April 14, 2015

Yoga IS For Everyone! by Maureen Littlefield


If you are 65 or older, with one or more joint replacements, you may think YOGA is not for you.
Consider my story:

     It begins when I first started to walk and my parents noticed I walked with a limp. My left leg was smaller and shorter than the right leg. Years of traction, braces, and physical therapy did not make me better. The Physicians did not know what was wrong. My parents had Pulmonary Tuberculosis and there were no cures in the early fifties and they passed away. When I was nine, my mother’s sister and her husband took me in their home, and my brother and sister went to other relatives. In those days no one could afford to take all three of us and raise us together. My Aunt Ruth, who I loved very much, took me to the University of Illinois where they said I had Tuberculosis of the left hip joint. My siblings did not contract the disease and I see it as fortunate that it settled in my hip and not in my lungs as I would not be here now.
When I was 15yrs old, my entire hip joint was removed and replaced with a portion of my fibula bone which is called a hip fusion. After 2yrs of medicinal treatment and the surgery my TB was gone. That hip fusion served me well for 31yrs, but the down side was that all of my muscles on the left side from the knee to lower back shriveled up
due to lack of use. So, in 1993 at the age of 47, they took down the fusion and put in a new artificial hip joint. What a joy this was as after much therapy I could ride a bike, bend over and tie my shoes and do many other everyday tasks.

     So, this brings me to the present. In 2012, at the age of 65, I had a left knee replacement and I was told “you need YOGA”.  This is not a direction in which I would have gone for exercise as I did not know or understand the value of YOGA. Now, after three years of taking YOGA classes, at least three to four times a week, my strength, flexibility and peace of mind have greatly improved. I had then and still have the good fortune to have Tracy Von Kaenel as my YOGA instructor. Tracy’s YOGA community is energetic, warm and supportive. She consistently brings a creative skill to each class (no two classes are alike) and more importantly she mentors each of us individually according to our need. She walks around the studio during class observing and making suggestions to modify our YOGA practice to our benefit.

     I am grateful for the progress I have made, in spite of many limitations, thanks to the unfailing skill, encouragement and good cheer Tracy brings to each class.

     COME JOIN US

November 26, 2014

Holiday Season

Once again it is time for the onslaught of holidays.  There are so many reasons to be filled with joy this season, but for some, it's easy to be overwhelmed.  It can be challenging to keep everything in balance as most of us are pulled and pushed in many directions, depleting our energy, finances and time.  As with other times in life the mantra "everything in moderation" can be an effective tool.  It is possible to go to the parties, handle the extra load on the finances and keep the good cheer alive if we learn to make good choices and protect ourselves in the process.  Remember that it's important to nurture your body and spirit so you can continue to be nurturing to others. It is not selfish to take care of you....it is in fact the greatest gift.  When you attend to your needs, the energy you bring into the world is from a place of love, contentment, grace.  Exactly what the world needs.  What a gift indeed.  Whatever it is you celebrate this season, celebrate with love and joy!


Holiday Class Schedule
All classes run as normal except for the following cancellations:
Thursday November 27th.....Thanksgiving
Wednesday December 24th.....Christmas Eve
Thursday December 25th.....Christmas Day
Thursday January 1st.....New Years Day

And look on the website for new classes starting in January including Aerial Yoga and Saturday classes!


October 12, 2014

A New Beginning


With the change of the seasons comes another big change for Yoga with Tracy Von Kaenel.  It isn't always good circumstances that make us change, but change we do.  And in and of itself, change is a good thing.  So...here we go!  

Welcome to Yoga Experience!  A new warm and inviting studio for you to explore the joys of Yoga, Aerial Yoga, Zen Yoga, Yogassage, TaijiFit, and so much more.  A place where a dedicated group of people have created a community of love and support.   A place to grow, and experience life.  Yoga Experience is located at 4619 N. Ravenswood, Suite 100.  It's a groovy Art Deco building.  There is free parking after 5:00 p.m.  Before 5:00 p.m. parking is available one half block south on Ravenswood or there is neighborhood street parking one block north.

Classes begin November 3rd, with a newly expanded schedule.  (See below)  I look forward to welcoming you to the new studio.  I look forward to continuing to offer new and exciting, ever evolving classes for you.  I look forward to deepening the roots of an every growing loving community.  Welcome, welcome....

New Schedule as of November 3rd, 2014

Monday :      Open Level Yoga 6:15 p.m.-7:15 p.m.(New!)
                        Zen Yoga 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Tuesday:       TaijiFit 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.(New!)(taught by Sas Stark)
                        Beginning Yoga 6:00 p.m.-7:15 p.m.
Wednesday: Intermediate Yoga 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Thursday:     TaijiFit 10:00a.m.-11:00 a.m.(New!)(taught by Sas Stark)
                        Open Level Yoga 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.(New!)

Coming Soon...Beginning Aerial Yoga, Intermediate Aerial Yoga, Saturday Yoga Classes and Meditation!

More details:  
Prices are changing too.  Single class rate is $18, 10-pack $150.
Soon the website will have all the info you need to know PLUS the ability to sign up online for classes and pay for them via credit card online .... 
All that and more is on it's way!!  Oh, and don't forget, Grand Opening Open House Sunday November 9th, 1-4 p.m.  Come, see, chat, eat, win a raffle prize!

Thank you for your patience as all this new stuff rolls out. Everything takes time, and patience....what a great yoga lesson eh?

                  
                    

August 15, 2014

What Nobody Tells You About Yoga by Laura Stumpf

When people tell their friends to try yoga, they always say, “You’ll feel so good! I’m always so relaxed after yoga.”
What they don’t tell you is that sometimes, yoga makes you feel like shit.
Some yogis say that emotions are stored in the body, that memories linger on in cells stored deep in our muscles. When we go into a yoga pose and open a part of the body that has been mostly left alone until then, we stretch and release muscles that have gone unnoticed for years. We release tension, and in the process release memories and emotions that were stored in childhood, and have quietly slept deep in our bones ever since.
So one minute you may be lying on your back, enjoying happy baby, and the next minute you are flooded with rage and want to punch a baby in the face. You have no idea what triggered it, there is no reason to be feeling this emotion now, but it’s here and it’s real and it has to be worked through.
I’m not sure if I think emotions are stored in our muscles, but it makes perfect sense to me that yoga brings up emotions. In our practice, we learn to control our breath, to calm our minds, to help our bodies unwind. At first, this is great—we sleep better at night, we’re less stressed, and we feel great having released the tension from our shoulders. We learn to cope with our day-to-day stress, to release the muscles we have tensed up with our daily activities.
On the surface, everything is going great. But we are multidimensional beings, with long emotional histories. We have been sad and scared and lonely in the past, and we have suppressed old scars and defeats and humiliations just to be able to function in our everyday lives.
As we learn to connect to our breath, yoga starts working more efficiently.
Stress, anxiety, tension—wiped out! So it starts working on the backlog, trying to sort through some of that old mess, so you can finally unclutter your innermost being. Things you haven’t thought about in years suddenly rise up in Warrior II, and you can’t stop crying in Savasana because you’re infinitely sad and have no idea why.
It’s easy to feel like a lunatic when one of these emotional tidal waves strikes in the middle of yoga class. Nobody warned me about this phenomenon, and the first time I experienced it I was worrying about what other people thought of the tears running down my face instead of being present and feeling.
In Savasana, I lay on the floor, looking up at my teacher with teary eyes, pleading for an explanation. She just smiled and whispered, “It feels good to let it out.” Once she had given me permission to give in to the experience, my muscles immediately relaxed. I closed my eyes and felt the tears running down my face, and I felt all the sadness emptying out of my body. I felt so deeply relieved and peaceful.
I will always be grateful to that yoga instructor. She gave me a place where it was safe to feel all of the stress that had been accumulating in my life, to surrender, and to let it go.
It’s a cathartic process.
In the moment, it sucks. It sucks to feel sad, to feel angry, to feel pain. But at the same time, it feels really good to finally, fully feel. If you can create a safe space for yourself, in your body—to experience these emotions without judging, just accepting whatever comes up, and riding the wave—you, my friend, are really doing yoga. Your practice is far more advanced than the man who can put his feet behind his head.
The more we release our pasts, the more we are able to be present and enjoy everything that this moment has to offer.
So don’t try to hold back your tears, and don’t tell yourself that you’re being ridiculous the next time pigeon pose makes you want to bawl your eyes out. Remember, if yoga makes you feel like shit, that just means it’s working

March 27, 2014

Living Our Dharmic Path by Renee Schwartz



A year ago I began dharma lessons with Tracy, and the anniversary prompted me to think about where I’ve been and where I’m going, and to share it with my yoga friends….

What would a life look like if yoga philosophy and teachings were actively applied to it?  What would my life look like?  What would happen if I expanded my yoga practice to look seriously at what it offered as a guide to a more mindful way of approaching each day? Was it really possible to view life differently, and did I want to?

These questions and many others like them led me to begin taking dharma lessons with Tracy.  Loosely defined, Dharma is your life’s path, how you live your life responsibly, knowing and respecting your authentic self. Each person’s dharmic path is different.  Dharma lessons have provided me an opportunity to examine my beliefs, fears, and actions/reactions, and to open my mind and heart to other ways of seeing myself and the world.  The lessons encourage me to be mindful and present, to be guided by ahimsa (nonviolence toward all sentient beings), to reduce suffering.

Each session is structured around a question or a specific yogic concept.  Lessons have ranged from exploring what is my authentic self, to reducing the power fear has over my life (keeps me from being my authentic self and much more), to living more fully in the present, to examining the yamas and niyamas such as ahimsa (nonviolence), santosa (contentment), aparigraha (non-hoarding) and how they relate to daily situations. 

We continue with a topic until it seems time to move on to the next topic, and each one acts as a building block for what comes next.  As you might expect, the most difficult thing is to truly absorb and live by what I’ve learned.  There are moments of great clarity when my actions are focused and positive and increase my wellbeing.  And there are times when it seems like I’m back at square one and haven’t moved forward at all.  Each time that happens I look at where I came from and know I have moved forward, and also know that there’s still more work ahead.

Tracy has been incredibly helpful in this process.  She is supportive and gentle, and also deeply and keenly probing.  She blends her knowledge of yoga philosophy with practical applications that encourage me to incorporate the teachings into my daily life. 

Tracy’s truths and my truths are not always the same, and that is fine because it makes me question deeply whatever we’re working on.  Sometimes I realize my ‘truths’ are old truths and not who I am now.  Other times I hold on to my truths (at least for right now!) and Tracy respects that.  Probably the most important aspect of taking dharma lessons with Tracy is that I trust her, and know that wherever the lessons take me, it will be in a safe and supportive environment. 


It has been an intense year of self-study and discovery, some of it joyful and liberating, some of it difficult and painful.  There have been laughter and tears, doubts and breakthroughs, hard work and contentment.  It is a journey I’m thankful I began and am grateful to continue - and I’m eager to share if anyone would like to know more about the experience.

March 17, 2014

Only Love

There are four questions of value in life.  What is sacred?
Of what is Spirit made?  What is worth living for and what is worth dying for?  
The answer to all of them is the same. 
 Only love.
Johnny Depp

January 06, 2014

New Year New Goal


It’s that time of the year again.

Year’s Resolutions are being made. You’re anticipating all sorts of good changes and improvements. You’ve got your goals all mapped out and you’re feeling amped to watch the magic unfold.
But hold on there ambitious one. If you’re gonna play your cards right, there’s one thing you absolutely MUST understand. And that is…
 The difference between goal setting and goal GETTING.
My guess is the latter is what you’re after.  I mean, sure, it’s fun to set an intention or make a bold declaration, but when it’s all said and done, you want to enjoy the unfolding, the adventure of the journey, and of course the results that conscious creation and clear intentions can bring you, yes?  Good.
Okay, so let’s say that you’re “pre-paving” a year down the road.
  • You’re anticipating that you’ll be more joyful and clear minded in your relationships.
  • You’re anticipating radiant health and a stronger body.
  • You’re anticipating more ease with your finances.
 This is all really really good.
Why?  Because something magical happens when you project into your future experience like this - you launch a rocket of desire that the Universe actualizes around.
To put it another way: YOU, as a powerful creator, here living your life, will (over the next year) undoubtedly experience all sorts of variety and contrast and give birth to all kinds of new preferences, hopes and dreams.
And when you do (and when you allow yourself to ride that current of desire and feel good  while anticipating your success in this new endeavor) the energy that creates worlds, that living “star-stuff” that makes up the Universe, will indeed take the shape of, become, and deliver to you, an exact match to that desire.
 It’s kind of a big deal.
So I encourage you to be incredibly DELIBERATE about this whole Resolution business. After all, what you have here, laid out before you, is a fresh clean slate. This is your opportunity to align with the energy of your boldest, purest desires, to turn up the passion and unleash your creative potential like never before.
But, as I mentioned, we Conscious Creators know that there’s a major distinction between “goal setting” and “goal getting” - and it is crucial to recognize the difference between the two and how they MUST work in tandem if they’re going to work at all. The first method is:
 Traditional Goal Setting
Think back. Did you set goals for this past year? If so, how many of them came to fruition?
This practice of sitting down to map out your goals and intentions for the new year does offer many benefits, for in the process of setting your goals you:
  1. gain clarity about what you want,
  2. focus energy in that direction, and
  3. let go of old baggage or outdated intentions previously set into motion so that you can create space for future outcomes.
 From an energetic or vibrational perspective, however, this method has its drawbacks.
  • For one, it’s incomplete. If the achievement of your goal relies too heavily on action steps (versus energetic alignment as the MAIN factor), it is likely that you’ll expend way too much energy and wear yourself out early on in the game - after all, you’ll be missing out on the leverage that aligned thoughts would’ve otherwise awarded you and you’ll have to “work” 10 times as hard to achieve 1/10th of the results. And since like attracts like and what you focus on expands, this heavy, draining energy tends to be self-reinforcing and can lead you to abandon your goals before February even begins.
  • On top of that, in traditional goal setting we’re often encouraged to be overly specific, especially on the HOW TO part. Unfortunately, when we narrow our focus to such a specific strategy or outcome, we don’t leave any room for positive surprises or for the highest good to come to us in a slightly different package.
  • Most significantly, in traditional goal setting when we make lists of our new goals, we’re typically doing so while focused upon our current “problems” or areas of lack. This focus actually reinforces our experience of a gap between where we are and where we desire to be, which may push the goal even farther away.
According to Universal Law, this happens because if we are not in vibrational harmony with our goals, no amount of efforting, struggling or striving will draw them to us.
Therefore, traditional goal setting on its own won’t get you where you want to go (at least NOT in the most joyful and efficient way). But couple it with the second method - which we’ll cover next - and you’ve got a winning combination.
 Goal Getting
In a nutshell, it basically consists of spending a fair amount of time achieving energetic alignment with the things, people, opportunities and experiences that you would most like to attract into your life - and you do this before your goal setting session, during the action-step process, and essentially anytime you want to FEEL GOOD and increase your chances of success.
To break this “energetic alignment” thing down even further, you might think of it as a 3-step Intentional Creation process:
  1. Ask for what you want in the most powerful way (FOCUS ON WHY YOU WANT IT, NOT HOW YOU’RE GOING TO GET IT)
  2. Move into an energy state that is a match to what you want to receive (FEEL GOOD WHILE YOU ANTICIPATE IT)
  3. Maintain that high vibration so that what you want can find its way to you. (THINK, SAY & DO THINGS THAT WILL KEEP YOU FEELING GOOD AND ANTICIPATING IT)
 Happy New Year! Om Shannnnti!