James informs his teachings with the direct knowledge and experience that yoga can improve anyone’s quality of life, regardless of age or prior condition. His heart-felt passion for yoga and desire to help people feel better through movement create the right classroom conditions for the growth and transformation of his students. His classes and workshops are challenging and fun, and always open to all levels.
As a former United States Marine, veteran personal trainer and licensed massage therapist, he has practiced yoga as his primary discipline for the past 15 years. Through yoga, James has personally experienced such radical transformation physically, mentally and emotionally that it compels him to share what he has learned with others.
A contemporary yogi, James is aware of the unique challenges presented by our culture and his work attempts to integrate the needs of the present with the wisdom of the ancient traditions. His passion for making spirituality accessible and inspirational to everyone has led him to search deep into the mysteries of the world’s most esoteric traditions and emerge with something valuable and practical for modern people.
In his role as yoga educator James has brought the message of yoga to literally thousands of students. He has personally trained and certified over 350 teachers.
Amy Patee is a yoga and authentic-living expert who inspires countless individuals to remember the truth of who they really are and to live and express as that in the world.
In 1995, she was introduced to yoga purely by chance when she purchased a yoga VHS tape by Kathy Smith at the Goodwill. In the years to follow, she experimented with yoga while suffering from bouts of anorexia and depression. Then one morning she experienced a life-altering epiphany when she heard an internal voice forcefully declare, “I can’t live like this anymore. I need to practice yoga every day to heal myself.” She then began practicing yoga in earnest, referring to this early transformative period as her “raw yoga days.” Despite not even owning a yoga mat, she persevered in her practice, often beginning at 4 a.m. Her anorexia slowly subsided and her depression began to lift. During an especially intense and emotional practice session, a mantra began to resonate within her: “Everything was already OK.” For the first time she saw the truth of life — the basis of everything is love.
In 2001, Amy left her corporate job as an advertising manager, gave away most of her possessions, and left for Mount Madonna in California to embark on her first yoga teacher training program. She had found her true calling in life. Her soul had awakened.
Amy later explored many other avenues of healing (see professional credentials). Many experiences, such as multiple bouts of severe depression, anxiety and gallbladder surgery, fueled her desire to live more truthfully and authentically. She is no stranger to suffering. She gets it and extends this real understanding to her students and the people she meets through compassion. She also understands what it means to truly heal and has experienced the truth that everything we seek and need is within. Healing is always the result of coming back home to our authentic selves.
Presently you can find Amy reveling in her human experience —unabashedly laughing out loud, making inappropriate wisecracks while teaching yoga, co-producing the Minneapolis Yoga Conference, walking her dog Ellie, bringing to life her creative vision, making earrings, and playing as much as possible.
Jim began his studies in Yoga, Tantra and Ayurveda in 1997. He was experiencing hip pain and decided to see a friend who was a physical therapist. The therapist told him that tight hamstrings were the cause of his hip pain and Jim decided to take an introductory yoga course. Not only did this solve the hamstring trouble but he learned that Yoga was concerned with much more than the physical.
For the next three years, Jim bounced around from one yoga studio to the next, until he met Paul Weitz, a teacher at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago. Two classes a week turned into five classes a week as well as weekend workshops with top teachers from across the U.S. who stopped in at Moksha.
Jim then completed Moksha's teacher training with Daren Friesen, traveled to Ukraine for a two-month intensive training with master teacher Andrey Lappa and assisted Gabriel Halpern in his therapeutic classes at The Yoga Circle.
In 2002, Jim met his teacher, Rod Stryker. Rod was in Chicago to conduct a 21-day intensive training. Rod's teaching included everything Jim feels Yoga to be: asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha, kriya, mantra, meditation and elements of Ayurveda. He attended the morning practices and met with Rod one-on-one.
Since then, he completed and now assists in several teacher trainings in Rod's Para Yoga lineage. Jim is also a popular presenter at conferences, workshops and retreats in the U.S. and abroad.