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November 2018 Pose of the Month: Virasana

For our November 2018 pose of the month, we are featuring Virasana or Hero Pose to honor all of the veterans that sacrifice so much personally so that we can enjoy the freedoms and opportunities of our wonderful nation.

Hero pose can be quite challenging for many, so we will offer several suitable variations.

There are numerous benefits in practicing this pose:

▪ Stretches the hips, thighs, knees, ankles and feet

▪ Improves circulation and relieves tired legs

▪ Strengthens foot arches, relieving flat feet

▪ Improves digestion and relieves gas

▪ Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

▪ Improves posture

▪ Therapeutic for asthma and high blood pressure

▪ Great alternative to lotus or easy seated pose during mediation.

▪ During pregnancy it helps to reduce swelling of the legs (through second trimester).

▪ Useful in Asthma and high blood pressure.

To get into Virasana:

Start from a tabletop position; bring your knees together and splay your heels apart.

Begin to ease your sitting bones back, trying to keep your knees together.

When you’re about halfway down to seated, reach back and externally rotate the fleshy part of your calves.

Ease back and down into a seated and upright position.

Straighten your spine: stack head over shoulders, shoulders over hips with a lift through the crown of your head. Puff through your chest, drawing shoulder blades down your back away from your ears.

You can always place a block between your feet and sit on the block.

Close your eyes and breathe deeply anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes. You can gradually build up the time.

If you’re not feeling much sensation, and only if you’re not sitting on a block, you can start to ease onto your elbows, keeping chest uplifted and shoulder blades down your back.

For a deep expression, lower all the way onto your back and extend your arms overhead catching opposite elbows for Supta Virasana or reclined hero pose.

Your full expression is an advanced posture requiring very open quadriceps and flexibility in knees and ankles. This final expression is entered through bridge pose or setu bandha sarvangasana.

From bridge pose, walk your heels in closer to your back and tuck your toes underneath you lifting your heels. From here, gently ease your knees to the floor gently rolling to the crown of your head. Energetically extend your arms overhead and breathe deeply into chest and throat chakras!

Workshops this weekend!

Workshops are specialty classes that go beyond our regular classes & allow you to dive deeper into an area of your interest. YBD offers workshops each month with many different topics from Acro Yoga, Blindfold yoga, Sound Therapy, & even a New Years Eve Fire & Flow!
If you are looking for some plans this weekend join Paula in a playful AcroYoga Workshop or immerse yourself in Jenny’s use of  Sound Healing to connect sound to your body’s natural vibration.
***Space is limited, sign up in any studio or online***
with Paula G

Location: Downers Grove

Saturday 11/17/2018
2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Acro Yoga is a form of body movement which playfully mixes yoga with the power of acrobatics and the therapeutic benefits of massage. Working with partners, you will develop better body awareness, as well as a deepened capacity to trust yourself and others in a safe and fun environment. This workshop will introduce you to the basics of Acro Yoga. It is accessible to all levels, and no partner is needed!
Sunday 11/18/2018
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Immerse yourself in the healing sounds of the gong tuned to the planet Uranus and healing the Sacral Chakra, balancing emotions.The gong is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. Based on ancient wisdom, the gong vibrates at the same frequency as the body allowing the body to heal itself. The gong balances the central nervous system and aids in deep meditation. Singing crystal and Tibetan bowls, harmonium, drums, and flute will be added to raise the vibration and heighten the experience. No yoga practice, all relaxation.

 

Mindful Monday: Thank you, Veterans

Good morning and happy Monday, friends!

Veterans have such a huge place in my heart. Back in my political days, I would spend the day advancing my former bosses at local Veterans Day ceremonies and observances.

I worked closely with Lt. Col Jim O’Rourke as he advised the state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka on military affairs. Judy’s son Pepi is a JAG officer in the U.S. Army. And Naperville Mayor George A. Pradel proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps. It was during those times that I truly understood the magnitude of what veterans actually sacrifice for our country.

Let’s remember that veterans are defending us 365 days a year. So often the heroism of our veterans from the American Revolution to the Global War on Terrorism is sometimes unnoticed by those of us who enjoy the security that their sacrifice has provided.

I was in the airport a couple of months ago, and I saw many groups of various military in uniform ready to be shipped off to their respective new homes – they were all barely out of high school. Just babies! Imagine leaving your home and every comfort you’ve ever known at the tender age of 18 to be subjected to a drill sergeant who will yell at you, humiliate you and push you to your physical limits.

I’m so very grateful for our veterans who endure long separations from their families, miss the births of their children, freeze in sub-zero temperatures, bake in wild jungles, lose limbs, and, far too often, lose their lives.

And special thanks are due to the military spouses who must endure career interruptions, frequent changes of address, and a disproportionate share of parental responsibilities.

And my heart belongs to the children of active military who deal with frequent changes in schools, separation from friends and, hardest of all, the uncertainty of whether or not Mom or Dad will live through their next combat tour.

Thank you so much to all who have served and all who serve this day. Your sacrifices are so deeply appreciated. You are our true heroes!

At Yoga By Degrees, we offer special military pricing so that our veterans know how much we deeply love and respect them and all of their sacrifices. It is always an absolute honor to share our beloved yoga practice with them. Many of our students have shared with me their myriad of injuries sustained in the line of duty, including shrapnel still lodged in their bodies! To say we are deeply humbled is an understatement.

Have a great week, yogi friends. Let’s remember and honor our heroes each and every day.

Mindful Monday: Daylight Savings

Good morning and happy Monday!

Well it’s my favorite weekend between Halloween and Thanksgiving … the weekend where we gain an hour of extra time!

Time is the most precious of all commodities. Money flows in abundance all around us. Fortunes can be lost and made and lost once again. But once we lose time, we can’t get it back. We can’t order it on Amazon or earn it back in exchange for a job well done. Once time flees, it’s gone.

Each day, every single person is given the exact same amount of time for the day.

24 hours

1,440 minutes

86,400 seconds

You get that quantity, just the same as Beyonce and the Rock.

Oh gosh, sorry … where was I?

Oh yes! We all get that same amount of time, except when we Fall Back and gain an extra hour, 60 minutes or 3,600 seconds!

What can one do with an extra hour?!?

Sleep in

Take an extra yoga class

Write Mindful Monday early

Figure out November pose of the month

Read a book

An extra hour out on Saturday night

Wake up early for a 6 am class on Monday

Organize closets

Watch the sunset

Get a massage

Watch the sunrise

Update expense spreadsheet

Watch Netflix

Drive to the city for brunch/lunch/drinks

Nap

Meditate

Post some items to sell online

Go through garage and donate a bag of unused sports equipment

Laundry

Practice handstands

Go for a run

Go for a walk

Go for a run/walk

Search up archived pics of the Rock

Learn the dance for Keke by Drake

Go shopping

Meet a friend for coffee

Get a facial

Play with your dog

Play with your kids

Practice piano

Play video games

Play candy crush on your phone

Organize photos on your phone

Journal

Plan upcoming week

Christmas shopping list

Prepare for thanksgiving

Volunteer

Whatever you did or did not do with your bonus hour, hope it was great!

Have a great week, friends!

Mindful Monday: Center and Focus

Good morning and happy Monday, friends!

Well we’re quickly sliding into the holiday season and wrapping up the end of 2018.

This week, carve out some contemplative time to ask yourself the questions listed below.

Find a quiet, comfortable space where you will have no interruptions. Your favorite meditation spot or even all cozy in your bed are both excellent places. Just somewhere that has great energy and brings you peace.

Have your journal or a notebook nearby to jot down any thoughts and ideas that surface.

It will serve you to jot the questions down ahead of time, so that you can leave your phone in another room to really be distraction-free.

Before you begin, close your eyes and take several long, deep inhales and exhales to calm your mind and help you focus.

Let’s begin:

1. So far, what kind of year has 2018 been for me? Why?

2. What are some of my accomplishments and successes this year? In my work/career? Personal growth? Relationships? Any other areas?

3. Where have I learned some major lessons? Keep in mind, the biggest lessons are learned through perceived “failures” or “setbacks.”

4. With a full two months still ahead, how will I take advantage of this gift of time to complete any projects or goals that I set for myself this year?

5. Looking forward a bit to 2019, what are some seeds I want to plant now to see grow to fruition next year?

With this information, create some clear affirmations for yourself to stay focused and aligned with what’s important to you.

Also, create a plan to take just five minutes each morning and evening to quietly meditate on your affirmations.

Make sure you schedule your yoga practices with yourself for the remainder of the year and plan to stick as closely as possible to your much needed self-tending time. When things start to amp up, you’ll certainly feel much more grounded and stable!

Remember, you can handle anything that comes your way with grace and composure when you tend to yourself first and foremost! With that being said, also be flexible so that you don’t miss out on all of life’s fun surprises and tiny moments.

Make it a great week, friends!

Be happy!

Yoga for Every Body

Saturday 11/3/2018
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Whether you’re new to yoga or an experienced yogi, the physical yoga practice can be frustrating and discouraging for practitioners with injuries or other range-of-motion challenges. Join Teresa in a supportive and safe environment and learn how to adapt prevalent yoga poses to meet your physical needs.This 1.5-hour workshop will be spent learning how to modify common poses and close with a relaxing level one class where we put our new modifications in practice.

 



Interested in becoming a Yoga Teacher?

Sundays & Wednesdays 
Date: 1/27/2019 – 3/6/2019
Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays (not all) 
Date: 2/1/2019 – 12/8/2019


Mindful Monday: Reality

Good morning, mindful friends!! Let’s get REAL this morning!

Reality.

Reality AS IT IS, not how you think it could or should be.

Not your opinions of it.

Not your preferences and projections.

Not your thoughts about it.

Reality. As. It. Is.

The truth is that the universe is always conspiring to keep you alive. To make you happy. On so many levels.

Think about all that must take place for you to survive this entire day! Think about it … your body alone must perform tiny miracles each moment: providing enough proteins and lipids to fuel your body, your mental faculties alerting you to dangers, your spleen regulating immune system. And that’s just on the micro level!

At the macro level, you need fresh, clean water; the Sun continues to shine and provide energy and life to everything on the this earth. You maintain a roof over your head and have plenty to eat.

I invite you to meditate on just how interconnected you are to the Earth’s ecosystem and to realize how important you are on this planet.

When we see just how miraculous and amazing each moment actually is, why do we spend so much time being paranoid. Anxious. Annoyed. Upset. Envious. Disdainful. Sad. Lonely. Depressed. Dissatisfied. Bored. Down on ourselves and those around us? Living in the past …

The universe has and always will provide you with exactly what you need in each moment. You are enough. You are sufficient.

The next time you start to feel anything but grounded in the present, in your body, in reality, take three deep, deep breaths and ask yourself ….

What in this moment is lacking?

Right here, right now, what is lacking in this moment?

As you close your eyes and deepen your breath, you come to the realization that there’s nothing lacking right now. You have and always will receive exactly what you need to get through each moment of your life.

Now that doesn’t mean you’ll always get what you want, but you will always get what you need.

And the more we understand that all of life is this moment and each moment, the less we have the need to project and judge life. As we relax into each moment, we accept life as it unfolds with so much gratitude.

Expectations begin to fall away, thus freeing us from heartache and disappointment.

We truly have the opportunity to embrace life and all its lessons.

Your life is right now. Reality is your next breath.

3 Workshops this weekend!

Location: Wheaton

Friday 10/12/2018 7:15 pm – 9:15 pm

We start with Intention cards and Essential Oils (optional) to ground and focus. Then it’s time to get comfortable, relax and clear your energy with the sounds of an Ocean Drum followed by  60 minute Yoga Nidra meditation.

End with Sound Healing – singing bowls and tuning pipes tuned to healing frequencies to facilitate transformation.

Bring a friend, bring a pillow, & get set to enjoy a blissful evening of deeper self-care that heals at the subconscious, energic and cellular levels.


Location: Western Springs

Saturday 10/13/20182:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Holding onto resentment and pain prevents our hearts from opening and limits the manifestation of our highest intentions. We’ll use gentle movement to get energy flowing and then a quiet introspective Yin practice (YBD restorative) to unfold ourselves into a more joyful experience. We’ll finish with simple breath-work and guided meditation.

All levels welcome.


Location: Glen Ellyn

Sunday 10/14/2018 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Immerse yourself in the healing sounds of the gong tuned to the planet Uranus and healing the Sacral Chakra, balancing emotions.The gong is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. Based on ancient wisdom, the gong vibrates at the same frequency as the body allowing the body to heal itself. The gong balances the central nervous system and aids in deep meditation. Singing crystal and Tibetan bowls, harmonium, drums, and flute will be added to raise the vibration and heighten the experience. No yoga practice, all relaxation.

October 2018 Pose of the Month: Paschimottanasana

Happy October! In this time of transition from summer to fall, it’s so important to work on grounding and stabilizing.

October pose of the month is Paschimottanasana or intense west stretch.

Pashchima = the West, or the back of the body.

Uttana = intense stretch.

This pose honors the inner wisdom and voice of your spirit; calms the nervous system, and allows you to literally turn in toward yourself. It is one of our most grounding poses!

• Extend your legs in front of you and ground down through both sitting bones. If your low back is particularly tight, consider sitting up on a folded blanket so your pelvis can tip forward.

• As you bow over your legs, aim to initiate the fold from the pelvis/hips, as opposed to the mid back.

• Keep the lumbar spine long, and then round over with the thoracic and cervical spine.

• Take slow and deep breaths as you surrender to the stretch and connect to the inner quietude.

Simple and yummy!!!

Enjoy!

Workshops This Weekend!

Chakrasana AUM: 108 Aums to Celebrate the Fall Equinox with Kristin S

Glen Ellyn // Friday September 21 7:30 – 9:30pm

108 is a mystical number in the yogic tradition, especially at the fall equinox. Come celebrate the beginning of the season of change. We will work to balance the chakras with chanting 108 AUMS, sacred sound healing, restorative practice and some guided meditation. All skill levels, passive practice.

***

Advanced Arm Balances & Postures Workshop: Beyond Crow and Headstand with Stacey Z 

Downers Grove // Saturday September 22, 2:30 – 4:30pm

This fun, challenging, and informative workshop will help you to take your physical practice to the next level. Explore how to playfully amp up your poses and incorporate creative transitions that will help you to stay focused, present, and, most of all, have a good time on your mat.

This workshop is appropriate for those with a strong understanding of foundational poses.

Sign up online: www.yogabydegrees.net or call any studio