Author: Yogabydegrees

At Yoga by Degrees, we like to sweat so we turn up the heat in our classes. Heat during yoga practice has numerous benefits. It allows for a deeper cleanse of the body and boosts the body’s circulation. Heat loosens up the muscles and detoxifies the organs. Heat allows for greater range of motion in joints, muscles, ligaments and other supporting structures of the body. Heat also has a calming affect on the mind and when the mind slows down and the heart rate picks up you have the perfect combination for a hatha yoga practice. Our classes are heated from 80º F to 105º F. Check out our website at to find the right class with right amount of heat for you.

Wellness Wednesday: Your Season’s Flourishing Radiance

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

With the sudden drop in temperatures and overcast skies we often have the tendency to view the next few months with nuisance as we attempt to stay warm and content. Like reading quotes for motivation, we refer to nature for inspiration and lessons. We can gain so much wisdom in the dormant months.

Like any seasoned gardener knows, the seeds that create flourishing plants requires a cold period in order to germinate. Some seeds require a drop in temperature in order to break it’s dormancy. The season’s cycle of harsh conditions exercises the shell of the seed until it has the strength to blossom. Just like seeds, we too, are mentally, emotionally and energetically challenged as we experience less sunlight and stressful holidays. Us humans seek for light both literally and figuratively. It can be dispiriting to begin the frigid months knowing we may not see very much sunlight. The natural cycle may wrongfully inspire us to isolate ourselves to those around us and reflect on past hurts. However a change in perspective is all it takes to change our moment and this period of dormancy may actually be the perfect time to learn to cultivate internal light. It is a grueling phase of growth that we have no control over. Perhaps this is the reason we do not celebrate our progress much the same as brighter periods of our life. In spite of it all, we, too, must endure periods of darkness to experience light- both self made and received by others.

Searching for joy at this time may encourage us to harvest the intimate connections we have. Our desire to spread warmth may infuse with those in our surroundings becoming a synergistic effect. Our ability to internally adjust may allow us to send the genuine love we all thrive off of as intimacy denotes mutual trust between one another. We discover the more we give, the more we receive only to create a cycle of trust and affirmation that nourishes itself. By surrendering to the process we can trust there is always warmth, warmth we can radiate to all beings around us.



Wellness Wednesday: The Grudges You Carry

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

This past week I have had the opportunity to get back into my practice on a daily basis and remind myself how good a consistent, heated flow feels. It was not until I got into my mat this week I realized how much self-healing had to be done not only physically but mentally, emotionally and energetically. I think this is something we can all relate to at some point in our practice. So I spent more time challenging myself to meditate longer after each practice. Through this I had experienced visuals of people who I was angry and upset with followed by a deep sensation of acceptance and forgiveness. It was something I never experienced before, something I could never explain in words in all my time of meditating. This provided me with a focus to my next step of healing to leave me feeling whole once again. This focus left me pondering long after.

We store our hurt. Whether it is conscious or unconscious. One of the most difficult things we must do when facing these arising emotions is to forgive. It seems much easier to cut someone out of our life and form a bitterness to anyone that has hurt us. However by doing this we create a burden that weights heavy on our chest that we carry with us always- consciously or unconsciously.

Forgiveness is hard. It is hard for a number of reasons. One being that we must accept the actions of what someone may have done to intentionally or unintentionally hurt us. We must give ourselves the time and space to feel before we can accept and begin the forgiving process. We must be ready to stop identifying ourselves with the suffering we experienced and instead forgive as it is something we can do to alleviate the heaviness we continue to carry. We forgive to benefit ourselves that then extends to those around us.

Allowing ourselves to check in with any energetic imbalances and cultivate peace is a great positive step to living a lighter life. We learn through acceptance that the healing work provides us a bridge in which the energy to begin again can be obtained.

Wellness Wednesday: Soothing Silence

Happy Wellness Wednesday, guys!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take my annual escape to Colorado to visit friends and absorb the beauty of the mountains. While I was there I couldn’t help but notice for the first time there being a lot less background noise than we do here in Chicago and the suburbs. There was no longer the constant buzzing of sirens and congested roads but instead pure silence. Silence has always been something I craved as my schedule at home can leave me run down as I am sure you can relate to as well. My time spent in Colorado has always shown me the renourishing effect silence has.

But the idea of silence can make us feel awkward, finding it much more easier to move into activity to avoid silence whether this be in a conversation or space. However, silence is with us always. It’s vast, it’s potent, it’s renourishing. It has its own weight and quality. It truly is precious.
As soon as we can accept the ability to be still we can experience our purest self. Our breath, our heartbeat, sensations, intuition. But if we go further to tune ourselves into the deeper silence we can feel the pulsating waves it uses to shake our core clean leaving us nothing but renourished and whole. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

This new perspective I have gained while in Colorado has always inspired me to always search for what feels good, what makes me feel whole. The views, the people, the awareness of ones own health, the balance of loud, social nights and silent, humbling mornings. I can’t take mountains back home with me but I can tune into the same silence I experienced out there. It is comforting knowing that. 

We can access it at anytime even in the midst of it all if we allow it. It is there waiting for us to resist the urge to create uneccessary sound. We can simply wake up before the rest of the world, turn off the car radio or television and immerse ourself into the surrounding silence to fully experience the healing effects.




Wellness Wednesday: Name it, Claim it, Tame it

Happy Wellness Wednesday, guys!

I once had an individual in life who lived by the saying, “name it, claim it, tame it” in order to cultivate for ease and clarity in life. A simple step by step guide in chaotic moments because in those moments it is easier to feel everything all at once than to actually deal with it. We tend to react rather than respond as we realize in our fast moving world that our culture does not always prioritize emotional awareness. We have this tendency to create barriers with self defenses and never actually confront what it is that we feel.

Sometimes we experience the intensity of our emotions without understanding why or without warning. We may dig ourself into a ditch in attempt to identify solutions that will bring us a sense of peace but instead become more frustrated. We gain a sense of taking control when we are able to identify what it is that we are feeling. In doing so we accept and take ownership of what it is we are experiencing whether we perceive it as positive or negative. This encourages us to transition from one emotional state to another intentionally and precisely when we feel ready with honesty. We must be honest with ourself in order to work directly from the root. In doing so we come to be more direct in expressing our feelings, ideas and thoughts to those around us.

Once we identify and accept whole heartedly we have already began the process to tame it because we created the clear connection between the way we feel and our current circumstance. We come to realize how liberated we feel as we detach from judgements and expectations that we put upon ourselves, ultimately discovering what it was that kept us incomplete to control our emotional state all this time.We simply must detach and observe constantly through the process to return back to emotional equilibrium.

“Name it. Claim it. Tame it.”



Wellness Wednesday: The Seeds That You Plant

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but instead the seeds that you plant.”

Happy Wellness Wednesday, guys! This past weekend I was driving to my favorite coffee shop after teaching a 6am class only to stumble across this quote posted in front of a business as I was driving.

While at a red light I kept rereading it over and over. I could not help but think how important this message was to remember as we can become so overly goal-oriented. Today we often feel we must be the next bigger, better and best. Our fixation on this idea can make us feel that our current actions are not enough, leaving us feeling stuck.

During these times it is important we reevaluate in order to bring clear what it is that may or may not be keeping us feeling stuck. Sometimes we must find patience within to wait until the momentum of life increases again but often we acknowledge the stillness is coming from our own defenses and attachments. Once we can identify what it is that is making us feel stuck, we can make adjustments in order to harmonize back into life’s tune.

It is important we remember we are the final judge of what it is we need in order to heal. We must be compassionate and gentle towards ourself as we know everyone feels stuck at some point in their lives. Our ability to change our perspective on this situation by viewing it as a process rather than a problem that must be fixed can help keep the frustration aside and cultivate the space we need in order figure out what really is going on. We must look at the steps we have taken rather than our end goal.

Wellness Wednesday: Celebrating Your Happiness

Happy Wellness Wednesday, everyone!

This past week I had the great surprise to see our instructor, Pamela. Pamela has always been one to remind me the importance of getting excited about our littlest victories in life. She brings such a warm presence into a room, inspiring others to do the same.

Taking pride in our victories can seem like a tough pill to swallow. We may not feel as interesting, successful or important enough to people we may compare ourselves to. We can easily get swept up along in this mindset. Without acknowledging this we may lash our feelings out on others immediately or store our emotional hurt inside of our physical bodies as a way to suppress what we are actually feeling. It seems much easier to avoid our emotions than to actual deal with them so for a brief moment we may turn to other pleasures in hope to find ease, better known as numbing. Denying what we feel may burglarize us of the valuable information about our self that we may need in order to heal and create balance within our life.

Continuing to numb ourselves to the yin and yang of life can have us settle for a monotone world of grey. Our experiences become more dull and we become less content with our life’s path. This goes the same with positive emotions. Suppressing our happiness can be just as unhealthy as suppressing our sadness.  Taking a moment to express our innermost joy can give us the space to live vividly, reminding us the excitement life contains. As soon we can identify what brings us joy we expand our warmth to others as well.

Wellness Wednesday: Coming Out From Hiding

I think it’s easy to isolate ourselves time to time. We may use the defense during our isolation phase that we are shy or lonesome when in reality we could be hiding due to underlying tensions we may be experiencing.

Most of the time we work through this isolation phase as we could simply be angry, upset, anxious about the life outside of our physical bodies. However if we do not pass these feelings, we may resort to bitterness. Bitterness creates space for us to become victims that we no longer have to continue the path of healing. When we acknowledge that it is okay to feel this way time to time, we can reconnect consciously with our hurt in constructive way and begin the process to work through it.

When we hide, we feel as if we are invisible as if no one can see the hurt we are experiencing when in reality we are only hiding from ourself. Each of us has a unique light we can share. When we dim our own natural light we also dim the glowing radiance of the universe. Stepping out from hiding is a way for us to serve ourself and those around us. Our light can energize ourselves and others in a synergistic harmony. Our ability to allow others to experience our light encourages other to do the same. This ripple effect benefits everyone to experience the deep potential warmth this universe holds.

Wellness Wednesday: Your Daily Scan

Sometimes we may be so caught up in sensation, feeling and emotion we forget our physical body goes through great stress. As a reminder we must give our body the loving care it needs as it is a tool in which we experience life but so often we treat it with indifference and dislike.

A brief moment to take a body scan may be the thing we need to softly come back to earth. This brief moment can bring us to be sensitive to the sensations that arise in the body. We may notice aches, a shift in temperature, the subtle flow of breath in and out the nose. This scan can help us draw awareness to the areas where we feel “stuck”. Generally correlating to where energy is stuck. This can teach us something as it is believed the body never lies.

Any sensation that’s arises can be looked at as a piece of wisdom from the body. Any injury or discomfort can teach us to slow down and reflect what it is we need in order to create balance as a whole. The more we scan ourselves the more hypersensitive we are to imbalances that may be occuring in other aspects in our life other than physical.



Wellness Wednesday: You Never Know Until You Try

Just this past week I came across this photo I took for a couple of lovely daughters encouraging their mothers to try yoga for the first time with a private class I had taught them. The conversation sparked to how intimidating yoga can be for someone new to it. It can feel like immersing yourself into a whole unknown world of breathing, energy and making weird pretzel shapes with your body. At first it may seem like the last thing to come to mind when thinking of something relaxing but “you never know until you try”.

We have always heard this saying. It is often said we regret the things we never did during our lifetime. Our willingness to discover through doing can help us to explore our interests and produce a change in pace of our life. While each experience may not be in our best interest, we have given ourselves the opportunity to deepen our self knowledge.

Our ability to take a brief moment to ourself in silent reflection on the years we have lived can ensure we take advantage of each moment. We may realize we had a reoccurring closed mindset that stemmed from fear of judgement or failure. This realization can be just what we need to encourage us to try something new as we never know until we try it.



Wellness Wednesday: Your Inner Circle

Happy Wellness Wednesday, guys!

This past month I have gravitated to the idea of spring cleaning of those I surround myself with. There come a point we feel the need to reevaluate the relationships we have in our life to ensure the relationships we hold are still warm and thriving. Little did I realize that I spent too much energy engaging in relationships that left me feeling apathetic, stagnant and exhausted. Recently I have longed for the relationships that left me nourished, back to my roots.

Life itself can be draining enough already without the ones that consume our energy levels constantly so its vital we plant ourselves in an inner circle that nourishes us to grow. This evaluation has little to do with being a selfish and everything to do with your well being. Our relationships should be mutual and synergistic. However, this could be difficult to learn as we may fall into the comfort of the length we have had this relationship. It may become blind to us that we no longer receive mutual support or we have kept ourselves trapped from negative energy, something we must give ourselves permission to free. While we may not want to completely eliminate a relationship, we have the ability to shift the boundaries of a relationship.

Doing so can give us the space we need within in order to grow and cultivate more ease in our life and inspire the ones we love to do the same.