Tree Pose – Pose of the month

tree

With spring finally being here (well at least some days it feels like spring) this pose symbolizes growth and renewal.  Vrksasana aka Tree Pose 

The position helps improve posture and balance. More importantly, it strengthens calves, ankles and thighs. For this reason, you should perform this pose regularly to improve balance and overall well being.

There are also mental benefits of performing vrksasana pose, including better mood and stress reduction. In addition to performing vrksasana pose, you can also decide to add meditation techniques to your regimen to eliminate worry and anxiety. The concentration needed to execute this pose will go along way in relieving stress and can help you enjoy peace of mind away from the hustle and bustle of everyday activities.

Meet Elizabeth, YBD Teacher of the Month

Elizabeth working on her favorite arm balance right now, Eka Pada Koundinyasana II.

Elizabeth working on her favorite arm balance right now, Eka Pada Koundinyasana II.

Elizabeth B on the schedule, this girl brings amazing positivity and energy to her Yoga Sculpt classes at YBD. If you know Elizabeth, you know she loves to laugh, have fun and not take things too seriously. At the same time, you will still get worked and will be sore from her invigorating classes! When she’s not teaching sculpt, Elizabeth is getting her 200 hour Yoga Certification, working, and soon will be headed off to grad school. Here is her weekly schedule:

4:30pm Sculpt on Thursdays in Downers Grove

8:00am Sculpt on Fridays in Western Springs

9:30am Sculpt on Fridays in Western Springs

8:30am Sculpt on Sundays in Western Springs

10:00am Sculpt on Sundays in Western Springs

Check out her answers below to get to know Elizabeth better:

When and how did you come to yoga?

I practiced on and off for a few years, but I really started my yoga journey in 2013. I was looking for something to give me a good workout, and help me stay grounded. Soon enough it was as if my mat was holding me responsible and I had to show up every day! I loved it!  I gave Yoga Sculpt a try at YBD that summer in June, and found myself signed up for teacher training in July. Once I found the courage to extend my practice to level 1’s and 2’s I found that I really enjoyed it and wanted more knowledge to take to my sculpt classes! I am now 200 hour certified!

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I kept hearing from people that yoga is so great for the mind. I thought if something is so great physically and mentally, I want to give it a try. It was also a perfect replacement for running. Now in 2015 I have found so many physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits through my yoga practice that I am still amazed and surprised by them every single day. These benefits spread through my life like wildfire whether I’m stuck in traffic, having a bad day, or just need to breathe.

What is your favorite pose?

My favorite pose is Warrior 3! Some days it is super easy to get into and other days not so much. It is a pose that consistently challenges me mentally and physically.

Who inspires your teaching?

My students are a huge inspiration of teaching. They inspire, encourage, and motivate me to teach them! They are my second family and I appreciate them all so much. My mentors Jill Keuhn and Nicole Orr are also huge inspirations to me and encourage me to consistently grow inside and out.

Tips for beginners…

My tips are exactly what I say to my sculptors everyday ….If you fall out of the pose 4 times, get into 5 times. Just keep trying. The only secret to a sculpt class it to BREATHE and BELIEVE in yourself.

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.”

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Yoga By Degrees Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training

Summer 2015

Sculpt Teacher Training Sessions

Saturday, June 27th -10:30am-6pm at the Downers Grove Studio

Sunday, June 28th -10:30am-6pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Thursday, July 2nd -6pm-9pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Thursday, July 9th -6pm-9pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Saturday, July 11th -10:30am-6pm at the Downers Grove Studio

Sunday, July 12th -10:30am-6pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Thursday, July 16th – 6pm-9pm at the Elmhurst Studio

 

Certificate Requirements

Attend all 7 Class Lectures (successfully makeup any missed sessions)

Attend 6 YBD Sculpt Classes

Attend 2 YBD1 Classes

Attend 2 YBD2 Classes

Observe 3 YBD Sculpt Classes

Complete 4 Homework Assignments

Successfully complete Practicum (Final) Exam

Teach 1 Group Community Class (scheduled by Sculpt TT Leads)

Optional:

Karma Yoga

Group Fitness Class with weights and music

 

Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training Leads

Carole Gatsch 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified

Nadja Lalvani Yoga 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified

 

Questions? Contact meghan@yogabydegrees.net

 

Pricing

$1199 (includes 1 month of free yoga)

$1100 early bird and YBD Teacher Training Alumni (includes 1 month of free yoga)

$999 for Members (auto pay, annual and annual plus)

$840 for current YBD Teachers

*Yoga by Degrees wants to offer you any help we can in being a part of our teacher training programs. We will work with your individual financial situation to help give you the opportunity to be a part of the program.

Summer 2015 Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training

Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training
Summer 2015
At the Elmhurst and Downers Grove Studio
Led by
Carole Gatsch; 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified
Nadja Lalvani; 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified
Inspire, Grow and Change lives by becoming a Yoga Sculpt Teacher

Yoga Sculpt teacher training will help you reach new heights in your personal practice, while giving you the tools to teach a safe, effective and inspiring Yoga Sculpt class.

Sculpt Teacher Training Sessions

Saturday, June 27th -10:30am-6pm at the Downers Grove Studio

Sunday, June 28th -10:30am-6pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Thursday, July 2nd -6pm-9pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Thursday, July 9th -6pm-9pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Saturday, July 11th -10:30am-6pm at the Downers Grove Studio

Sunday, July 12th -10:30am-6pm at the Elmhurst Studio

Thursday, July 16th – 6pm-9pm at the Elmhurst Studio

 

Certificate Requirements

Attend all 7 Class Lectures (successfully makeup any missed sessions)

Attend 6 YBD Sculpt Classes

Attend 2 YBD1 Classes

Attend 2 YBD2 Classes

Observe 3 YBD Sculpt Classes

Complete 4 Homework Assignments

Successfully complete Practicum (Final) Exam

Teach 1 Group Community Class (scheduled by Sculpt TT Leads)

Optional:

Karma Yoga

Group Fitness Class with weights and music

 

Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training Leads

Carole Gatsch 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified

Nadja Lalvani Yoga 200 Hour RYT and Yoga Sculpt Certified

 

Questions? Contact meghan@yogabydegrees.net

 

Pricing

$1199 (includes 1 month of free yoga)

$1100 early bird and YBD Teacher Training Alumni (includes 1 month of free yoga)

$999 for Members (auto pay, annual and annual plus)

$840 for current YBD Teachers

*Yoga by Degrees wants to offer you any help we can in being a part of our teacher training programs. We will work with your individual financial situation to help give you the opportunity to be a part of the program.

Meet Todd, Yoga by Degrees Teacher of the Month

Todd in Warrior 2

Todd in Warrior 2

Todd is an inspiration as a yoga teacher, YBD teacher training alum, and a yogi in our YBD community. We value his loyalty and the great effort he puts into every one of his classes. Your teaching insights, playlists, sequences and readings come from such a unique perspective. Though successful and busy as a business owner, Todd shares his passion for yoga any chance he gets. Todd, we notice and appreciate you going above and beyond. Thank you!

When and how did you come to yoga?  

I had taken a few classes before YBD, both at a Bikram studio and at the gym, but didn’t seriously begin yoga until the day YBD opened in Western Springs.   I had been a cycling enthusiast logging thousands of miles annually on my bike, and thought it would be beneficial to take up yoga to improve my flexibility.

Why did you start teaching yoga?  

I enrolled in YBD’s first teacher training session because I wanted to deepen my knowledge of yoga beyond what I could learn in classes and workshops.  The consistent messages about the spiritual benefits of yoga I was hearing on my mat from the teachers at YBD were intriguing.  Although I hadn’t intended to use the training to actually start teaching, after completing the certification requirements, I was moved to start sharing the love I have for the practice with others.

What is your favorite pose?  

If I had to pick a favorite, I suppose it would be Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon.  The combination of strength and grace the pose demands, along with the opportunity for continual refinement, make half moon a consistent challenge, regardless of one’s ability.

Who inspires your teaching?

I am constantly inspired by so many of the teachers at YBD…..there are so many wonderful teachers  who inspire me daily….and I learn something from nearly every class regardless of who is instructing.  Though each is unique in their style of teaching, Loreta, Meghan, Colleen, Lara, Nadja and Bonnie consistently inspire me through their intelligent sequencing, their deep spiritual messages and their obvious joy of teaching.

Tips for beginners…

Simple.  Show up on your mat….consistently….as many times a week as you possibly can….show up and practice.  And then let go of your expectations for the results.

What’s your favorite quote?  

Abhyasa and vairagya.  Never give up.  Always let go.

yogaconfusion

Yoga??!! Why you (or someone you love) should come to a FREE workshop on 3/8

Written by YBD Teacher, Shaun Emerson: A little less than four years ago, my wife, Lisa, suggested that I join her at this new Hot Yoga place near our home. In a marriage, a “suggestion” can take on a variety of connotations. In this instance, I didn’t detect any secondary intention so was free to assess the offer for what it was.

Yoga???!! I was a former football player, weight lifter, and runner. My body was worse than tight. Rigid, inflexible, compact. What I thought I knew about yoga (I knew nothing) intimidated me. Goofy stretching, right? The longest I ever really stretched was pushing against the garage in a weak lunge for a millisecond before I hit the street for my jog. If I went to this class, it was going to be ugly.

She offered, “It is 105 degrees. You’ll sweat your ass off.”

I was in. All the other stuff be damned. Despite some fear, I love a new adventure and I love to sweat more.

A little less than four years later, I am still pretty tight. I have creaky hips (right, Lara?). And I am an actual yoga instructor. Really, I am a yoga instructor/nerd (though my kids would omit the qualifier…just nerd). How can you not be a nerd about something that changed your life (will save the sappy stuff and how I got here for another time)?

Anyway, I think yoga and asana can be daunting for first timers. We, at YBD, want to make it less so. Therefore, we are putting on a free workshop in Downers Grove on March 8th to demystify, educate and flow. The class will be an opportunity for folks to get into a studio, on a mat without the pressure or concern of walking into a live class. We’ll talk about what yoga is, how a typical class is structured, introduce some of the common postures and have time for questions throughout.

If you are YBD regular and reading this, I am sure you have people close to you that are curious about your yoga practice, but not curious enough to willingly jump into a class with you. Maybe, you want to make a “suggestion” that they come to this workshop. Whether you place any secondary significance on the suggestions is up to you.

Peace.

About The Author/Blog Contributor:shaun  Shaun Emerson is a Teacher at YBD. He says he was encouraged by his wife, Lisa to start his yoga journey three years ago in the heat of a Bikram studio. After an eight-month love affair and four month long breakup with Bikram, Shaun found himself at Yoga by Degrees. YBD Sculpt became a family affair often attending classes with his wife and two daughters. Prompted by his girls and curious to learn more, Shaun entered and completed the YBD 200 hour Teacher Training program. During his training, Shaun shifted from sculpt to flow and found, not only his breath, but a love for it’s quiet, yet vigorous, elegance.

February Pose of the Month

It’s that time of year where hearts open and we should be filled with LOVE!  This month Julie demonstrates a variation of Anjaneyasana (aka low lunge).  This pose is not only great for the hips but opens the heart as you lift through your chest while you enter spinal extension.

Benefits:
1) Releases tension in your hips.
2) Helps build mental focus.
3) Stretches the hips, quads, and hamstrings.
4) Helps to improve the strength and flexibility in your hips, legs, shoulders, arms, abdomen, back and knees.
5) If you suffer from sciatica pain, this pose is also good for you as it stretches and soothes the hamstrings and leg muscles.
6) As a heart-opening exercise, this pose is of course also beneficial for the heart chakra and stimulates the Anahata energy.
7) This pose is especially good and recommended for athletes and runners as it gives a beneficial stretch and stimulation to the lower body.photo

Meet Teresa, Teacher of the Month!

Teresa in her favorite pose, fire log.

Teresa in her favorite pose, fire log.

Yoga by Degrees truly cherishes this Teacher of the Month, Teresa. She is an loyal asset to our teaching staff and is a positive ray as a mentor in our teacher training programs. She humbles us all by juggling a busy schedule, being amazing with so much subbing and last minute bail outs. All the while, carrying a calm composure and definitely a giant smile. Get to know her a little better with the answers below. Here is her permanent teaching schedule:

Tuesdays, 6am YBD2 Elmhurst

Tuesdays, 8pm YBD2 105 Western Springs

Wednesdays, 6am YBD1 Elmhurst

Thursdays, 4:30pm YBD1 Western Springs

Thursdays, 8pm YBD2 Elmhurst

Friday, 6am YBD1 Elmhurst

Saturdays, 4pm YBD2 105 Downers Grove

Sundays, 12pm YBD2 Western Springs

When and how did you come to yoga?

I started to give yoga a halfhearted chance in my early 20’s to help combat stress and to try something new . After practicing on and off for a year or two  I started going to yoga regularly and began to see  positive changes off the mat. I was less stressed, confident, happier and more myself than ever.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

Yoga has changed my life so much-  I want to share yoga with anyone and everyone I can! I love helping people feel good.  I also truly enjoy teaching- Even at 6 am!

What is your favorite pose? 

Agnistambhasana- Fire log/ Double Pigeon. It look me a long time to be able to enjoy this pose! It reminds me of how much I have changed in my practice. 

Who inspires your teaching?

My Students! My goal of every class is to connect with them through yoga and help them feel better.  If I can help them feel better even just for 5 minutes, I am happy! And of course the amazing teachers at YBD- I love our community and the wealth of knowledge and love for the practice you can find here. 

Tips for beginners…

Relax! Its just yoga. Don’t be afraid to fly or fall. And seriously, nobody cares if you can’t touch your toes! 

Do your practice and all is coming- Sri K. Pattabhi Jois 

January Pose of the month.

Now that the new year has arrived we wanted to showcase a pose to begin the year with an open heart. Ustrasana aka Camel pose is our pose of the month.  Here is Lara in a variation of that pose.  Benefits of this pose includes.

Strengthening of  the arms and shoulders

  • Relieves mild pain in the back
  • Expands the rib cage
  • Improves blood circulation to brain
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Mild pain in the back
  • Anxiety and fatigue
  • Menstrual discomfort

Precautions

This pose is not for those suffering from high blood pressure or migraines.

  • Patients suffering from insomnia should also avoid this yoga pose.
  • This pose can cause serious back and neck injuries, so guidance from an experienced instructor is recommended.

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One thing to keep in mind in this pose is as you reach back avoid dumping into the lumbar spine by lifting up your chest as you reach back.  Be sure to keep your hips in line with your knees.  If you have trouble with this place your hips up against the wall to keep them in line with your knees.