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 www.yogabydegrees.net to find the right class with right amount of heat for you.

Meet Chantel, YBD Teacher of the Month

‘And though she be but little, she is FIERCE’

Chantel greets you warmly with her sweet smile at the desk and gracefully challenges you on the mat. Her classes are thoughtfully prepared and leave you feeling balanced and strong. She puts her heart and soul into each and every class and that is certainly felt by her students. Here’s where you can experience some Chantel magic:

Wednesdays (South Naperville)
YBD1 85   6:30pm
YBD2 105 8pm
Thursdays  (Wheaton)
YBD HOT   9:30am
Saturdays  (South Naperville)
HIIT Pilates 8am
YBD2 9:30am
Restorative 11am
When and How did you come to yoga?
My mom was my first yoga teacher.   As a teen I would watch her teach and on occasion I would join in and practice with her, however it wasn’t until about six years ago that I started with a committed practice.  As a way to rehabilitate a back injury, I decided to commit to a bi-weekly practice.  Not only did I heal my back, but I found a powerful source of total connection and peace every time I stepped onto my mat.  Needless to say I was hooked!
Why did you start teaching yoga?
I wanted to connect with like minded people that shared the same vision on heath and wellness as I do.  Completing my teacher training here at YBD served as a beautiful foundation for  cultivating these relationships and essentially helped springboard me into my teaching career.
What is your favorite pose?
Savasana!!!
Who inspires your teaching?
There are so many people that inspire me every day!   My family, my students, and other teachers are a great source of teachings and wisdom. Some personalities in particular that I look to for inspiration are Tara Brach, Rolf Gates, and Leigha Butler.
Tips for beginners…
Practice!  Keep showing up on your mat!  Get curious!  Shift from your “thinking” mode to “feeling mode”.  Your yoga practice is so much more than just getting in and out of each posture, it is about reconnecting with yourself…body, mind, and soul.  In a beginners mind lies great potential for growth and self discovery, so try to surrender to the uncertainty of it all and just breathe and observe.
What is your favorite quote?
“Practice, and all is coming…” – Sri Pattabhi Jois
What you practice, you will become, so it is important to observe what you practice.  What are your habits and how are they serving you?   Finding a pause in your day, EVERYDAY, allows time and space for self reflection.

Meet Teri, YBD Teacher of the Month

Trying something new and challenging in the new year? Our South Naperville and Glen Ellyn locations offer Traditional Hot classes; the perfect way to detox after the holiday season! Our Traditional Hot instructor, Teri, has been teaching for over a decade! Her experienced classes are nurturing and welcoming. She adds a lightness and humor to her classes that provides a sense of comfort and fun! She is a very helpful and dedicated part of our YBD team and we hope you get a chance to spend time with her on your mat this year!

When and how did you come to yoga?

My yoga experience started with Bikram yoga in 2004. I graduated Yoga College Of India Los Angeles in spring 2006. I wanted to teach yoga because I am a people person. It’s my nature to want to help people and i saw first hand the many benefits a yoga practice can bestow on the regular practitioners, myself included.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

My personal practice has led me to Vinyasa where I love the gymnastics of it, the upside downs & backbends… however I feel the mix of the different yoga styles is best.

What is your favorite pose?

Currently Scorpion (Vyaghrasaba-Vrscikasna)

Who inspires your teaching?

Students are my best inspiration for teaching! Seeing their practice grow hearing the personal wins, healing, and accomplishments is so rewarding and encouraging. My favorite mentor is Emmy Cleaves a long time hot yoga teacher that is still teaching beyond her 85th year.

Tips for beginners…

The best tip I can pass on to new students is to come well hydrated and to begin an electrolyte regimen.

What’s your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is more of an expression – Live, Love, Teach!

Pose of the Month January 2018

Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide Leg Forward Fold

Benefits:

* Stretches as well as strengthens inner & outer legs & ankles – perfect for post work or after a long car ride.

* Great for fatigue or headaches by getting blood moving towards your brain – it is an awesome pick me up.

* Rushes fresh healthy oxygenated blood to the face giving you that beautiful post yoga glow.

How to:

* Begin in Tadasana & turn towards the long edge of your mat.

* Take a wide step out allowing your feet to take up 3-4 feet of mat space.

* Press firmly into the outer edges of your feet, your arches/big toe side has a tendency to collapse, bring your feet closer together to maintain a solid foundation rooted through parallel feet. Option here to bring toes in & heels out.

* Bring hands to hips & inhale to lengthen your spine, keep your chest open & reach the crown of your head to the sky.

Exhale hinge at the hips & begin to fold over your legs, keeping hips over heels. Do not allow your weight to press back.

* Encourage your shoulders away from your ears & put more weight into the ball mounts of your feet (imagine being able to slide a piece of paper under your heels.)

* Take a couple of breaths & ease into the position.

Options:

* For low back pain allow a gentle bend in your knees.

* Place your hands on the earth, reach for your ankles or legs.

* Place one palm on the earth & reach up introducing a twist into your spine (Pictured – repeat on opposite side). 

* Interlace your fingers at the base of your spine & lift your fists up away from your hips.

Allow yourself time to explore this pose, feel the sensation of being upside down. If you are working towards handstands or tripod headstand you can place your palms down & begin lifting your heels off the earth to strengthen the backs of your legs even further & feel yourself growing confident in the change of gravity.

 

Meet Jenny P. YBD Teacher of the Month

Tis the season to sweat! The perfect place to warm up during the chilly days is on your mat in Jenny P.’s sculpt and pilates classes. Jenny’s classes are fun, challenging, and inspiring. Her sequences and playlist are thoughtfully created to cultivate a personal connection to her students in the space. No doubt a great addition to your day and a great way to take time for you this holiday season. Read more about Jenny P here:

Jenny’s Schedule:

Tuesdays in Western Springs

9:30am Sculpt

Wednesdays in Western Springs

12:00 HIIT Pilates

When and how did you come to yoga?

I started yoga years ago in the city ago practicing Bikram. I loved the repetitive nature of the sequence because it forced me to let go of any outside thoughts, stresses and insecurities and focus on the intricacy of each pose. The heat left me feeling cleansed and more limber each time I practiced. Fast forward a few years and I was living in the burbs with babies.

Exhausted and craving that same mental focus I found with Birkam, I found my way back to hot yoga, but this time it was with a yoga sculpt class. You hear this all the time, but it’s true for so many of us. After the first class I was hooked, and never looked back. Each yoga sculpt class is a competition with myself. Before each class I take, I set a goal for myself…do every chaturanga, every push up, or truly surrender at the end of class. I have fallen in love with yoga. The flow with a Level 2, the intensity of sculpt, the release of a restorative class…
Why did you start teaching yoga?

Before I had kids, I was a 5th grade teacher, so the teaching bug has been a part of  me for a long time. I thought about teacher training for a good year and a half before taking the plunge, and I can’t really express how happy I am that I made the decision to do it. Teaching yoga has given me so much joy and satisfaction. Seeing my students leave class happy and refreshed is what it’s all about.

What is your favorite pose?

My favorite pose is child’s pose. I love everything it represents…a clean slate, fresh start, and in class, I like to say a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th chance, because life is full of amazing, wonderful things, and it’s also full of making mistakes and feeling guilt, so to have the opportunity at the end of class to breathe in forgiveness and leave with a fresh start is a beautiful thing.

Who inspires your teaching?

Oh my gosh, where do I start?!

First and foremost, my fellow teachers. I take their classes to feed off their strength and get inspired, and we are so lucky to have a team of amazing teachers who set the bar so high for me week after week. Also, each playlist I make is personal. I choose music that I have a real connection to…a song might take me back to a specific memory of my childhood or remind me of a dear friend or loved one.

Tips for beginners…

I say these things time.. Take class at your own pace. Use weights or don’t. Listen to your body, it knows best. Each day in your body is different, find where you are today and go with it. It’s your class, not mine, I’m just here to guide you through. The point of this class is to leave feeling happy and challenged, not pushed beyond your ma and frustrated…I could go on and on:)

What’s your favorite quote?

‘If you can’t fly then run, If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do keep moving forward.’

MLK

Student Spotlight: Read Why Former NFL Player and YBD Member Chris Watt Hits the Mat

Those who practice yoga have all begun their yoga journey for different reasons. Among the many reasons, some start off by being dragged by a friend, some heard it can help with stress, some came to try something new, and others just came because they were curious. Retired NFL player, Chris Watt started his practice via DVDs watched during college football practice but really found his true enjoyment of yoga, and in turn his habitual practice of yoga, following major injuries acquired during his lifelong sport play. Born and raised in Glen Ellyn, Chris went on to play offensive line at Notre Dame. He was then drafted by the San Diego Chargers where he continued to play offensive line for three years before tearing his PCL and stepping down from his NFL career. His focus on healing his body took him to his yoga mat with us at YBD.

What got you started practicing yoga?

I felt like my injuries combined with finishing my career in football, I felt a little lost. A former teammate of mine had told me about the benefits he had experienced. His neck was so compressed until he started practicing and actually grew a half inch taller. He had benefited from an injury standpoint so I thought I would give it a try.

How has your practice benefited you?

I love practicing in the heat. I feel it loosens up my joints so I try to get to class early to move on my mat. There are definitely postures my range of motion prevents me from moving into. But it’s definitely helped with improving my range of motion thus far. I’ve seen changes in my sleep, my stress levels have lowered. I’ve been able to get out of my own head and focus more. My flexibility has improved and I do feel a lot better in general.

What advice do you have for athletes hesitant to try yoga?

I think that you should always do something that’s going to benefit you as an athlete. More people are starting to realize the benefits of yoga. It’s not just for women it’s for men too. You can get so many benefits out of it like flexibility and better sleep, all of these things so important to staying healthy and healthy on the field. I wish I would’ve done it sooner! Don’t worry about being judged on your skill level. Everyone is different and teachers are encouraging.

What is your favorite style of yoga to practice?

I like the 105 YBD HOT class and I occasionally do the sculpt classes which is tough! It’s definitely humbling as well. When I first started I had to go into child’s pose four or five times. Slowly I’ve built up my practice.

What is your favorite pose?

Going into downward dog feels good, especially as my flexibility has improved. Chair pose is probably my best pose that I’ve focused on improving on. I couldn’t do it at first because of my knee but now that it’s getting better I feel that I’ve been able to improve.

 

November Pose of the Month

Half Moon Pose; Ardha Chandrasana (ARD-uh chan-DRAHS-uh-nuh) 

* Ardha – Half  * Chandr – Moon * Asana – Pose * 

In the body Ardha Chandrasana strengthens the thighs, ankles, abdomen, and buttocks. It opens the chest, shoulders, and torso, while lengthening the spine. This pose also stretches the groins, hamstrings, & calves.

Therapeutically Ardha Chandrasana helps to relieve anxiety, backache, menstrual pain, Sciatica, & is very energizing helping to fight off fatigue. This pose is not one to practice right before bed, but bright & early in the morning or to rev up during the 3pm lull in the day.

Most of all Ardha Chandrasana improves your sense of full body coordination, increasing body awareness & proprioception (your sense of your body’s position in space). Ardha Chandrasana brings a new found grace & poise to your life making you more aware of your body’s movements & that can help prevent injury. So as the sidewalks get slippery with cool autumn rains that lead to snow & ice of winter you will be prepared to weather the weather the most balanced you that you can be!

How to Ardha Chandrasana

1: Begin in Triangle pose; Trikonasana placing your top hand on your hip. Inhale bend your front knee & begin to slide your back foot forward & up. Your bottom hand slides forward as well in front of  your grounded foot.

2: Exhale place your bottom hand & foot firmly onto the floor (block optional & very helpful under your hand). Lift back leg parallel to the earth & extend actively through heal to keep the raised leg strong.

3: Rotate your trunk to the sky, option to raise top hand. Lengthen your spine & keep head in a neutral position, gaze forward.

4: Stay 30 seconds to 1 minute then return softly to Trikonasana & repeat on the opposite side. Feel amazing!

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Meet Jill L. YBD’s November Teacher of the Month

On days that feel a little gloomy with the clouds and early sundown, spending an hour with Jill feels like sunshine! She is a warm, kind, and loving soul which very much so translates to her teaching. She completed her teaching training with YBD in 2016, and has been sharing her love of yoga through all of our class formats with others ever since! We are grateful to have her on our YBD team; for her connection to her students and for always showing up with her contagious smile. Here’s where you can find her!

Class Schedule…

Tuesday – Downers Grove
Sculpt Fusion 4:30pm
YBD2 95 6:00pm
Wednesday – Elmhurst
Yoga Sculpt 12:00pm
HIIT Pilates 6:00pm
Saturday – Wheaton
Yoga Sculpt 9:00am
Saturday – Elmhurst
YBD2 105 4:00pm
When & how did you come to yoga?
I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years! Yoga became my primary form of exercise in 2009 after knee & hip surgeries kept me from running. It was then that I truly found my love of yoga. I began feeling strong. Yes, I became physically stronger but, more importantly, I found an inner strength that I had not known before. As I continue to grow in my physical practice of yoga, I also continue to grow mentally and spiritually. This is a very powerful combination! Yoga fuels me and allows me to feel prepared for the ups and downs of life.
Why did you start teaching yoga?
I found YBD in 2014 and quickly felt it was my second home. I was excited every time I went to class, and always looked forward to the next one. I completed YBD’s 200 hour RYT program in 2016 with hopes of sharing this love of the practice with others. I believe in the healing and strengthening powers of yoga and hope that each of my students experience this as well.
What is your favorite pose?
There are many poses that could be favorites but dancer pose comes to my mind first. This pose requires balance, strength, flexibility and patience. It makes me feel calm and graceful yet fierce and strong.
Who inspires your teaching?
My students inspire me! I love to  watch students grow in their own practice and in themselves. And most of all, I love the “yoga bliss” I see in students after class!
Tips for beginners…
Find and hold on to whatever it is that keeps you coming to your mat. Resist the urge to focus on just the physical practice of yoga. Pay attention to how your practice makes you feel inside and out.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Strength and growth come only from continuous effort and struggle”
Napolean Hill

Meet Sarah, YBD teacher of the month

Feeling low on energy with the shift in seasons? Spend some time on your mat with Sarah W. and we are positive she will share some of her infectious joy with you! Sarah’s warm smile and fun flowed classes are just a few of the reasons we love this sweet yogi! Here’s where you can find her and experience this fun for yourself!

When and how did you come to yoga?

I started practicing yoga about 16 years ago (woah-how am I that old?!?!?!?) I had been in a car accident and physical therapy wasn’t really helping me strengthen my back so the therapist suggested I try yoga and see if that helped! I enrolled in a class at the YMCA by my house and HATED IT!!!!! But I kept coming back to class because it was hard for me and I wanted to “conquer” yoga

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I started teaching 15 years ago. I was a group fitness instructor and the yoga teacher went on maternity leave and since I had been practicing for a bit, my supervisor asked me to take over the class. Not an inspired reason at all, but thank goodness that happened!!!!!!

What is your favorite pose?

I have a bunch of favorite poses but probably the one I feel most graceful, beautiful, strong and free in is trikonasana/triangle pose. It is my ultimate TA-DA pose!

Who inspires your teaching?

It sounds cheesy but my students inspire my teaching the most! I love seeing them lay out their mats, watching them carve out that time for themselves and surrender into their practice, and leave happier, calmer, more grounded. I love watching them fall in love with their practice, discover their strength, tap into their stillness and embrace who they are. I am the luckiest girl in the world that I get to witness this each and every day! It inspires me and energizes me!

Tips for beginners…

My biggest tip for beginners is to keep showing up! Stay with it. Keep coming to your mat and moving and breathing. Don’t try to do everything perfectly; don’t THINK… just feel the way it feels to move and breath. And when things get hard, smile and then take another breath.

What’s your favorite quote?

I think one of my favorite quotes is by Eric Shiffman, which I discovered while studying with Rolf Gates. Eric says that yoga is a way of moving into stillness to experience the truth of you are really are. It’s a matter of looking inwardly always and then simply being daring enough-and trusting enough- to do as you are prompted to do. This quote reminds me to get out of my head and start to practice from my heart.

 

Meet Gizel, YBD teacher of the month

Wow, how is it September already?! Amidst the hustle and bustle of the school year starting, the seasons changing, and life in general, make sure you carve out time for yourself! We cannot think of a better way to fill your own cup than flowing on your mat in one of Gizel’s lovely classes. Gizel shares her kindness and joy with her students in all of her classes. Her smile is contagious and her classes are thoughtful and fulfilling. Here’s where you can find her:

Fridays @ Wheaton

4:00 *YBD 1* 85

5:15 *Fun Flow Fridays (themes change weekly)* 85

When and how did you come to yoga?

After the birth of my oldest, I needed something that would fill my
soul and be kind to my body.

Why did you start teachi
ng yoga?

I just wanted to share my joy for the practice with others and the
peace it brings me in this hectic life.

What is your favorite pose?

Triangle. I was a math major in college and love all the angles and
freedom the pose brings.

Who inspires your teaching?

I have great respect for the seat of the yoga teacher, so I’m always
grateful and inspired by every single teacher who has guided me
through my practice.

Tips for beginners…

Don’t compare your yoga practice with anyone else’s- it belongs
uniquely to you and is an expression of your personal, beautiful
journey.

What’s your favorite quote?

 “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic,
imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be
greater than our level of self-acceptance.”-Brené Brown

Meet Denice, YBD Teacher of the Month

“Denice S.’s sculpts are amazing. Her PT [Personal Training] really shows, all safe while having fun!” This just one of the many positive notes we’ve received about our new amazing sculpt teacher Denice. You will find her teaching her energetic, motivating, fun sculpt classes at all of our locations as part of her permanent teaching schedule as well as helping out by subbing for other teachers as often as she can. She’s also there to greet you with her kind smile as you enter the studio as one of our most hard working and supportive front desk attendants. She is such an asset to our YBD family we are so grateful to have her. Here’s where you can experience her fun classes:

Tuesdays, Glen Ellyn @ 430pm
Thursdays, Downers Grove @ 6:00am
Thursdays, Wheaton @ 7:15pm
Friday, Elmhurst @ 6:00am
Friday, Downers Grove @ 9:00am
Sunday, Wheaton @ 10:00am

When and how did you come to yoga?

One day I just started feeling really down on myself, full of anxiety and unable to relax.  A good friend of mine took me to a 105 degree room for 90 min and I couldn’t get enough and started practicing Bikram Yoga 5 times per week.  I started practicing Bikram Yoga about 8 years ago and know there was much more to this yoga journey than only practicing one style.  So I ventured out and started taking Vinyasa and Yin classes loving them both.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I was tired and stressed every day coming home from my corporate job as a paralegal.  With also being a personal trainer I knew if I started teaching yoga it would be a perfect fit to my personal training as well as tone down my daily stress and anxiety.  I just wanted to be happy and whenever I was in the studio on my mat I was all smiles.

What is your favorite pose?

My favorite pose would have to be Fallen Angel with Dancer being the runner up.  I love this pose as I feel that I am so exposed to the whole universe and the feeling of this beautiful heart opener is just simply amazing.

Who inspires your teaching?

I would have to say my dad and my students inspire my teaching.  Seeing my students open up and be exactly who they are, no strings attached and leave with a big smile on their face just makes me appreciate my teaching and love for yoga even more.  Before my dad passed away he told me that teaching yoga was what I was meant to do and always wanted me to do dancer pose for him.  His favorite picture was me outside in Dancers Pose.  The smile of disbelief on his face that I could stand on one leg and hold this pose still melts my heart today.

Tips for beginners…

My tips for beginners would be come to your mat with no expectations and no judgments and breathe.  When you are breathing you are doing yoga.  Be who you are don’t worry what anyone one else is doing.  Yoga is all about you and what you need from your mat.  Practice makes progress, you are already perfect.

What’s your favorite quote?

Favorite quote would have to be “Do what you love, love what you do”!