fit

Mindful Monday: Strength 


Happy Mindful  Monday, friends! I hope you had a lovely weekend. 
Yesterday was a special day where we honor and celebrate our fathers. When I think of my father, who I am so blessed is still with us, I think of strength. No, he doesn’t look anything like the dude pictured above.  My dad has a quiet strength that I’ve always leaned on. It’s given me an endless supply of confidence my entire life. When I was younger, my dad knew everything. And he is the most patient, kind, compassionate person I’ve ever met. 
I’m also so blessed that my son has two fathers in his life. His dad and his stepdad. These two special men are so devoted to my son. They are providers of everything my child needs to navigate this world; the most important being love and patience and support. 

When I think of a great father, it is someone who is strong and steady; wise; can fix anything; protector; sets boundaries and expectations. All of these qualities exude fatherly love IMO. It can sometimes seem like a thankless job. 

I was not able to spend the day with my dad yesterday as he is traveling in Asia. I was fortunate to spend part of it with my big brother and his family. And my mother. 

Maybe yesterday was a struggle for you. Perhaps you are missing your dad who is no longer here. I know some of you may not have had the best relationship with your father. He was lacking in some way that still causes your inner child so much pain. Or there was physical distance that separated you, as in my case. For many reasons, yesterday may have not been the happy, shiny image that you saw all over social media. 

The truth is, we give and receive this fatherly type of love to those around us all the time. We’ve all had to fill in as some type of a father figure at some points in our lives. Families pull together to plug in the gaps. Anytime someone has protected you from some external threat or shielded you from some pain. Anytime you have fixed something for someone or even wrapped them in your arms and provided a shoulder to cry upon. Tossed a baseball or football with a child. Even picking up the dinner tab for family and friends. Quietly provided and received strength and confidence. These are the qualities that embody a father – you have received this type of love from some fatherly source in your life. 

Yoga teaches us to understand that everything happens exactly as it should. Whether your childhood relationship with your father was lacking or filled with love, it has shaped you into the amazing, strong, lovely person that you are. So important that we acknowledge exactly how we feel and learn to slowly heal and nurture our own inner child. 

Do you know what the best thing about childhood is? It’s that it’s over. Your safety, security and happiness are now in your hands. Nobody elses. 

Have a great week, yogis! Looking forward to seeing so many of you on your mats this week! 

Mindful Monday: To Everything There is a Season

Happy Mindful Monday, my radiant YBD tribe! I’m stepping in to write our weekly blog post for the time being so that our lovely Carla has more time and energy for her gorgeous son Malcolm.

As always, so much goodness is happening in our yoga community. Nearly 30 dedicated yogis gathered during the Autumn Equinox at our Wheaton studio and busted out 108 sun salutations! What an amazing evening of effort, devotion, sweat, smiles, magic and so much love! And some pretty sore hamstrings and abs the morning after, for sure.

While some of us may mourn the end of summer’s long, sunny days, there is so much to celebrate about Autumn: pumpkin ANYTHING; football; apple picking; apple cider; the advent of the holiday season; haunted houses; fireplaces; hay rides; crisper, cooler air; daylight savings time; boots, sweaters and jackets; and the most breathtaking time of year to witness nature’s final blaze of glory.

As always, we seek to find BALANCE each day, and it’s particularly important to feel rooted and grounded during this blustery season of transition. We are shifting from the fire of summer to the  cooling of fall and winter.

We are moving from:

Sun to Moon
Light to Dark
Yang to Yin
Fire to Water and Air
Growth to Hibernation
Building up to Letting go
Movement to Stillness
Outer Achievements to Inner Reflection
Action to Contemplation

This week, try to carve out some time for inner reflection, perhaps while walking through nature. Some points to contemplate:

Where am I currently? Emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially
Which seeds did I plant in the spring?
What harvest am I currently reaping?
Which seeds never took root?
How will I find balance in these opposites?
Which routines do I have to keep myself nurtured, nourished and grounded?
What must I shed and release? Those things that do not ELEVATE me. Habits, relationships, thought patterns

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”  – F. Scott Fitzgerald

September Pose of the Month: Bridge

Bridge Pose, Setu Bandhasana

September is a great time to open up and prepare the body for seasonal changes. Bridge pose is an amazing place to open the heart and throat chakras. Here’s how you do it:

  • Lie on your back
  • Plant the soles of your feet at hips distance
  • Reach your hands toward your feet and raise your hips
  • Clasp your hands under your hips and press them into the earth
  • Lengthen your neck
  • Option to raise your leg!

Benefits include:

  • Extends your thoracic spine
  • Lengthens your hip flexors
  • Opens your shoulders and chest
  • Calms your mind and reduces anxiety

 

4 Week Shred Success!

Ann Fehser’s Shred Journey, courtesy of Ann:

“2016 began just as 2015 and 2014 had…overweight, stressed, with little upper body or core strength. Approaching 57 years in age I realized that all my reasons for being overweight and stressed were not going to go away unless I consciously did something about it. Restorative yoga was tremendous in reducing stress and increasing flexibility but did nothing for my other deficiencies and then, I found 4 Week Shred.

4 Week Shred is challenging and hard yet very rewarding. Teresa is a fabulous teacher and motivator who makes you feel comfortable enough to expose your biggest flaws. She takes her students at their present level of performance and modifies exercises for those who need low impact or those who are looking for that extra push. Yes, even burpees can be modified. You can trust her and Teresa’s growth mind set for each of her students was present each and every time we took to our mats or picked up our weights. My biggest obstacle with the experience was my disdain for cardio and jumping. But as the week’s progressed I was able to keep up with 80% of the cardio. Teresa’s modifications made jumping easier to handle and by the beginning of the last week I could do caterpillars and burpees (with modifications) with minimal trouble. Planks will still take time.

4 Week Shred also provided me an additional critical component for weight loss-a nutritional food plan. Recording food intake and the nutritional plan provided me the necessary tools to fuel by body properly. After these weeks I feel stronger, both physically and mentally. I lost weight and inches but it is what I gained from the experience that will have me coming back to 4 Week Shred in June. I gained self-confidence and have a belief that it isn’t about being perfect. It’s about effort.”

-Ann Fehser

We are bringing the 4 Week Shred to Downers Grove Yoga By Degrees! The program will run June 1st to June 26th and will include 2 nutrition workshops, a customized meal plan, and 3 weekly fat burning high intensity interval training workouts (appropriate for all fitness levels)! Come join a group of like-minded people to support, shred fat and find success in achieving your health and fitness goals!

We will have two information meetings on May 18th and May 25th at 7 pm in Yoga By Degrees Downers Grove.

If you cannot make the meetings and would like an information packet, or have any questions please email Teresa at 4weekshred2016@gmail.com.

If you would like to sign up for the June Shred, please click here  for the link, call 630-969-0820 or stop in any YBD studio. Our last program completely sold out, so if you would like to join June Shred, we encourage you to sign up ASAP as we have limited spots available!

For updates, follow 4WeekShred on Facebook