Wellness Wednesday: Out Of The Thinking Mind and Into The Feeling Body

The stimuli we gather from the day anxiously waits to be processed in our heads hours after we encounter them. Even as we lie in bed, in the quiet dark, our minds can still feel full. This can leave us feeling exhausted to where we have reached such a capacity that we struggle to take in new inspiration. If we do not create the space to process, we can continue to carry the residue from days past.

We may not realize the activities we resort to help us relax only add to the exhaustion we feel. Watching television, reading a book, or talking to a friend all involve taking in more stimuli. In order to truly find wholesome relief, activities such as yoga, long walks and baths help to draw our attention to our bodies, slowing our mental activity enough that our minds begin to settle. Once we are mentally relaxed, we can begin the process of clearing our minds.

Our minds will begin to settle with less effort the more we practice our desired ritual. While it may be frustrating at first, we will later learn that clearing our mind allows us to be more open to perceiving the world as a fresh offering, free of yesterday’s residue.



*Studios now open with modifications! Please visit yogabydegrees.net for more information*

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

Meet the Teacher Susan J

Susan’s passion for fitness & wellness inspires her students & her big bright smile lights up a room! Her roll as a mom to 3 & background in the corporate world allows her to meet her students needs in every class she leads. Susan started with our HIIT Pilates team & has added Vinyasa to her schedule, we can’t wait to see what all she can accomplish! 

When and how did you come to yoga yourself

Since my teenage years, I have always had a passion for fitness, nutrition and wellness.   Working in the corporate world, 5:30 a.m. Group Fitness classes and early morning runs jump started and energized my days.  In 2017, my body was taking a toll from frequent high impact workouts and my spirit was craving something more.  At the encouragement of my close friend Laura Lusson, a fellow yogi teacher at YBD, I began practicing yoga at Yoga By Degrees and immediately became hooked.  The mind/body connection was something that I had not experienced before and it quickly became an outlet for releasing stress and gaining perspective on what’s truly important in life.

What made you decide to start teaching (or take TT)?

Soon after starting my practice at YBD, I quickly became hooked taking multiple classes each week.  I loved the way that it made me feel both physically and emotionally both during and following class.  I wanted to deepen my practice and learn more.  I knew that there was so much more than just the asana limb of yoga and wanted to enrich my understanding beyond just taking classes.  Truly understanding the depths of the mind/body/breath connection was important to me.   I shared my thoughts with Laura who encouraged me to listen to my heart and follow my dream.  So, I signed up for the 11 month program.  It was a wonderful experience and during the training I came  to realize that I wanted to be able to share this wonderful practice with others and provide light and encouragement to help others see the best in themselves.


Favorite yoga pose?

I love Prasarita Padottanasana, standing wide legged forward fold.  I typically push myself in classes and when we come to this pose, it always calms my mind and helps me reconnect to my breath.  Additionally there are so many variations that can be offered to student or taken when practicing this posture, so it allows for creativity to express yourself and truly listen to what your body and mind need that day at that time.

Tips for Beginners

Many people I speak with are often intimidated to come into a studio because they feel they are not “expert” yogis and are afraid that they will be judged by fellow students.   Yoga is an individual practice, not a competition.  It is about letting go of ego and judgement and having fun. (A quote from Alex L.). It is about breathing and finding your mind/body connection not about being “perfect” in every posture.  Yoga is a journey.  Step out of your comfort zone and try multiple classes to find what fills your heart and soul.  I promise you the risk is worth the reward.

Favorite Quote

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” – Dr. Seuss

Instagram Name

Srjacobs5 <– Suasan’s megawatt smile will brighten your day! 

Interesting Fact about Me

I grew up on a farm in rural Ohio where most of my family still reside.  My farm roots have played a strong influence in my beliefs and work ethic.  I love going back there to the “simple” life, seeing the sunset followed by stars twinkling at night, smelling the clean fresh air, seeing deer run across the open fields as well as trees and green grass for miles and miles.

When I am not doing yoga,  I love to

Hang out with my family – my husband Jay, my son Nick, twin daughters Emily and Alison and our furry friends Parker and Scotty.  I also love to cook, share a bottle of wine with friends, spin, hike and travel to warm climates.

Wellness Wednesday: Seeking To Be Whole

“seek to be whole, not perfect”

When we magnify our focal point on the things we feel we lack instead of the things that we possess, we can develop a vacancy towards our purpose of life. However, if life is about experimenting, experiencing, and learning, to be imperfect is essential. As we do not always like to admit, our life changes more than it stays the same. We may experience perfectionism in brief moments but it will not last because it is an impermanent state. 

When we acknowledge this, we can find comfort knowing this expectation we carry is not realistically achievable. We can release our restricted mindset and transform to one of flexibility. We will never be truly satisfied until we let go of the idea of perfection in the many aspects of our life as we often strive for something that is not completely ours to want. As ironic as it sounds, our life becomes full when we let go of this mindset. We then open up to our own true fulfillment when we strive for what we desire without external influences. Acknowledging what we can offer to our external world may make help to initially focus on the wholesome fullness we attain already.

Once we realize that true security rests in our view of ourselves and how we fit into the world around us, we are able to focus on more important aspects of our existence that brings us joy which only encourages us to flourish in feeling whole.



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

*Studios now open with modifications! Please visit yogabydegrees.net for more information*

Wellness Wednesday: Honoring Yourself

I think we often come face to face with this idea that our best is never good enough. We may find the excuse that it is because “there’s always room for growth”. In all reality, however, we are always a student and we are exactly where we need to be.

We struggle to question who’s expectation of “good enough” we are truly attempting to fulfill. We may not fulfill someone else’s idea of the best, but the thankfully it is not our resposibility to satsify. It is important we detach ourselves from others and remain dedicated to attain our individual purpose.

Our mind has a tendency to flirt with the idea of being the best at everything aspect of our life. If we try to be the best, we run the risk of becoming lost to our originality because we are striving to fit into an idea of success that is not ours. In doing so, we lose out on the beauty of authenticity and diversity that inspires others.

When we give ourselves permission to release our perfectionist outlook, we learn to create a life free of regret when we choose to move to our own natural rhythm that is good enough for us. We experience a deep sense of gratitude despite what others perspectives have of our situation.



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

*Studios and class schedules open 6/26/2020 with modifications. Please visit yogabydegrees.net for more information*

Meet the Teacher Jill Lu

Jill knows the importance of pushing yourself physically & giving your body time to rest. Both on & off the mat Jill is a leader who connects with her students on a real level. She has an attitude that will brighten your day & allow you to see how strong you really are – inside & out! Unroll your mat with Jill one Sunday morning (or in one of the MANY classes she subs throughout the week) & merge your workout with your workIN! 
1. When & how did you come to yoga yourself? I discovered my love for yoga about 6 years ago while I was going through a transitional period in my life. My friend, Nikki, suggested I take Loreta’s class with her and I fell in love with yoga.
2. What made you decide to start teaching (or take TT)? I am a Dean at a high school and wanted to implement yoga in some way. After teacher training at YBD I started an alternative to detention yoga program with our restorative justice team. I always loved taking HIIT/Pilates with Carole and trained for that as well and was really excited to teach it.
3. Favorite yoga pose: Savasana
4. Who inspires your teaching? There are so many instructors that inspire my teaching at YBD. I try to learn a little every time I take a class.
5. Tips for beginners (or advanced yogis maybe): Keep going! Some of it may seem difficult at first, but it is so exciting to see what you can accomplish if you continue your practice.
6. Favorite quote:🌈 “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud” Maya Angelou 🌈
7. Instagram name: jilllupescu
8. When I am  not doing yoga I like to;  Spend time with my family and friends.  I enjoy running, biking, concerts, or anything that puts me outdoors.

Wellness Wednesday: Romanticizing Every Aspect

Our tendency to fall into the ordinary without recognition of subtle beauties may be a result of our distorted expectations. Perhaps we may be inspired to infuse our idealistic expectations with what is real in our life. In doing so, we begin to realize what can realistically be cultivated in our life. When we accept that the directions we take may be different than what we originially planned, the reality of our inner and outer world actually becomes a more captivating place.

Infusing our ideals with our reality may only saturate our lenses rose. While an ideal can be exciting to grasp, sometimes it may hinder us. Our ability to set too high of an expectation can leave us feeling discouraged if we do not reach our ideal outcome. We may become so hyperfocused that we lose sight of our realistic periphery. When we allow ourself to firmly ground into our current reality, we learn to truly experience the abundance that life has to offer which results in our growing gratitude to recognize the subtle beauties in our everyday life.



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

*Important Note-ALL Virtual Classes are listed under our Elmhurst location

Pose of the Month: Reclining Bound Angle / Supta Baddha Konasana

Supta Baddha Konasana or Reclining Bound Angle Pose can be modified for every student’s resistance needs by adding props & adjusting distance.

1 Exhale & slowly lower your back torso toward the floor. Support your head & neck on a blanket roll or bolster if you would like. (In the picture Krista is supporting her head with a block & opening her heart space with another block.)

2 Bring the soles of your feet together & seperate your knees. Customize this pose by bringing your feet closer or further from your trunk.

***Here is the resistance part: Not only can you bring your feet closer or further from you, you can also place your knees on props like  blocks or blankets to bring the earth up to meet you.  For a deeper expression you could put a block or blanket under the pinky edge of your feet too!

3 With your hands grip the tops of your thighs and rotate externally (away from your center). Lay your arms on the floor, angled at about 45 degrees from the sides of your torso, palms up or down or like the image; one hand on your heart & one hand on your belly.

4 Avoid the natural tendency to push the knees toward the floor. Use props to customize the shape & remain there for a few minutes. After a bit you may find moving or adjusting the props will increase sensation. Remember to stay in the sensation realm & stay away from pain.

To come out, use your hands to press your knees together & place your feet firmly on the earth, roll over onto one side and push yourself away from the floor, head comes up last.

  • Stimulates abdominal organs, ovaries and prostate gland, bladder, and kidneys.
  • Stimulates the heart and improves general circulation.
  • Stretches the inner thighs, groins, and knees.
  • Helps relieve mild depression, anxiety, and fatigue.
  • Soothes menstrual discomfort and sciatica.
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause.

SOUP-tah BAH-dah cone-NAHS-anna)
supta = lying down, reclining
baddha = bound
kona = angle


Meet the Teacher Becca S

Becca has a way of making us all feel graceful & fun like dancers in her class. Her choreography background shines though & her ability to meet you on your mat & give you the direction & space you need is unbeatable. You won’t leave her class feeling like a different person, you will leave class feeling more like yourself than ever before!
1. When & how did you come to yoga yourself?
I dabbled in yoga during high school and college but I didn’t really find my consistent practice until 2013. I was 22, living with my parents in Wisconsin, totally lost, and anxious about the concept of being an adult. Yoga calmed me and gave me a space to release that anxiety, let go of the need to control, and open up to what the world had to offer outside “My Plan.” I moved to Illinois and found my way to YBD in early 2014 and I was instantly hooked! I started teacher training a few months later 🙂
2. What made you decide to start teaching (or take TT)?
I was previously a dancer and I did a lot of choreography for various dance and performing arts throughout high school and college. After I graduated, I missed having a creative outlet. I also didn’t know anyone in the Chicago suburbs and thought it would be a good way to meet some like-minded people. Teaching yoga has offered me not only a creative outlet but a chance to connect with people on a more personal level. It’s been a real gift!
3. Favorite yoga pose:
It changes often, but lately I’ve really been loving upavistha konasana (wide-angle seated forward fold) because it’s both grounding and opens up the hips, hamstrings and lower back really nicely!
4. Who inspires your teaching?
So many people – but especially other teachers at the studios. If I’m ever feeling blocked creatively, I take a yoga class. I also love Instagram as a resource for new ways to explain poses or as a resource for challenging transitions and variations to offer in my classes.
5. Tips for beginners (or advanced yogis maybe):
No matter what your skill level is, practice according to your current state of mind. The best way to get the most out of your practice is to be in your body. Listen to its messages and take them to heart. That’s when you really start to feel connected and you can start to see shifts in your body and your mind.
6. Favorite quote: 
All poems by Erin Hanson (@thepoeticunderground on Instagram)
Also, “Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” – Mandy Hale
7. Instagram name:
8. Interesting fact about you:
I have the goal of visiting every National Park in the U.S. So far, by boyfriend and I have hiked at 13 of them! <—Let Becca know your favorite park, maybe share some hiking trails & must see spots! 
9. When I am  not doing yoga I like to;
Spend time with my family and be outside! I also love to read, cook, and befriend every dog I meet.becca yoga 2.jpg

Wellness Wednesday: Owning What’s Ours

Sometimes the pulsating stimulation we absorb from our outer and inner worlds can present itself as a challenging aspect of our life. We can experience such a great amount of intensity without precisely understanding why which leaves us to question why we feel the way we do.

We can retake control of our own power by becoming valiant enough to concisely analyze the foundation of our emotions. Our ability to confront our challenges with ownership may influence us to shift from one emotional state to another. During this shift we learn to detach, let go of what no longer serves us now that we have defined it, examine the effect it had on us, and then exert our dominance over it by making it our own.

However we may percieve our emotions, whether they be positive or negative, we must carefully define specifically the reaction taking place within us. While it may be easy to lessen our voices in times of anxiety of such intensity, the precision in which we express ourself suggests our overall willingness to confidently stare at our feelings in the face without flinching.

In doing so, we may surprise ourself with how liberated we feel. Our action to make a clear connection between our circumstances and our feelings unravels the hidden questions that previously kept us from being in complete control of our emotional state. To give voice to our feelings, we must detach from them. As we progress, we experience and feel emotional equilibrium.



Click HERE from your computer or open your YBD or Mindbody App for our Virtual Class Schedule
NOTE: ALL virtual classes are located under ELMHURST location

Wellness Wednesday: Unity From Within

When our hearts are heavy from seemingly chaos, we feel the urge to transform the situation from one of turbulence into one of peace. Yet we feel discouraged when our best attempts do not feel enough. Perhaps we experience this because we feel we do not have to offer the extent to what the world truly needs. What we crave is peace, but peace simply begins in our own minds and hearts, not outside of ourselves. Until our peace becomes firmly rooted within, we cannot manifest it externally to all around us. We must be receptive and brutally honest towards ourself in order to grasp the sensation of genuine peace.

We may be inspired by those who manifest peace internally as we come to realize that they are not different from us. As humans we each have racing thoughts and saturated emotions. We can learn that these peacemakers avoid lending their energy to unprocessed thought and emotion to manifest in its current state. Instead, those thoughts and feelings can simply rise and fall just like the ebb and flow of the ocean. Luckily, we each have this ability to choose how we focus our energy. We begin to see our thoughts and feelings unattached where they no longer become a threat to the internal stillness we have cultivated.

When we are able to acknowledge a sense of grounding in the midst of chaos, we are reminded that we discovered a lasting relationship with peace that influences and inspires us each day, in various situations, that we can access at anytime. For the meantime in our attempt to discover such stillness, we can help the world most by observing our thought, action and decision to choose peace within.



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

*Important Note-ALL Virtual Classes are listed under our Elmhurst location*