alece to work in the yoga and fitness industry is the profound impact it can have on peoples’ lives. She believes a yoga practice is your most supportive tool in navigating skillfully through any challenge or phase of life. In class, Alece aims to empower you through her alignment based, flowing practices. Her intention is to communicate the teachings of yoga with warm humor and contagious enthusiasm, so it resonates on your mat and also translates into your life.

Alece is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 hour level with certifications from Om Yoga (NYC) and Inner Peace Yoga Therapy (300 Level – Chicago Cohort). She is specialized in yoga for fertility, pre and postnatal yoga, with certifications from The Prenatal Yoga Center (NYC) and Amala School of Prenatal Yoga (Chicago). When not teaching students, she loves training future yoga teachers. In addition to practicing yoga, she considers herself a lover of all movement and is fascinated by the capabilities of the body! She resides in Chicago with her husband Andrew and their pitbull Otto, patiently awaiting the arrival of their first child in the Fall.

Rachel Hessen Connelly

Yoga Teacher
Practice live with Rachel on the 1st and 2nd Friday of the month  at 12pm CT (beginning 11/18) register now!

Rachel used to be a 9 to 5’er, working a “just alright, sorta stuck-in-a-cubicle job” in Detroit. Inspired by an Eleanor Roosevelt quote (the essence of which is to do something that scares you), she decided life is too short, and in 2010 left it all for something that would inspire her; it was then she took her yoga teacher training at YogaWorks in California and later went on to study with Tracy and Mitchel Bleier to receive her additional 300 hour training from Advanced Yoga Teacher Training.

Her yoga practice, the vibrance of her adopted home of Chicago, and the life she shares with her amazing partner Jim, fill her with gratitude daily. Rachel enjoys both taking and teaching physically intense classes, as she has found for herself that physical strength and focus lead to the mental counterpart of confidence and peace. She also recognizes the importance of bringing in balance and ease and how much can actually be gained through the act of letting go.

In addition to yoga, Rachel enjoys her morning coffee, eating ice cream as often as possible, and strolling by magnificent Lake Michigan.

All proceeds from donations make in honor of Rachel go to her chosen nonprofit, Connections for Abused Women and thier Children, an organization that provides a safe escape for survivors of domestic violence and assists them as they begin to build a better, safer future for themselves and their children.

To make a donation in honor of Rachel, click here and select “Rachel Hessen- CAWC” from the PayPal dropdown menu.