I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Brendel through my social work graduate program at Aurora University, and was extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to have her as my professor. After I established my career as a school social worker, I reached out to Dr. Brendel to present on Mindfulness to the staff at the high-school I am employed at. Prior to the presentation, the staff were not very familiar with mindfulness, and I felt confident that Dr. Brendel’s contagious enthusiasm and expertise in this area would bring valuable skills for our staff and students.
Dr. Brendel’s presentation was extremely well thought out, logical, and effective. Mindfulness can be an intimidating topic for beginners, but Dr. Brendel’s knowledge and expertise made it simple to understand in a span of less than an hour. She provided evidence-based research on the benefits of mindfulness on the adolescent brain and provided the staff with a variety of useful tools and resources for how to implement mindfulness based techniques into the classroom to improve the well being of the students. Dr. Brendel’s presentation gave me and the rest of the staff the confidence to implement mindfulness based techniques into the classroom as well as a part of my social-emotional curriculum. In the next few weeks after the presentation, many staff members approached me with excitement to discuss how mindfulness has impacted not only their own well-being, but also how they plan to implement mindfulness into their academic curriculum. Dr. Brendel is truly a talented and knowledgeable presenter!
— Sophia Baier, MSW, School Social Worker for District 200 | February 8, 2018
"Dr. Kristen Brendel has a way of offering the concept of mindfulness in an accessible and practical manner that allows for each unique individual to adapt the practice in a way that works best for him/her. Dr. Brendel is so warm, compassionate and generous with her gifts, ensuring to the best of her ability that everyone that comes to her receives what they have sought. From yoga and guided meditation to support and educational discussions, Dr. Brendel can offer the opportunity for enrichment to everyone."
— Jill Setork, LCPC, Program Coordinator, Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center | February 6, 2018
In the spring of 2017, Dr. Kristie Brendel presented to the social work department in Naperville Community Unit District #203. Her presentation on Mindfulness and Self-Care was inspirational, meaningful, and authentic. Although her visit was only a few hours, what she taught has continued to be part of our practice. Dr. Brendel is motivating, creative, and passionate about her work. She made such an impact during this presentation that a group of social workers took her MBSR class over the summer. In addition, she has been asked to return to the district is a variety of different ways to present, support, encourage.
— Stacy Colgan, LCSW, M.Ed., Supervisor of Social Work Services, Naperville Community Unit District #203
To say I was fortunate enough to be a part of Dr. Kristie Brendel's wellness retreat in Thailand, is an understatement. When you embark on a journey such as this, there are many moving parts. There is uncertainty of one's ability to adapt to a new culture, and one's willingness to open up and receive the gifts presented. I could not have asked for a better guide and guru, in Kristie. The research, planning, knowledge and compassion Kristie put forth, is priceless and unparalleled. Every step of the way, she was instrumental in guiding you along your journey of growth. She is the tool you need in your toolbox. This experience was more than I could have wished for!
— Anne Rick, hospital social worker | June 29, 2017
I was able to attend the Per La Vita Wellness LLC retreat in Phuket, Thailand. From start to finish, the trip exceeded my expectations. Prior to the trip, I had zero experience in mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. After the trip, I came away with a sense of better awareness about my own feelings, and people and objects around me. I enjoyed it so much, I promised myself I would keep learning and applying mindfulness practices at home. Dr. Kristen Brendel, PhD was able to keep everyone involved despite your level of experience in mindfulness, meditation, and yoga sessions by giving plenty of examples, encouraging questions, and providing options for more advanced individuals. Kristen did a great job of planning our trip itinerary and made plenty of time available for us to explore and plan extra activities on our own if we chose to do so. Our planned events included a bareback/swim elephant encounter, temple tour, island hopping tours (James Bond island, Maya bay, Phi Phi), experience monks walking the streets in the morning, and a visit to the night markets. The furthest trip from the hotel was less than an hour’s drive, and the hotel itself was beautiful. We stayed at The Slate in Phuket, located right next to the beach. The hotel provided excellent transportation service to all of our excursions in comfortable, extra clean vehicles. Kristen made herself available to us during the entire trip, coming with on all the group excursions and quickly replying to any questions or comments in our Facebook group that she organized. I was given many new unexpected experiences and have so many wonderful memories thanks to Per La Vita Wellness LLC (and Kristen)’s great trip planning. Thank you!
— Ryan Garlisch, IT specialist for LA Rams | June 28, 2017
I had the opportunity to attend the Thailand 2017 Mindfulness retreat with Dr. Kristen Brendel, and it was wonderful! I first met Dr. Brendel as a social work graduate student in her classes, and I could see right away just how passionate she was about mindfulness. She is not only well-versed in the current literature on mindfulness, but she is also well-versed in it's application. I was super excited to sign up for the Thai retreat because I knew that I would be getting mindfulness practice backed up with the scientific research behind it. And as far as retreat planning goes, Dr. Brendel is excellent at what she does. She not only planned out and instructed mindfulness and yoga classes throughout our trip, but also planned excursions (island tours, temple visits, etc) so that group members had something incredible to look forward to each day...with a group discount which was super helpful. She has been there every step of the way for me and all group members, since first expression of interest, all the way through checking in to make sure we made it home safe after our flights. Mindfulness in Thailand was filled with so many positive memories that I will forever cherish.
— Amanda Elizabeth, social worker | June 27, 2017
I attended Kristie's first mindfulness retreat in Thailand in 2017. It's hard to put into words exactly how amazing this experience was. Sure we can all read about mindfulness in other places, but the entire retreat was an exercise in Mindfulness. Kristie provided comprehensive classes about the fundamentals of mindfulness, yoga and meditation as well as organized activities and trips that allowed you to practice some of the information learned. I'm a firm believer that sometimes you need to get outside of the everyday grind to really evaluate your life and behaviors and this retreat provides the opportunity to set aside daily activities and really focus on your inner growth. The benefit of attending this retreat far outweighed the costs. I very highly recommend her retreat for anyone from the very beginner of mindfulness practices to more advanced students of life. This review speaks to the retreat experience itself, but should you have any questions about the location or my recommendations for other potential Phuket, Thailand retreat participants please feel free to comment or message me directly.
Kristie, thank you for refreshing my mind and body as well as providing an opportunity/experience to deepen my relationship with my husband. It was an amazing and life changing week!
— Ann Maxwell, social Worker | June 27, 2017
I had the blessing of having Kristie as a professor for the Mindfulness and Social Work course. It was life changing! I still use the coping skills that I learned in that class not only for my patients, but for myself. You can just feel love and compassion radiating off of her! She truly does care about each person she encounters!
— Jess Key, social worker | July 21, 2016
This woman can change your life! She radiates Love and Compassion. It’s a pleasure to talk with her whenever I can. Having her in your life in any capacity is a choice for growth and empowerment.
— Paul Hansen, meditation teacher | July 21, 2016
I participated in Kristie’s yoga teacher training for mental health professionals over the summer, and it was an amazing experience! Kristie’s leadership is masterful, she has a way of including every single person in the group and making them each feel valued and unique. Kristie supports your goals without fear that she is sharing her own secrets for success. In addition, Kristie values an evidence base in her practice and her teachings, bringing legitimacy to the course. In addition to her own years of experience, she brought in speakers from several different niches to share their own u inquest expertise as well. Under Kristie’s guidance our group was able to become close, share within our practice, support each other’s learning goals, and some even formed lasting bonds. Whether you take the class for purely professional goals, or for self-care, you will feel fulfilled.
—Brittney Gergen, therapist | SEPTEMBER 24, 2018
I just finished an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Release Class with Dr. Kristie Brendel. This class was not fluffy or indulgent, it proved central to my functioning! Believing that the more we sacrifice, the bigger the reward, often pushes us to the point of losing focus and being counterproductive. Being fully in, and embracing the present moment, should not be considered a reward, it should be priority. I highly recommend this class to all!
— Mary Kay Sergo, ENTREPRENEUR | January 17, 2018
I completed Kristie's specialized yoga and mindfulness teacher training over spring/summer 2018. I highly recommend this training for anyone hoping to dive deeper into the mind body connection and learn about the powerful healing that yoga can help facilitate. Kristie has impeccable attention to detail and provided many informative presentations by professionals in the field.
— Rachael McKenney, School social worker | September 8, 2018
It is hard to put into word the impact and love I had for Dr. Brendel’s Specialized Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Training Class, but if I had to pick just a couple words I would say, “life changing.” I started off as a simple intern really interested in Mindfulness with very little experience in yoga and I came out of the course not only a confident certified yoga instructor, but with a new group of fellow “Mindful OG” classmates that have helped me be a better person and clinician. Kristie did a phenomenal job in not only creating a well rounded yoga and mindfulness learning experience, but also in incorporating established presenters from different fields, and in cultivating a personal and professional growth unlike one I have experienced in any other types of settings before. I deeply appreciate all the time and effort that was placed into the formation of this group and it’s curriculum, the evidence based research proving the irrefutable impact these practices can bring to multiple settings, and most importantly the natural laughs and genuine connections we all made along the way! I feel well. I feel strong. And I feel confident in new perspectives and skills! I would highly recommended the Per La Vita Wellness Inc YMTT class for anyone wanting to impact the lives of others through yoga and mindfulness in any kind of social work, mental health, physical health, education, and just all around human service field!
— Adriana Resendiz, MSW graduate student | August 24, 2018
I just completed a 200-hour yoga and mindfulness teacher training for clinical professionals with Kristie (Dr. Kristen Brendel). Although I know there is a journey of learning ahead of me, Kristie went above and beyond with the coordination of this training and created something that really prepared me for teaching yoga. Kristie had the most amazing presenters that covered such a wide range of focus. From yoga with older adults, to yoga for cancer, to MBSR (evidenced-based mindfulness based stress reduction) to various yoga instructors teaching various styles of yoga, this training really encompassed all that was needed for me to gain a solid foundation (and so much more!) to becoming a yoga teacher and bringing yoga and mindfulness into my work as a clinician. For anyone who works in schools, in the medical field, or in the mental health field who is considering a yoga teacher training, look no further! Seriously, you won’t regret it.
— kristy gargano, Therapist | july 29, 2018
Took her Yoga/Mindfulness Teacher Training. Kristie put so much time, effort & heart into this training, and it showed at every meeting. She assembled experts across fields in different areas of yoga & mindfulness to come in and teach us, as well as teaching and providing guidance for us as we learned. She has a true knowledge of her subject matter and spared no expense to be able to provide us with a quality training. Highly, highly recommend!
— michelle hundt ainsworth, child and family therapist | august 4, 2018
I recently graduated from a yoga and mindfulness teacher training for mental health professionals. Dr. Kristen Brendel is not just a great teacher and mentor, she is the most loving, kind, and empathetic friend of mine! I remember my first day of training, when I felt “not sure about this” and Kristie greeted me with a warm hug and kind words. That was so powerful to me and my heart just melted. The connections and friendships I have established during this training are priceless! Dr. Kristen Brendel and our team of professionals have taught me how to turn my weaknesses in to my strengths. I’ve learned how to practice self-care, how to be more compassionate and loving toward self. I say “self” because your journey starts with experiencing loving kindness and healing within yourself. Once you learn how to do that, you can move on and expend that knowledge to your vulnerable population.
Prior to this training, I had very little yoga and mindfulness experience and after this training, I feel that I have grown so much as a mental health professional and a spiritual leader. Dr. Kristen Brendel creates a non-judgmental atmosphere that makes everyone feel comfortable and welcoming. If you have any doubts just because you don’t have lots of yoga and mindfulness experience, then you should definitely consider this training! This training will provide you with more in-depth knowledge of yoga and mindfulness in mental health field and healthcare field. You will learn evidence-based research for yoga and mindfulness and how to apply that practice in your field of expertise. We had such an amazing time meeting experts from different mental and health care settings. We had training on how to apply yoga and mindfulness with clients who have experienced trauma, yoga and mindfulness in schools, yoga and mindfulness in healthcare field, mindful art (that part was really awesome). We had an opportunity to present and teach what we have learned in a public event. We have learned yoga’s ethical practice and yoga anatomy.
You will learn how to reduce your own stress and how to achieve a healthier and more meaningful life not just for your clients but also for yourself. The best part I think is that you will have a chance to share with colleagues your unique ideas of how to apply mindfulness and yoga with your clients/patients.
— olena burger, dialysis social worker | august 11, 2018
Dr. Brendel is an exceptional teacher and friend. She truely cares about people and their well being and only wants the best for her students and patients. She is a leader in her field and I highly recommend her.
— Mary jo rollet place, ENTREPRENEUR and yoga teacher | july 29, 2018
I recently completed the Specialized Mindfulness and Yoga Training for Professionals. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to but Kristie was supportive and surpassed my needs. Not only did we get yoga certified but we had professionals from all walks of life, who also teach yoga, many of them as part of their professional practice, come teach. We learned from chiropractors, people who work in school settings, with the elderly, with those undergoing cancer treatment, with people suffering from addiction, mental illness, and others. Kristie bringing these people together made the class so rich and diverse.
What also happened was the women who attended (we all happened to be women, but it isn’t restricted to women only) were amazing, strong, vulnerable, and open as well. Everyone presented. Everyone shared. Everyone grew. I learned so much from everyone. We developed a bond and a sisterhood. Thank you, Kristie Brendel for the opportunity.