Lead Teacher & Faculty

 Mary Hilliker, RDN, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT

Certified Viniyoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist

“The journey begins with a focus on you and your personal practice  as a means for understanding and living yoga.  From that foundation, you will learn and practice the most important skills for teaching so that you can facilitate yoga for individuals and groups.”

Mary Hilliker, RD, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT has been a student of yoga for over 27 years and a teacher for 20 years. She has over 5000 hours of teaching experience.  Her interest is in seeing each student in the training gain ease and confidence as a practitioner and as a teacher.  She mentors each student in the training.  Mary feels a commitment to seeing the group as a whole progress in their knowledge and skills.

Mentoring and teaching practitioners and teachers in the yoga tradition is a passion for Mary. Working in administrative and faculty roles for the American Viniyoga Institute over the past 10 years, Mary co-taught the 200 hr. Viniyoga Wellness Instructor Training Program in 2012 in Warrenville, IL and was lead teacher for the program in Wausau, WI in 2014, 2016 and 2018. She has been Faculty with the Viniyoga Therapist Training for 2012, 2014 and is Faculty and Curriculum Coordinator for the 2016 and 2018 programs. She coordinated the 2009 Foundation for Yoga Therapy Training. One of her most interesting projects with the American Viniyoga Institute has been coordinating a strategic alliance with Aetna, Inc. to pilot and evaluate the Viniyoga Stress Reduction Program.

Mary credits her teachers and their training programs for her development personally and professionally: a 200 hour hatha yoga teacher training with Elizabeth (Chandler) Patric, and 500 hour Viniyoga Teacher Training (2006) and Viniyoga Therapist Training (2009) with Gary Kraftsow. She continues to study annually with Gary Kraftsow.

Mary owns and operates River Flow Yoga, LLC in Wausau, WI, a yoga teacher training school approved by the WI Educational Approval Board. She is also a partner in 5 Koshas Yoga & Wellness, a yoga and wellness studio in Wausau, WI, where she provides individualized Yoga Therapy and teaches general, senior and therapeutic classes, workshops and retreats. She has a special interest in helping each student reach their full potential even in the face of challenging health conditions or life-changing situations.

A 30+ year career in public health nutrition and wellness influences Mary’s work and her ability to build bridges with traditional and complementary health care providers, senior services, schools and employers. Her practical approach and ability to think of people in a multi-dimensional way helps her make yoga accessible for a variety of individuals, groups and community settings.


What students in past 200 hour yoga teacher trainings have said about the program and faculty:

Yoga class“I have never been part of something so unique as the River Flow Yoga Training Program! Everything was so positive! Each one of the faculty brought a new perspective and contributed to the lessons at hand!” -Heather Grace

“Mary is a great mentor and instructor. Her experience and wealth of knowledge is so valuable. She is very professional and willing to share.” – Maria Gulan

“I would recommend this program to anyone who may have an interest in yoga – one of the best learning experiences of my life.” -Kristine Carne

“Mary excels in teaching. She brings an unparalleled level of expertise to the training and delivers the information in practical, relatable and often humorous ways.” -Jennifer Ransom

“The team of faculty are remarkably consistent – both in their knowledge and in their patience and support of students.” -Marita Hattem

“My life, my health, my energy, and my passion for yoga have all been transformed by participating in this teacher training program.” -Carrie Kubacki

“Your grace as well as your gentle, playful nature created a fun and loving environment for us to learn.”

“You bring so much experience to your teaching…You have been so nourishing and encouraging and that set the tone for the class.”

“Thank you for your kind mentorship.  I appreciate your guidance and honesty.”

“Viniyoga is opening a whole new way for my yoga practice.  Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience.”

“A wealth of knowledge that she shares well with very little ego involvement!  A very gracious, caring person.”

Meet the Faculty and Mentors in the River Flow Yoga Teacher Training School:

Andrew Beaumont, PhD, MD, RYT 200, Neurosurgeon, Wausau, WI

Dr. Beaumont has a deep interest in complementary care including Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Yoga. He is generous in bringing his physiology and neurosurgery background into the training in practical and accessible ways. You will find him engaging as he discusses the autonomic nervous system, the spine and adapting for health conditions. He is a talented yoga teacher in his own right and perceptive and kind as he helps others with their teaching skills. Andrew completed the 200 hr Viniyoga Wellness Instructor Training (2014-15) and is currently completing the 500 hr. Viniyoga Teacher Training with Gary Kraftsow and the American Viniyoga Institute.





Bill Miller, MA, RYT-200, Certified Viniyoga Wellness Instructor, Wausau, WI

Bill brings many years of experience in teaching methodology into his work with yoga teachers-in-training. His enthusiasm for yoga and teaching comes through in his gentle guidance. He helps students master skills one step at a time so that they gain confidence in their abilities to practice yoga and teach. A sense of humor is required for any practice or small group experience with Bill! Bill completed the 200 hr Viniyoga Wellness Instructor Training (2014-15) and is Certified in Gentle Yoga For Low Back Care (30 hrs.) through Justine Shelton and Yoga Vista Academy (2017). He has also received training through the Veterans Yoga Project in Mindful Yoga Trauma Recovery (2016).





Bill Miller

Jane Wengert, RN, BSN, NC-BC, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, CYT-200, C-IAYT Certified Viniyoga Therapist, Minocqua, WI

Jane’s experience as a nurse and health coach, a former yoga studio owner, yoga teacher and Yoga Therapist combined with her sharp intellect enhances her work with teachers-in-training. She has over 20 years of acute care nursing experience in specialty areas such as oncology, coronary/surgical intensive care, and post anesthesia care. Jane holds certifications from a 200-hour hatha yoga teacher training and the AVI Viniyoga Therapist training and she continues to advance her knowledge and study of Viniyoga with her teacher Gary Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga Institute.





Jay Coldwell, RYT-200, Certified Viniyoga Wellness Instructor, Wausau, WI

Jay’s passion for Vedic chanting and his accessible way of teaching Vedic chant and the Yoga Sutra-s of Patanjali enhances the student’s experience in our training program. Jay is a 200 hr. Viniyoga Wellness Instructor (2014-15 class) and Studio Manager for 5 Koshas Yoga & Wellness. He continues to study Vedic chant with Linda Speckman and Sonia Nelson (Vedic Chant Center). Jay brings his knowledge of healthcare where he worked on the insurance side of the industry as well as his wisdom about the daily workings of a yoga studio into the training. He leads chanting of the Yoga Sutras during each weekend session.




Jay Coldwell

Heather Van Dalfsen, MEd, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, Certified Viniyoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist, Wausau, WI

Heather has been immersed in yoga for over 15 years, including over 7 years as a teacher and more recently as a Yoga Therapist-in-Training with Gary Kraftsow and the American Viniyoga Institute. Her experience as a High School & Jr. High English Teacher and Coach, business owner (Managing Partner, 5 Koshas Yoga & Wellness) and experienced Viniyoga teacher at the 500 hour level inform her work with teachers-in-training. Heather has over 2500 hours of experience teaching students of all ages and in many different community settings. She brings great insight, creativity, mentoring and kindness to students in the program.




Heather Van Dalfsen

Maggie Kessel, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, Certified Viniyoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist, St Paul, MN

Maggie’s immersion in the Yoga Sutra-s of Patanjali and Vedic chanting, her embodiment of yoga through 50 years of practice and her 20+ years of experience as a yoga teacher enriches our training. Maggie is certified at the 500 hour level through the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI), is registered with Yoga Alliance E-RYT-500, and is certified as a Yoga Therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). Her primary teachers have been and are Gary Kraftsow (AVI) and Sonia Nelson (Vedic Chant Center). She teaches classes in asana, pranayama, and the Yoga Sutra-s and sees students one-on-one for Yoga Therapy at RiverGarden Yoga Center in St. Paul, MN.




Mary Kluz, MS, RYT-200, Certified Viniyoga Wellness Instructor, Wausau WI

Wit, wisdom, insight and excellence in teaching and group facilitation are qualities that Mary brings to the teacher training. In addition to her 200 hour Viniyoga Wellness Instructor certification, Mary also brings many years of experience as a facilitator with the UW-Extension into her interactions with students. Mary teaches ongoing classes at 5 Koshas Yoga & Wellness for Stress Relief & Deep Relaxation and leads workshops on leadership, team building and whole-hearted living. She is particularly gifted in teaching methodology and making yoga accessible for a wide range of students.




Mary Kluz

Pauline Zweck, E-RYT-200, Certified Viniyoga Wellness Instructor, Wausau, WI

Pauline has over 13 years of experience as a yoga teacher, training in 2007 in Hatha Yoga and in 2014 as a Viniyoga Wellness Instructor. Her insight and fun-loving nature as well as experience with teaching beginning yoga students informs her teaching style as well as her mentoring of teachers-in-training. Pauline takes an interest in the transformation of every teacher-in-training. She wants to see you grow as a practitioner and as a teacher. Pauline teaches a variety of classes at 5 Koshas Yoga & Wellness, including Yoga for Beginners & Beyond, Yoga for Mental and Physical Balance and Senior Mat and Chair Yoga.




Pauline Zweck

Renee Peterson, RYT-200, Certified Viniyoga Wellness Instructor and Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Wausau, WI

Renee’s care and nurturing of her yoga students carries over to her mentoring in the teacher training. Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga and Yoga for Beginners and Beyond are among Renee’s regular classes at 5 Koshas Yoga & Wellness. Renee is certified as a 200 hour Viniyoga Wellness Instructor (2014-15) and Prenatal Yoga Teacher (Jennifer Colletti, Yoga Center of Minneapolis, 2017) in addition to completing the Yoga Bonding Postnatal & Mom and Baby Yoga Teacher Training Course (2016). She teaches across the lifespan and is particularly gifted with adapting yoga for a variety of individuals including prenatal and postnatal.




Renee Peterson

Steve White, E-RYT 200, RYT-500, Certified Viniyoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist, Milwaukee, WI

Humor, intellect, and perspective are key qualities that Steve infuses into the teacher training. He also shows up with his yoga book collection to share resources and guide further study. Trained in Pilates as well as the Shambhala Buddhist tradition of meditation, Steve found yoga in 2006. An E-RYT 200 hour trained teacher in Vinyasa flow, Steve’s passion revealed itself in the Viniyoga tradition. Steve went on to study with Gary Kraftsow and the American Viniyoga Institute in the 500 hr. Viniyoga Foundations Program and Yoga Therapist Training. He’s a RYT-500 hour teacher and a Certified Yoga Therapist offering classes and private sessions in the Milwaukee area.