Cat Koo Levine
Cat has been practicing yoga daily since 2005. One cold winter day, she stepped into a Bikram Yoga class and the rest is history. Having a daily practice has helped Cat overcome numerous injuries, but more importantly, pulled her out of depression.
Cat is passionate about teaching yoga and loves nothing more than to share her passion with students of all levels.
Cat took over Bikram Yoga Andersonville in 2013 after managing the studio for Jessica Rask, her teacher and mentor. She continues to study and train regularly with Mary Jarvis, dedicating at least a full month of every year to training in yoga education.
Before teaching in Chicago, Cat taught internationally in the United Kingdom. Cat is certified to teach continuing education credits for the Original Hot Yoga Association. Cat placed first in overall women's and in Illinois at the 2017 Midwest Super Regional Yoga Asana Championships. She placed 9th in the country, representing Illinois at the 2018 USA Yoga National Championships. She Placed 1st in the 2019 USA Yoga Regionals and looks forward to representing Illinois again at the National level.
Marita helps Cat manage the yoga school and is in charge of the Work Study program at BYA that helps us trade heavily discounted yoga for shifted work. Please email Marita for more information about this program:
Marita is a home-grown teacher, who began her practice here, worked behind the desk for a long time with Cat pestering her to go to teacher training until she did and became the lovely yoga teacher she is.
Looking for a way to warm up, Charles took took his first ever Bikram yoga class at Bikram Yoga Andersonville in January, 2011.
What was at first just a way to relax quickly became a regular part of his life. After being inspired by the amazing teachers at the school, as well as the changes he began to notice within himself, he packed up for 9 weeks and went to teaching training in L.A in April, 2012.
Since graduating he has enjoyed teaching all around Chicago and while he finds that every studio is uniquely great, BYA will always be home.
Charles competed in the Illinois Regional Asana Competition in 2013 and tied for 1st place and later went on to compete in the 2013 USA Nationals. He looks forward to training in the future.
Charles is also certified to teach Amrit Yoga.
Aura took her first Bikram Yoga class in the winter of 2008.
She was expecting to find just another form of exercise. And in the beginning that's what it seemed to be - learning the postures, getting more flexible, improving endurance and learning to breathe calmly.
Before she realized it, she was applying breathing techniques outside of the yoga room as well. To be present and able to deal with difficulties, one needs to start paying attention to the breath. She began to practice yoga in life.
Aura was eager to learn and practice more and more until one day it was clear that teaching yoga was the way. Aura wanted to share her passion and in 2011 graduated Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in LA.
Aura competed in the Illinois Regional Asana Competition in 2013 and placed first. She went on to compete on the national level, representing Illinois.
Aura is grateful to BYA and her teacher, mentor and friend Jessica Rask for giving the opportunity, support and love to practice, learn and grow. She is thankful to every teacher, staff member and student at BYA. And also she's very excited to go on a new journey with Cat.
Michael has been practicing for 8 years and teaching for 2 years. In his words,
"This beautiful series figuratively and literally saved my life! I was rescued by this healing, therapeutic yoga after living my life in chronic, debilitating, 365 - 24/7 residual limb pain, the result of a head on collision at approximately 40 m.p.h. with a large, red concrete truck in April of 2010.
"I was on my way to work that fateful day when that truck crossed the center line, traveled up the hood of my car, continued through my windshield and traumatically amputated my left arm cleanly at the shoulder. After surviving such a horrific accident and living in chronic pain, in conjunction with the loss of both of my beloved parents within that same short timeframe, a severe depression and daily 35 prescription pain pill diet, all of which culminated in multiple suicide attempts, I was left completely empty and in search of a new way to live and move forward. As you may have guessed, that way forward was, is and will likely always be, my yoga practice, this beautiful, healing yoga series.
"... In my almost 8 years of practice, in my likely 2,000+ classes, there has never been even one class where I haven’t felt less pain after those 90 glorious minutes than before I walked into that Hot Room! To date, I haven't found anything else that helps me in this way. As such, I call this yoga practice and series a universal truth. In other words, this yoga is a constant, like gravity, because it works each and every time that you practice! The mental and spiritual clarity that this magical 90 minute, open eyed, moving meditation provides is further icing on the yogic cake!"
Sergio is another home-grown teacher, like Aura, Charles, Marita, John and Nick.
Sergio is a dynamic teacher who cares deeply about our space. He began his practice here, worked for us behind the desk for a year before becoming a teacher.
Sergio inspired us to bring more plants into our yoga school and also introduced Spanish yoga classes last year.
John began practicing here before becoming a teacher in 2015. He is another teacher who began here as one of our students!
John teaches with great compassion and wisdom. His yoga practice has helped him with some arthritic pain.
Ari was born in San Diego and raised in Nepal, Barbados, Ecuador, Peru, and the Washington, DC area. He double majored in philosophy and Spanish at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Ari had asthma as a child and he avoided sports, because they exacerbated the symptoms. When he took his first hot yoga class in 2010, it was challenging, but he immediately noticed some of the beneficial effects of yoga practice. From then on, he knew that he had found an activity he loved and would practice forever.
Ari attended Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in 2011. The training was a transformative experience, and he has taught and practiced hot yoga consistently ever since. He also has participated in the USA Yoga championships on the National level every year since 2013.
Ari loves to travel, read, meditate, attend concerts, and make art. He co-owned Bikram Yoga Durham in North Carolina for a time, then he became a traveling teacher. He has taught hot yoga in North Carolina, Illinois, Michigan, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, California, Oregon, and Mexico.
Ari loves yoga because it goes beyond exercise; it unites the mind, body, and the soul, through the power of the breath.
Nick attended his first Bikram yoga class while living in Pittsburgh in 2014. He loved it from the very beginning, having come from a background of a lifetime of sports, weightlifting and physical activity. He practiced intermittently for about a year and a half before moving to Chicago in 2016, where, after a little time off from
yoga, he reconnected with his practice and hasn't looked back since. He knew he wanted to make the practice a deeper, more central part of his life, so he attended Yoga Factory teacher training in 2018 and has
been teaching full time ever since.
Nick also has experience and success in the USA Yoga Asana championships, having placed 1st in the state of Illinois in 2017, 1st at the Southern States Regional in 2018 and 5th at USA Yoga Nationals in 2018, earning him an invitation to the International Asana Championships in 2018. Although the concept of yoga competition presents a true paradox, there are many valuable things Nick has
gained from it, not the least of them being the wonderful nationwide community of yoga practitioners who come together to support each other on the stage.
Overall, Nick views his role as a yoga teacher as a role of service, hoping to positively impact and encourage everyone that walks into the room and hold the space necessary for the amazing healing effects of Bikram yoga to make themselves known to each practitioner. He considers Mary Jarvis and Esak Garcia to be his main influences from a
teaching standpoint, and as Mary always says, 'All you need to do yoga is a spine!' Nick hopes to carry that message forward in his teaching and let every student know that this yoga is for them!