Month: March 2016

Mindful Monday: Get Off Your Sweet Asana!

Happy Monday, and giddy up! If you’re reading this sitting down or at work, get up, stand up, and stretch out! Today’s all about productivity and the gift of healing movement.

Sure, rushed mornings might turn into spilled coffee and afternoon meetings that run late can segue into an angry after-work commute. And maybe, by the time you finally get done teaching 3 classes or playing Super Mom or spending hours in your car, exhaustion might set in and it’s hard to keep the motivation.

Today, it’s all about 50-10. For every 50 minutes of scheduled, productive, multi-tasking, job-doing time you spend being exactly the type of (insert role here) you’ve been called to be, take 10 minutes of time to move. Stand up. Take a short walk. Lift your arms over head and tip from left to right for a yummy side body stretch. Touch your toes. Shake your head and let your tongue and mouth be absolutely free to make whatever oddball noises you want. However you choose to spend your 10 minutes, spend it moving for you. Your body, your time, your healing. Ready, set, go!

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Mindful Monday: Yoga Sutras & Spring Cleaning

Yesterday was our first official day of Spring, and although the weather’s still inching toward that warmth we’re all craving, there’s plenty of fresh air, chirping birds, and budding greens all around to remind us of what this change in season is all about.

This particular change in season is a great time to start fresh, purge old habits that are no longer serving our highest growth, and do some necessary “spring cleaning” both mentally and materially. A closer look at the yoga sutras might inspire some spring cleaning for the soul.

One of the strengths of our teaching training program at Yoga By Degrees is the emphasis and further education on the 8 Limb Path. The 8 Limbs are divided into the yams and niyamas, which are essentially translated into guidelines for living a meaningful life of purpose and intention. This Monday we’ll focus on some much-needed springtime Saucha.

Saucha is the practice of cleanliness. As with all of the yamas and niyamas, there is an inner as well as an outer aspect. Yoga is highly transformative, and when we choose to take the path, we’re moved from the world of form and all of the fears and attachments and neuroses that we identify with to this realization of the formless self that resides within us as Spirit. To make it simple and to use Saucha as a way to clean out the clutter, start with the outside and then, if you’re ready, go a bit deeper.

Take a look at your surroundings: What kind of conditions do you live in? Is your space calming and a place of sanctuary? Does the room in your home where you spend the most time bring feelings of joy and contentment? Do you keep your home, work space, and vehicle clean and tidy, or is it time for some serious tidying, organizing, sorting, and maybe even trashing things that are really of no great use to you? This week, take some time to evaluate your home and body. Do the dishes right after your meal, take a bag of clothes you no longer wear to your local donation center, clear out the leftovers from your fridge, and spend 30 minutes of uninterrupted bliss in a hot bath with bubbles & your favorite essential oil.

Spring cleaning with Saucha is simple, and once you tackle the external like home and body, you can start asking yourself what kind of mental garbage is crippling you in the past, perpetuating unnecessary fears, and cluttering your mindset with questions and inadequacies and made-up stories.

Practice Saucha & simplify.


“YBD Lite” Studio Comes To Glen Ellyn!


Yoga by Degrees is proud to announce “YBD Lite”!  Our newest concept and location is coming to Glen Ellyn in April!  The Grand Opening date is April 29. 2016.

The new location is at 914 East Roosevelt Road, in the Baker Hill Shopping Center, next to I-355.  And, there’s plenty of parking!

Experience the same beautiful, serene ambiance, amenities and experienced staff but in a more intimate space with a cool urban feel. You’ll enjoy all of the classes you’ve come to love at our other locations, but in a single 1800 square foot expansive studio space!  (Stay tuned for photos!)

Also, we’re kicking off a new, incredibly economical and convenient membership for the location called: “Gold Glen Ellyn Only Monthly Unlimited Membership”.  If you live or work in the Glen Ellyn area and plan mostly to come only to this location, a Gold Membership may be the perfect fit for you!

This membership, as the name suggests, can only be used at the Glen Ellyn location.  However, if you do want to take class at any other YBD location, no problem! Pay just $7 per class and you’re in!

For a limited time, you can purchase a Glen Ellyn Only Gold membership for just $78 dollars a month through our web site or from you at any studio!  But hurry!  We’re limiting this amazing price to the first 108 people who sign up. (After that, the price will most likely increase.)

Plus, great news for Platinum Members!  The new Gold Membership means that your Platinum Membership is now a: “Platinum All Access Monthly Unlimited Membership” and you can continue to use it at all YBD locations…including the YBD Lite Glen Ellyn location!


For more information about both our Platinum and Gold membership or to purchase one or the other, click here:

Mindful Monday: An Irish Blessing

Good morning, mindful ones! As we enter this week that means something different to most of us, we can find some common ground with a blessing for the journey! Serve. Be grateful. Be kind. Give no fear!

Let us vow to bear witness to the wholeness of life,
realizing the completeness of each and every thing.
Embracing our differences,
I shall know myself as you, and you as myself.
May we serve each other for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to open ourselves to the abundance of life.
Freely giving and receiving, I shall care for you,
for the trees and stars, as treasures of my very own.
May we be grateful for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to forgive all hurt caused by ourselves and others,
and to never condone hurtful ways.
Being responsible for my actions, I shall free myself and you.
Will you free me, too?
May we be kind for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to remember that all that appears will disappear.
In the midst of uncertainty, I shall sow love.
Here! Now! I call to you:
Let us together live
The Great Peace that we are.
May we give no fear for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

— Sensei Wendy Egyoku Nakao.


Mindful Monday: Admire and Aspire

It’s a beautiful morning! The sunshine’s surely helping us spring out of any cold-weather blues we might be feeling as we eagerly await spring, but Booker T. Washington once said, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else!”

Let’s start the week by paying it forward:

Treat the car behind you in the drive-thru to a cup of coffee.

Hold the door for a stranger.

Leave a tip in the tip jar at the register.

Write a piece of positive feedback in the suggestion box.

Compliment someone’s outfit.

Smile at everyone you pass today.

Pick up the trash you see flying around in the parking lot.

Fill a bag with items you no longer use or haven’t used in awhile and drop it off at your local donation center.

Tap the brake to let the driver in front of you merge…take a deep breath, you can do it. 😉

Men: Leave the seat down!

Prep a meal and drop it off at a neighbor’s house.

Write your spouse a handwritten love letter.

Donate blood.

Introduce yourself to a new coworker or one you haven’t met yet and make him or her feel welcome.

Write a positive review for a favorite small business you enjoy.

Let someone with only a few items cut in line at the grocery store.

Whether you’re a charity novice or an aspiring Mother Teresa, there are so many ways to make this earth a little brighter. Collective energy is contagious. Start today, and feel free to add to our list!


4 week SHRED

4 week Shred

Due to the success of our first session, we are thrilled to announce round two of the SHRED program at Yoga By Degrees! The 4 Week Shred will be starting June 1st at Yoga By Degrees Downers Grove.  The 4 Week Shred is a two part boot camp program designed to set you up for success in achieving your fitness and health goals- whether it is kick starting weight loss, building lean muscle while shredding fat or getting into the best shape of your life! You will learn how to fuel and move your body to achieve maximum, long term results. The 4 Week Shred will give you the tools and motivation you need to succeed.

Program starts: June 1-June 26

Sundays, June 12 and 26: 4-5:30pm Nutritional Workshops

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 6-6:50am High Intensity Fusion Class

Due to the customized meal plans, nutrition workshops and coaching from the Shred Leads, we will have to limit the number of participants.

Want more information? We are holding two information meetings on the following dates. Both Teresa and Susan will be there to address any questions or concerns you may have.

Free Information Meetings:

May 18, 7pm at YBD Downers Grove

May 25, 7pm at YBD Downers Grove

Can’t make the meetings? Want more information? No problem! Email Teresa at for any questions you may have!


Yoga By Degrees Members: $275

Nonmembers: $400 (includes 1 month unlimited yoga!)

Meet your 4 Week Shred Leads!

Susan Rizzo, RD, LDN, CDE susan


Susan has been a Registered Dietitian (RD) for over 30 years. She is passionate about the value of eating right and exercising for its role in health. For the past 15 years she has enjoyed educating clients as nutrition counselor and diabetes educator for AMITA Health-Alexian Brothers. Over the years she has been involved with various weight loss programs including programs for the YMCA, Weight Watchers, and The Solution Program. Recently she has advised clients involved with The Daily Herald’s Fittest Loser program. Susan holds certifications of training in Adult and Pediatric Weight Management with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her expertise in nutrition has helped many clients individualize their food choices leading to improved weight and health status. She is dedicated to educating people with the tools needed to self-manage their weight and meet health goals. A long time believer in the powers of physical activity she has enjoyed a variety of physical activity pursuits throughout her life including running, walking, yoga, tennis, ice skating, soccer, biking and dancing. She raised 4 children and is sensitive to the needs of busy lifestyles.


Teresa Larem Teresa 2

Yoga Instructor/ Yoga Sculpt Instructor/Shred Facilitator

Teresa has always been a lifelong athlete, starting with soccer in kindergarten and continuing with tennis, basketball, softball, track, yoga, dance and rock climbing. If it’s active she likes it! Teresa discovered Yoga sculpt in 2013 and has been in love ever since due to the intensity, fun and results she has received from sculpt and fusion. She began teaching Yoga in 2014 and soon followed with Yoga Sculpt in 2015 and has recently helped train the latest group of teachers at YBD. She loves teaching sculpt and fusion because she loves to have fun and motivate people. Teresa truly believes that being active is the key to a long and healthy life and hopes to make working out fun for her students. Her other hobbies include soccer, spin, walking her dog, reading, and yoga.

Are you ready to sign up? Enroll online, in studio, or over the phone at any YBD location by June 1st!

Meet Becca, Teacher of the Month


We are excited to celebrate sweet, smiling, Wisconsin girl-at-heart, Becca as YBD March Teacher of the Month! Becca’s classes flow like a dance with smart transitions and attention to mindful, rhythmic breathing. Check out Becca’s permanent class schedule:

Tuesday at Elmhurst:
6-7pm YBD1 80-85
8-9pm YBD2 85
Thursday at Elmhurst: 
6-7pm YBD1 80-85
8-9pm YBD2 85
Friday at Wheaton:
6-7pm YBD2 105
Sunday at Downers Grove:
4-5pm YBD HOT
Becca Q&A

When and how did you come to yoga?

I practiced yoga every now and then in high school, but in 2013, I began practicing weekly with my best friend at the University of Wisconsin. When I graduated that year, I turned to yoga to help calm my anxiety and I learned to use it as a tool to get me through a time of immense change in my life. My love for yoga grew the more I practiced and it has been a consistent part of my life ever since!

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I’ve been a dancer since before I can remember and I grew up in a very musical family, so I’ve always loved music and dance. Yoga seemed like such a perfect fit that combined those two passions. Preparing for my classes and practicing yoga has been such a wonderful creative outlet for me that combines those two things – movement and music. 

Also, I found Yoga By Degrees shortly after moving to Illinois in 2014 and every single teacher that I met and practiced with made me feel so loved, welcome, and supported. I became more confident and happy because of these teachers and this community. I wanted to be somebody that brought joy and light to others in the same way!

What is your favorite pose?

Right now I’m really into malasana and chin stand. But I love trying new weird poses and transitions. I love the challenge!

Who inspires your teaching?

I am so inspired by “Yoga Girl” Rachel Brathen. I love her positivity and how approachable she is. I always try to be approachable and real with my students. I’m also constantly uplifted by my fellow yoga teachers at YBD. They are definitely a great source of inspiration!

Tips for beginners…

Be patient and be kind to yourself. If you’re like I was, you may be a beginner that is itching to get into an arm balance or inversion. Take it slow. You need a solid foundation to build up. Enjoy the process and the little victories. On your journey you’ll come to realize that the best part of yoga is more than the photo-worthy poses.

What’s your favorite quote?

It changes on a daily basis, but right now it is…

“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.” – Kid President, Temo Coker

March Pose of the Month

Happy belated leap year, and welcome to another new month. Hopefully the month of March brings us lots of warmth and the firsts of a much-awaited glorious spring. We also bring you our pose of the month: Skandasana!

  • From Warrior II, Star Pose, Horse Pose, or Prasarita, bend into your left or right knee squatting down onto your heel
  • Straighten your opposite leg as you lower your hips
  • Flex through your foot on your straight leg with your heel to the floor
  • Your hands can come to the floor for balance and support, or play around with different heart-opening variations by bringing your hands to heart center or opening your arms wide
  • Option to stay popped up onto the ball of your foot under your bent knee, or flatten foot entirely to the earth

Benefits of Skandasana:

  • Improves balance
  • Builds core strength
  • Awakens hamstrings and invites organic movement as you switch from right to left

Dance into spring by trying out our pose of the month! Shift from side to side and let the prana flow!