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: Gratitude in Stillness

Happy Wellness Wednesday, yogis!

This past weekend felt longer as I had less responsibilities and more wholesome days spent with friends. I had the opportunity to fill my leisure time spent with activities no where near related to my responsibilities in which left me feeling whole despite the pause of forward momentum this year has had.

The sudden decrease in activity we experience after achieving an event, goal or breakthrough can leave us with a period of stagnancy as we attempt to find what step it is we must tackle next. This period can leave us questioning our purpose and values while we may even experience frustration or even depression all at the same time. As humans we strive to be the next better and best. We tend to seek for validation through others, thinking that someone must view us a certain way to feel content. However if we seek what brings us ease and peace moments of stillness can teach us the importance of simply existing without plan and move at our own natural rhythm.

Periods of stagnancy can feel unproductive as we do not experience instant change. However intention can transform our perspective. Setting our intention to simply be can introduce personal growth in many configurations. This period be a time spent in reflection as we understand why things are the way they are or an adjustment where we begin to set new values based off past experiences. Although we are not in a constant momentum, we can appreciate the stagnant energy to recollect and be prepared for the next wave of life.



Wellness Wednesday: Yoga Is For Everybody and Every Body

There is often the misconception that yoga is a women-only practice that requires flexibility and a green juice in hand. Although we see all the celebrities and Instagram influencers in their picture perfect down dog, we also see that yoga is being encouraged by top athletes, public schools, hospitals and even the U.S. military within the recent years as yoga is booming. The stigma that yoga holds is now breaking as we realize yoga isn’t for wussies. Together we are learning to love mindfulness and the benefits this ancient practice has to offer.

Yet, we are still intimidated to try it. The intimidation can come from many factors as it can be a challenge physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and energetically. We depreciate ourselves by making comments such as:

  • “I’m not flexible enough”
  • “I’m injuried”
  • “I’ll look stupid”
  • “Men don’t do yoga”
  • “I can’t sit still”
  • “Psh, I can’t touch my toes”

The list goes on…but this mentality can stray us away from the healing power yoga can offer to new students like Frank.

Meet Frank. As a full-time paramedic and passionate power lifter, he has learned one or two things about stress and the body.

“I started yoga to begin learning more about my body, to increase my flexibility, and to be more in touch with myself. While I like heated vinyasa, I enjoy coming to restorative. With my long hours of work as a paramedic and spending my off days powerlifting and beating up on my body, I get a lot out of holding deep stretches, and I enjoy how it gives me an opportunity to reflect on my past days of work and push through any difficulties that I may have had. The deep stretching in restorative gives me a moment to really feel my body, where I’m sore and where I can improve. I have already noticed a big difference in my connection I have with my body while in the gym. It just goes to show. Men do yoga, too.”

Everybody and every body can benefit from yoga. Yoga is meant to meet yourself exactly where you are in the present moment. That is why there are multiple styles, modifications and variations so you do what suits you best in the moment reguardless of your gender, injury history or flexibility and strength. Our hesitation to avoid yoga because of its stillness gives us the opportunity to really sit with our thoughts and dive into the roots of ourselves. That is why it is called a practice. We are constantly learning each time we step in further to evolving ourselves.



Wellness Wednesday: Your Soul Purpose

There comes a point in our life when we must decide what our next step is. While for some of us this path may be smooth and clearly marked whereas some of us notice this path contains lots of rubble that leads us to the middle of an unknown area. Deciding which next step to take can give us a clear direction of which way we are headed but it may create a realization of what our view on life’s purpose is.

When we are in the moment of deciding our next step it is important we remind ourselves to stop where we are and reflect. We must move towards what satisfies our soul most. However, our inner dialogue may interfere with our decision making as we may fall into the expectations of life events to be completed at specific times. Our ability to detach from judgement and expectations frees us to become more content. Personal growth occurs when we allow ourselves out of borders we have placed ourselves in all our life.

It is when we release our fear and listen to ourselves that we discover what our next step is with ease. Beneath the fear of uncertainty and hesitation we experience the inner knowing that has been waiting to be acknowledged. But we must trust in ourselves to take the first step because soon we realize how empowering it can be. The momentum of continuing to step forward gives us the confidence we need to find alignment within this universe.

Wellness Wednesday: Flourishing with Acceptance

This past week it was brought to my attention of two people who have passed. Two more people who unfortunately left this Earth too soon along with three other deaths still on my mind from just a few months ago.

While it seems like death has been a reocurring pattern in my life it typically is an an immediate pause in routine because of the shock factor that is attached to it. When we experience something that is not consistent, it feels as if we are losing something. But it is true, we have lost someone. However understanding this concept that we are in a constant cycle of gaining and losing in life helps us to understand and accept the flow of life.

These recent events has opened eyes on how death has an impact on us. When we lose someone we love it is often first we experience a sense of shock or denial which then transitions into anger. This anger may be towards the loved one we lost for leaving or anger displayed outward to the universe. The cycle of grief from denial, anger, bargaining, depression and sadness isn’t a straight line. In fact, it can look like a toddler’s scribble that circles forward and then back with occasional moments of alleviation sprinkled between. This chaotic sequence reminds us how important it is we give ourselves the permission to feel in order to create space for the healing process that is about to begin.

Often we suppress this by throwing ourselves into many obligations and responsibilities to keep us distracted from the dwelling sadness we experience. This causes us to fall off route making the path of healing more difficult. Falling off this route can only allow these feelings to manifest in greater intensity so we must accept where we are in the moment.

Doing so consciously can soothe our tender selves as we become more open to this natural self healing process. As this grief subsides we can hold the memories of what we had and loved to live more vividly within us, transforming ourselves to flourish with acceptance and ease.

Wellness Wednesday: The Spectrum of Perception

There is no magic spell for everlasting happiness and contentment. We may despise those that come off radiant all the time but it is most likely they have not moved through life with an overflow of prosperity. They do, however, have made it their ability to take the circumstances they were given and made something great out of it.

This is done internally with the use of the spectrum of our perception. We are in control of the delight or despair when viewing a situation. What seemed to be an unexpected situation of chaos can be also be a situation that adds seasoning to our existence. Our ability to shift our attitudes can elicit what it is we need in order to heal but sometimes the conscious choice to be happy and content isn’t enough. Happiness isn’t a switch, right?

That’s when we must learn to detach ourselves from life’s difficulties and look at the world like it was the first time again. We then find little delights in the smallest of areas to bring much light into our reality. This can give us the time and space we need to detect any energetic imbalances presently occurring within ourselves. Fourtanetly, it can be as simple as changing our perception to create happiness and contentment that will remain.



Wellness Wednesday: Your Exhilarating Leap

Happy Wellness Wednesday, yogis! This week I found myself juggling the many possibilities my career can become. So overwhelmed with the idea of making such a valuable decision, I feared if I could make the wrong decision. This reminded me that sometimes we find ourselves in attempt to achieve a goal or in the midst of an unexpected change in life. Some of us resist the urge to jump in fear of our current circumstances to the journey of the possibility of our dreams. Some of us will trust the leap of faith and figure we will gain more in the attempts than self-protected instincts ever will.

This leap of change requires us to embrace uncertainty as we could never actually know what will happen. We must trust the process of surrendering to the universal flow.

But we may notice our mind and heart second guess. We can diminish this resistance by educating ourselves of the leap. The more knowledge we have, the smaller leaps of faith we have to take as we travel from point A to point B. This leap can guide us to a territory of ourselves we have never explored. While we anticipate fear in any circumstances of change, we learn the exhilarating ride is worth the leap.



Wellness Wednesday: Responding Before Reacting

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Just yesterday morning I was walking out of the train station downtown only to see two red faced businessmen yelling insults into each others faces. A police officer standing by chuckled and said to me, “What a way to start a beautiful day!”. I couldn’t help but think how this angry encounter could set a negative tone for the rest of the day for these two businessmen.

We initially tend to react instead of respond. In the moment our reasoning seems perfectly logical when in reality it may be skewed due to overpowering emotions. These overpowering emotions can feel as if we lost our mind. When we acknowledge ourselves in the heat of the moment we can separate ourselves from the heat and move into the cool. We may notice an emotional trigger that began the argument and realize it has little to do with the present situation but instead feelings related to a separate situation entirely that was dragged into the moment and towards someone or something. It is important we practice honesty with ourselves and ask ourselves why we reacted in such a strong manner. As we truthfully acknowledge what set our flame ablaze, we can peel back layers and discover a part of us that may need extra attention towards healing so we can respond to a situation appropriately and make the best decision in the present moment.

By responding we communicate clearly our feelings and intentions. Doing this gives us a better chance of getting what we want than if we loose our cool in reaction. We notice our biggest outbursts can be to the most precious people we know around us as we feel comfortable around them but miscellaneous anger can cause more harm than good. Knowing our clear reasons to argue can help us develop emotionally as a whole.



Wellness Wednesday: Your Calm Center Activated

Let’s face it. Today’s life compels us to rush. Because we feel pressured to be the better and best, the moments to ourselves are often the first to be scarified when we are in a hurry. We tend adopt to the pace of the environment around us and eventually forget what stillness feels like.

So when we become poured with many things that need our attention all at once, it can be difficult not to lash out with an unintentional reaction. It is essential in these times we remember that we are never given more than we can handle. However we tend to question this…and the power of a deep breath.

Our calm center is available to ground us at any time. A deep breath can help guide us to turn within to find the space to work from in the midst of all the constricted chaos our schedules contain. As we turn inward we give ourselves the opportunity to begin again by drawing our focus to the present moment, detaching ourselves from reactive thoughts and emotions. We can accept what is and let be in the present challenge so can collect all the scattered thoughts, emotions and energy in a strong container in which we can productively dwell. We notice a lightness on our shoulders, inspiration will strike and what seemed impossible will either become possible or we will realize it has become unnecessary for us at this time.

As this chaos diminishes, we have the chance to learn from the situation with proof that we are never given more than we can handle. We have shown ourselves our true capabilities. These situations can then help us to fine-tune our lives mindfully with a clear outlook. We may realize in the moment we took on too many responsibilities and obligations without insight but maybe this situation was a lesson the hard way or it was simply the way life flows. Our calm center is available to us at anytime if only we allow it.



Wellness Wednesday: The Healing Energy Around You

This past week I had the rare opportunity to meet up with a dear friend for a much needed yoga class. Not only was it refreshing to see my friend but many other faces I have not seen in quite some time, too!

Our multitude of responsibilities make it seem almost impossible to spend time with those that make us happiest. Our eagerness to socialize makes up for the lost time by focusing our attention on connecting with our favorite people. We become uplifted when we spend time with those that bring us joy. It becomes a nourishing, synergistic relationship for everyone involved. When we surround ourselves with those that keeps our inner light ablaze, we clear away the negative energy that exists around us and create more space for the nurturing energy we need. This enriches our lives but also allows our interactions with others to develop a supportive and healing space that creates further growth, understanding and compassion for ourselves and those in our lives.

Being in the presence of those that bring us joy may help us realize that we have a placement in this universe. Treating others the way we wish to be treated sets the stage to create healthy relationships. When our intention is simply to be social, our interactions with others may become superficial. However authentic time spent with others allows us to share our innermost thoughts with one another which can create a richer relationship. Fortunately it is a gift they give us, and one we can give back every day to energize our lives and those around us.



Wellness Wednesday: Yourself as a Whole

Happy Wellness Wednesday, Friends!

“Health is a state of body, wellness is a state of being.” 

Wellness is the state of all aspects of ourselves: mind, body and spirit something we focus heavily on in yoga. Our desire to take care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually introduces us to a whole new level of self healing.

A self-healing day addresses your vital needs as a whole. Often times when we have the opportunity to have a day to ourselves we realize we need more solitude. Solitude is an important part of this self healing process as it allows us to renourish and reflect but it is up to us to decide what we need in order to cultivate wellness into our lives. Intentions transform what seems like a simple, peaceful day into a day of healing. Savor the stillness and simplicity by giving yourself permission to take advantage of this time. A day for ourselves is often looked at as being lazy or passive but to do so requires so much awareness and presence. It is vital for us to stay energized! We each find different activities that bring us tranquility. This can be as simple as preparing a nutritious meal, gardening, studying, journal writing. etc. The list goes on!

We begin to attune in the present moment when we draw our focus into the calm around us. The needs of the body, the heart, and the soul are then revealed. We then have a clear outlook of what we need in order to heal. Each day of healing you experience will be different because our needs are constantly changing day to day. Whatever mechanism you decide to engage in will leave you replenished. Yourself as a whole is the ideal image of health!