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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Total Body Yoga: Begins New Chapter

Dec 28, 2011 12:31PM ● By Peggy Malecki

Centrally located in the southeastern corner of Mundelein, Total Body Yoga (TBY) has a long history and following in the northern suburbs. Founded by Sylvia Mordini in the early 2000s, the studio has been owned by Adam Braun since July 2011. Braun and his team of 17 instructors have renovated and remodeled the space to create what he calls a “casual and Zen-like” community atmosphere. “We are creating a center for the healing arts,” says Braun. “We provide a welcoming place for the community to come and learn how to find happiness—physically, spiritually and emotionally.”

TBY offers 50 weekly classes for beginners, children and families, as well as intermediate and advanced students. Workshops, meditation and special classes often feature guest instructors like Gabriel Halpern, Todd Norian, and Shantala. Joining in TBY’s healing atmosphere is Carrie Wilhelm, an acupuncturist, and Jennifer Stanley, a naturopath, who keep office hours within the rooms of the studio.

“We are very relaxed and casual, which is great for someone who is just starting,” says Braun. Small touches—like a personal greeting and the gentle smell of incense—makes everyone feel relaxed and welcome, he adds. “Our instructors are non-judgmental and ready to meet a new student wherever they are on their personal path of healing. They do not have expectations of where someone ‘should’ be in their practice.” First classes are always free, which makes it easy to get started, he adds.

TBY’s atmosphere is a reflection of Braun’s focus on the yoga philosophies of consciousness and peaceful existence. His journey began in 2000, when he was in his early 20s and moved to the Chicago area. Unfulfilled by his college experience, Braun worked various jobs and tried to find his path. One day, he struck up a conversation with an acquaintance who’d had a very different life experience than he. To Braun’s surprise, the two shared similar viewpoints on many aspects of life. “Somehow we’d both wound up at almost the same point in our lives, yet we came from two very different places,” he says. “It then occurred to me there was some greater truth or reality out there, and I needed to find it.”

Braun’s friend suggested he read Be Here Now, a 1971 book about spirituality, yoga and meditation written by Baba Ram Dass.

The book’s tale of one man’s spiritual journey sparked Braun’s interest in yoga. In July 2002, he enrolled in a summer class in Vernon Hills, went to his first session with instructor Bruce Symonds and found what he was looking for. Braun recalls, “I felt so good, I practically floated out of the room. Yoga really resonated with me. By September, I was enrolled in yoga teacher training at the Temple of Kriya Yoga, in Chicago.” Braun taught at local fitness centers for several years and eventually become the yoga director at a studio in Buffalo Grove. As Braun grew spiritually, he considered opening his own studio to further share his passion, and when he learned Mordini was selling TBY, it triggered him to take action. Several months later, he purchased the studio and began to make it his own, shaping it around what he calls his still-evolving philosophy of teaching and life focus.

Braun built his personal philosophy through direct observation of everyday life; locally and globally. His travels since 2006 have taken him to six countries in Europe, plus China, the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America. He stays closely connected with Kriya, as well, continually learning and improving his practice. Almost all of his knowledge and wisdom, he states, “Springs from my guiding light and teacher, their spiritual leader at the Temple of Kriya, Sri Goswami Kriyananda.”

A passion for leading and sharing a life centered on the consciousness of yoga guides Braun as he continues to build the TBY community. “Total Body Yoga is built on an amazing community of students and teachers,” he says. “It is not just a place to come, take yoga and leave. We are a community of practitioners and teachers who are devoted, loving and connected.”

Total Body Yoga is located at 210 Terrace Dr., Mundelein. For additional information and a complete list of classes and workshops, call 847-266-9642, or visit