YBD Teacher of The Month

Yoga By Degrees Teacher of The Month

Meet Linda, YBD Teacher of the Month

We’ve had quite the year over here at Yoga By Degrees! One of our most exciting additions to our offerings has been the addition of Traditional Hot classes at our South Naperville and Glen Ellyn locations. With our new locations and class format we’ve been blessed to also gain some amazing instructors to our team. Linda has been such a wonderful addition to our YBD team! She’s has a strong knowledge of the practice and leads her classes seemingly seamlessly. Her students love her kind presence in and out of the studio and we at YBD are so grateful for her. Here’s where you can find Linda:

Wednesdays
9:30am Traditional Hot Glen Ellyn
Sundays
9:30am Traditional Hot Glen Ellyn

When and how did you come to yoga?

I began a serious yoga practice in 2010 after my husband and I both decided to make career changes. We wandered into a Bikram Yoga studio without really understanding what it was. The first class was intense, but by the time I got home I was feeling great and decided to practice a couple a times of week. Very soon, a couple of times a week became almost everyday. It began as a way to relieve stress and evolved into a way of life.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I started teaching because I wanted to share what yoga has brought to my life.

What is your favorite pose?

My favorite pose is continually evolving. I believe the most difficult pose in anyone’s practice is the pose they need the most. As you gain mastery of the pose you open both physically and psychically. Right now, for me, that pose is Salamba Sarvangasana.

Who inspires your teaching?

I am continually inspired by my teachers Tia Little, Surya Little and Gabriel Halpern.

Tips for beginners…

It took a lifetime for your body and mind to come to the place it is today. Be patient, it will take some time for changes to become evident.

What’s your favorite quote?
I am a lover of poetry. This is one of my current favorites:
“Are you looking for me?”
Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat
My shoulder is against yours
You will not find me in the stopes,
Not in the Indian Shrine rooms,
Nor in synagogues,
Nor in cathedrals,
Not in masses,
Nor kirtans,
Not in legs wandering around your own next,
Nor in eating nothiing but vegetables.
When you really look for me,
You will see me instantly-
You will find me in the tiniest house of time…
The breath inside the breath.
-Kabir

 

 

 

Meet Geraldina, YBD Teacher of the Month

This sweet soul has been such a huge part of Yoga By Degrees for years. We are so blessed to have her as part of our team. She will greet you with her warm smile while working the front desk, and fills her class with love while instructing. In addition to her permanent schedule below, she always helps out by subbing when she can. Hopefully you get a chance to check out one of Geraldina’s classes soon!

Mondays
1:30pm, YBD 2, Western Springs
7:15pm, YBD 1, Downers Grove
Tuesdays
8:00pm, YBD 2, Elmhurst
Wednesdays
9:30am,  YBD1, Western Springs
Fridays
12:00pm, Restorative, Elmhurst
4:00pm,  YBD 1, Elmhurst
When and how did you come to yoga?
Compleatly by accident! I was dragged by my friend to yoga class at  local gym…and that changed my life.
Why did you start teaching yoga?
Practicing yoga felt so good! It shifted my life in such positive and joyful experience, that I wanted to share that with as many people as I could.
What is your favorite pose?
Side crow or parsva bakasana
Who inspires your teaching?
Mostly my students. Also, Hindu philosophers and working at YBD.  Being in such a positive environment, surrounded by amazing staff and learning new things everyday.
Tips for beginners…
Practicing Ahimsa (non violence) while doing yoga-not overdoing, or pushing too hard. Take it slowly and make it a pleasant experience.
What’s your favorite quote?
“The river that flows in you also flows in me.” Kabir

Meet Erica, YBD Teacher of the Month

Erica has been attending classes at YBD since 2011! She started as a dedicated student, then became a loyal studio attendant, and now she is one of our most beloved sculpt and vinyasa teachers. Her classes are fun and always challenging! Here’s where you can find her:

Tuesdays
7:15PM, Yoga Sculpt, Downers Grove
Thursdays
6:00AM, Yoga Sculpt, Glen Ellyn
Fridays
6:00AM, YBD 2, Downers Grove
 
Sundays
4:30PM, YBD 2, Glen Ellyn 

When and how did you come to yoga?

I found yoga during college. I have been an athlete my entire life and after playing volleyball in college I got a job at a gym. The gym offered yoga classes, so I started taking classes, realizing that they were a great workout. In law school I used yoga as a form of stress relief, and started taking hot yoga classes near school my first year. After I started working full time, I settled back into taking yoga more on a daily basis and have enjoyed it ever since as both a great workout and a form of stress relief.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I started teaching yoga sculpt about 2 years ago. After teaching sculpt for a year or so, I decided to take the plunge and do vinyasa teacher training.

What is your favorite pose?

I love any power pose, specifically any arm balance. I’ve always been the yogi that was strong, but not as flexible, so I relish in those moments in the poses that make me feel strong, especially when my arms or hands are holding the weight of my entire body.

Who inspires your teaching?

I’m inspired by any of my favorite teachers. Every teacher brings something different to class. I try to learn from all of the different aspects of my favorite teachers and try to evolve my own teachings in similar ways. I pull some of my best ideas from collaborative collections of poses taken from some of my favorite classes with my favorite teachers.

Tips for beginners…

Do not feel like you have to be “good” at yoga to go to class. Usually when I ask my sculpters why they haven’t tried a vinyasa class yet or why a level 1 student hasn’t tried a level 2 class yet, the typical answer is somewhere along the lines of, “I don’t think I’m good enough at yoga yet,” or “I don’t know all of the poses”. Yoga isn’t about what your neighbor is doing or how deep you can get into a pose. One of my favorite teachers always jokes that when you nail a peak pose in class, you don’t achieve enlightenment. Its the path to get into a pose that makes it yoga. Its how you treat yourself and its how you approach a pose which makes it yoga. Its knowing how your body feels and knowing that sometimes pushing yourself is not what you need that specific day. So, beginners, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks in the class, or even what the teacher thinks. The class is for you and for you to grow.

What’s your favorite quote?

You cannot control anyone but yourself. I have to remind myself that I cannot control how others act, how others perceive me, or how others may react to something. I can only control how I myself, react to others’ actions, and how I react to others’ perceptions of me.

Meet Loukia, YBD Teacher of the Month

Meet our first Teacher of the Month of the new year! Loukia has such an amazing story of transformation and following your heart. After leaving her career as a high school administrator, she completed her teacher training with us at YBD and has been inspiring students ever since. We are very grateful to be part of Loukia’s road to happiness and are grateful she shares her joy with our YBD community!
Monday

6am, YBD2 95°-Western Springs

Tuesday

6am, YBD1 95°-Naperville

Wednesday

4:30, YBD1 85°-Elmhurst

Friday

4:00, YBD1 85° & 5:45, YBD2 105°-Downers Grove

Saturday

12:00, YBD2 95° & 1:30 Restorative-Western Springs

When and how did you come to yoga?
I began regularly practicing yoga in 2011 when YBD in Wheaton opened. I had a number of physical ailments so I thought yoga would help. I was also looking for a way to reduce stress from my role as a high school administrator.  The heated studio felt detoxifying and relieved my stress after a long day of work.  The candles of the dimly lit studio exuded an aura of calm and it was a rare opportunity for quiet time in my day. I found yoga to be physically challenging with the added benefit of challenging me mentally every time I stepped onto my mat.  As I began to move in and out of the poses in the vinyasa flow classes, my body began to feel alive, my mind began to quiet, turning my negative self-talk into positive, self-love.

Why did you start teaching yoga?
I experienced a series of losses in 2014 and practicing yoga healed me from the inside out. Being on yoga mat helped me heal and come to terms with all the pain of my loss and grief. In 2015 I decided that if I could help even one person feel better and find peace through yoga, then training to be a yoga teacher would be worth it for me. I completed my training in the fall 2015 and have been enjoying the journey of being a new teacher this past year.

What is your favorite pose?
My favorite pose is tree pose, vrksasana. The essence of tree pose is to find balance. However, in tree pose you might sway, like a tree does in the wind but your foot stays rooted in to the ground. Allowing myself the freedom for my body to move and find its balance while I visualize still being rooted into the earth allows me to find acceptance of my body and my life in that present space and moment. Balance is something I work really hard at on and off the mat so I love tree pose because of that!

Who inspires your teaching?
My own yoga teachers have been my inspiration.  I’ve been blessed to have caring, kind, and compassionate yoga teachers and realize the impact a teacher can have on students every time they step on the mat.

Tips for beginners…
Learn to live in the uncomfortable.  You will inevitably find your first class challenging and a bit awkward and uncomfortable as your body moves in and out of the various poses.  Learn to live with that uncomfortable feeling of a beginner because everyone at one point or another was a beginner, even your yoga teachers!

What’s your favorite quote?
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.

MEET GEORGE, YBD TEACHER OF THE MONTH

We are so very lucky to have this guy as part of our YBD family. You may have seen him welcoming you with a warm smile while studio attending at any one of our 6 studios or maybe have taken one of his kick butt sculpt classes! George goes above and beyond – always. He’s completing his 200 hour teacher training here at Yoga By Degrees so you’ll soon be able to take a Vinyasa class with him! He is a true rockstar! Here’s where you can find him:

 

MONDAY          8:30am Sculpt ELMHURST

TUESDAY         4:30pm Sculpt WESTERN SPRINGS

WEDNESDAY   6:00am Sculpt ELMHURST

THURSDAY      4:30pm Sculpt Fusion DOWNERS GROVE

                            7:15pm Sculpt ELMHURST

FRIDAY              6:00am Sculpt Fusion ELMHURST

SATURDAY       2:00pm Sculpt ELMHURST

When and how did you come to yoga?

After over 25 years of full contact martial arts, my battered body required back surgery. In my recovery state, my wife Linda suggested I try yoga. It didn’t really spark me until after my first class with Meghan that I was hooked. I immediately went to the front desk asking how can I work at Yoga By Degrees.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I found that being a part of a healthy mind, healthy body and healthy spirit atmosphere is a blessing in and of itself. So being able to teach and inspire others to reach for those things that make us better human beings is inescapable. I love it!

What is your favorite pose?

Crow…I find it challenging and I have slowly learned how to stop trying to muscle myself up and instead focus, breath and balance. Long way to go to perfection though. 

Who inspires your teaching?

In actuality all of the teachers at Yoga By Degrees inspire me. Each one has something that they bring to the table to share with all of the students and teachers alike. I am impressed by them in every class I am lucky enough to take.

Tips for beginners…

Don’t worry about how you think you appear to others in the classroom. Just focus on what you can do. Everything takes time and the only competition in the room is with ourselves. Nobody is paying attention to you anyway, everyone is focused on what they themselves are doing.

What is your favorite quote?

There are so many quotes I can be inspired by…I can’t really pick one. But to share something I will go with:

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”

– Bruce Lee

Meet Lola, YBD Teacher of the Month

Have you gotten to take this beautiful yogi’s class yet? Lola completed her teacher training at Yoga By Degrees in the Winter of 2015. Since then, she’s been sharing the yoga love with all of our studios and students. She fills the room with her loving, grounded, positive energy from the moment she walks in the door. We are so grateful to have her as part of our community! Here’s where you can find her:

Wednesdays – Wheaton

YBD 2 105 8:00pm-9:00pm

Thursdays – Western Springs

YBD 2 105 8:00pm-9:00pm

Saturdays – Wheaton

YBD 1 85 2:00pm-3:00pm

YBD 2 105 4:00pm-5:00pm

Sundays

South Naperville

YBD 1 85 9:00am-10:00am

YBD 2 95 10:30am-11:30am

Wheaton

YBD 2 95 4:00pm-5:00pm

 

Get to know Lola:

*When and how did you come to yoga?

I started practicing about 10 years ago and consistently 4 years ago at YBD.

*Why did you start teaching yoga?

In the hopes of Inspiring others and to support and promote all the positives that yoga brings to me and those I know.

*Tips for beginners…

Keep practicing and have an open mind!

*What’s your favorite quote?

Osho: You are not accidental. Existence Needs you, without you something would be missing in existence, and nobody could replace it. That’s what gives you dignity that the whole existence will miss you […]

Meet Indre, YBD Teacher of the Month

Where do we begin the list of wonderful things about this yogi? Indre is one of our managers and instructors at YBD’s newest South Naperville location. Indre is the heart and soul of the Bikram practice at Yoga By Degrees. Her strength coupled with her kindness provides a space for practitioners to find their best selves both on and off the mat. If you haven’t tried YBD’s newest class offering, the traditional Bikram series, come visit South Naperville and take Indre’s class soon! Her schedule varies but here’s when you can find her next week:

Wednesday, October 5th 4:00 & 6:00

Thursday, October 6th 10:am

Friday, October 14th 5:30am

See her full schedule here:

http://www.yogabydegrees.net/class-schedule/class-schedules-south-naperville.aspx

 

Get to know Indre:

When and how did you come to yoga?

I took my very first hatha yoga class in 2008 due to the intention of spiritual growth. My body was fine, but my soul was longing for meaning. The ideas of Eastern pfilosophy has always been intriguing to me, therefore starting my own yoga pratice seemed like a great way to elevate my knowledg from books into a experiential and more tangible level.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

Discovering Bikram yoga has changed my attitude towards life forever. Practicing yoga has helped me to live my life in a more healthy and happy kind of way. I am so grateful for this opportunity to share my passion with others. I have completed an intense Bikram Yoga teacher tarining in 2013 and have been teaching yoga since. I wanted to pass along the power of yoga because western culture is so attached to the idea of searching for  happiness outside. We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, however we are far away from being the happiest. Various addictions and depression is like a highly contagious virus. How come? What are we missing out? If you have no idea, get yourself into a yoga class to find out.

What is your favorite pose?

My favorite pose changes from time to time. At the moment I really enjoy practicing triangle posture. Different variations of this asana helps not to only open up the hips more, but also strengthens every major muscle group of the human body.

Who inspires your teaching?

My students. The commitment to their yoga practice inspires me to be on my own mat as often as possible.

Tips for beginners…

Keep your mind opened – the body will follow. Breathing and alignment comes first, the depth will come with time. Be your best friend, not your worst enemy.

What’s your favorite quote?

“The bird of wisdom needs two wings to fly. They are awareness and equanimity.” S.N. Goenka

Meet Alex L., YBD Teacher of the Month!

We are so lucky to have Alex L. teaching at Yoga By Degrees. He comes to our YBD community from teaching in Missouri and we couldn’t be happier about it! He greets everyone he meets with his cheerful smile and kind presence. That positive energy is brought with him into all of the classes he teaches. If you haven’t gotten a chance to take one of his classes, it is a must!

Check out his permanent schedule:

Mondays:

6:00am YBD 1 95 Degrees Elmhurst

12:00pm YBD 1 85 Degrees Downers Grove

1:30pm YBD HOT 105 Degrees Downers Grove

Tuesdays:

1:30pm YBD 2 95 Glen Ellyn

Thursdays:

6:00am YBD 2 95 Degrees Elmhurst

8:30am YBD 1 85 Degrees Elmhurst

6:00pm YBD 2 95 Degrees Downers Grove

8:00pm YBD 1 85 Degrees Downers Grove

Fridays:

6:00pm YBD 2 95 Degrees Western Springs

 

Get to know Alex:

When and how did you come to yoga?

I started practicing yoga about 5 years ago when I was going to school in Columbia, Missouri. A hot studio opened in my neighborhood that combined both styles of vinyasa and Bikram, although at the time I had no idea what that meant. None the less, I started practicing regularly and became hooked on the benefits, both physically and mentally. 

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I decided to go through teacher training as a way to deepen my own practice. I had only been practicing about a year and I was eager to learn more. The studio I had been attending was holding a month intensive 200 hour training and things just started to fall in place, so I went with it. I wanted to learn more about yoga philosophy and anatomy so I could guide others on their own yoga journey. 

What is your favorite pose? 

I have many, but my favorite are the warriors. They’re such strong and powerful poses that make me feel grounded and connected to something bigger. 

Who inspires your teaching? 

I pull inspiration from a variety of places including my family, friends, peers, and personal experiences, but my main source is whoever shows up for class. I always have a few things in mind for class, the rest is reading the room and trying to incorporate what each individual student wants for class, or more importantly, what they need. Finding a balance between pushing their limitations and finding comfort and control in each posture. 

Tips for beginners… 

Just keep showing up. Yoga is a life long journey that is different for everyone. Simply by being present on your mat you’ll learn and grow in your own way. 

What’s your favorite quote?

“…and the tree was happy.” –Shell Silverstein, The Giving Tree

Meet Jen P, Teacher of the Month

July is the time for celebrating our love for our YBD Teacher of the Month, Jenny Penny! Jen P (on the schedule) has a great attitude, strong customer service skills, connection to her students, and her continued effort to grow and evolve in her teaching makes her an exceptional yogi and instructor. Come take her class! See her schedule and Q&A below:

Tuesdays:

YBD Restorative 1:15-2:15pm Elmhurst

Yoga Sculpt 7:15-8:15pm Wheaton

Wednesdays:

YBD 2 95 6:00-7:00am Downers Grove

Yoga Sculpt 6:00-7:00pm Downers Grove

YBD 1 7:15-8:15pm

Fridays:

YBD 1 8:00-9:00am Wheaton

YBD Restorative 1:30-2:30pm Downers Grove

YBD1 4:30-5:30pm Glen Ellyn

Yoga Sculpt 6:00-7:00pm Glen Ellyn

Saturdays:

YBD1 2:00-3:00pm Wheaton

YBD2 105 4:00-5:00pm Wheaton

Sundays:

YBD1 8:30-9:30am Glen Ellyn

Yoga Sculpt 10:00-11:00am Glen Ellyn

YBD Restorative 1:15-2:15pm Elmhurst

When and how did you come to yoga?

Every morning since I can remember I would wake up and go through a set of poses like cat/cows, forward folds, etc. At the time, I didn’t even know I was doing yoga poses. So, I guess since I was in this world I have been doing yoga.  I started taking regular yoga classes in college at a local gym where I fell in love with the mind, body, and spirit connection. I was always active in dance, volleyball, basketball, and running BUT nothing compared to yoga. Once I found it, I was hooked.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I wanted to pass along the power of yoga. I went through some difficult health issues and yoga is where I found solace and vibrancy again.  I wanted to teach yoga to give others a way to relax, rejuvenate, and increase their health and wellness as I had done.Yoga created a peace and awareness in me that changed my life. So, I decided to leave my corporate job last year and pursue yoga teaching and my nursing degree. I jumped into teacher training Fall 2014.

What is your favorite pose? 

Chair pose. This pose challenges my patience, strength, and body awareness.  It allows me to find my fierce side and channel that energy through my breath. You sink into your chair and work through that mental frustration in the intensity to then release into the next pose.  It feels amazing to transition from chair to other more surrendering poses.

Who inspires your teaching?

My mom.  She has been my role model my whole life and has taught first grade for over 20 years.  Her ability to give her whole heart to what she does and her graceful teaching inspires me to shine my light to my students to fully be present. She tells her kids the bumble bee quote “Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.” – Mary Kay Ash.  When I teach I try to instill this in my students to look beyond their “limitations”, fears, or routine and allow new space and breath to take them to a place of growth. Also, current books I read inspire me. When words speak to me, I try to make a sequence that embodies that energy and inspiration.

Tips for beginners…

Don’t let fear hold you back from freely flowing and finding your peace. Just breath, smile, and accept yourself exactly as you are on your mat every day. Hakuna Matata –No worries just feel the peace and ease.

What’s your favorite quote?

“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And Something you give away. –John Lennon

Meet Heather, YBD Teacher of the Month

Heather has been an integral part of Yoga by Degrees so it is about time that we celebrate the amazing gifts she brings to our community. She is YBD’s senior manager, overseeing Wheaton and our western studios, a leader of our 200-hour Teacher Training and is one of our only 500-hour level certified instructors. Heather pours her heart out into everything she does and backs up that nurturing energy with a strong support of anatomy knowledge. Come check out her class at the Wheaton studio:

Tuesday, 9:30am YBD1

Wednesday, 1:30pm YBD2 95

Thursday, 9:30am YBD1

Thursday, 12pm Restorative

Saturday, 8am YBD2 85

Saturday, 10:30am Restorative

Saturday, 12pm YBD2 95, 75 minutes*

Get to know Heather better below:

When and how did you come to yoga?

I began a consistent practice in 2007 after the separation from my ex-husband.    While I had “dabbled” with practicing yoga this time it stuck.  There was a little studio walking-distance from my house and the more I practiced the better I felt.  When I began I couldn’t touch my toes; down dog was NOT a resting pose and chaturanga (yoga push up) was torture.  After it was all over I felt strong, empowered, calm and centered.  No matter how bad the day was or how difficult my life was at the time, I felt at peace.  Over time my physical practice improved but no mater how I struggled in my practice, I was at home on my mat.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

The funny thing is I never intended to teach yoga.  I never wanted to teach yoga.  I got my 200-hour yoga certificate in 2008 as a way to deepen my own practice and dive deeper in the philosophy of yoga.  I wanted to understand why I felt so good even in times of struggle.  My teacher training was for personal growth and nothing else.  One day a fellow teacher asked me to sub one of her classes while going out of the country for a month.   I said no without hesitation.  After a lengthy conversation about why I was not a yoga teacher she said to me “Heather, I think my students would like you and please think about it.”  After some searching I said to myself, “You are a sub.  If you aren’t good at this they never have to see you again.” So I subbed for the month and I fell in love.  I just shared what I loved about the practice and let that lead the way.  I am a very different teacher today than I was back then.  I received my 500-hour teaching certificate back in 2010 and use my knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology to help students in their practice.

What is your favorite pose? 

This a difficult question to answer.  Even poses that aren’t my favorite, I love what they do for me.  A few favorites are pigeon, down dog and wild thing.  Wild thing (camatkrasana) is a heart opener that makes me feel loving and graceful.

 

Who inspires your teaching?

There is no one person that inspires my teaching.  Inspiration can come from anything at any time.  I am inspired daily by all my fellow instructors and students.  Watching my students practice, seeing their moments of success, struggle and acceptance makes me want to be a better teacher for them.  In the end, it is about their experience.  I am blessed to work with wonderful teachers that ALL bring something special to the mat.  I try to use everything as an opportunity for growth both personally and as a teacher.

Tips for beginners…  

Remember that you ARE good at yoga.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard “I’m not good at yoga, but…..”  (I’d have some serious coin). Yoga means to yolk or unite.  Yoga brings us together.  Yoga doesn’t care how strong or how flexible you are.  Yoga accepts you in THIS moment just the way you are.  That means tight, feeling weak, injured (please honor your body. If it hurts, don’t do it), happy, or sad.   Show up on your mat for you, work toward self acceptance, and self improvement comes along for the ride.  Your time on your mat belongs to you and it is a chance to breathe, move and reconnect with yourself.

What’s your favorite quote?  

I say this every class: “Practice makes progress. You are already perfect.”   The more you practice, the more your practice improves. Perfection is already within you. We just cover it up with fear, expectations, judgments and thoughts that don’t serve us.  Strip it all away and there lies your perfection.