STAFF

Meet Drip Hot Yoga & Fitness Staff Members

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Emily

Owner and Teacher

Originally born in Taipei, Emily’s father, her two brothers, and herself immigrated from Taiwan to the United states when she was just three years of age. Her father came in search of better opportunities for himself and his children. It wasn’t easy. She watched her father work long, hard hours while her brothers and herself struggled to learn a new language, make new friends, and adapt to a new culture. By putting hard work and perseverance to work for herself, Emily learned perfect English, has made life long friends, and graduated with a degree in Business Marketing.  

Fitness became Emily’s outlet after long days of work. It was her way to relieve stress, stay fit, and increase strength and endurance. Around the age of 24, Emily developed what she thought was minor aches and pains in her lumber region. Shortly after, the pain traveled to her upper back then to her cervical spine region. She sought out all sorts of treatments, including different exercises, chiropractors, acupuncturists, holistic doctors and pain specialists, all of which came up far short of treating the pain. A friend recommended hot yoga as a way to relieve what now seemed to be chronic pain. It was definitely a love-hate relationship. The postures were difficult and nothing like she had ever been exposed to; however, it inarguably helped with the pain. 

Within two months of hot yoga 4 times a week, she was hooked. A hot yoga junkie some would say. After three years of regular practice, and knowing what yoga had done for her both physically and mentally, Emily decided to leave the corporate world and teach yoga. In 2008, Emily attended Bikram yoga teacher training and has never looked back. In the years since, Emily got married, had two children, and launched a small jewelry business. Additionally, she has become certified in teaching Hot Pilates, Hot Barre, Yoga Sculpt, and Vinyasa Yoga. 

After years of teaching for independent boutique hot studios in the city and suburbs, Emily was fortunate to have acquired 2 hot studios between 2008-2021 under the names of Sweat Junkie in Evanston and Shri Yoga in Highland Park.  Unfortunately, both studios were forced to close during the pandemic.

One can only imagine the excitement she felt when she was yet again approached with another opportunity, this time it was to take over Meadow’s Hot Yoga. Emily owes Carla and Gordy deep gratitude for trusting me with a community they have built over the last 10 years of their lives. Emily was grateful to have walked into a group of tremendous instructors and students, all of whom welcomed her with open arms and hearts. To better represent the vision of the studio, Emily recently rebranded the studio under the name Drip Hot Yoga & Fitness. She is enthusiastic for the future of Drip and is eager to watch her students grow and flourish in their practice.  

Currently, Emily teaches the 90 minute and 60 minute Beginner’s Bikram Yoga class, Hot Pilates, and Yoga Sculpt at Drip Hot Yoga & Fitness. When she is not teaching, she is playing the most important roles of mom, wife, daughter, and friend… 

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Amy

Teacher - Original Hot 26&2

Athletic as a kid and competitive swimmer for 12 years, Amy realized the repetitive motion was causing her to feel tightness in her neck and shoulders which eventually developed into debilitating neck and low back pain. That, and some personal struggles in her 20’s led her to search for a new physical activity.  

While living in Texas in 1999, Amy discovered yoga and credits the practice to giving her access to inner strength and balance. In 2002, Amy went on to attend Bikram’s 9 week Teacher Training program and has been teaching and practicing ever since. Although currently teaching in Chicago, she has also taught while living in Austin and New Jersey. In 2013, Amy went on to pursue a career as a Registered Nurse, a field that also gave her deep gratification.  

Time and experience has increased her appreciation for the hot room, but seeing the positive results in herself and the students is what gives her the most satisfaction. Between her role as wife and mom to her young son, she finds joy in all yoga and fitness activities for optimal health.

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Carla

Teacher - Original Hot 26&2

Carla began teaching yoga to help people feel good and maintain health. Her first profession as a dental hygienist showed her how teaching simple oral hygiene methods can keep people’s mouths healthy. And from years of maintaining people’s mouths she also became aware of how many prescription medications people take for different chronic conditions and observed many side effects from those drugs.  

She never wanted to become dependent on medications to maintain wellness, so she became devoted to exercise of all types, running, bicycling, swimming and finally yoga. In 1999 after one class of yoga, she was a believer. Her entire family began practicing yoga and discussing yoga. She practiced for 4 years and decided she wanted to teach others the wonderful practice of hot yoga. In 2008, she attended the 9 week, 500 hour Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. She enjoyed teaching and noticed the positive difference hot yoga made in so many student’s lives. Carla and her husband, Gordy, are past studio owners of Meadows Hot Yoga and continue to enjoy being a part of the positive energy in our yoga community and love teaching our students how to maintain health. 

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Ela 

Teacher - Inferno Hot Pilates

Ela fell in love with Pilates more than two decades ago when it helped her find strength and flow in her own body and mind when she started a new chapter immigrating to the US from Poland and during challenging college years. Pilates moves were also the “magic” that helped her body recover after 4 consecutive pregnancies and abdominal surgeries. It continues to be her passion outside of her family and when she is not behind the computer working on her second and third combined master’s degrees in Dietetics and Counseling.  

Ela’s hope is that each person comes to class ready to be challenged and willing to push through any of their mental obstacles and physical limits. Expect to leave every class loving YOURSELF a little bit more. Because loving and accepting yourself is where a true transformation begins.  

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Erin

Teacher - Original Hot 26&2, Vinyasa Flow, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Erin has been practicing yoga for over 20 years.  In 2002, while living and working in New York City, Erin found hot yoga through a good friend and attended her first class.  With that first class she was hooked and knew yoga would somehow be a part of her life.  After over 6 years of nearly daily practice, Erin attended the Original Hot Yoga teacher-training at the Yoga College of India.  Since becoming a certified teacher in 2008, Erin began practicing and studying other styles of yoga such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Power Vinyasa- a style she loves and certified to teach in 2015.  While living outside of Pittsburgh, PA, Erin opened and owned a yoga studio, The Yoga Folk, bringing yoga to an area that had never had a studio.  Erin has lead yoga teacher-trainings and teaches both new and seasoned teachers new skills and how to more effectively use their knowledge and expertise. 

A member of Actor’s Equity Association, Erin teaches performance (voice, acting and dialects) part-time at Columbia College Chicago, and has worked as a professional theatrical voice-coach regionally and on Broadway.

Erin’s mission is to teach from a personal and individual perspective; learning something new each and every class, and that yoga is accessible and possible for everyone.

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Gordy

Teacher - Original Hot 26&2 & Yin Yoga

Active in some form of yoga for almost 25 years, Gordy realized the benefits of Hot Yoga early on. Practicing consistently with his wife Carla, they both realized the next steps of what became a life-style, was for Carla to attend teacher training and open their own studio in 2013.  

Gordy went all in becoming a teacher in 2017, and the two of them teamed up to provide a friendly, caring place for people to discover their own strength and potential. They never got rich running Meadows Hot Yoga, but the rewards they received from the gratitude expressed by so many students over the years made it all worth it. He’s looking forward to the next phase of teaching, sharing what he’s learned and still learning every class. 

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Kamila

Teacher - Inferno Hot Pilates

Born in Krakow, Poland, Kamila has been involved in sports since the age of five. Though she started with rhythmic gymnastics, she soon fell in love with the sport of volleyball. Specifically chosen to attend a VolleyBall School, Kamila trained for the next 10 years. 

In 2016, at the age of twenty, she decided to take a leap of faith and move to the United States to get a fresh start with lots more opportunities than her homeland. Since then, she has maintained an active lifestyle, although had trouble finding something new that she could consistently be active in. That is until she came across Meadows Hot Yoga in 2018. After attending her very first Inferno Hot Pilates (IHP) class, she had found her new passion. 

Growing up, her athletic training was very disciplined with long hours on and off the court, but at the same time it was super rewarding. That's the exact feeling she felt when she took her first IHP class. Attending classes a few times a week, she felt great and was having fun while finding a new sense of community in her life. She began to imagine what it would be like to be an IHP instructor, but shied away from it thinking her English was not strong enough. That was until she knew she was more than enough! When the opportunity of teacher training presented itself again, she knew she couldn’t pass it up.  

Kamila has overcome her fears of speaking to large groups and still feels it was one of the best decisions she made for herself. She loves being a teacher and sharing her love for fitness so others can benefit in the way she has from the practice.  

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Kareem

Teacher - Original Hot 26&2 and Inferno Hot Pilates

As a professional personal trainer, Kareen has been involved in fitness since childhood. Kareem has been in the competition arena in the highest of levels winning gold medals in the Pan-American games and many national and international competitions spanning the globe from 1974-1988. He was also a member of the U.S. National Taekwondo  team under Grand Master Koang Woong Kim.

As a 7th-degree grandmaster in the sport of the taekwondo and achieving a masters degree in adult fitness and exercise science, Kareem has been spreading his knowledge and fitness for over 50 years.

At 70 years young, Kareem believes getting in shape shouldn't be a punishment, but rather an empowering lifestyle decision anyone can achieve.  

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Lori

Teacher - Originial Hot 26&2

Lori loves the physical and mental benefits of a hot yoga practice. If one can find peace on their mat in a hot room, they can find peace in their everyday life. The best lessons come when one learns to truly feel and experience what is presented in front of them. How to breathe, transition, relax and listen. See you on the mat. 

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Nicole

Teacher - Inferno Hot Pilates & Yoga Sculpt

Following completion of a 27 year career in the Pharma industry, Nicole had an opportunity to follow her passion and transition in fitness.

Nicole suffered a serious sports injury in January 2023 and she was looking for a new way to exercise. Her friend suggested trying hot yoga and Pilates to help heal those injuries.  Coming from a background as a Division I volleyball player, Nicole was pretty skeptical. However, she was hooked after her first HOT class at Drip and she knew she wanted to become an instructor to share this with others.

Nicole completed her yoga sculpt teacher training in March 2024 and has been so excited to start teaching at Drip. Nicole loves the energy she feels from students during class and is looking forward to helping students achieve their fitness goals.

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Phasita

Teacher - Yin Yoga

Adventurous and a risk taker, Phasita moved from Thailand to the United States in 2016. To help her adjust to a new country, Phasita used Yoga and Pilates to find solace while caring for her mind and body. Because of Phasita’s wonderful experience with the power of Yoga, she wanted to share her experience and knowledge with others by getting certified as a Yoga and Yin instructor in 2020. Yoga students enjoy Phasita’s natural enthusiasm and optimistic spirit in the class. 

Phasita is also a lifelong learner with a master’s degree in Business Administration, continuing education courses in language, and certification in Massage Therapy. Phasita is thrilled to use her knowledge of anatomy and the mind and body connection to share all the benefits of Yoga and wellness/massage therapy with those who need it. She currently teaches Yin Yoga every Wednesday night at Drip and is eagerly looking into pursuing some additional fitness certification

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Regina

Teacher - Inferno Hot Pilates Level 1 & 2
Regina has always been an endurance junkie. She has run marathons, ridden century rides, and completed a Triathlon in Wisconsin. After her second marathon, her doctor told her if she didn’t stop running, she would be the proud owner of two new knees. At this point, she couldn’t walk down the stairs without awkward motions and was in a lot of pain. She stumbled (literally) upon Meadows Hot Yoga through a Groupon. She soon realized that the more hot yoga classes she took, the more mobility she gained; she was also in a lot less pain. She then
started taking Inferno Hot Pilates (IHP) classes and was hooked! She took every class she could and gained strength that she never was able to gain before she started taking classes. 
 
In March 2019, she began to teach IHP classes and was certified in levels 1 and 2 later that year. She loves helping people discover their own strength and to see their own capabilities. Her class style is full of energy and encouragement. She truly believes in each person that walks into the room; that they will achieve whatever goal they have set for themselves. She believes one of the best pieces about teaching is seeing people grow stronger and gain more confidence in themselves. She says that it is truly a joy to see people achieve their goals that they never thought were possible.
 
Outside of the studio, she spends a lot of time with her family and watching her boys play baseball and soccer. She also works full time as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst for the Wauconda school district and part time at a private clinic in Northbrook. Beginning in the Fall of 2024, she will start her doctoral program at Northern Illinois University in Educational Psychology. 
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Stephanie

Teacher - Original Hot 26&2, Rocket Yoga, YIN Yoga & Teen Yoga

Her yoga story begins when she was 10, doing the Rachel Welch Yoga tapes with her mom. Fast forward 10 years, she found herself as a student at Aurora University teaching yoga to senior citizens at their retirement center as a volunteer. It was chair yoga. They seemed to enjoy the interaction and definitely felt better moving and stretching their tight bodies.  

After graduating college, she began a career in television broadcasting here in Chicago, but life soon became too stressful and once again she sought out yoga. She discovered a hot studio near her work in Chicago and began a more regular practice going 3 or 4 times a week. The studio offered a free month of yoga for those who could complete a 60 day challenge. Always up for a challenge, Stephanie completed the 60 days and never felt better. During that time, she trained for her first yoga competition through USA YOGA, and only after 6 months of practice, she embarked on Bikram's 500 hour Teacher Training in 2010. She knew right away that this was her life’s passion and could see herself teaching and practicing for the rest of her life. To further pursue her yoga journey and passion for healing others, she received her Rocket Yoga certification, trained by Gianna Purcell (2013 USA Yoga Champion) in 2017. 

Stephanie has competed in the USA Yoga Organization Regionals and she has coached many athletes/participants (both adult and youth divisions) for this competition. She loves helping people improve their health, reduce their pain and improve their overall quality of life. Yoga is more than just exercise. For Stephanie, yoga represents overall well being and doing good for others in addition to physical and mental benefits you gain from having a regular practice. 

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Susan

Teacher - Original Hot 26&2

Susan took her first yoga class in 2012 and was hooked within her first week. She developed a regular practice and realized her dreams of becoming a yoga teacher in 2021 after retiring from her full-time job in corporate world.

Susan's philosophy is that her purpose is to continuously learn and improve, and has found infinite opportunities to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually through a consistent yoga practice. She practices with passion and appreciation, and her goal as a teacher is to always inspire and encourage students to find their own "next level".

Susan lives in Glenview with her husband Wayne and their Boston Terrier, Lulu. When she's not at the yoga studio, she enjoys cooking and world travel.

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Viktorya

Teacher - Vinyasa Yoga

Viktorya’s journey began over 20 years ago. Having been in ballet most of her childhood, she was excited to have found yoga, a similar discipline that has focus on muscle strength, tone, and most importantly, mindfulness. Realizing quickly that by combining breath with purposeful ancient movements, we are able to still the mind, attain a meditative state, and achieve equanimity.

After years of being a student, Viktorya decided to deepen her practice by completing 200-hour Yoga Alliance teacher training, followed by 300-hour advanced LifePower certification Yoga with Jonny Kest. As a n E-RYT 500 teacher, her goal is to be a guide for students on their own journey - with wisdom, compassion, equanimity, loving kindness, & gratitude. She especially loves to teach high-performing stressed-out adults as well as kids of all ages.

Viktorya’s classes allow each student to find their personal edge - combining breath, creative vinyasa flow, strong asanas, and soothing restorative poses to help present the balance that closely mirrors our lives. Just as we use breath to flow in and out of challenges on our mat, we also learn to let go of what we do not need, creating personal growth & positivity for ourselves.

Viktorya’s style is authentic, non-judgmental with sprinkles of compassion-centered philosophy. Availing herself to continuous education, weaving thought-provoking meditations throughout classes, and applying ancient wisdom to our contemporary western world in a useful and understandable way. She encourages growth of the physical and spiritual self, citing the interconnectedness to each other, to the world and to the universe at large.

Viktorya shares her life with her husband, Alex, and three wonderful sons. When not practicing on her mat, she helps manage their CPA practice and insurance business. She loves travel to places near & far, opening up to different cultures, reading, & always remaining a student of life.