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 Worlds Blended Under One Roof


Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

In a world where we have routines for nearly everything- waking up, our route to work, fitness regime, etc. it may feel odd to see it now all blend together under one roof and leave us in a disoriented mind set as we settle into quarantine. While staying home may ideally be a place of comfort, this blended routine may throw us off. We may have difficulty recentering if we forget about the care of our spiritual needs as we experience all the scattered energy we encounter from the various aspects of our life at once. We often will put our spiritual needs on the back burner. After all, taking care of this aspect of us does not necessarily pay the bills or directly keep our muscles toned. We may question who has time to meditate when there are more pressing needs that must be done. 

In attempt to nourish our spiritual needs during a moment of unexpected change to stay home, it is important we become receptive to the energy of our environment. Our living spaces can become nurturing homes for our bodies and souls when we confirm that our surroundings accurately reflect who we are as an individual. No matter how positive we maintain our inner world, if our living space is an energetic barrier, we will find it challenging to manifest what we desire. Putting effort to create a space into an outward expression of our inner warmth infuses the walls of our home with energy, our emotional sensitivity and sincere spirit in which will turn the space into a haven of affection. Once we acknowledge the harmonizing of our inner and outer worlds, we experience alignment.

Just recently I read a post made my a licensed therapist suggesting to view our home during this time in quarantine as multiple places in one. For example, viewing our kitchen as the coffee shop or cafe, our office as work, our bedroom for sleep. As simple as it sounds, this detachment to obtain simplicity may be what we need in order to cultivate mental space for our well being to thrive.   

It is essential we acknowledge what resonates with our innermost self in order to feel alive and nurtured by our home.  This can serve us well when our life suddenly takes an unexpected turn into a difficult period. Our unique routine grounds us in our body so that we remain anchored despite the coming days. 




Meet the Teacher Krista S

Krista S has been with YBD for a few years & her classes are a Rockin’ good time (Read her answers to get the joke hehe) ✨✨

1. How did you find yoga: I found yoga on accident at a local gym after Zumba class. Immediately hooked. After trying many local yoga studios I found YBD within a year and never left.

2. What made you become a yoga teacher: I really wanted to deepen my practice but also wanted to bring the joy of yoga to others : )
3. Favorite yoga pose: It is still Warrior 2. I remember the first time I went in the pose and it felt like a religious experience. A bolt of energy flew through my body!
4. Who inspires you?: Too many to list, but I take Kyle regularly on Sundays in WS (she just has an amazing class where I can zen out). Also, I learn so much from the amazing Alex L. – he is always willing to help me and of course Andrea B. was and still is my yoga sculpt hero!
5. Tips: Try not to look around in class at what others are doing and focus on what you can do. It’s a practice and you’ll get there in time – just keep doing it and don’t push.  Find your edge!
6. Favorite quote: You are not IN the Universe – you ARE the universe.
7. How do I find you on social media: I’m only on twitter @kristasyrup

8. Interesting fact: I’m a geology professor at a local college for the past 18 years.  Want to talk about rocks?? Let’s talk!!  I’m also an astronomy enthusiast and run the telescope open viewings on select Friday nights at my college from spring-fall. Come out and stargaze with me.

9. When do we find you in the studio: Monday 9:30-10:30  HIIT Pilates Western Springs; Tuesday 4:30-5:30  HIIT Pilates and 6:00-7:00 Yoga Sculpt both in Western Springs.
10. When you are not yogaing what do you like to do?: Travel! And of course think about when I can do yoga next…
Picture is from Yosemite National Park0-1

Wellness Wednesday: Energy Revamp

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

While quarantine has been far from comfortable, our time in isolation may have brought us in awe in how quickly the world was to connect in other forms. Our desire for others to share mindful thought and quality time with our immediate ones has now been shown through action, giving us a sense of hope in humanity and new discovery in wholesome pastime.

I have never seen so many people walking together, playing frisbee, posting at-home workouts, writing quotes in chalk, sharing recipes and hyping up one another this past week. It has been humbling to see so many pick up old or new hobbies that includes the various forms of art. Perhaps this required lock down was what we needed in order to sweep the stagnant energy we once held for so long. During this time we have been challenged to occupy our day in ways we are not normally use to. We must put on our rose colored glasses we had from childhood and return to the activities we have gone so long without when we transitioned into our expected path of life.

As humans we have this tendency to become attached to routines, relationships, ideas, material, and so on. We naturally resist change but we come to realize and accept change is the only constant. It will come and go with or without our consent so for meantime in periods of distress, we must seek ease in the smallest of ways. When we experience change, we experience a shift in energy. A shift in energy may be painful at times, or it may surprise us that it may be liberating, allowing us to feel raw and fresh all at the same time. Underlying the discomfort we experience may be emerging excitement that we take the risk of unblocking the natural flow of energy within us.

As we cleanse and revamp the energy that once was stagnant within us, we may discover the “little things” that make us experience genuine joy. These little things may remind us of comforting memories we carried before our life became chronic chaos. Luckily these little things can be accessed to us at any time, and that is a promise made to us. We naturally want to share this joy with others. We learn it becomes infectiously contagious (no pun intended). This is something that can be carried on from this day forward, harmonizing our innermost self to our external world.

Stay safe and Namaste!


Meet the Teacher Kelly OH!

Kelly O’Halloran, is a recent graduate of our YBD Teacher Training program & one cool cat to get to know! 🐾🐾
1. When & how did you come to yoga yourself?
In 2012 I started strength training regularly and I knew I needed to increase my flexibility, but I never made the time for it. I started going to traditional heated yoga classes as a way to stretch, sweat and hold myself accountable. I then found yoga sculpt and fell in love because I was familiar with all the movements. Through sculpt, I learned the importance of linking breath with movement. Soon after, I started taking vinyasa classes and have not stopped since!
2. What made you decide to start teaching (or take TT)?
I constantly found myself influencing friends and family to start taking yoga classes for their overall health. I have always been interested in the physical benefits of yoga but I wanted to dive deeper into the mental and spiritual practice. It took me a few years to finally sign up for teacher training but I am so happy I did.
3. Favorite yoga pose: forward fold
5. Tips for beginners (or advanced yogis maybe): I always try to encourage mindful breathing!! If you are taking mindful, intentional breaths, you are practicing yoga.
6. Favorite quote: “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance” – Eckhart Tolle
7. Instagram name: kellyocakes <—Give her a follow!
8. Interesting fact about you: I have two Bengal cats 🐾🐾
9. Regular teaching schedule: Day/Time/Format/Location
Monday’s 6pm level 1 Wheaton
Thursday’s 6pm level 1 Wheaton
10. When I am not doing yoga I like to;
Cook, create and make skin care products, snowboard, strength train, health coach, spend time with family and friends

Wellness Wednesday: Connection In Isolation

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends.

Right now is a weird time for all of us. We may feel disconnected from the world one moment and extremely connected the next knowing each bit of our lives are impacted in some sort of shape and form together.

We each are bound by an invisible connection and we each have an impact on people and the environment around us whether we perceive this as positive or negative. If we remind ourselves to be conscious of this invisible connection between all things, we can find comfort knowing we are not alone.

Our sense of autonomy might be the result of our desire to turn our focus inward at this time. Perhaps our time of isolation is an opportunity to self reflect and consciously devote time for ourselves in order to see what is truly important and create wholesome intention. Intention is what sets the foundation to cultivate purpose. What may seem as a day that lacks productivity may be seen as a day of healing. Solitude is essential piece of this process in order to clearly send energy to where it is needed most. We may take this time to put effort in conversation to those we have not talked to in much time, pick up a hobby we once loved or participate in small acts of kindness.

We become much more hypersensitive contemplating the things that need attention in our lives and our ability to act upon our observations. If we give ourselves the permission to accept and attune to the unsettling stillness we currently all experience, our anxiety will be minimized. We soon can reestablish and gain a sense of grounding.

Staying conscious of our connection to all things and beings can help remind us that we are powerful enough that what we do and say can echo through the lives of people we may never meet. The effort to mindfully acknowledge the situation around us may bring comfort that we are intimately connected with all beings whether we know them or not.


Wellness Wednesday: Our Internal Clocks

This past week we lost an hour of sleep to welcome the beginning of spring. Our internal clocks may not have adjusted quite as quickly as we may want it to. We may be gavitating towards our bed, feeling sluggish throughout the week in attempt to shed the weight we have carried before such change in daily hours. These longer days are a warm reminder that the sunlight we experience will only become more pronounced as we embrace the lighter energy we desired for so long. Today our ongoing environments have made it possible to provide for ourselves regardless of what cycle nature is currently in. While most of us no longer depend directly on nature’s seasons for our basic needs, our bodies’ internal clock still know on an innate level that a change in season means a change in us too. It is something that we can physically feel. If we do not acknowledge these subtle changes, we may feel out of sync, as if we had lost our natural rhythm we rely so greatly on.

When we become out of tune with this rhythm we become more sensitive as to when we should rest and when we should progress. If we push our bodies to work beyond it’s natural rhythm, our ability to renourish diminishes. While it is easy to feel obligated to impel faster than what is natural for us, it may be beneficial we detach and reflect what feels organic to us at the current moment. If we become in tune with our natural rhythm, we can achieve all we need to do with less effort.

The brighter days encourage us to become more adaptive as we become more motivated to avoid resistance, a defense we often shield ourselves with. When we trust our natural rhythm to sync in harmony with the unvierse’s, we see the bagagge we carry lighten just as the days get brighter.



Wellness Wednesday: Endless Ebbs

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

Perhaps happy hump day?

We each encounter a day that seems to endlessly recede, pulling us heavier into the current just as the ocean does. On these days, it may seem like the universe is just not in our favor despite the amount of soothing thoughts we feed our minds. It may be inevitable that we continue to push our way through. Perhaps at other times, giving our self an immediate pause is what we need in order to continue carrying the weight.

A situational circumstance in which the only choice for us is to sit through such intensity may actually be a great didactic experience. It is both a blessing and a curse that the day has only 24 hours within it. We can remind our self that the challenges we face will eventually come to an end and we can look back on it and take nourishing pride in the stamina it took to remain resilient.

We also have the ability to refine what we could have done differently. This knowledge becomes valuable when we confront future challenges. Many of us have made it a poor habit to spread our self too thin due to expectations and comparisons we set upon us due to the influence of those around us. If we allow our self to detach from this thought process and tune inward, we can reveal what is truly best for us in the very moment in order to cultivate ease. It is something unique to us and that is a promise made to you. We create space by tuning inward, a space we benefit from when we are not be able to create it externally in our current environment.

We can then view the entire picture and return back to our core values. As soon as we recenter, we can plot our next action. We can reveal our inner resources to adjust our attitude about what is happening whether we perceive this as positive or negative. We may begin to see that what we saw as struggle are actually opportunities of growth.

If we can be gentle enough towards our self to reflect upon our day, it may be a subtle change in perception that can lessen the endless ebbs we encounter.



Wellness Wednesday: protecting your energy

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

Life presents itself with challenges we experience on a daily basis. The everyday sensory input we experience can sometimes become too great that our ability to filter thoughts, emotions and sensations diminishes. We may get down on our self that we are, “too sensitive” when in reality we are far from it. In reality, we are perceptive, empathetic and intuitive with insight that we can offer to those around us. Before we criticize our self and our sensitivity, we must remember we were never taught in school how to protect our own energy from the diversity that pulsates around us constantly.

We can reassure that it not unusual to become drained by the various stimuli we experience. We each emit an energy that can influence others but we decide how we may adapt or respond to such potency. There are some of us that can properly manage this by innate instinct, however, some of us may resort to defense mechanisms as well. Discovering what brings us inner ease becomes an important step in maintaining our unique balance.

There are a multitude of ways to protect our peace. It becomes a sacred practice when we discover our technique. This technique creates a layer so we can consciously regulate and preserve our being despite the external circumstances conducting around us. We find this layer becomes beneficial in times we have become immersed in potent energy too quickly. However, it is important we remind ourselves to avoid isolating ourselves to what we perceive as positive. The energy of laughter, smiles and genuine joy is something we may want to keep around.






Wellness Wednesdays: Intimacy in Touch

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

This past weekend our lovely teacher, Heather, hosted her thai massage workshop. Thai massage was always something I fell interested in learning but always strayed away from as these workshops tend to take place around Valentine’s day where intimate relationships among two people, specifically significant others, are a primary focus.

While the physical touch of massage and romantic intimacy do go hand in hand, it is not limited to only our significant others. Physical touch offers a platonic intimacy we can share with those round us and it becomes vitally important in healing as a whole. A hug, high five, a rub on the back can go a long way.

Small intimate moments of time spent with others are diminished today as we have transitioned from face to face conversations to screens. We may become so absorbed by our mental and emotion being that we forget the sense of being physically present is a factor in the healing process.

Physical touch allows us to access a part of ourselves that longs for a sense of unity with the world around us. We often view  massage as a luxury but it traditionally was an ancient form of healing that allows us to open our energetic pathways allowing us to understand this cycle concept of giving and receiving.

Receiving is a concept many of struggle to practice. We are taught at a young age to constantly be generous and give but we were never properly taught how to graciously receive. If anything a gift is often the source in which embarrassment and feelings of unworthiness unearth.

If we view a gift given in the sense of obligation, the energy shifts from something that shares to something that drains.
A gift given is a gift within itself.
We can share sincere appreciation and gratitude for another’s mindful effort. This cycle of giving and receiving nurtures and benefits all who are involved.


Wellness Wednesday: Pleasures in Presence

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

At some point we become so engrossed in our work environment that we isolate ourselves unintentionally to the people we experience pleasurable connections with. When we recognize this we may take the step back to reevaluate and incorporate these beings of light back into our daily life to remind ourself of the wholesome it brings us to have those we love in our inner circle.

When we socialize with people we care about we can experience pleasure from their presence. We create an atmosphere of comfort that allows us to feel a sense of gratitude and security when we are with people that truly see us. Listening to those we bring into our inner circle more than expressing our concerns of daily life may be the therapy we need in order to remember the joys of sharing our life with others.

Despite how simple it is to lose the effort it takes to maintain relationships, we realize the effort we make can be a great way to nurture our mental and emotional well being. We are reminded, whether these people stay or float in and out of our inner circle, we always have support of all levels. The various depths of support gives us the opportunity to be more confident in taking the positive risks in our life to initiate growth all while we enjoy the simple pleasure of presence.