Month: November 2014

Meet Jacqueline, our Teacher of the Month

Jacqueline practicing her favorite pose, handstand.

Jacqueline practicing her favorite pose, handstand.

Meet Jacqueline, our wonderful Teacher of the Month! Jacqueline is the mother of 5 children (including triplets!), an avid runner/biker, and a passionate Yoga Sculpt instructor with a hilarious sense of humor.  She is so loyal to Yoga by Degrees and you can find her subbing classes at all of our studios. She truly cares about every one of her students and would love to stay after class to chat with you about your practice and offer one-on-one assistance. This is her permanent teaching schedule for a chance to take her Yoga Sculpt classes:

Mondays 9:30 in Western Springs,

Tuesdays 6:00am in Western Springs,

Tuesdays 9:30am in Elmhurst,

(temporary subbing) Wednesdays 7:15pm in Western Springs,

Fridays 8:30am in Elmhurst,

Sundays 10:15am in Downers Grove.

Get to know Jacqueline a bit better, enjoy her responses below:

When and how did you come to yoga?

20 years ago I started taking yoga.  I was a competitive runner.  I tried hard to wrap my head around the concept of centering and breathing, but my head space was not quite there yet.  I dabbled in other yoga practices over the years, but it wasn’t until I stumbled into Yoga Sculpt that I felt I had found my entrance into the amazing world of yoga. Through that, I have developed a passion for the calming and restorative benefits and see how my yoga sculpt deepens my other yoga practices.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I started teaching over a year ago.  Taking my certification was a bucket list item for me.  I had no intention of teaching.  The more I learn the more I want to share and help others find the “spark” that begins their yoga practice.

What is your favorite pose?

My favorite pose is Adho Mukha Vrksasana, handstand.  I am obsessed with it.  My ultimate goal is to pike into my handstand.  I practice it or a fraction of it every day!

Who inspires your teaching?

I am inspired daily by my children and my yoga students.  Both put me in the role of teacher and observer.  My children serve to remind me that all of my actions no matter how benign or grand, have an impact on them and serve as a guide in their lives.  My students come from so many different backgrounds with wide ranges of abilities or limitations, yet they find their way to the mat.  Regardless of personal tragedies or triumphs, on the mat we are all works in progress.

Tips for beginners…

Show up to your mat.
Do not judge yourself.
Everything else will fall in to place.  We all started somewhere. There is a point in everyday when you are forced to make the decision to show up.

What’s your favorite quote?

Work in Progress.  It works on every living thing regardless of age or circumstance.  We should always strive to be a work in progress.

Pose of the Month: Virasana or Supta Virasana

Heather demonstrating Supta Virasana, Reclined Hero Pose. Her variation with the overhead grip stretches the shoulders and heart space.

Heather demonstrating Supta Virasana, Reclined Hero Pose. Her variation with the overhead grip stretches the shoulders and heart space.

Yogis! Post your variation of the Pose of the Month on Facebook or Instagram! Just tag @yogabydegrees and/or #yogabydegrees

Hero Pose or Reclined Hero Pose

Sanskrit: Virasana or Supta Virasana


  • Stretches abdomen, thighs and deep hip flexors
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve symptoms of menstrual pain
  • Relieves headaches, head colds, respiratory ailments
  • Therapeutic for arthritis, asthma, flat feet, infertility, insomnia, high blood pressure, and varicose veins

Getting into the Pose:

  1. Warm up with some hip and thigh opening postures like balasana, baddha konasana, or gomukhasana first
  2. Kneel on your mat and pull your knees/inner thighs together to touch
  3. Splay your heels wide away from each other and remove the flesh on your calves out to the sides
  4. Sit your hips to the ground between your heels
  5. If you can’t sit comfortably on the ground, sit on a block, blanket or other support between your feet
  6. Only if your bottom can sit comfortably on the ground, option to continue to Supta Virasana, Reclined Hero Pose

Reclined Hero

  1. From Virasana, walk your hands behind your feet until you have space to put your elbows down
  2. Option to stay here on your elbows and forearms, or continue to lower your back down toward the floor
  3. Tilt the back of your pelvis down towards your knees to flatten your lower back if there is low back compression and ribs are sticking out
  4. If there is any discomfort still in your back, hips, or knees come back up to a higher support
  5. If your back is on the ground, let your arms lay at your sides or grab opposite elbows overhead

*A bolster or blanket under your spine and neck can be a great support

*Sandbags or weight across the tops of the thighs can deepen the release of the groins