Meet the Instructors!
Get to know the brilliant minds who will be sharing their brilliance with you! (More coming soon!)
Kara Baruzzini & Bryan Bennett
Bryan Bennett and Kara Baruzzini started their journey to AcroYoga as Yoga Teachers and started Acro 5 and 6 years ago, respectively. Since their journey with acrobatics began, Bryan and Kara has travelled to, taught, and performed in over 14 different countries. They recently completed their AcroYoga International certification in Berlin, Germany in 2017 and have been sharing AcroYoga as much as possible ever since.
Bryan and Kara love to train handstands and hand to hands at any height and level and want to share this magical experience with you!
“Say Yes!” is a life motto for Yael, a certified yoga teacher. She brings her experience with different cultures, her sense of wonder at the variety in the world, and a sense of play into her practice. Yael's AcroYoga journey began Mother's Day a few years ago. She soon realized that softening and staying in communication were AcroYoga's biggest contributions to her practice, both as a yoga teacher and as a mother. She spots, she fly’s, she bases, and she teaches the fine art of communication to grow our skills in community. Yael brings her attitude of "Say Yes!" into her yoga practice and encourages her students to live their dreams, making her classes accessible to students of any level through the philosophy and principles of yoga alignment and partner work. Yael hopes to inspire thoughtfulness and a sense of possibility that translate into daily life and relationships.
I found AcroYoga soon after getting addicted to yoga in the spring of 2009. Initially I found grounding and satisfaction in the therapeutic/lunar aspects of the practice. A year later, after my yoga practice had taken me into yoga teacher training, i began to find great joy and ability acrobatic side as well. After traveling through Europe and taking part in workshops, immersions, and the Dutch Acrobatic Festival, I returned to Chicago to really embrace the practice. I have been training and teaching since the winter of 2011 and I continue to learn and grow in Chicago.
Paula Bui has been practicing and studying Yoga and AcroYoga since 2009. Each practice continually teaches her about patience and how to be a better person. She became a Certified Yoga and AcroYoga teacher in March and November of 2013, respectively. And then because she is always a student, she went on to complete her AcroYoga Level 2 certification. Paula is a practicing Thai bodyworker, freelance interpreter, and certified badass vegan baker. Community is kind of a big deal, so she figured what better way to celebrate it than organize a festival?
Scott Cooper is an acrobat who has been practicing and teaching since 2011. He has studied Acroyoga, Dutch style acrobatics, circus performance, sports-acrobatics, dance lifts and cheer-leading, etc.. Scott believes in blending principles from all of these styles in order to create maximum versatility in partner movement. For 2 years, he trained and performed with AcroSanct under the tutelage of Master Chinese Acrobat Lu-Yi. Recently, he was a performer on the 2017 tour of the Broadway musical, Pippin - facilitated by Seven Fingers. He now travels all over the world to teach and perform.
Mateo J. Daniel
Mateo is a tumble-monkey mad scientist of movement, joy & human potential based in Austin, TX. His classrooms are safe, supportive playgrounds where students are free to get weird, and encouraged to experiment with connection, levitation & open communication.
Armed with over a dozen certifications and known for his fun, easily accessible approach to the movement arts, Mateo is a favorite on the festival & workshop circuit. Whether you’ve come to study Acro, Slackline, Yoga, Massage, Meditation, Dance, or Samurai-inspired roughhousing, you’re sure to crack a smile, break a sweat, and blast through a few limitations.
Kat has been certified in AcroYoga (Montreal) since 2010, and in yoga (Yogaview Chicago) since 2009. She prioritizes safety and compassionate communication with all practitioners. A working theatre, film, and voiceover artist in Chicago, Kat also holds an MFA in acting from Ohio State and enjoys incorporating other styles and influences into her teaching and performances, such as storytelling, music, dance, the Alexander technique, and martial arts.
Paul Fowler is the Director and Co-‐Founder of Blue Lotus Thai Healing Studies, one of the premier Thai bodywork training programs in the country. He has been teaching Thai massage and meditation for well over a decade. Paul’s classes are laced with wisdom, humor and stories from the Buddhist culture of Thailand. His light-‐hearted and confident approach to the subject as well as his caring attitude toward his students have made him a much loved and sought after teacher in Chicago and beyond.
Joan Gavaler is a choreographer and performer, Professor of Dance at the College of William & Mary, and co-director of Aura CuriAtlas Physical Theatre. Joan has created (and often performed in) over 60 works in collaboration with movement, music, theatre, visual, and literary artists and has been invited by over 40 dance and theatre organizations to present and teach in the U. S., Europe, and Asia. She has taught choreography, modern, ballet, jazz, Contact Improvisation, partnering principles, Acro-Yoga, Alexander Technique, contemplative movement, and physical theatre.
Jim Gilligan wants to turn your world upside down! He began practicing Yoga in 1988 and started formally teaching Yoga in 2012. He Founded AcroYoga Ann Arbor in 2012 and became Michigan’s first certified AcroYoga teacher in 2014. He teaches weekly classes throughout Ann Arbor and surrounding area and workshops internationally and locally.
Jim and his wife Sherryl have teamed up to create Yoga Nature, a nature based Yoga center devoted to helping clients find peace in nature through Yoga, Thai Massage, Reiki, Meditation, and nutrition counseling. Classes, workshops, retreats, and activities offered also include AcroYoga and AcroFit, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Canoeing and Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Skiing, Hiking, Camping, Wilderness Survival Skills, Wild Edible and Medicinal Plant Walks, and more.
Christine is a vibrant, mystical unicorn who teaches mindful acrobatics inspired by yoga and the divine symmetry of the human body. She is a musician, nature lover and handstand junkie with an unquenchable desire for fun.Christine is based in St. Louis and spends her days teaching yoga, AcroYoga, and leading yoga teacher training programs. When she's not teaching or training, she's probably either dancing on aerial fabrics, spinning poi, or singing songs. She is an advocator for conscious evolution with the mission to simply "heal and love". She feels blessed to have landed into the arms of the acro community and be a part of this growing tribe of playmates.
Dan Plehal is an acrobat, yogi, teacher, and theatre director based in Chicago, specializing in Vinyasa and AcroYoga. He received his 200-Hour certification from Nature Yoga Sanctuary in Chicago and has been practicing yoga since 2007. He trained in acrobatics with the FLIC Squola di Circo (circus school) in Torino, Italy, the Accademia dell-Arte in Arezzo, Italy, and the Aloft Loft in Chicago. He is also the co-founder and co-artistic director of Aura Curiatlas Physical Theatre which creates innovative acrobatic-dance-theatre performances and tours throughout the US.
Brandon Joe Rutten
Brandon Joe Rutten has been practicing yoga, in many forms, for almost 20 years. His latest yoga endeavor, AcroYoga, has been an enlightening journey which he has been on since 2008. Combining his love for Yoga, Thai Massage and acrobatics, AcroYoga allows him to share all of these many facets with others while helping grow community. Through the development of community we learn different forms of communication, trust and love!
Tatiana Cira Sanchez, a life-long dancer/yogini/performer/renaissance woman of Shaktimuse is a Chicago-based Certified AcroYoga.org teacher since 2008, training, teaching and cultivating community through her combined love of yoga, acrobatics, and Thai Massage. Versed in over 20 years as a modern/ flamenco dancer, musician, healer, arts/outreach educator, Tati is one of the few 200hr+ Certified Universal Yoga/Dance of Shiva Teachers in Chicago. Her eclectic style focuses on empowering every individual to explore alignment, breath, stillness, self expression/awareness in order to inspire and explore inner strength, trust, communication, loving kindness, and play.
Paul began his practice over twenty years ago in Santa Monica, California and has helped thousands of people find greater health and wholeness through the synergistic benefits of Thai massage, yoga and Ayurveda. He has studied and apprenticed with numerous teachers, including Saul David Raye and Pichest Boonthumme in Thailand. In 2000, Paul founded The School of Thai Yoga Therapy, and co-founded the Chicago School of Thai Massage with Paul Fowler in 2007. He is a respected and well-loved teacher in the Chicago area and nationwide. Paul has been a featured presenter at the Yoga Journal Conference and the Midwest Yoga Conference..
Upon moving to Chicago, Georgia began slacklining and fell in love with the sport and the surrounding community. Incorporating technical skills from climbing, elements of yoga practice, and many opportunities to laugh, slacklining has become an integral part of her life. As a member of the Chicago Slackliners Association, she helps with events, performances, meet-ups, and Breathe Festival. She loves getting new folks excited about slacking as well as learning from others!
Shawn T. Wilson
In 2007, Shawn began practicing AcroYoga, which led him towards yoga. He has been pursuing AcroYoga, participating in regular classes, festivals, workshops, acrobatic intensives, lunar therapeutic healing immersions, Thai massage classes, as well as performing in Partner Acrobatics. Through this art he has found a joy in blending all these aspects in a positive, supportive environment, fostering personal connection, partner connection, and group connection.
Joe is both a certified AcroYogaMTL teacher and a 500 hour certified yoga instructor and has been teaching both since 2011. His additional interests have had him traveling and studying Taoism, shamanism, various forms of energy work and Thai Bodywork. Joe also competes internationally in Cyr Wheel and was part of Team USA in the 2016 World Championships and placed second in the 2017 USA Championships. He teaches from the perspective that learning should be fun and that we should focus more of our energy toward what makes us feel good. His classes are typically filled with a great deal of laughter and joy even while students are meeting new and exciting challenges. Joe teaches his classes to challenge his students to expand beyond what they think is possible.
Sarah Yovovich & Sarah Vosen
Together, the Sarahs have trained and practiced for over 10,000 hours, including rigorous study of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, massage, nutrition, AcroYoga (both are level 2 certified), pilates, meditation, and more. The Sarahs fuse creative energy with this multitude of tools in order to teach people how to achieve health and wellness.
Teacher Line-up subject to change