New Years Resolutions

Happy February! How is your New Years Resolution going? 

Most likely, you answered that question one of three ways.

  1. HA! Yeah right, I gave up on that halfway through January.
  2. I didn’t even bother to set one because I knew I’d fail.
  3. (The unlikely) It’s going great! I’m right on track and am succeeding in my goals! 

Now that we’re a month in to 2018, what can you do about it? Is it too late? Just try again next year? Maybe 2019 will be your year.  Not so fast. 

I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions. (Wait, what? Then why is your blog post titled New Years Resolutions Leah??) I believe in making regular, conscious choices and efforts to better your life. Most people set such lofty goals for their resolutions that it’s almost impossible to succeed. You set yourself up to 'fail' and then the idea of the resolution becomes merely that, an idea. I believe there are better ways to resolve to change your habits, whether that be at the start of the new year, the new moon, whatever. Make your ‘resolution’ something small and attainable. It’s easier to complete and you’re less likely to give up or feel like a failure. 

Were you someone who started January off thinking “I’m going to work out 5 times a week or more! I’m going to get IN SHAPE this year!” And then by the second week of January, when you only went to the gym three times because it was too damn cold outside, you think “Oh well, maybe I’ll try again for bikini season.” Don’t wait! Instead, make your goal smaller. Try to check out a new workout class at your gym, try a new yoga teacher, or wake up for that 6 am grind just once week. Why? Because you can do it! And then you don’t feel bad on Saturday when you’ve only gone to the gym twice, you’re actually ahead of schedule! It’s not about trying to change your entire routine in one go, it’s about learning and working new habits into your days, weeks, and months. Slowly, as you feel confident about your once a week goal, you can decide to kick it up a notch, or two. Ease into it. Just like we ease into spring and slowly begin to thaw, you can build your resolution to build with the seasons. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon (Or some other analogy, I don't know I don't run.)

Does your resolution have to stay the same all year? Hell no! Let your goals grow and change with you. That’s why now, February 1, is a great time to reassess. What worked for you in January? What didn’t? Utilize what you’ve learned and create a brand new February goal. It often is easier to set miniature goals, resolutions, for every month or even every two weeks. When you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, rather than pushing  your resolution all the way to December, you’re more likely to keep track, and keep it up! 

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Having trouble keeping up with your goals? Find a buddy! Everything is better with a friend. Hold each other accountable, take classes together, check in regularly on how things are going. Knowing someone else is keeping tabs on your goals will keep you on track, and you can help each other succeed.  (And if you need a buddy contact me! I'm happy to push you to drink more water, meditate more, cook more homemade meals, or drag you kicking and screaming to my 8:30 am yoga class next Saturday ;))

Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself if you mess up, if you miss a week, or if you don’t feel like getting out of bed for a day or two. If you just keep your goals in mind, and make a conscious effort to change your routine even in the tiniest way, you’re well on your way to a wonderful 2018.

Guest Post: Body, Mind, Soul

One of the really cool things about being part of the yoga community on social media is getting to connect with like-minded people, and getting opportunities to share each other’s words and philosophies. Below is a guest blog post with some really awesome and easy ways to take care of your body, mind, and soul. My favorite thing about this post is that its offerings are accessible, and it’s not focused on a “do this, do that, get fit” mentality. It gives multiple options to easily slip into your daily routine that may work for some, but not all, and reminds you that it's okay to be imperfect, as long as you love and honor your body.  Check out the post below!

Female Beauty: 4 Ways to Keep Your Body in Shape


Media, men and society require women to take care of themselves and look their best. We must invest in ourselves if we want to be beautiful, but you must remember to do it for yourself and not for anyone else.  

There are quite a few healthy choices women can make to feel and look better, from eating habits and regular physical activity to yoga and a little bit of pampering now and then. Just remember to accept who you are, with all your strengths and flaws, because how you think about yourself is reflected into all areas of your life.  

You are what you eat


The first thing you need to do to get in shape and stay fit is to be aware of what you eat. Whether you want a curvy figure or shed excess weight, food plays an important role in helping you achieve your fitness goals. The saying “you are what you eat” could not be any truer. You should begin by being completely aware of what you are feeding your body each day.

Start writing a journal or use online tools like myfitnesspal or sparkpeople. But you have to be completely honest and absolutely vigilant. That means that you should include that handful of chips you munched while putting away the groceries and the stick of gum that you popped into your mouth while waiting at the signal.

The second step is to start eating healthy. This means that the bulk of your diet should consist of leafy greens and healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, lean meats or a handful of dry fruits. You can certainly allow yourself a treat now and then, no need to swear off Belgium chocolate-chip ice cream for life, but you need to limit yourself to a scoop rather than a pint.

Avoid fad diets, binge eating, and incorporate nutritious and wholesome foods that will give you the energy to perform your activities throughout the day.  

It doesn’t matter whether you have special dietary needs, healthy nutritious options are easily available.

No pain, no gain


You know the sauna belt they keep showing on TV that you just have to put on and it will melt away the inches while you sleep? It doesn’t work. Nor do any creams or quick weight loss solutions. Or even if they do work, they come at a price – they can affect our health and can be heavy on the wallet.

Exercising is what truly works wonders. Not crazy marathons like spending three hours a day in the gym for a whole week, but short sessions that can easily be introduced into your daily routine until they become a habit. Sure, there are women who have the time, resources and motivation to spend hours in the gym every day, but for most of us average folk, it is simply not sustainable in the long run.

Basic, no-equipment workouts will get you started on your road to having a better body, and are manageable and sustainable. Squats, triceps dips, lunges, push-ups, wall-sits, calf raises, planks and abdominal crunches are some great exercises to do at home. Do three sets of each at 10 to 20 reps for each exercise and try to do them at least once or twice a week. If you want to make some real progress, your exercise program should also include at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to five times a week, with some stretching before and after to improve flexibility and help the body recover. You can also try brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, rollerblading, gym classes or a game of tennis or squash.



Practicing yoga can help you look more youthful and more radiant well into your old age, proving that the old saying “age is but a number” is indeed true. Regular yoga practice will not only help you achieve inner beauty but physical or outer beauty as well. The peace and wellbeing that fills your mind and spirit through yoga are reflected outward in the form of glowing skin and a lithe body.

Yoga helps lose excess weight and unwanted fat. It improves flexibility and helps maintain proper body posture, which is another essential element that makes you look more youthful. It also aids the absorption of nutrients at a cellular level, thus improving the body functions.

Best of all, practicing yoga regularly has been proven to considerably boost your mood, since it can greatly reduce stress levels, especially when incorporating pranayama or breathing exercises.

“Me” stuff


Pampering yourself and enjoying some "me time" are essential for your mental health and happiness. When you feel less stressed, you look better too. Most of us lead such hectic lives that we often forget to take care of ourselves and indulge a little. This can come in the form of a cup of soothing chamomile tea while we read a chick lit novel or a day spent at the spa, you name it!

Negative reviews at work, messy break-ups, gym and diet slip-ups are all discouraging. We need all the motivation we can get to stay on a healthy track rather than embarking on a marathon of pizza and chocolate.


Pampering yourself and being able to cheer yourself up through a new pair of dazzlingly silver high heels or a mani-pedi will make you look better, feel good and help pick yourself up and get back on your track.

Don’t just take our word for it, look at the stats! Researchers from Bishop’s University in Quebec who evaluated 15 studies involving more than 3,000 people are backing up our claims. The researchers found that those who were more self-compassionate—meaning they were kind to themselves when negative things happened rather than self-critical—also ate healthier, exercised more, slept better and stressed less than those who weren’t.

Doing something is always better than doing nothing. If you slipped up and had a doughnut on your way home from work, forgive yourself and go eat a salad. If you weren’t able to go to the gym today, do jumping jacks in the kitchen while the coffee brews.

If you have missed your yoga class, then a quick stretch before bed will help you sleep better. Keep in mind that your life is in your own hands and you have to make the right choices to stay healthy and happy.

Author’s bio: Alycia Gordan 


Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who is simply crazy about chocolate. She loves to read and write articles related to health and lifestyle, sometime on health-tech as well. Alycia is also a contributor at



My oh my, how time does fly! Where has this year gone?! It’s amazing how quickly time goes when you’re busy, happy, or otherwise preoccupied in life. I have been all of those things.

When your work life is crazy busy, and your personal life is cray busy, and your yoga teaching life is, you guessed it, crazy busy, what is the first thing that falters? For me, it has been my personal practice, and it shows. Not just physically. Sure, by not practicing 3-4 times a week, I find my flexibility lacking. But moreso, I am more irritable, I am less flexible mentally. I have been struggling to find a balance, between work, life, doing yoga, and teaching yoga.

Did you know, when you’re out balance mentally, it impacts your balance physically? Have you ever noticed it’s harder to balance in tree-pose, or harder to find your balance in an inversion, on a day you’re feeling mentally ‘off’? This is because your mental attitude impacts your physical practice. I have been out of balance for quite some time. I have found certain aspects of my life taking over, such as a promotion at work leading to a tough couple of months of 70 hour work weeks, late nights, and tight deadlines. My sleep patterns faltered, my personal practice was almost non-existent, and any free minutes I had, I spent on my phone.

I’m reading a book called Living Your Yoga lent to me by one of my yoga studio managers, and the chapter on perspective resonated with me, specifically a quote that says:

 “Life will continually challenge us. If we pay attention, these challenges can broaden our perspective.”

I’ve been faced with the challenges of trying to balance too many things, to the point where I’ve begun to lose sight of what truly matters. If I broaden my perspective, these challenges, really, are opportunities to realize what is most important to me, and how to remedy my own imbalances.

Living Your Yoga says “By paying attention to how we lose perspective about little things…we can create a habit of opening our perspective to the more important things. We will be more likely to understand what is lasting and what is not.

So, there are some changes I am going to make. Who says resolutions are just for New Years?

I resolve to find more balance in my life. I resolve to balance my teaching, my work schedule, my personal practice, my friends, my (long-distance) boyfriend. What this means, is a shift in my priorities, a shift in my teaching schedule, a shift in my mentality, a shift in my perspective. I’ll be teaching less weekly classes, taking more time on my mat at home, waking up *early* to take more time to myself. I resolve to do less mindless scrolling on social media; more mindful minutes or hours reading, writing, or otherwise enhancing my personal yoga practice on and off my mat.

It is difficult to find balance sometimes. It’s hard to figure out which part of your life is overtaking, which part you need to change, and which you need to spend more time on. The first step to balance is to put both feet on the ground, stabilize your soul, and mentally prepare yourself for the next move. Perspective is everything. 

Yoga Mats? Yoga Mats!

Let’s set the scene: It’s time to hit the gym for those New Year’s resolutions. You’ve finally gotten into a habit of going to yoga once, twice, three times a week. You’re dedicated, you’re motivated, and you’re ready to take on this new challenge. And you need some new gear to match your new year and new outlook! But, how do you choose what yoga mat is right for you? There are TONS out there, all touting their benefits and advantages over the others. And a lot of them are not cheap. You don’t want to shell out a ton of money on a mat if you’re going to be unhappy with it. Ultimately, each yogi is different, and each yoga practice is different. Thus, each yogi you ask will like or recommend a different mat. I’ve used a few yoga mats in my short time as a regular practicing yogini, here are my thoughts and opinions on those.

A lot of studios will have mats that you can rent or use. Yoga Six offers rentals of Manduka Pro mats, and Ohm Culture offers both basic (free) and premium mat rentals ($5). If you’re not sure what mat is for you, try out the ones at your studio first and see if they work for you. If you’re looking for more info on more mats, see the link at the bottom of this post!

Gaiam: I started my yoga journey with a simple, Gaiam 5mm mat from a sporting goods store. It does the job, and is a great inexpensive option for a new yogi trying out practice for the first time. If you’re not sure if you’re going to practice enough to justify shelling out $60+ for a premium brand mat, go with this one. It’s your standard yoga mat, comes in tons of colors, and holds up well to wear and tear.

Manduka Pro: I use Manduka Pro mats when I’m at Yoga Six. It’s not my personal favorite, but they are very well made and hold up to lots of wear. Yoga Six has these mats for all students to rent to use, so they are used by tons of people each day and you seriously can’t even tell. I hear you’ll fall in love with your Manduka once you “break it in,” so maybe I need to get my own before really appreciating this mat. It’s not as non-slip as some others I’ve used, I find my hands slipping in down dog more than I’d like. If you’re looking for a really well made mat that will hold up to heavy use, this is for you.

Manduka travel mat: I have a Manduka travel mat, and this little sucker has all the stick. It’s super light, foldable, and easy to stuff in my carry on when I travel for work. I love having a mat I can roll out in my hotel room, so I feel like I’m getting a little more “me time” in my practice away from home. If you’re looking for a travel mat that won’t break the bank, Manduka is the one for you.

Lulu Lemon: I love my Lulu Lemon mat. Love it. I have two, one 3mm and one 5mm mat. They are super non-stick, and reversible. The slick side is meant for those who sweat a lot, such as in hot classes, because the sweatier they get, the stickier they get. The other side is made for less sweaty, unheated classes. I’ll be honest, I use the sticky side 100% of the time. And I love it. These mats will show stains and sweat marks easily, so if that will bug you, choose a dark color, or go with another brand. Lulu mats tend not to last as long as other brands, so if you’re looking for longevity or are a more vigorous practitioner, this mat may not last long for you. And for the $$, you want your mat to last.

Jade Yoga: I practice on a Jade mat at Ohm Culture. And boy, do I love it. It’s eco-friendly, and its texture is unlike any other mat you see on the market. It’s got serious grip, and comes in tons of colors. I love the texture of this mat, but it’s not for everyone. It also shows wear and tear more quickly than some other mats, so again, vigorous regular practitioners beware. As far as eco-friendly mats go, this is the best of the best. I’m waiting for an excuse to add this mat to my personal collection, but for now, the rental one at Ohm will have to do. J

If you’re looking for more information, more research, and more opinions on the top yoga mats on the market, follow this link to some more detailed reviews: Best Yoga Mat 

Happy practicing yogis!

A Year In Reflection

My, how time flies when you’re having fun! It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a year since I embarked on the journey of a lifetime, my month-long YTT in Bali. So much has changed, and yet, at the same time, everything is the same. What have I learned about myself, yoga, and life, over the past year? What have I been up to? Well…lots!

Since returning from Bali last November, I’ve made a lot of personal changes. I quit my job, I started a new job, I went on lots of trips with lots of friends, I spent money, I focused on nothing else other than what I wanted to do; I made 2016 a year for me. Everyone should do this at least once. Be selfish. Take ALL your vacation days. Take a day off in the middle of the week, just because. Go on that trip you were contemplating. Take the long weekend. Life is short! Why not spend as much of it as you can doing the things you love? Work to live, don’t live to work. Yes, I work a lot, yes I like my job, and yes sometimes it’s stressful, overwhelming, and crazy. And other times it’s extremely rewarding, fulfilling and interesting. And sometimes it’s completely quiet, uneventful, and boring. So what do I do to fill the downtime between projects? I go to more yoga classes, I teach more yoga classes, I go shopping, I get a manicure. What do I do when I’m on a stressful project with a tight deadline?  I plan a trip, book a yoga workshop, or something else to look forward to once it’s done. Make the in-betweens the days you live for, rather than the other way around.


I’ve been teaching sporadically at several studios in Chicago since I returned from my teacher training, and I am extremely grateful for the communities of yogis that I’ve become a part of over the past year. I am also excited to announce that starting in the new year, I will have two regular classes on Saturdays, one at each studio! I can’t wait to get to spread my yoga love every single week with you all, so come play with me!

8:30 am hot yoga at Yoga Six Gold Coast starts your Saturday off with a sweaty, bikram style class. If you like to start your weekend off with a routine and some heat, this is the class for you! The sequence is the same every week, so you’ll build strength and stability in your practice with these poses picked specifically for this. I spice things up with some fun playlists that change every week.

If you are a late riser on the weekends, or prefer unheated, vinyasa flow style classes, then come to my Noon-1pm class at Ohm Culture in the West Loop! We’ll move and grove to some fun beats and play with new poses each week. This flow class is less structured and will change week to week depending on the need and wants of the students in class, but is appropriate for yogis of all levels and will give you a well-rounded experience on your mat.

Check out both classes starting Saturday January 7th!


The holiday season is always a time for reflection, so take this time to look at what you’ve done over the past year. What worked for you? What didn’t? What small changes can you make to your life or to your routine that might make 2017 your year? Keep these in mind. Don’t reach too high with a new year’s resolution. Keep it simple, and easy to stick to. (Meditate 5 minutes a day? Easy, doable. Meditate 30 minutes every morning and night? …Not so much.) In a time of the year that’s focused on giving to others, don’t forget to give some love to yourself, too. Happy holidays, and Happy New Year, yogis! 

ABCs of Yoga

Today is International Yoga Day! In honor of that, I compiled an ABCs of yoga. Now get out there and celebrate, yogis! 

A: Asana
Asana is what most people come to associate the term yoga with, as it is the physical postures of yoga. Asana is just one of the 8 limbs of yoga and translates literally to the word "seat." Asana is a very small part of what yoga encompasses, but it is visually the most common. 
B: Breath
Most of yoga is all about the breath. The asanas are mean to link movements to breath in order to facilitate a meditative state. Which is why your yoga teachers will always cue you to inhale and exhale with your movements. Many breathing activities are parts of yoga, for example, ujjayi breathing ("victorious breath"). 
C: Chaturanga
A very common movement in a typical vinyasa yoga class, and also one of the hardest to do correctly! Proper alignment with the shoulders in line with the elbows, strong stable core and lengthen through the spine, chaturanga is sometimes referred to as 'yogi push-ups." It's important to keep the elbows in and the shoulders higher than the elbows, don't let the chest dip down. In order to practice proper alignment, often times students will start with their knees on the ground, to get an idea of how to lower down in one even line, before practicing full chaturanga transitions. 
D: Down dog
I think everyone even those who have never done yoga know what a down dog is, but lots of people do this pose incorrectly too. Press into all ten fingers, especially your thumb and index finger, hands slightly turned out, feet hip width distance, tailbone long and to the sky, spine in one line, shoulders away from the ears, and ribs tucked in. This pose is meant to be HARD and you're working your whole body in it.
E: Energy
Yoga is all about energy. Your energy, the energy of those around you, the energy of the earth, it's all there, it's all important, and it all impacts your practice. Practice can help energize you if you're depleted. 
F: Firefly pose
Also known as titibasana, this pose is an arm balance and requires open hamstrings to acheve the full straight leg version (i'm working on this!)
G: Garudasana
Eagle pose, a pose in which your legs and arms are wrapped around each other. Pictured: Handstand with eagle legs
H: Hanumanasana
better known as splits, hanumanasana is named after the Hindu god Hanuman
I: India
Yoga finds its roots deep in India and Indian culture. Yoga as you see it today is only around 100 years old. The roots of yoga are not in the physical practice but rather in ancient teachings, rituals, meditations, and religion. 
J: Jois, Pattabhi
Pattabhi Jois was an Indian yoga teacher in the 1940s who popularized and created what we know today as Ashtanga vinyasa  yoga. He is responsible for bringing yoga to the West in the 1970s. 
K: Kapotasana
A yoga pose that long eluded me, kapotasana is a deep backbend that requires a great deal of openness in the back and hips. 
L:  Lokah samastah sukhini bhavantu
A mantra that is sometimes chanted during or after a yoga class, it's one of my favorites. It translates to "May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all."
M: Meditation
Much of yoga is rooted in meditation. The 8 limbs of yoga include Dhyana (meditation) and Dharana (concentration). The ultimate 'goal' of yoga is to achieve samadhi (bliss or enlightenment) and the use of asana, meditatoin, and concentration help to work towards this goal.
N: Niyamas  
One of the 8 limbs of yoga, niyamas are 'observances' Yamas and Niyamas are ethical teachings and somewhat of 'rules' to live by, in yoga. The Niyamas incude Saucha (purity), Santosha (contentment) Tapas (self-discipline) Svadhyaya (Self-study) and Ishvara (surrender). 
O: Ohm  
The ohm symbol is often times synonymous with yoga. It is an ancient Hindu symbol that encompasses the 'cosmic vibrations of the universe.' Each part of the symbol represents a different state of being. The bottom-most is the waking state, the state in which most people live their lives (awake, duh). Above this is the unconscious state, the state of deep sleep. To the right represents the dream state. The line above represents the curtain between the living state and the absolute state, the dot at the top, the fourth state of consciousness and ultimate enlightenment. 
P: Patanjali
Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras in 200 AD, and these teachings helped to pave the way towards modern day yoga. The sutras (literal translation "thread") are considered one of the foundations of classical Yoga philosophy of Hinduism.
Q: Quiet
Yoga and meditation help to quiet the mind, and quiet the inner dialogue we have with ourselves. 
R: Reclined hero pose
I love this pose. requires open hips and knees. 
S: Sanskrit
Sanskrit is the language of India and the language of yoga.
T: Tadasana
Mountain pose. Equal standing pose. Grounding down through all 4 corners of the feet, ears in line with shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. 
U: Upanishads
The Upanishads are an ancient series of Hindu teachings from around 800 BC, and are one of the origins of yoga. These teachings were passed down from guru to students and were often contemplative and meditative in nature. 
V: Vinyasa  
Vinyasa translates to "to place in a special way" and is a term commonly used to describe the typical yoga class today that links breath with movements and flows between poses. Pictured: vasisthasana (side plank) another V-yoga term. 
W: Westernization
Modern yoga you see most often today has only been around for about 100 years. As yoga made its way to the West, it's teachings became diluted in many ways. Today, many yoga studios teach only the physical, asana, limb of yoga. It's important to remember the roots of yoga, and understand all that makes up a yoga practice, not just sweating and moving and doing a handstand for a pretty picture. Yoga is a lifestyle, not just a workout. 
X: Xhale
Breathing, inhales, exhales, all extremely important to yoga. (I couldn't come up with an x-word of yoga) 
Y: Yamas 
One of the 8 limbs of yoga, yamas are 'restraints' to live by, or known as moral imperatives. They include Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (non-excess) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness).
Z: Zen
Zen, meditative, relaxed, state. 

Tips for Getting Started into Yoga

So, you want to try yoga but don’t know where to begin? The simple answer is, anywhere! I bet your gym has yoga classes, if you google map “yoga” you’ll find at least 5 studios within a few miles of you, or simply google “online yoga classes” and get started right in the comfort of your own home.  Yoga is everywhere. That being said, it may be a little overwhelming, and you still may have no idea where to start. Here are some tips for you if you’re nervous or confused by the amount of options out there.

Tip 1: Pick out a couple studios near you and give them a try! Look for ones with lots of class times that fit your schedule, one with a new student special deal (For example, Zen Yoga Garage in Bucktown offers the whole first week free! FREE!) or one with free parking (Yogaview in Lincoln Park has a parking lot that you can park in after 5:30pm and all day on the weekends-there’s also street parking for other class times, and YogaSix Lincoln Park has plenty of free street parking any time of day). Check out Groupon for nearby deals for 10-class passes or super cheap monthly unlimited options. This is how I found YogaSix and I teach there now! Class Pass is also a great option for checking out a bunch of different studios all at once.

Tip 2: Go to as many classes as you can in your free/intro week. This is IMPORTANT because you may not like the first class you go to, the first teacher’s style, the first studio’s vibe. That’s okay! The main thing is to keep trying. Yoga is not one size fits all. It is a different experience every single time you go. Don’t rule out an entire studio because you didn’t like the very first class or teacher you went to. However, if you go there for two weeks straight and maybe only like 1 or 2 classes, then also do not commit to any monthly memberships (duh). If you like a specific teacher, ask them where else they teach or look them up online and follow them there! That’s what I did and how I found some awesome studios in the city, like Nature Yoga in Wicker Park (Check out Wade’s classes there, I almost guarantee you’ll have a blast).   

Tip 3: Ask a Yogi. If you have a friend that does a lot of yoga (read: me), ask them for their advice! Tell them what you’re looking for and usually they can recommend studios or teachers that would work well for you. If you’re a typical athlete or runner, some teachers/classes will be good at focusing on those muscles that get tight (i.e, hamstrings and hips). If you’re a brand new beginner and have no clue what even a downward facing dog is, there are often beginner or foundational class options at studios, and there are teachers that are excellent at explaining proper pose alignment in their cues as they flow through class (if you’re into this, check out Sara Strother’s level 1/2 classes at Yogaview). If you’re looking to work up a sweat, some teachers work more vigorous and fast paced flows, whereas other’s will warm you up and then workshop a specific pose (i.e. handstands, deep backbends). If you like workshop style, try Rich’s classes at Yogaview or OhmCulture, an awesome new studio in the West Loop (doesn’t hurt that you can bop right over to Au Cheval afterwards). If you’re looking for some fun flows, awesome playlists, and plenty of upside-down time, or want some online inspiration, check out Cass (@cassyoga) on Instagram, and her classes at ZYG, Moksha Yoga, or Ahimsa Studio in Oak Park.

Tip 4: Try a private lesson. If being in a studio surrounded by “amazing yogis” and looking like a fool scares you (it shouldn’t, by the way), then try out a private first! Private lessons will be at your own pace, at your own level, and work on exactly what YOU want. It can help give you the confidence and tools to go into a studio class prepared to flow (ever have a teacher tell you “Okay warm up do 5 sun salutations on your own” and look around totally clueless? Well after a private lesson you’d be a pro). Privates are also a great way to expand your current knowledge, helping set you up for a home practice. Or if there’s one tricky pose you just can’t seem to get in class, the private attention of a yoga teacher is sometimes all you need to help you break through and rock that headstand in the middle of the room.

Yoga is for everybody and every body. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “Oh I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough.” This is a lie! If you wake up in the morning and are a breathing human, you can do yoga.  I encourage you to try it out, and give it more than just one class! Try it for a week, or two, or a month, or however long it takes for you to believe me. Need an encouraging buddy to drag your butt to a class? Give me a call.


Greetings! Welcome to my Blog

I've been struggling with what to write here. I'm not a blogger by any means, but hey, gotta start somewhere right? I suppose that's why you're here. You're wondering about my start into yoga, and wondering where you could get started. Right? Well even if it's not, that's where I am going to start. I'll begin with myself and the typical questions I get asked about my yoga journey. 

How did I first get into yoga? 
Easy. I was looking for a form of exercise that didn't include a treadmill or any gym equipment. As hard as I tried I couldn't get myself into working out. I hated it. It's boring. It's annoying. So one winter break in college I checked out the new yoga studio that opened up near home. I got a month membership for my time home and went. Every. Single. Day. What hooked me wasn't the workout. I didn't even work up a sweat most classes. What kept me coming back was how relaxed and renewed I felt after class. I remember my very first savasana, and how fascinated I was that my mind was totally blank the whole time. There was something more to this yoga thing, than just working out. I found a studio back at school that I liked (Kindness Yoga in Denver, check it out if you're in the area) and that was that. Yoga became part of my daily routine from then on. 

Why did I decide to do my teacher training, and why in Bali? 
I had been practicing steadily for about 3 1/2 years, and something was just missing in my life last summer. I was unhappy with my job, and really the only thing I enjoyed was yoga. I got fed up one day and decided what the hell, and I googled "yoga teacher trainings Costa Rica". (Yes, not Bali, Costa Rica) and I started clicking around. The first program I looked at had options in both Costa Rica and Bali, and thus began my search into what else Bali had to offer. I emailed and spoke with Liz Carey, the program director at Awakened Life School of Yoga and learned more about their program. It sounded perfect, and the timing of it fit perfectly into my schedule and my vacation availability. It was a sign. The first of many. (Follow the coincidences, as Liz would say).
I decided this was the right choice for me. I needed a change, and adventure, and I wanted to deepen my understanding and my yoga practice. Who knows if I wanted to teach, I just knew this 27 day trip was what I needed. 
I'll dive more into my teacher training experience in future blog posts, but for now let's move on to you. 

Where do you start if you're interested in learning more about yoga?
Right here! Or really, anywhere. Any teacher will tell you their story, each teacher has their own experiences to share and spin to take on all of the teachings of yoga, but really we are all saying the same thing. Yoga is more than a workout, it's a life choice, and a really awesome one. Come practice with me, and I'll show you what it's all about. (Spoiler alert, it's not all about handstands. Shocking, I know).

This blog will feature some more on my take on yoga philosophy, my experiences, diving deeper into understanding certain areas of yoga, certain pose breakdowns, and so on! Check back soon and I'll have some more insight for you. If you want something answered or a pose featured, email me from the contact page!

Until next time, yogis.