Month: April 2020

Wellness Wednesday: The Guidance From Your Inner Child

I have been working in the labor pool of the hospital the past few weeks where I have had the opportunity to meet a variety of people I probably would have never met had this pandemic never occurred. I met one individual in particular who was a traveling sterile processing technologist.  He does not have a family, permanent home, a consistent job or friends nearby but found life contentment in meditation, traveling and the detachment of expectations. He explained to me how his travels have always been his answer to another layer of a closed mind, that he gains new perspectives when he immerses himself as if he was a child again into the opportunities to be exposed to the expansiveness that this life has to offer.

Our lives contain abundant potential sources of happiness but sometimes we become victims of the thick fog of negative thought processes because we believe that if we focus on all that has gone wrong, that somehow it will provide us with the motivation we need to overcome the current challenge. When we begin to choose all that bring us joy, a shift occurs in the sensation of our existence. What was once a depressed emptiness now becomes a light and airy sensation that reminds us of the enormous space that we have yet to explore. When we experience the ebb and flow, we can then understand that the feeling of being alive is something to be savored and held close. 

We often refer to happiness during a momentous event but the continuous contentment we have the ability to experience is deprived as a product of our appreciation. When we find ourselves struggling to list one element of existence in which brings us joy, we should examine the cause of this blockage standing between us and experiencing happiness.

We likely been conditioned to believe that the proper response to unmet expectations is one of sadness, anger, guilt, or fear. To make joy a fixture in our existence, we must accept we have the ability to adopt a positive thought process and the ability to access our inner child. We may have to detach ourselves and look at the world through the lens of our inner child, viewing the world for the very first time. Letting the innocent part of us come out to play might be a way for us to experience the world again in simplicity and purity. Consciously reminding ourselves of the innocence we once had early in our life allows us to experience things fully. When we were children, our world was everything. We absorbed without judgement. As we grow older, we tend to notice the problems within the world and restrict our self due to the expectation of our life route. 

Absorbing these small joys of each day expands the sensation of being connected with the world when we become more attuned to all that surrounds us, bringing us more in harmony with our environment. With each passing moment, we find that these “small things” bring a great level of appreciation for everything we encounter as we learn that we live miracles every given day. 





Meet the Teacher Hillary P!

You will always leave Hillary’s classes with a smile on your face! She is such a knowledgeable leader & born teacher. Restorative, flow, or YBD Sculpt you’re in for a giggle & a great class.
1. When & how did you come to yoga yourself?  – About 10 years ago, my best friend took me to a hot yoga class and I never looked back! 
2. What made you decide to start teaching (or take TT)? I have never been particularly athletic, graceful, or coordinated! But when I started to practice yoga, I started to feel STRONG. I felt better physically and mentally. My anxiety started to decrease and my confidence started to grow. I fell in love with the practice and I wanted to share that with others, so I decided to be come a yoga teacher.
3. Favorite yoga pose: half moon and crow pose
4. Who inspires your teaching? Everyone and everything from other yoga teachers and my students to my dog.
5. Tips for beginners (or advanced yogis maybe): Yoga is for every BODY. You don’t have to look like you could be on the cover of Yoga Journal to do yoga! Keep practicing. When I first started yoga, I was afraid and full of self doubt. In  fact, I cam remember in one of my first yoga classes, I was afraid to rock side to side in happy baby because I was afraid I would roll out and not be able to come back! I didn’t think I could “do yoga” because I  was unable to touch my toes. Despite the fear and the limitations I felt I had, I kept going and I am so much better for it. Yoga is such a personal, beautiful practice. When you practice, you give yourself permission to be your most authentic self. A self that continues to grow, explore, and come back time and time again despite the challenges we face on and off our mats.
6. Favorite quote: “And this above all, to thine own self be true.” Shakespeare
7. Instagram name: Yoga_Love_Hillary  <—-Check out her cute dog & megawatt smile! 
8. Interesting fact about you: I am a vegetarian! I got married on my birthday. I used to perform improv comedy. <—-See you are guaranteed a giggle in her class!!
9. Regular teaching schedule: Day/Time/Format/Location – Saturdays, 9:00 Sculpt and 10:15 Level 1 – Downers Grove
10. When I am  not doing yoga I like to – read, take walks, cuddle with my dog, make jewelry, shop, see movies, bake

Check out our FREE virtual classes and invite your friends!
Check out our schedule!
*Important Note-ALL Virtual Classes are listed under our Elmhurst location*
To sign up for Virtual Yoga, please use Yoga by Degrees app, MindBody app, or sign up on your computer.

Final Mindful Monday

Hi friends! Happy happy mindful Monday!

This will be our last Mindful Monday blog, and it has been such an honor and privilege to be able to connect with you through this format for the past several years!

We are so grateful for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you back on your mats very soon!

This collective pause has brought humanity together like no other world event. There’s really no one to “blame” here, although we do see some “finger pointing” happening.

For me, the biggest reinforcement has been that I am the creator of my own happiness, my life and all of its experiences.

And that by practicing mindfulness through movement and meditation, I understand that I will never find happiness waiting for something outside to shift.

I must choose happiness because it’s my birthright. I must decide to be happy anywhere and everywhere under any circumstances.

That if I wait for perfect external conditions: the weather; what others think say or do; whether I practice back in a heated studio, happiness will be fleeting and fickle.

Let’s choose happiness! No matter what! Let’s give up the victim mentality – which essentially gives away our personal power – and remember that we are the creative, intuitive, powerful creators of our lives.

Let’s stay connected, friends!

Click HERE from your computer or open your YBD or Mindbody App for our Virtual Class Schedule

Please follow me on my personal blog or contact me at to stay connected!

Wellness Wednesday: Freedom in Barriers

There is this unavoidable intimacy and interconnection when living with family, a significant other or roommate in which each person is held hostage to the various personalities, agendas, and backgrounds of everyone else. We cannot easily avoid those we are under a roof with. So while we are under one roof, we wish for it to be as smooth sailing as possible. But it is important to acknowledge that although we are intertwined, our lives still remain independent. To set aside this barrier is sacrificing independence and peace.

Naturally, we want to be liked, accepted, and admired. We come to realize from experience that the easiest way to win approval is to ally ourselves with those we wish to make proud and impress. By doing so, we often exhaust unnecessary energy that does not serve us. When we assume that our standards are the same as those of the people close to us without first reflecting our own intentions, we do ourselves a disfavor. The barriers that exist between others are a reminder that we must accept that “I” and “we” can coexist peacefully. Our reactions, our likes and dislikes, goals, dreams, lifestyle may or may not align with those of others always. However, we should avoid the desire to ask others to create space for what we hold close to our hearts or create space of what they hold close to their heart.

When we come to define ourself as an emotional and intellectual individual, we grow to appreciate our autonomy and acknowledge how much freedom we really do possess. So while we can desire the blend of our life with another, we learn our true concept of ourself will originate from our own soul. The healthy barriers that tell us where we and others begin and end will give us the space to pursue the growth we wish to see apart from those whose approval we are tempted to satisfy. Our ability to respectfully detach will show us that those we live with will continue to portray a part in our existence, but their values do not have to impact and influence what we obtained. The relationships we decide to share ourselves with will then thrive in harmony and alignment with one another.



Meet the Teacher Heather B

With Heather’s fitness background yoga was always the next step, but she never knew just how much yoga was going to enhance her connections to herself & those around her once she took the leap to Yoga Teacher.
1. When & how did you come to yoga yourself?  As a Fitness Instructor I first came to Yoga in 2008 when I took a very basic Yoga/Pilates fusion type training.  I began teaching that class and was really drawn to the Yoga side of it.  It wasn’t until about 2014 that I took my first in-studio Yoga class and fell in love.  I knew shortly after that I wanted to complete 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training.  I put training off for a few years,  mostly because I wanted to ensure I had the time to fully commit, but the more I put training off the stronger my desire to complete training became.  I had the privilege of completing teacher training through YBD in 2019.
2. What made you decide to start teaching (or take TT)?  I wanted to share my love of Yoga with others.  I love the physical practice of Yoga.  I love the spiritual connection I find when I practice.  I love stepping into a hot studio.  I love the feeling I have once we land in Savasana at the end of class. I love being with like minded Yogi’s as we practice together.   I wanted to share that passion with others.  I didn’t know much about the background or philosophy of Yoga.  I was eager to dive in and learn more.   That’s what made me desire to take teacher training and teach Yoga.
3. Favorite yoga pose:  Ooh! I have so many – but for today I’ll go with Fallen Triangle.  It makes me feel open, light and strong.
4. Who inspires your teaching? My students as well as my teachers both inspire my teaching.  My teachers because I always learn something new from every class that I take.  I am grateful for their guidance, wisdom and willingness to share with their students.   I am forever a student of Yoga.


As a teacher, it is inspiring to witness students moving through their practice at all levels.  It is an honor and privilege to guide students through their practice.  I am grateful every time I teach any class that I teach.  
5. Tips for beginners (or advanced yogis maybe): Know your body – acknowledge what it wants and what it needs.  Know that it can vary day to day and respect what it asks of you.
6. Favorite quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou
7. Interesting fact about you: I LOVE coffee  – A day with Yoga, a good book and a coconut milk latte is a perfect day to me!
8. When I am  not doing yoga I like to; Read – I enjoy reading all kinds of books… mysteries, anything Brene Brown lately, really anything that sounds interesting to me.

Check out our FREE virtual classes and invite your friends!
We’ve Added Classes!
We have scheduled our virtual classes through April! Check out our schedule!
*Important Note-ALL Virtual Classes are listed under our Elmhurst location*
To sign up for Virtual Yoga, please use Yoga by Degrees app, MindBody app, or sign up on your computer.

Mindful Monday: Here For It

Flashback to the good ole days at the studio

Happy Monday, dearest souls!

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects things to get better; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward

It is so critical to cultivate your mind during this time. Let’s stop looking for happiness in “the way things were” or “when things go back to normal.”

Change is never easy, but it’s certainly inevitable. And it will always draw out the best in humanity!

The stories of birthday drive-bys, of how certain parts of the world are seeing blue skies for the first time in decades, of the acts of love and care and compassion from all of the “helpers” out there.

What are you noticing about your relationships during this time? About yourself? What are three blessings you’ve experienced during this situation? What are some newfound habits and rituals you will continue?

I’m enjoying a slower more deliberate pace of life. I’m so grateful that my days are filled with taking care of my family. Daily walks with my 86 year old father. Remembering how much I love teaching yoga. Knowing I’m contributing to a smaller carbon footprint.

Knowing that we are so deeply reminded of our deep interconnectedness with one another and with humanity.

Seeing how people adapt and can even thrive in our newfound awareness of one another. Acknowledging that we all contribute to the collective. We all have a role in serving humanity. We all matter. We are all important. We are all enough!

Like you, my dearsweet yogi, I often need a reminder of all of this!

That’s why I’m eternally grateful for all of your generosity in supporting us at Yoga By Degrees so that we can stay connected and keep teaching!

Click HERE from your computer or open your YBD or Mindbody App for our Virtual Class Schedule

See you on your mat!

April 2020 POTM Revolved Half Moon

Revolved half moon

Hi there, yogis! Our April 2020 pose of the month is Parivttra Ardha Chandrasana or Revolved Half Moon.

This is a pose which engages the entire body requiring strength, balance and total awareness of the present. We learn to stay focused and calm even while twisted and challenged.

Here’s how!

1. Begin in a lunge with your right foot forward. Shift your weight into your right foot and press into grounded airplane with hands on the floor or blocks, right under your shoulders.

2. Lengthen through the crown of your head and reach through your lifted heel.

3. Place your left hand under your chest (use a block if needed), and place your right hand on your right hip to gently nudge your right hip back in space.

4. Rotate your chest open to the right, moving from your left rib cage as you extend your right arm to the sky.

5. If you are stable here, turn your gaze to your lifted arm.
Hold for up to 10 breaths.

6. Release to a forward fold for a few breaths then step back to lunge and repeat on the other side.

Wellness Wednesday: False Evidence Appearing Real

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

Our time anticipating uncertainty seems as if we have experienced the ebb and flow of every possible human emotion.  There is no wrong way to feel at this time and it is important that we acknowledge attaching to our fears and anxiety can only create stagnation in our mind as we become fixated on ideas and behaviors, becoming a cozy home for fear and anxiety to thrive in. 

The uncertainty leaves us in suspense because we cannot know for sure how an event will turn out. We may play every possible scenario in our head but our understanding that we do not know for sure what will happening in the future can allow us to let go of our attachment to uncertainty. When we live solely focused on what the future may or may not bring, we are more likely to live in fear. This is because of our natural reaction to protect ourselves. Our mind would not resort automatically to the joy the future may bring, but instead the possible instability of the next moment. If we remind ourselves that the future is always unsure we can find comfort in knowing that it is out of our control. This can motivate us to engross into the present moment, for this could help us ground and view our thoughts unattached. If we allow the space to find a proper perspective then we will realize ease will encompass us in the warmth of its arms. 

I once had someone explain to me that fear can be looked at as the acronym, “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Fears of being separated from what we feel we need for our security comes from a delusion-a distorted way of understanding ourselves and the world around us. When we understand that these thought processes are only representations of the energy we put to work then we realize we have the ability to shift our attention to a more productive place.

The only thing that is concrete in life is the present moment. While it is natural response to wander beyond the now about what the future will bring, it will always just be a conjecture. The more we acknowledge what we can and cannot control, the more clear our path becomes to accept the uncertainty. Our fears transform to shadows that slowly disintegrate when we focus our light on our fears . We can choose instead to direct our thoughts and creative power to things of great value as we learn to practice gratitude in the midst of the unknown.  Our ability to access these energies are always available to us when we place ourselves confidently in the ebb and flow of life. 



Meet the Teacher Amanda R!

Amanda is a triple threat; Yoga Teacher, Actor, English Equestrian Rider!  Plus she is wicked funny, absolutely humble & her smile lights up a room.


1. When & how did you come to yoga yourself?
Vulnerable answer, but I’m an open book and I know many others go through the same thing- I suffered greatly from depression and anxiety. I slept an average 4 hours a night from the time I was 15 to 20. I found yoga at 19, and from there understood the mind/body connection and have been hooked ever since. I try not to go more than 2  days without practicing.
2. What made you decide to start teaching (or take TT)?
Haha that would be because of Meghan Rohde. I never considered it, and didn’t think I would be any good to be honest. Meghan is an unbelievable, poetic teacher, for those who know and have taken her class. She once approached me when I was an SA and said “Amanda of anyone I know you should be teaching..” I flat out said no! But if anything I just had to let the idea digest, and I came to the conclusion that if one of my favorite instructors saw potential in me, then I should give it a shot. I’m indebted to her, and humbled that she initially approached me. Acting is my first love, but teaching in a way is like performing. And I adore yoga. Saved my life.
3. Favorite yoga pose: 
This is hard cause there are so many different kinds but I will have to say warrior 2. It’s in incredibly strong, fierce pose but it’s also so grounding.
4. Who inspires your teaching?
I feel this pertains to which teachers inspire me? Meghan Rohde, she’s honestly for me like a little yogi Shakespeare, her cues are poetry. Stacey Z, her vulnerability, her freeing sequences, fearless cueing, her music. Loreta. Her humor, her love, her stories, her thoughtful sequences. Lara Divine. Her intuition and fierce love for her students. I mean everyone is so so good and we all inspire each other I someway. I feel this is just a handful of teachers that inspire me. I love you all 🙂
5. Tips for beginners (or advanced yogis maybe):
No stress! Yoga is not about being an instagram model! This is about connecting with your body and the essence of self. It’s about persistence. Growth doesn’t come without. The more you consistently show up on your mat the more you’ll grow, and you’ll notice these changes over time.
6. Favorite quote: 
“I believe you stop learning when you’re dead.”
Jack Nicholson
7. Instagram name:
_theamandarhodes_  **Follow this woman, she does not disappoint with that big smile & fun attitude, bonus Beau makes a lot of furry appearances!**
8. Interesting fact about you:
Most my students know I’m an actor, but long before I that and yoga I started off as an English equestrian rider, even competed in a few events. Hunter-jumper is my specialty, I still ride when I can.
9. Regular teaching schedule: Day/Time/Format/Location
Tuesday’s/Thursdays in Glen Ellyn:
6pm level 2
7:30 restore
Thursday mornings in Elmhurst:
6am level 2
8:30 am level 1
Saturday mornings/afternoon in Wheaton:
10:30 am restore
12pm level 2 75 min
10. When I am  not doing yoga I like to;
Cuddle with my doggo, Beau! Create with my actor-artist friends, spend time with family, friends, horseback ride 🙂

Check out our FREE virtual classes and invite your friends!
We’ve Added Classes!
We have scheduled our virtual classes through April! Check out our schedule!
*Important Note-ALL Virtual Classes are listed under our Elmhurst location*
To sign up for Virtual Yoga, please use Yoga by Degrees app, MindBody app, or sign up on your computer.

Mindful Monday: More Perspective

Good morning beautiful mindful socially distanced ones!

We are starting week five of our transition to online practicing! It just illustrates that time and life continue to move forward. That’s happening. But we get to control how we think and process all that is happening around us and for us. Yes for us, not to us.

Many of us observe Easter as a religious holiday; others may approach it as more of a cultural experience for our kids. Either way, it was certainly an entire shift. Much like almost everything that’s unfolded over the past several weeks.

Through our yoga practice we learn to observe the inner dialogue and the inner self in relation to external circumstances.

Never before in history have we as an entire species had this opportunity for introspection and healing.

However we have experienced these new circumstances tell us so much about what’s going on internally. The quarantine and social distancing are the stimuli to surface our inner mechanisms of coping and to show us where we have been ‘stuck.’

Remember, dear soul, that it is not circumstances that cause stress, anxiety, fear, resistance, compassion, love, acceptance and gratitude. These qualities exist within each of us. It is how we choose to think about a situation that creates an emotional reaction.

One exactly identical situation will be processed differently by people based on their vibrational level.

Say you are driving in traffic and someone cuts you off. Your reaction to that situation will vary based on your current mood or vibrational energy.

One vibrating from fear or shame may immediately blame himself or herself for driving too slowly and being in the way. Someone in an angry or egoic space will flash with anger and self-righteousness. Someone in a stable space of courage and acceptance will acknowledge that this is a good example of the need for driving defensively. One in an elevated state of love, gratitude and hope will think this person needs to be somewhere important; I’ll create space for him and pray he gets where he needs to be safely.

And this is how it is with life. Like the rude driver, we cannot control much of external circumstances. The work and effort is internal: how do I want to feel? Do I want to feel happy and safe? Then let me seek out those thoughts and circumstances that allow me to feel this way.

Let me look around at all of the beauty: every positive social media post; every Zoom yoga class; every face mask donated. And look within yourself: how strong you are; how authentic you are; how kind and compassionate to yourself and to others you are learning to be.

And remember, your Yoga By Degrees teachers and community are HERE for you every day with classes, giggles, nuggets of wisdom and an overwhelming realization that we are all in this together. We are ONE!!!

Click HERE from your computer or open your YBD or Mindbody App for our Virtual Class Schedule!

We are so grateful for this community! And overwhelmed with your generosity that allows us to continue to teach on this new platform!