Beth Heller, M.S., R.Y.T.
Tamara Quinn, B.S., RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher), Yoga Swami
Beth is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Pulling Down the Moon, Inc., Integrative Care for Fertility (ICF ™). Beth earned her Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 1999 and prior to founding PDtM, she spent four years working as a Nutrition Researcher for the Women’s Walking Program, a large National Institutes of Health-funded study that examined the impact of walking exercise on the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of menopausal women. As she witnessed women become stronger, less anxious and less depressed as a result of adding walking to their lives Beth had her first introduction to the powerful connection between mind and body.
Beth came to yoga in 1998 when she realized that a stressed out graduate student like herself was likely to have difficulty starting a family. After stumbling into a yoga class and loving it, Beth began a regular practice. Soon thereafter, her periods, which had been absent for four years, returned without change to her diet, body composition or exercise levels. Beth decided there was something unique about yoga that had helped to restore her reproductive function. In confirmation of this hunch, several months after her menses returned, Beth became pregnant. Unfortunately the pregnancy ended in miscarriage and it was back to the drawing board.
Still confident that yoga was a key element of reproductive health, Beth began trying to conceive again. As she struggled with this challenge, her interest in yoga and fertility grew and led her into deeper practices of breathing, meditation and the work of bringing yoga practice “off the mat” into daily living. She entered teacher training at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago where she researched and wrote her thesis in 2001 on yoga practices to restore fertility. She also began work with anayurvedic physician who suggested changes to her diet and life habits. Eighteen months after her first miscarriage Beth conceived again, had a wonderful, healthy pregnancy that ended with a sad surprise, the stillbirth of a daughter at 38 weeks due to unknown causes.
It was in that moment of loss that Beth learned the real value of the yoga she had been studying. In addition to calming and balancing her physical body, the practices of asana, breathing and meditation had provided her with an inner stability, or peace, that she had not recognized until that moment. This peace allowed Beth to grieve the loss of her daughter fully, keep an open heart and have hope for the future even in the darkest hours. Shortly after the loss of her daughter she founded Pulling Down the Moon with fellow yogi Tami Quinn.
Simultaneous to the “birth” of PDtM, Beth returned to the work of getting pregnant. This time she went directly into medical fertility treatment. After five rounds of clomid and another miscarriage she conceived the pregnancy that ended with the healthy birth of her son Jackson. At the age of 37, two years after Jack’s birth, Beth added acupuncture and herbs to her yoga regimen and conceived again after only one month of “trying.” With the birth of her second son, Calvin, her family is now complete.
Throughout every aspect of the journey, the teachings of yoga and the wisdom of traditional healing therapies were her guide and solace. Beth’s goal in founding Pulling Down the Moon was to teach the tools that allowed her to learn and grow through one of the most challenging times in her life.
Beth is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. She teaches yoga in classes and in one-on-one instruction throughout the Chicago-land area and is a creator, co-director and teacher for Pulling Down the Moon, Yoga for Fertility.
Tami is the Co-Founder of Pulling Down the Moon, a revolutionary holistic fertility center that has changed the standard of care for women experiencing infertility. Tami was called to this work after a 14-year career in the corporate world, most recently with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia where she spent 8-1/2 years in advertising and marketing. Struggling to find balance between career and family, Tami turned to yoga and discovered ancient healing techniques that not only helped with her stress, but also provided tools to help live a more balanced life. These tools also gave her the courage to leave the corporate world and the financial security it represented. Remembering her own difficulty in conceiving her twins, Tami knew these yoga tools would be meaningful for women experiencing similar challenges.
She became a registered yoga teacher (RYT) through Rod Stryker of the Para Yoga School based in Los Angeles, California. Her training includes in-depth study of the principles and practices of the mystical yogic tradition including Kriology and Ayurveda, which are considered to be yoga sciences as well as spiritual paths. Tami is a reiki master, a disciple of the Kriya yoga lineage through her guru Goswami Kriyananda, and an ordained Swami. Her studies have included the doctrine of karma, meditation/guided imagery, hatha yoga, breathing techniques, sacred texts, astrology, religions of the world, kriya yoga philosophy/psychology, dream interpretation, the language of symbols, and pastoral care. Tami uses her training as a swami to create fertility specific rituals, clearings, meditations and yoga classes which help women struggling with disappointment, loss and the stresses associated with infertility. Many of these yoga techniques can be found in her book, “Fully Fertile, A 12-Week Plan to Optimal Fertility” which she co-authored with business partner, Beth Heller. Tami also completed Level 1 training in iRest, a restorative yoga technique that has been shown to help soldiers returning from Iraq with post traumatic stress disorder.
Tami has a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Tami still considers herself a student, learning new spiritual lessons daily from her Guru and the life lessons of inspiration, hope and courage from her students.
Chicago Area Staff
Michaela Pope, Yoga Instructor
Ann-Marie Vigano, Yoga Instructor
Patricia Riojas, Yoga Instructor
Kara Gillespie, Yoga Instructor
Caroline Joyce, Yoga Instructor
Michaela first discovered yoga in 2000, while she was a graduate student in psychology at Loyola College in Maryland. She practiced intermittently in gyms and studios over the years, always loving how yoga made her feel both strong and at peace. In 2008, Michaela’s appreciation for yoga deepened after she underwent several stressful life events in quick succession, including the death of her father. During this time Michaela was able to find solace through yoga, and wanted to be able to pass that feeling on to others who may be struggling or simply looking for respite from life's daily stressors. With that in mind, she enrolled in the 200-Hour Teacher Training Program at the Shambhava School of Yoga at Chi-Town Shakti in Chicago, a Yoga Alliance accredited program with a heavy emphasis on meditation and yogic philosophy. Michaela continued her yoga teacher training at Chi-Town Shakti by completing a 30-Hour Prenatal Yoga Teacher Certificaton Program in 2011.
As a yoga instructor, Michaela strives to create a setting where students feel comfortable yet challenged, and that they leave her classes feeling better than when they arrived. Michaela truly believes in the philosophy behind Pulling Down the Moon's Yoga for Fertility Classes, and is thrilled to be a part of the Pulling down the Moon team.
Ann-Marie Vigano first became curious about yoga as a young girl when she found a book about yoga at the library. She took the book home and started practicing yoga postures on her own. Although yoga was in her consciousness from an early age, it was not until she was seeking stress relief from her work as an attorney that she first approached yoga as an adult. What started out as a weekly lunchtime yoga class soon transformed into a daily personal practice. When she realized that yoga had shifted from a passion to a calling, she enrolled in a teacher training course at Spirit Rising Yoga and earned a certification to teach Kundalini Yoga in 2007. She began teaching and offering yoga and meditation workshops in various settings. Teaching yoga changed her life and brought a new sense of love and commitment to her work and personal practice. Most importantly, it brought a sense of deep peace in her personal life.
Eventually, she left her job as an attorney and traveled to India to experience yoga at its source. When she returned to the United States, she expanded her training to include prenatal yoga, earning a certificate of specialty in Conscious Pregnancy, a comprehensive course that covers all aspects of pregnancy, birth, and post-natal care from the yogic perspective. To her great delight, the day before the Conscious Pregnancy course began, she and her husband learned that she was pregnant. As she immersed herself in two weeks of intensive prenatal yoga training, she absorbed the yogic teachings on a very deep level, applying and experiencing them for herself. Yoga carried her through a blissful pregnancy and the unmedicated birth of her son.
Ann-Marie Vigano credits yoga with transforming her life and outlook in a very positive way. She loves to share the gems of ancient yogic wisdom that can help us navigate our noisy, fast-paced lives and cultivate a space of deep inner peace and awareness. In her prenatal classes, she uses breathing, movement, postures, and meditation to help expectant mothers stretch, breath, relax, and connect to their own strength and who they are, as well as to the bliss and joy of nurturing themselves and their growing babies as they prepare to bring new life into the world.
Patricia has been a student of yoga since 2004. Upon taking her first class, she experienced the immediate healing benefits of the ancient practice. In an effort to deepen her practice and studies of yogic philosophy, she enrolled in Moksha Yoga Center’s 14-month teacher training program along with her husband. She is a certified yoga and prenatal yoga instructor.
She has studied with many national and global teachers of different yoga methodologies and is inspired by the safety and alignment of Iyengar Yoga. She has a personal practice of meditation, pranayama, Hatha yoga, and continues her studies of classical yoga and the Mahadevi (The Mother Goddess).
Patricia whole-heartedly believes in the transformative power of yoga, and the practice as a whole (incorporating the eight limbs of yoga in her daily life). “Yoga enables us to continuously connect with ourselves on a deep level, allowing us to uncover the truth within ourselves, this truth is complete liberation.”
Her own fertility journey allowed her to look to yoga as a form of healing, nourishment and self- acceptance, enabling her to incorporate holistic approaches in her journey to pregnancy. She hopes to share the many healing benefits of yoga with others and inspire them to become their own gurus (teachers) of self-knowledge, self-love and self-compassion in everyday life.
Kara Gillespie is a KRI certified yoga teacher, and began practicing yoga in 2005. In 2009, she came across Pulling Down the Moon through her own fertility journey, and found that yoga and meditation greatly reduced her stress and anxiety, gave her more energy, and made her feel calmer and more at peace.
Yoga and meditation quickly became an essential part of Kara’s daily life, and in 2010, she left her job as a high school English teacher to follow her heart and teach yoga. Kara credits Pulling Down the Moon and her personal yoga practice for getting her through some very difficult times, including the loss of her first child.
In 2011, Kara gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and has been teaching prenatal yoga since his arrival. She strives to create a balance in her classes that both challenge and relax the mind, body, and spirit.
An athlete her whole life, Caroline began practicing yoga to enhance her love of sports; playing soccer, biking and running. In the beginning, it was a complementary and effective technique to build strength and prevent injuries and it felt wonderful!Through a regular practice combined with excursions to India the depth and dynamics of yoga became apparent and her spiritual journey began. Caroline completed a Kundalini Yoga 220 hour Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India in 2009. She enjoys both challenging and gentle classes that allows students to gain insights into themselves. Caroline is passionate about bringing yoga into everyday life on and off the mat.
Anna Pyne, Chicago, On maternity leave until July 2013 :)
Lisa Seaman, Chicago, Available: Sunday, Monday, and Thursday
He-Joo Yu, Arlington Heights, Available: Wednesday and Saturday
Jonathan Walton, Warrenville, Available: Tuesday and Friday
Frida Rosen, Arlington Heights, Available: Monday and Thursday, Chicago: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday
Anna Pyne LAc, MSOM, FABORM, has been an Illinois state licensed acupuncturist since 2001. Anna graduated from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine and holds a master's degree in Science and Oriental Medicine. She is nationally board certified in acupuncture and Chinese herbology by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She became a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (FABORM) in April 2010. Anna currently practices acupuncture and Oriental medicine at Pulling Down The Moon. Her specialty is in obstetrics and gynecological conditions, with particular attention to enhancing fertility and the treatment of infertility. In addition to her current practice, Anna is a clinic supervisor at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
Anna has been a member of the Illinois State Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine since 2001. Her past work experience includes three years on staff at Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group's Center for Integrative Medicine, in Chicago. Her practice there focused primarily on the treatment of infertility and fertility enhancement.
"Growing up in a family of physicians I knew I always wanted to do something in the health field. My father specialized in obstetrics and gynecology, and my mother was a radiologist. I have always gravitated more towards natural medicine. Herbology is what initially drew me to Oriental medicine. After beginning school, I saw the importance of the combination of acupuncture with herbs, and how it helps enhance treatment results," says Anna.
Lisa Seaman specializes in reproductive health and pain management.
As a practitioner of Chinese medicine and the mother of three grown children (midwife attended, drug-free births), she is committed to helping couples realize healthy, safe, and empowering birth experiences.
Lisa is licensed in Illinois and board certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). In addition, she is a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (FABORM). As a graduate of Midwest College of Oriental Medicine (MCOM), her foreign internship was with sister school Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Guangzhou, China.
Lisa is actively engaged in post graduate studies in the areas of: infertility-male/female, menstrual irregularities, endometriosis, PCOS, PMS, pregnancy, postpartum care, menopause, and pain management. She holds professional memberships with the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), American Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AAAOM), the Illinois Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ILAAOM), and RESOLVE.
Lisa’s personal philosophy to healthcare is reflected in her integrative approach. With Chinese medicine as a foundation she also addresses diet, exercise, lifestyle, meditation, and emotional well-being. Working together to map out the best plan, your journey to health and happiness unfolds.
He-Joo Yu is a licensed acupuncturist in Illinois. She graduated Cum Laude with a Master’s of Science in Oriental Medicine and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Midwest College of Oriental Medicine in Racine, Wisconsin. She has been a licensed health care practitioner for over 15 years. She was a physical therapist in Korea where she received her internship training at Seoul National Rehabilitation Hospital and Kyunghee Oriental Medicine Hospital. After she finished her internship, she worked at Seoul Christian Western and Oriental Medicine co-operate hospital. As a physical therapist, she treated many internal and neurology cases. It was at this hospital that she experienced the use of integrative medicine, combining both physical therapy as well as traditional Oriental therapy. When she arrived in America she focused on Oriental medicine and has practiced with one of the top 50 Oriental Medicine Doctors in Korea for the past 5 years in the Buffalo Grove area. She had successful experiences with woman’s health and natural pregnancy in this clinic. Through these experiences, she realized that the health of our spirits depends on the health of our bodies. Oriental medicine is the best healing process for both physical and emotional conditions that we suffer from in modern society.
She has a special interest in women’s issues including fertility enhancement and emotional problems. According to the text of Traditional Oriental Medicine - women’s diseases are so complicated to approach, you have to know about her surroundings when you have a female patient. That means a woman can be sick without exhibiting physical problems. So as a specialist, you have to find out where the sickness comes from. The uterus is the second Heart in a woman’s body according to Oriental medicine. Therefore, it is necessary to harmonize the balance between the heart and the uterus.
She believes that each patient is unique and special. With each visit she will listen very carefully to each concern, and based upon that individual’s constitution and current symptoms, work to progress their desire. She enjoys helping people get well. Her mission is to ensure people live in harmony together while promoting balanced health and spiritual happiness.
Jonathan Walton has graduated from Midwest College of Oriental Medicine with a Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine and a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition. He spent his internship at their free Chicago Clinic seeing up to 14 patients a day for issues that ranged from infertility, joint pain and arthritis and diabetes. He is now a Board Certified Acupuncturist and is licensed by the state of Illinois. During his training he learned Tui Na (Chinese) and Shiatsu (Japanese) Massage, as well as Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and herbology.
While at Midwest, Jon researched the effects of acupuncture and herbology on the endocrine system, including the conditions of hypo/hyperthyroidism, infertility and diabetes mellitis. In addition, he studied acupuncture, herbology and acupressure as they relate to sports medicine and traumatology. He spends his free time hiking in the woods, and practicing Jujutsu, Qi Gong and Taoist Yoga.
Frida Rosen began her acupuncture education studying 3 years at Boulder, Colorado’s Southwest Acupuncture College. She finished her education with a Master’s of Science in Oriental Medicine and a Bachelors’ in nutrition from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine. Frida is an Illinois licensed acupuncturist and certified by NCCAOM. Her interest for fertility and women’s health started in Boulder following a teacher with an intricate passion for obstetrics and gynecology. Through this education and experience Frida became impassioned with the treatment and specialization of female health using differing modes and practices of women’s health.
Frida was born in Sweden and has travelled Europe and the States as a professional musician. She relocated to the US seven years ago to study and perform bluegrass and country music. Through her travels she gained an appreciation for differing cultures and beliefs. Frida’s decision to study acupuncture stems from an interest in holistic health and well-being. She has always been drawn to Eastern medicine and acupuncture as an alternate to conventional Western healing.
With a caring hand Frida creates a unique treatment customized for each individual helping people reach their ultimate health goal. With passion she works to help patients manifest balance of mind, body and spirit.
Meredith Nathan, Massage Advisor
Cathy McCauley, Licensed Massage Therapist, Director, Massage Department, Chicago: Tuesday & Friday, every other Sunday
Dawn Butler, Licensed Massage Therapist, Chicago: Monday, Wednesday & Thursday
Anna Mariano, Licensed Massage Therapist, Chicago: Friday & Saturday
Carol Hayes, Licensed Massage Therapist, Arlington Heights: Tuesday & Saturday
Meredith Nathan, Massage Advisor, is a graduate of Northwestern University as well as the Chicago School of Massage Therapy (now Cortiva Institute). Meredith is Nationally Certified, and has continued her education in fertility through certification in Prenatal Massage as well as Lymph Drainage I and II through the Upledger Institute. She lead the development of the FEM (Fertility Enhancing Massage) Protocol after working with hundreds of women seeking to improve their fertility since 2004. Meredith has been highlighted in Conceive Magazine, as well as Conceive on Air. The daughter of a biophysicist and biologist-turned-healer, she is passionate about blending the best of holistic modalities, grounded in modern medicine. As a 'fertility baby' herself, Meredith is dedicated to help other future moms bring new life into the world, and is committed to creating a standard of excellence within the world of fertility massage.
Cathy McCauley graduated with honors from the Soma Institute in Chicago. She holds an Illinois license to practice massage therapy (LMT) and national certification (NCTMB); she is a professional member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
After learning of her own fertility challenges, Cathy began working with women to enhance their reproductive health and fertility and also became certified in prenatal and postpartum massage. In 2012, she was appointed director of Pulling Down the Moon's massage department.
Cathy is dedicated to growing awareness of how massage can positively impact fertility and using her clinical knowledge and intuition to provide clients with effective treatments.
Dawn graduated from the Wellness and Massage Training Institute (WMTI) and has been a practicing Massage Therapist since 1995. She has also trained in Hakomi Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Thai Body Work, Upledger Institutes -CranioSacral Therapy and has started Barrall’s -Visceral Manipulation. She also incorporates various forms of energy healing and Meditation into her bodywork to support the clients’ body, mind and spirit.
Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT)
Member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP)
Member of the International Alliance of Healthcare Practitioners (IAHP)
Member of the American CranioSacral Therapy Association (ACSTA)
Carol Hayes is a nationally certified massage therapist and is a member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP). She graduated from the Elgin Community College massage program and is certified in pregnancy and postpartum massage as well. Carol remains a student of her profession by pursuing additional skills and advanced techniques in the field of wellness and healing. She prides herself on her ability to care and listen to the needs of others and is excited to be performing fertility, pregnancy and postpartum massage at Pulling Down the Moon.
Meena Wehrs, Reiki Practitioner, Chicago: Every Other Sunday
Meena’s Reiki journey started in 2008 as she sought ways to calm her mind and body after years of struggling with infertility. As an avid meditation and yoga practitioner, she explored all forms of energy medicine but found Reiki to bring a long lasting, substantial peace from within. Upon conceiving her son in 2010 with the support of Reiki, she has become committed to helping women enhance their fertility through this gentle, healing modality. Meena Wehrs is certified in Usui Reiki and is a registered member of the International Association of Reiki Professionals.
Marie Davidson, Ph.D.,FCI Psychologist
Dr. Marie Davidson is a licensed clinical psychologist, having earned her doctoral degree at the University of Illinois. For the last ten years, Dr. Davidson has concentrated on counseling individuals and couples who are coping with infertility. She is Pulling Down the Moon's advisor and works very closely in helping develop and execute patient education programming.
Nutrition and Weight Management Experts
Sadie Wells, RD, LDN
Breea Johnson, MS, RD, LDN
Margaret Wertheim, MS, RD, LDN
Natalie Weiss, RD, LDN, RYT
Sadie began her career in nutrition by obtaining her degree in Family & Consumer Sciences-Nutrition & Dietetics and minoring in Management from Western Illinois University. She completed her practicum at St. James Hospital, a 300-bed teaching hospital in southern Illinois, and is a licensed (IL) Registered Dietitian. She holds an advanced Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management accredited by the ADA and an advanced certification as a FirstLine Therapy® Healthcare Provider. Most recently she has accomplished status as a certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
Sadie has a unique professional and educational background in nutrition that allows her to approach your needs from a much more fitness-minded and holistic point of view. She has professional experience in a wide variety of nutritional health care settings and has presented for numerous organizations throughout her career. While working as a dietitian in various clinical settings, she soon recognized the gap between therapeutic nutrition and lifestyle change. Soon after, she embarked on a new career path in the fitness industry with a nationally recognized health club working with people as a nutrition coach. This is where it all began! Since that time, Sadie has evolved her expertise in the areas of weight management, glycemic control, cardiovascular disorders, food allergies, gastrointestinal/immune disorders, detoxification programs, prenatal, and sports nutrition. She has developed a tremendous amount of love and respect for yoga and massage therapy during her years at Satya Studio Yoga and Sunshine Yoga & Spa and realizes the impact integrative therapies and lifestyle change have on your health.
Sadie’s philosophy was founded on the belief that a person’s state of well-being begins with their nutrition and our vitality depends on the quality of care we impose on our bodies. Sadie brings her combined knowledge and skills to address your unique and individual needs, but will also help you develop an effective course of therapy and strategies for long-term success. It is here Sadie has grounded her roots and is passionate about helping you accomplish your goals, transform your life, and take back your health!
Breea’s interest in nutrition started early, as her parents’ passion about the role of nutrition in overall health was an integral part of her life. After brief stints in journalism, public relations and real estate, she decided to switch careers for good and headed to Seattle, WA. She went on to graduate from Bastyr University, one of the top universities in natural medicine, with a Master of Science in Nutrition in both Research and Clinical Nutrition. Studying at Bastyr cemented her knowledge of the benefits of whole foods in both the biochemical and culinary worlds and gave her a foundation in integrative and functional nutrition. She also completed a dietetic internship at Hines VA Hospital outside of Chicago and is a Registered Dietitian.
As a nutritionist, Breea is dedicated to helping people understand why they need to make changes in their diet and helps give them the tools to accomplish a more balanced state of health. After seeing her sister experience infertility, she became passionate about teaching women to approach infertility and hormonal balance from a holistic and integrative perspective. At Pulling Down the Moon, she specializes in working with women with infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, PMS and Prenatal Nutrition. She also specializes in helping people improve their digestive health – such as frequent gas, bloating and IBS-type symptoms. She recently created a male fertility program to cater to men with poor sperm quality. Breea truly enjoys being part of an integrative team at Pulling Down the Moon.
In addition to working at Pulling Down the Moon, Breea also has a private nutrition counseling practice in Lakeview and consults for Quest Food Management Services on their Latin School of Chicago account. Previous work experiences include Integrated Health and Wellness, as a nutritionist for a gym, as a consultant in implementing healthy programs for a food service company, and on a research study in a large cancer research center. Breea has been quoted in multiple national publications such as Natural Health Magazine and USA Today. Breea continues to advance her education through conferences, seminars and keeping up to date with the research in the field of fertility and women’s health. Her passion about nutrition is one of the first things you may notice when working with her.
Margaret holds a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MS in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Seattle, the nation's leading natural medicine university. After completion of her Master's degree, Margaret went on to complete her dietetic internship at Hines VA Hospital outside of Chicago in order to become a Registered Dietitian. She has experience working at several Chicago-area hospitals. In addition to her work at Pulling Down the Moon, she currently works as a Nutritionist at the University of Chicago.
In her practice as a Nutritionist, Margaret strives to help her clients achieve optimum health by not only providing nutrition recommendations, but also providing the rationale for those recommendations. She believes changing the diet is one of the most powerful ways we can affect our health and wellbeing, as eating is something we do multiple times every day. She brings a strong understanding of the health benefits of individual foods, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. She is passionate about the vital role that whole, unprocessed foods and appropriate supplementation play in supporting the body’s ability to attain optimum health and hormone balance to support fertility. Margaret also leads Pulling Down the Moon’s FirstLine Therapy for Fertility program, a comprehensive, fertility-friendly weight loss program designed to help women increase their odds of conception through weight loss
Natalie believes nutrition is a powerful tool that can help support and improve any area of your health, including your fertility. She understands that making diet changes can be difficult at first, and will work with you to create an action plan that meets your individual needs.
Natalie is a licensed, registered dietitian. She received her BS in human nutrition from the University of Illinois in Champaign, and completed her dietetic internship at Hines VA Hospital in Maywood, IL.
Natalie began her career working in several Chicago area hospitals. She has experience working with many different conditions, but over the past few years has developed a keen interest in women's health issues. She brings expertise in the areas of hormone balance, weight loss, phytonutrients, and whole food nutrition. Natalie uses a strong food-based approach with all of her clients. When working with Natalie, you will learn about the specific benefits of particular foods and how to incorporate them into your lifestyle.
Natalie is also a registered yoga teacher. In her free time you can find her "yoga-ing" around the city, cooking, reading, and traveling. She looks forward to working with you.
DC Metro Area Staff
Rebecca Bossen, Yoga Teacher
Keri Hammel, Yoga Instructor
Alicia Koundakjian, Yoga Instructor
Rebecca Bossen is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her MA from Northwestern University, as well as an Advanced Certificate in Voice Studies from The Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Her theatre training taught her the importance of integrating breath, body, mind, and emotions. Regular yoga practice reinforced this sense of holistic integration, and yoga centered her as she pursued the wonderful but notoriously unstable career of a theatre professional. As an acting teacher, Rebecca noticed that she was spending more and more class time teaching yoga. Looking around at a roomful of actors reciting Shakespeare in downward dog pose, she realized that the time had come for her to get her official yoga teacher training. She received her 200-hour certification at the Nosara Yoga Institute, under the direction of Don and Amba Stapleton. That transformative experience deepened her practice and awakened her to the healing possibilities of this ancient art. Having worked in Pulling Down the Moon's Chicago location for three years as an office manager/receptionist, Rebecca gained an interest in women's health, fertility, and pregnancy. After becoming a certified teacher, she studied with world-renowned instructor Janice Clarfield and received further certification in prenatal yoga. In her classes, Rebecca strives to share her love of yoga and her deep respect for the human body and its wisdom.
Keri is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She received her undergraduate degree from Susquehanna University, her MS from American University and has worked in the biostatistics industry for the past 10 years. Prior to attending her first yoga class in 2005, Keri was working 60+ hours a week and not taking time for herself or her family. As yoga became part of her weekly routine, she realized how much better she felt mentally and physically and how work was becoming less stressful. As the interest turned to a passion, she realized she was molding her ever so important work/life balance to incorporate more yoga into her life.
Since 2007, Keri and her husband have been trying to start a family and have relied on yoga to help deal with the ups and downs of the infertility and IVF journeys. As a result, Keri wanted to immerse herself in all things yoga and she enrolled in a 200-hour yoga teacher training at Sol Yoga in Frederick, MD, under the direction of Dorcas Quynn McWilliams. During this time, she also studied with Jacci Reynolds and received her certification in prenatal yoga.
Keri’s intimate experience with infertility and IVF, coupled with her recent certifications, provide a solid foundation from which to share and provide guidance to other women and families as they go through their infertility journey and pregnancy. She has learned over the past few years that you have to be ready physically and mentally as you travel this road and Keri’s experiences have brought her full circle as she is thrilled to be a member of the Pulling Down the Moon family as a client and now yoga instructor.
Alicia accidentally began her yoga practice in 1998 when she agreed to accompany her friend to a class at a local community center in Austin, TX. She found it uncomfortable, frustrating and a little embarrassing but the next morning she could feel the stirrings of yoga's transformational power and knew she was hooked for life.
Ten years later, she received her 200-hour level certification through DC's Yoga District and is currently working toward her 500-hour-level through the Dharma Yoga Center's Life of a Yogi program in New York. Alicia teaches Prenatal and vinyasa classes at several DC yoga studios. She especially enjoys focusing on the healing powers of yoga and revealing how it can help students relieve stress and depression and find greater peace. She sums up her personal yoga practice in the simple words of Swami Sivananda: “Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize.”
Alicia is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach. Alicia is a native Washingtonian, a former librarian and the grateful mother of a toddler girl.
Hena Shomali, Licensed Acupuncturist
Karisa Grudi, Licensed Acupuncturist
Hena Shomali. MS. L.Ac is a licensed acupuncturist and clinical practitioner with her Master of Science in traditional Chinese Medicine. She practices medicine with joy that is rooted in her own experience of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and is informed by her over 7 years of study and experience in the world of integrative medicine.
She specializes in women’s health, fertility for women-men and same sex couples, healthy pregnancy and post partum health. She got her master degree in traditional Chinese medicine from Maryland institute of traditional medicine in 2003. She is a member in good standing with the acupuncture and oriental medicine Alliance, the American Association of oriental Medicine (AAOM); The Acupuncture Society of Maryland. She is also studying naturopathy in Trinity College of Natural medicine.
Karisa Grudi is a state licensed acupuncturist in Maryland and Virginia and a nationally board-certified Chinese herbalist. She holds a 4-year Master of Science degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from the NYC campus of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. She is also a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Karisa experienced the power of this medicine first-hand when a good friend and fellow student on the path to pregnancy tried acupuncture and Chinese herbs as a final step before adoption. Within a few months, she became pregnant and eventually gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy. From this moment, Karisa realized that she wanted to focus on fertility within her practice. Her passion for acupuncture and oriental medicine coupled with her desire for continual research in the fields of natural health and nutrition has inspired her to educate, empower, and motivate people to take control of their own health and strive for a state of well-being. Karisa is currently available for treatments on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Robbin Phelps, Licensed Massage Therapist
Marcie D. Miller, Licensed Massage Therapist
Robbin Phelps has been practicing bodywork since 1997. Shortly before then, when she was still working in her first career, she was attending the Potomac Massage Therapy Institute in DC and going through fertility treatments. She would have loved it if Pulling Down the Moon has existed then! She is most grateful for the various alternative treatments she found which helped her conceive and have a healthy pregnancy at age 40-41. Since then, she has pursued additional training, including Bodywork for the Childbearing Year, the Trager® Approach (body-mind integration and movement education) cranio-sacral therapy, lymphatic drainage therapy, and various approaches to energy work, including becoming a Reiki Master.
Her background includes degrees in music, and in social work, and a seventeen-year career in computer programming. Robbin gratefully acknowledges all the skills and perspectives coming from those varied life experiences as she brings the whole of her background, with her love of anatomy and movement, to her work. She is delighted to be with Pulling Down the Moon to serve women in this very special time of life.
Marcie D. Miller has been practicing massage since graduating from Baltimore School of Massage in 2001. Because of her interest in women’s health and well-being, she pursued further training in Mother Massage® Pre and Postnatal Bodywork, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, and Pulling Down the Moon’s FEM protocol. She also incorporates stretching, breathing, and body-mind awareness techniques combined with intuition and creativity to give each client a high quality and uniquely personalized massage experience. She is delighted to bring her years of experience and her deep passion for massage to women who are working hard to make their dreams come true. When not massaging, Marcie can be found hiking, strength training, hula hooping, and receiving massage.
Nutrition and Weight Management Experts
Laura Dubrule, Licensed Nutritionist
Laura brings an eclectic mix of passions to her nutrition counseling. Her years studying acting in New York taught her the importance of connecting with our bodies; this deep sense is fundamental to her understanding of diet and nutrition. Laura completed the program in Nutrition and Food Science at Hunter College in New York, and then went on to complete her dietetic internship at Stony Brook University, a program with an integrative and functional approach. She returned to the city and practiced in a worksite wellness program, delivering individualized nutrition counseling to bank employees in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Her vision for her clients could be called “whole foods meet real world.” She believes that food is meant to be enjoyed and works with her clients to find healthful approaches to eating that are satisfying and enjoyable.
Laura is thrilled to be working in concert with acupuncture, yoga and massage professionals because she believes that the nourishment and care of our hearts and souls is integral to the nourishment of our bodies. She considers it a privilege to be a resource to men and women on their fertility journeys and to celebrate every step long that path as an act of love and creation.