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Mindful Monday: Receive 


Happy Monday, lovely ones! Another spectacular week and weekend in the books! I hope your week was as lovely as you. 

I celebrated another trip around the sun last week — my birthday is always a time for reflection for me. Another year older and wiser. And a perfect time to check in with myself and to own ALL of my stuff. It’s super easy for me to own the seemingly “bad” and “negative” parts. I tend to dismiss the “good” and “positive.” But I’m practicing owning it all without labels or judgements. Soaking everything in as an opportunity for continued awareness and growth – therefore it’s all good! Painful things help me grow. Amazing blessings soften me with gratitude. 

This year, I worked very hard to practice receiving. A dear friend of mine challenged me to only RECEIVE on my birthday. Wow! That’s a tough gauntlet thrown down!

I realized that so often people try to “give” me a compliment, and it’s so difficult for me to receive it that I end up rejecting the compliment and often times unintentionally offending the giver! How insane is that?! But isn’t it so hard to just smile sincerely, receive the offering and intention, and simply say, “Thank you?”

I had to remind myself that  giving and receiving  is a dynamic universal exchange. It’s part of the yin (receive) and yang (give) of life. You can’t give without someone to receive. And you can’t receive if nothing is offered. We need both. 

So how could I practice truly receiving the tremendous outpouring of love that flooded my life on that day? 

Yes, yes, yes gratitude for sure! But even with gratefulness in my heart, was I truly receiving the offering?

The art of receiving demands some serious yoga discipline. First, we must have the awareness to recognize that something is been offered. Someone is trying to give you something. In my case, each happy birthday greeting and gift was an offering of love and appreciation.  Secondly, we must practice being open to truly hear and see and feel the offering — this requires STILLNESS. Third, we cultivate gratitude for the intention behind the offering. So… you’re all with me so far, right? Seems simple and straightforward. 

The fourth step is the most challenging for me. It’s to actually fully absorb and assimilate and accept what I’m being offered. And that means that I have to feel deserving of love and appreciation. To feel truly worthy to receive the remarkable gifts offered. 

The word “receive” comes from the Latin word recipere, which means “to take back.” This implies that what we receive is already ours in the sense that we do, indeed, deserve it, that it completes something within us, or simply that we’ve attracted it by the nature of our being.

In the picture above, I’m practicing the art of receiving from my dear friend Sarah P. The benefit of being able to receive in this pose is that physically my body can fold more deeply. But Sarah is offering so much more with this adjustment– she’s offering her love and support for my well-being and my practice. The more I opened and received, the more relaxed and truly nourished and fulfilled I felt. 

Receiving is a yoga practice in itself! The more we cultivate the art of receiving, we become more in tuned with the abundance the universe offers us each moment, each day. 

Have a great week, Yogi friends! 

Mindful Monday: Mother Nature 

Good morning, Mindful ones! Since the spectacular total solar eclipse last month, Mother Nature has been quite busy! 

A string of hurricanes, wildfires and even an earthquake has dominated our news feeds, our minds and hearts the past few weeks. Many of us have family, friends and other relations who have been affected by this onslaught of natural disasters in various parts of our country and even beyond our national borders. 

It is heartbreaking to see the chaos and terror so many people experienced or are currently experiencing trying to anticipate how and if these storms will ravage their homes and businesses. And the aftermath – picking up the pieces; surviving without power and shortages of the basic necessities. 

Scary and uncertain times for sure. It leaves us feeling helpless. The weather is beyond human control. So what can we do? We just clutch our loved ones a little tighter. We find so much more gratitude for what we do have. 

We find ways to connect with humanity – perhaps you’ve already made a donation online or have participated in a food or clothing drive led by your school or church or even a place you shop. You’ve reached out to loved ones to monitor their safety and well-being. 

In times like these, we also tend to renew our faith – whatever higher power you believe. God, Universe, Spirit, Nature. The acknowledgment that we as human beings cannot control or predict this powerful force called Life. 

But we have infinite power in how we choose to act and react to any given situation. And as humans, we all deal with threats and fear so differently. 

My brother lived in Miami for many years, and they would actually have hurricane parties during times like these! 


And this image of golfers continuing their golf game with wildfires raging behind them gives me goosebumps! 

During times like this, we witness the rise of the human spirit. Endless stories of folks opening their homes to strangers. Sharing what little they have with those in need.

 Nature is the great equalizer: rich or poor; male or female; gay or straight; Asian or white; evil or good; none of this matters to the storms that are descending upon us. And perhaps that’s the point?

Let’s continue to offer our thoughts and prayers for the safety and well-being of all life – human and otherwise. And of course getting on your mat a few times this week will always help to put things in perspective.  

September Pose of the Month

Shift is here. Whether it’s just climatically, and you’re feeling the cool shift in seasons with a somewhat stiff body as you’re embracing for the cold, or it’s something more personal like a total rerouting toward your right life, change can be hard. Keep going, though. You got this. And, if you need a little break along the way, take a child’s pose with open palms to welcome your new intentions.

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Accessing Child’s Pose:

  • Sit on your heels with your big toes together to touch, and open your knees wide toward the outside of your mat or blanket
  • Hinge forward between your legs as you use your hands to crawl forward and low
  • Rest the center of your forehead on the earth
  • Internally rotate your arms so that your palms flip upward
  • If you have tight hips and your seat leaves your heels as you surrender forward, option to use a blanket between your back thighs and calves for added support

Benefits of Child’s Pose:

  • Stretches hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Stretches and soothes the spinal cord
  • Relieves stress and fatigue
  • Releases back and neck tension
  • Teaches surrender

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

Mindful Monday: Keep Your Head Up 


Good morning, my lovely mindful ones! Happiest of Mondays to you. I hope you had a lovely week and weekend. 

Last Monday I shared with you the erratic emotional swings I experienced leading up to the eclipse. This past week was filled with moments of pure sublime joy and happiness. I had such moments of clarity and peace that I was truly present for. 

That’s not to say that each and every moment was like that. On the contrary, I had the usual “ups and downs.” Whatever I’m feeling, I feel it so very deeply! Heartbreak is a physical pain in my chest. Happiness makes my heart want to leap out through my sternum. I literally lose my vision when I’m angry! I can’t see straight. And sadness, it overwhelms me to my core. When I miss someone (and there is someone in my life I miss terribly) my entire body weeps. But then life will send me something to laugh about and my body will vibrate with it. And when I feel love …. ahhhhhh. My heart belts out an opera solo. 


Last week, I was somehow able to pull myself back and stay a little more connected to this underlying current of endless peace and happiness.  It’s so different than the roller coaster of moment to moment emotions. It’s steady. It’s always there. Just beneath the surface. It’s your soul. 

It’s why we love yoga so much.  Yoga gives us a taste of our authentic state of being. Even while we struggle to hold a challenging pose, we connect to sense of beauty in the struggle. We feel without a doubt that we can endure anything for five breaths. 

In my my moments of sadness and despair last week, I reminded myself that I could only feel the depth of such sadness because I know the incredible highs of happiness. My despair was because of my extreme optimism. My loneliness was because of my deep connections in my relationships. We simply cannot have one without the other, can we?

Whatever you’re suffering through my friend, you can always use the tools of our yoga practice to find stability. Just keep your head up. 

Or. This. 

What does a nosy pepper do?

Get jalapeño business! 

Have a great week!! See you on your mat!

Mindful Monday: the American eclipse

Good morning, mindful ones! Wow!  Today’s the big day! Total solar eclipse! This is such a significant event astrologically, astronomically, scientifically and spiritually. On all levels of our human existence. 

This is an electrically charged time in our lives. Perhaps you’ve been feeling it over the past week building up to today?

I certainly had an interesting week. I was super edgy and agitated all of last week. I spent a lot of time trying to stay grounded and rooted. Even with my calming practices, I was supersensitive to a sense of chaos surrounding me. Many things came into my life to “trigger” some of my deep-seated and outdated mental and emotional patterns. 

Emotionally I vacillated between old patterns of anger and hostility to overwhelming sadness and despair. Many times last week I was caught off guard with straight up sobbing and ugly crying every time I went into a forward fold on my mat. I practiced being gentle  and being so compassionate with myself. And I also felt overwhelmed with gratitude for all the love and support surrounding and enfolding me. 

Which makes so much sense! This total  solar eclipse is comparable to the beginning of a new year. The energy of change and transformation is so abundant right now! We must feel and experience stale patterns in order to facilitate letting them go. 

Here are a few things you can do to take full advantage of this rare phenomenon. 

This is the time to write down new intentions and goals. Harness  this energy for self-transformation. 

If you have malas, let them sit outside and soak in this powerful energy. You can do the same thing with water and any healing stones you have.  I have mine all set to go today!

Meditate during this powerful time.  Get synced within yourself. And then sync up with the universe. 

Be safe! Only look at the sun with protective glasses on, please!

Connect with others. Truly meaningfully connect  with those around you. 

Take great care of yourself today. Stay hydrated. Protect yourself from stressful situations and people. Get a massage. Make sure you have enough downtime. Definitely take a yoga class!

Practice forgiveness. This is a fresh start for you. Release any resentments you’re harboring. This is for YOU to feel light and happy and free. That other person will deal with his or her own karma. It’s not for you to administer karma, right? 

Get grounded. Spend some time with your butt directly on the earth. Walk barefoot in the grass. 


I would love to hear from you about any rituals you performed during this auspicious time! 

Here’s to a fresh new start for us all!

Anicca! Anicca! Anicca! Be happy! Be happy! Be happy!

Mindful Monday: Yoga is the Answer


Happy Monday, oh mindful ones! Summer is certainly marching right along. It’s so crazy that my son starts his junior year on Wednesday! And even crazier is this total solar eclipse coming next week! This is such an emotionally and energetically charged time for us. 

I have found throughout my dozen years of practicing yoga that it has been the most stabilizing and therapeutic answer to any life question. 

Each time I unroll my mat, the familiarity of that simple action resonates to the core of my heart! How many thousands of times have I performed that simple action in my life? And in how many dozens of studios throughout the world – from Miami and NYC to LA and Santa Monica. On a rooftop in New Delhi at dawn. In a studio in Ho Chi Min taught entirely in Vietnamese! And so many other corners of our beautiful Earth.

Yet that initial action, and all that follow it, exists in a sacred space, an entire universe, on my beloved mat. When the madness of the world has invaded my lovely precious bubble, and I have allowed others’ negativity and self-loathing and misery to permeate my equanimity, I can ALWAYS roll out my mat and let it all go. 

My mat has supported me through heartbreak, total sublime happiness, guilt, anger, bliss, excitement, fear and self-doubt. The one thing that is consistent is the impermanence of each emotion…whether the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, nothing endures! 

That simple reminder of the nature of life – it goes on! – grounds me firmly back in ‘yathabhuta’ reality ‘as it is’ not how I wish it to be! And the ultimate universal truth: All I need for true happiness can be found ONLY WITHIN and ONLY BY ME.

So whatever your question or  current struggle, go get on your mat, where you will receive all of life’s answers. 

Yoga is the answer. Question is irrelevant. 

Mindful Monday: Yoga off your mat


Good morning, mindful ones! I have a question for you … do you practice yoga off of your mat?  And I don’t mean doing yoga poses in public and taking pictures- though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Our practice isn’t confined to the mat or to the poses we create with our bodies. It’s designed to spill over into our daily lives. 

As we learn kindness, tolerance, compassion and love towards ourselves, naturally these attributes overflow from our hearts and encompass all of those around us.  

As you go about your day today, can you see all the ways yoga has profoundly impacted your life? It’s easy to get focused on the physical practice; I was personally stuck there for many years. When we start to see our  yoga off of our mats, we know that the practice is working. 

Just for today, take interest in everything around you. Observe the sunset. Be a spectator of today’s’ lunar eclipse. Be kind to strangers. Be patient with annoying people. Let that aggressive driver merge front of you. Basically don’t be a jerk. 


Have a great week, friend! See you on your mat. You still have almost 2 weeks to finish the summer challenge!

Namaste 🙏🏾 

August Pose of the Month

Wowie, this weather’s got us tip-toeing into the fall like “NOOOOOOOOO!” It might be chilly out today, but our pose of the month is invigorating and will bring some sure fire back to your body. Tiptoe Fish Pose requires some warm-up, but it’s super fun with lots of juicy benefits. If you love toe stand and/or fish pose, this fusion is for you!

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Accessing Tiptoe Fish Pose:

  • Lie supine, bend both knees, and ground the soles of your feet like you’re preparing for a traditional bridge pose
  • Come up on to your shoulders as you lift your hips
  • Tuck your toes under your heels and shimmy your heels underneath your seat as you would have them in a traditional toe stand
  • Keep your arms long at either side of your torso and use your hands to wrap around the tops of your feet
  • Energize your knees forward until they make contact with your mat
  • Then, ground your elbows and forearms to pop your chest up
  • Let the crown of your head rest on the mat as well so that your throat and neck are fully exposed
  • You may choose to hold your feet and keep your forearms grounded at either side of your body, or you can play around with extending your arms up overhead and bringing your palms together to touch

Benefits of Tiptoe Fish Pose:

  • Intense backbend broadens the chest
  • Stretches and lengthens the abdominal area
  • Stretches the thigh muscles and quadriceps
  • Stimulates and strengthens toe joints
  • Energizes the heart center

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”!