Our Staff — the "Beyond Zen Tribe"
Natalie Kilheeney, Owner and Acupuncturist
Natalie Kilheeney, BA, MATCM, L. Ac., DIPL. OM, is a Licensed Acupuncturist and herbalist certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) as a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, the board’s highest achievement. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and graduated with a master’s degree from the renowned Yo San University of Traditional Chinese medicine in Los Angeles, California. During her program, she finished 3,375 hours of classroom education and clinical training. She also completed an extensive residency program at the Venice family Clinic Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center, working side by side with MD’s, Nurse Practitioners, and other health care practitioners in Integrative pain management. Natalie also worked at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, California, as an assistant wellness coordinator for detoxification and cleansing retreats for Dr. Maoshing Ni.
Since graduating in 2013, Natalie studied under an acupuncturist with over 16 years of experience and administered nearly 6,000 acupuncture treatments covering a broad range of health conditions in internal medicine and health restoration. She continues her private practice and holds a special interest in pain management, stress reduction, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, migraines, and fertility. She has been a guest lecturer on medical panels and in community seminars on topics including pain management, nutrition, emotional health, and insomnia. In addition, her scope of practice includes qigong, meditation, tai chi, and various energy healing techniques.
Natalie grew up in Southwest Michigan and after Acupuncture helped her successfully on her journey, she was inspired to share her passion with others. She is fully committed to understanding and supporting each individual on their own path to wellbeing and is known for her gentle healing techniques, and compassionate nature.
Natalie is married to her husband Nick and has a beautiful German Shepard named Bodhi. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, yoga, zumba and spending quality time with her family.
Jennifer Parker, Studio Manager and Instructor
Jennifer has always been inspired by the power of the body and what it can achieve when you challenge yourself. She has participated in many activities from team sports to horseback riding. After the birth of her son, she reconnected with her love of yoga. As the owner of The Lucky Lotus, a yoga jewelry line available at Beyond Zen, she encourages living true to ones self. She wants to share with others the way yoga can change lives by allowing the power of practice to guide you through life's journey. Breathe, be present, let go of judgement and expectations are key aspects of her practice that she encourages her students to focus on. She believes yoga is a great escape that can be reached just by stepping on your mat. Heavily influenced by music of all kinds, she finds value in playing many different genres of music during her classes. Jennifer has been trained through YogaFit and earned her Aerial Ascension Yoga Teacher Certification through Shanti School of Yoga. Jennifer continues her journey with instructing as she is currently training through Balanced Body for Pilates Reformer training. She is excited to be part of the Beyond Zen family and is eager to share the love, joy and fun she discovered through her personal journey.
Anitra Bollenbacher, Massage Therapist
I was inspired to become a massage therapist by my husband who is a migraine sufferer. I believe that the body is amazingly knitted together and everything is connected in some way. My passion is to be able to help those who either need to just relax for an hour or alleviate the pain and discomfort from tight muscles. I am certified in Pre-natal Massage, Swedish, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point and Reflexology.
Melina Dailey, Massage Therapist
Melina graduated from the Academy of Somatic Healing Arts where she was trained in Swedish, Sports and Neuromuscular Massage. She worked at the Pregnancy Massage Center after training with Carol Osborn. She is a certified Reiki and Quantum Touch practitioner and was inducted into the Sufi Healing Order by Devi Tide.
She specializes in pain relief with gentle but deep myofascial release
Monte Aukes, Massage Therapist
Monte Aukes is a Massage Therapist with 12 years experience. He offers a Medical Style Massage, which is deep tissue, but “not painful” and is very effective for pain, stiffness and injuries. Cold laser therapy, castor oil packs and other complimentary treatments are included as-needed at no extra charge, adding great value to his service!
Monte is also skilled at Manual Lymph Drainage, which is great for nutritional detoxing, pregnancy, puffiness, skin care, energy and more. His level of certification qualifies him to work after surgeries too, such as face lifts, to remove swelling and bruising, while speeding recovery.
Skin care is another professional trade that Monte offers as an Esthetician level Cosmetologist. He is planning to offer facials, peels and sugar hair removal at Beyond Zen; so be sure to ask him about it.
Monte’s had a strong personal interest in the natural healing arts for many years. He’s knowledgeable about herbs, chi gong, meditation, philosophy and so forth. So if you’re looking for something useful and don’t quite know what you’re looking for; be sure to strike-up the conversation during your session! He can be very helpful.
Yi Yang, Massage Therapist
Yi is a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) and member of the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP). She is a graduate of the American College of Massage School in Elkhart, IN and is certified in Swedish, Deep Tissue, Japanese Shiatsu, Trigger Point, Myofascial release, Reflexology and Hot Stone Massage. Her massage styles range from stress reduction and relaxation, to sports massage. Yi has 13 years of experience, including working with a Japanese teacher in Saipan and in the USA, before becoming engaged in private practice. Yi’s mission is to support individuals in achieving life balance through personal wellness. She is a firm believer in the inseparable connection between body and mind.
Caroline Blue, Instructor
Caoline is a senior Communication Studies major at Saint Mary’s in the fall. She enjoys traveling, drinking coffee, and knitting. She is from Goshen, IN and grew up playing softball. During her freshman year of college, she started doing yoga as a way to switch up her workout and she has been hooked ever since. She is currently finishing her training through Yogafit and is eager to learn from her students as well as continue her training. Caroline is involved in Yoga Club and is on Student Activities Board at SMC. She can’t wait to share her love of yoga with you all! Namaste.
Cathy Roe, Instructor
Cathy Roe has been a leader in the dance and fitness industry for over two decades, pioneering fitness and dance education through her instructional videos and DVDs since 1990 and producing over 150 films which sell internationally. She has been named a master teacher by numerous educational institutions, and has been the recipient of many choreography awards, including the prestigious New York Film and Television Award for her choreographic work while at Hong Kong Television. Her credentials also include acting as Dance Director for the University of Hawaii–Hilo, teacher/choreographer for Hong Kong Television, adjudicator for numerous competitions and last but not least, the hardest job of them all….dance and fitness studio owner and director. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in Dance Education, certifications include Group Fitness (ACE),Yoga, Pilates, Barre and Zumba.
Colleen Spano, Instructor
Colleen believes that yoga is for everybody, including children. She is a 200-RYT, with additional certification from ChildLight Yoga. Prior to her yoga training Colleen earned a Master’s degree in elementary/early childhood education, has numerous certifications in behavior modification, and is a multi-business owner. She has spent most of her career working with children and families with special needs and understands the great need in our society to be able to calm and regulate our bodies and emotions. She enjoys watching people learn what a wonderful gift their bodies are and helping them learn techniques to ease the stress of our busy busy world.
Emily Hardin, Instructor
Yoga is not just about the asanas, its a way of life. For 12 years Emily has been practicing yoga and has been teaching for the past 4 years. She is a 200ERYT and currently finishing her 300 hour training to become a 500 RYT. She is certified to teach ashtanga, yin, vinyasa, yoga nidra, meditation, restorative and children's yoga. Along with being a yoga teacher, Emily is a Behavior Consultant and works with individuals in increasing coping skills through the practice of yoga. Emily is also currently in a PhD program for Developmental Psychology. She hopes to one day use her knowledge in yoga and psychology to change lives and perceptions in the community, society and the world!
Jamie Robinson, Instructor
Jody Bruetman, Instructor
Judith Johns, Instructor
I have been a member of Pilates Method Alliance and a Pilates Method Alliance Certified Pilates teacher for 3 years and a Yoga Alliance member and Registered Yoga Teacher 200 for 2 years. My major focus is anatomy and body alignment .Both Pilates and Yoga are exercises for a lifetime with emphasis on posture, body function, strength, balance and body/mind consciousness. My Pilates clients range from beginners to very advanced. Many of my clients are current or former athletes. I teach all Pilates equipment as well as mat classes. In addition I am a Pilates Pre/Post Natal specialist. Both Pilates and Yoga can assist in preventing injury by body awareness and balancing the body with focus on deep body muscles and structure. A background as a nurse clinical specialist assists me with teaching clients with medical issues ranging from joint and spine to fibromyalgia etc.
The yoga that I teach is restorative emphasizing body movements to strengthen and release areas of the body that are tight or causing discomfort.
Kate Mainieri, Instructor
I fell in love with Pilates through my own personal practice and decided it was something I really wanted to share with others. In 2010, I completed my comprehensive teacher training through Body Arts and Science International (BASI). I had taught for several years in large membership gyms before opening my own private Pilates studio in my hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2012. I believe in teaching proper body mechanics and functional movement so that my clients can utilize what they've learned in the studio throughout their days and in their personal fitness practices, helping to keep their bodies safe and strong. I relocated to Michiana this past August, leaving my studio and the comforts of home behind—I couldn't be more grateful to have found the community at Beyond Zen. Here, I've discovered a newfound love of yoga and met such wonderful people. Now, I am beyond excited to share my love of Pilates with all of you!
Kerry Perry, Instructor
Kerry fell deeply in love with yoga at the beginning of 2016 when she completed her Registered Yoga Teacher Training. Her initial plan was to complete the certification solely for herself to deepen her knowledge of yoga. Little did she know that half way through the certification process she would have an overwhelming feeling to share this practice with everyone she met. Her goal for each class is to encourage students to be themselves and take care of their mind and body. She wants to make each person feel comfortable in the skin they are in. Being the mother of two girls has given her the motivation to do the same for herself. She is very excited to share her practice and to be a part of the Beyond Zen Tribe.
Kristy Howell, Instructor
I am motivated and inspired by intentional, functional movement and I believe in honoring your body where you are in the present moment. My goal is to give clients a great high intensity, full body workout and have them be able to KEEP COMING BACK because their bodies feel good and are pain free. My teaching style is uplifting, motivational, and challenging while giving great attention to form and offering modifications for all levels. My classes are informed by ongoing study in multiple disciplines, international travel, and meditation.
Lindsey Frick, Instructor
I have been practicing yoga for 3 years. I love flowing, guided by what my body needs. I enjoy meditating before practice. The mind-body connection deeply inspires me. Yoga reminds me that all we need is already within us and that there is love residing within our center and it is always here for us to come home to.
I feel my best when I am outside and/or moving my body. My free spirit loves exploring new things, traveling to new places and meeting new people. I am 25 years young, yet my soul is old. I see the world with love and as the energy that we are. I believe in more than what we choose to show of ourselves. I intend to hold a safe space for creating presence, healing, and personal growth. I feel passionate about freedom, mental and physical health, nature and learning. Yoga has inspired me to find awareness and peace with fear based emotions such as anxiety and depression.
With that, please know that you are truly your own greatest teacher. Listening to your body is something only you can do for yourself. I offer assists during class to ensure safe alignment and stabilization to allow freedom in the body. I gratefully earned my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training certification at Island Yoga with Rachel Brathen and Lara Heimann.
I look forward to connecting with you! Much love and gratitude.
“I have no desire to save you. I only wish to show you the light that exists within you, so you can save yourself” -Billy Chapata"
Melanie Como-Dits, Instructor
Melanie began her yoga journey over three years ago and is passionate about yoga and its benefits, both mentally and physically. Encountering stress and anxiety in many aspects of her life, Melanie embraced the opportunity of incorporating yoga into her everyday life. Finding the way to the mat has changed and shaped her life in more ways than she could have imagined, finding strength and power in the variety of practices and challenges that yoga provides! Finding the inner peace and serenity in her practice, Melanie has made yoga a priority in her everyday life.
Teaching and sharing the joy of yoga is a true gift in her life, and Melanie continues to expand her training through YogaFit and has recently began her Pilates Certification training through Balanced Body.
Melanie is proud to be part of this amazing community and desires to meet each student at their level of experience, encouraging them to challenge themselves while providing a safe, no judgement zone to grow and expand their practice. Melanie hopes to inspire others to find strength, joy and inner peace in coming to their mat to practice yoga.
Pam Heyne-Thompson, Instructor
Pam started practicing yoga almost nine years ago. She is grateful for the opportunity to experience yoga and it's benefits. She continues to be inspired by her teachers and how yoga has become her passion in her life. She is looking forward to sharing the yoga experience that she has come to know and love. If you would like to start doing yoga, but aren't sure where to start, she would love to be a part of your yoga journey. She believes that small tweaks in our lives create huge changes.
Patty Thornton, Instructor
As a PMA certified instructor, Patty discovered this modality in l999 and has been passionate about Pilates ever since. She began her journey with a Physical Mind Institute certification and became the first certified instructor in South Bend, Ind. Since then, Patty has attained certifications in areas that include mat, reformer, cadillac and small equipment from such acclaimed institutes at PHI Pilates and Balanced Body.
Having been involved within the fitness industry for the past 26 years, Patty considers helping her students attain their fitness goals among her highest priority. As an AFAA certified group exercise instructor and personal trainer, along with being a 200- hour certified yoga teacher from YogaFit, Patty continues to expand her knowledge by regularly attending workshops and conferences around the country.
Mary Lord, Instructor
I taught school for 30 years! Most of my time was spent at Prairie Vista Elementary School. I started coming to Beyond Zen 1 1/2 years ago. I fell in love with Restorative Yoga and from then on I was hooked! About 6 months ago, because of the wonderful support from the tribe at Beyond Zen, I started to dream of teaching yoga. I started my training to earn my Yoga Teacher Certification and I am excited to follow my dream! I think we continue learning something new every single day. No matter your age nor life experience, there is always something new to be taught. That is what keeps us young! I am so excited to be part the of Beyond Zen Tribe and their positive atmosphere! Beyond Zen Studio is my happy place!
Amanda Losch, Instructor
Amanda is a trail ultra runner and as been an athlete her whole life. Initially, she turned to yoga after years of running-related injuries. The more yoga became a part of her life, the more bene-fits she started to see in her running. This spoke to her and she decided that she wanted to be-come a yoga teacher to help others (from all walks of life, not just athletes) to stay fluid and pre-vent injuries through yoga practice. She encourages everyone to come to their mat with the in-tention to be their best and honor their own body. “It’s called a yoga practice, not a yoga per-fect.”
In addition to physical benefits of yoga, she strongly believes in the benefits of yoga breath and meditation. She loves to teach others how to incorporate them into their daily life for overall well-ness.
She completed her 200RYT at Inhale Exhale School of Yoga and her favorite classes to teach are a mix of Vinyasa flow and Power yoga. She is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and honored to be a part of the Beyond Zen tribe.
Rachael Von Eschenbach, Instructor
Rachael was introduced to yoga and meditation as a child in her living room, where her mother organized classes before yoga studios were common. Her personal practice has been her trusted friend through rehabilitation from injuries, loss of loved ones, the joys and trials of motherhood, and each major life transition. She continues to be humbled and inspired by yoga’s gifts of increased strength, vitality, and physical health, along with contentment, patience, and self-awareness.
She has studied many forms of yoga, including Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Anusara, and Mindfulness Meditation, and her teaching is an integration of the juiciest parts of each! Rachael completed her 200-hour Teacher Training Certification in Austin, TX at Yoga Yoga Studios in 2007. Before moving back to Granger in 2016, she lived in London, UK, where she completed the Foundations of Mindfulness course at the Oxford University Mindfulness Center and obtained a certification to teach Mindfulness to Elementary School students through the Mindfulness in Schools Project. She is excited to be a part of this wonderful community and strives to meet each student at their level of experience, supporting them in challenging themselves while safely honoring their current physical ability. Her intention is for her students to leave her classes feeling strong, centered, and uplifted!
Rae Kujawski, Massage Therapist
From a young age Rae has been surrounded by healers, from hospital nurses to Reiki Masters, who taught her the power of the body-mind connection.
While attending art school in CA she recognized her passion for working with her hands, and, after graduating went on to look for a way to combine what she learned in art school with what she wanted to learn about the human body. She was pointed in the direction of the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago, where she was able to train in both Eastern and Western modalities of healing, and, with this training has become evermore inspired and motivated by the healing power of touch.
Today Rae is a licensed Bodywork Therapist specializing in Craniosacral Therapy and whole-body assessments, with training in three types of Cupping Therapy and moxibustion. Her work has taken her through Chiropractic and Chinese Clinical settings where she has worked with acute and chronic conditions, postural balance, injury prevention, lymphatic drainage, and psychosomatic conditions.
She believes that we all have the ability to heal ourselves when we realize where and how we hold onto stress or trauma. Her work is to bring clients to a space where they can know, feel, and cultivate their own physical and mental healing processes.
Tara Hennig, Instructor
Tara fell in love with Pilates during her 15 year career as a professional dancer. She received her BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University in Indianapolis, after which she danced professionally in the Gregory Hancock Dance Theater, and Carnival Cruise Lines. For 13 years she travelled the world on many CCL ships as Dance Captain managing and performing in multimillion dollar production shows. Pilates made such a huge difference in in her balance, performance ability, strength, and endurance, extending the length of her dance career. After retiring in 2013 she decided to make it her new career choice. Tara recently completed her BASI Pilates comprehensive teacher training. Her main focus in her practice is proper muscle recruitment, form, and mind and body connection and balance.
She is looking forward to sharing her knowledge, and honored to be a part of the Beyond Zen family.
Sam England, Instructor
Samantha realizes balancing the mind, body, and spirit are essential for a holistic lifestyle and spiritual growth. Life’s journey presented yoga to Sam when she needed it the most. Having practiced for several years, at first she thought yoga was just a workout. She started to deepen her practice under the renowned Lee Ann Louis-Prescott of Brighton, MI and registered it was much more! After studying yoga philosophy, nutrition, chakras, Reiki, and Ayurveda she knew that yoga was life. After hours of meditation asking for a sign, she was ready for a spiritual, life-changing event. Sam ultimately wanted to spread the enlightenment that yoga gave to her to others. Sam found the eminent Brooke Vladic at Yoga Life in St. Joseph, MI and completed her RYT 200-hour All-Level Power/Vinyasa.
Sam loves teaching alignment-based, Ashtanga-inspired, Vinyasa flows that link each breath to each movement. When she is not on her mat she enjoys being in nature, traveling, and spending time with family and her four-legged friend, Hank. Sam is extremely grateful and thankful for being able to continue her own spiritual journey as a teacher, and for the opportunity to connect with others building unity. OM shanti!
“Manu eva manusyanam karanam bandha moksayoh - As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your mind. If you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated, you are liberated.”
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