Page 1

VOL. 1 NO. 1 FALL 2013



Premier Issue more at

The Starnes sisters Music in yoga class: on or off?

ISSN 2330-2860

Sutra in the city


Also available online illuminechicagoyoga







4 5 7

ON THE MAT Asana and alignment


Musings from the mat


Music in yoga class: turn-on or turn-off?


Starnes sisters: love life, yoga and highlights


DNA of discipline


The heart of a teacher Maty Ezraty


OFF THE MAT Yoga in Chicago: a timeline The ‘perfect’ language

8 14

Sutra in the city


Site specific and well proportioned


4 outdoor adventures


Can we eat out together?


Yoga wear to everyday wear


An illumined life


Cover: Sisters Sarah Starnes and Stephanie Starnes at the “Indian Land Dancing” mural, Foster Avenue underpass, photographed July 2013 by Danielle Zhu.



22 26 32 28


Editor’s note: Illumine at dawn Volume 1, Issue 1 fall 2013 Founder Lourdes Paredes Publishers Jason Campbell Lourdes Paredes Editor-in-Chief Lisa Thaler Design Jason Campbell Editorial Interns Megan Suckut Danielle Zhu Photography/Art Intern Ashley Wu Marwen Intern Paula Espiritu Web Design Laura Fairman User Experience Designer Elizabeth Srail Writers Lela Beem, Jim Bennitt, Cathy Beres, Maria Boustead, Debi Buzil, Loong Chen, Chris de Lizer, Adam Grossi, Andrew Gurvey, Jim Kulackoski, Ruth Diab Lederer, Linda Mura O’Toole, DeePaola Picasso, Siddhartha V. Shah, Pam Udell Art Jillian Schiavi Field Reporter James Soare Proofreaders Cathy Beres, Ruth Diab Lederer, Katie Kosinski, Heidi Schlumpf Special thanks Graham Ebetsch ISSN 2330-2860 4

Lisa Thaler


have always loved dawn. Waking before sunrise, I am filled with hope. I experience dawn’s reliable calm, and the day unfolds. The pièce de résistance of my routine? Grapefruit. And as at the start of a yoga class, at dawn, I set an intention and quiet the mind. Illumine’s launch has been like an endless dawn. Brainstorming, planning and the highlight (no pun intended) for me: meeting our writers and helping their work take flight. A weekly yoga class with our founder, Lourdes Paredes, re-centers me, given the effort and flurry of activity on behalf of the magazine. (I haven’t yet found an antidote for the lack of sleep.) I am proud that Illumine celebrates our diverse and growing yoga community; recognizes how yoga can benefit all aspects of our lives; and offers a forum for dialogue — and sometimes debate — about asana and related practices, health and wellness, traditional thought and contemporary life. I am grateful that Illumine honors the integral role of design in our layout and visual content. Our writers will amaze. All are yogis, most are yoga teachers and many have additional careers. Each writes from the heart and provides original insights and enduring wisdom. Their articles bridge ancient and modern, old and young, yoga practice and yogic lifestyle, and embrace community in all its facets.

Our biggest challenge is having more to say than a mere 44 pages permits! Here’s a sliver of Illumine’s nascent dawn and bright future. Setting our foundation, Pam Udell dissects Tadasana (Mountain pose). Degreed in exercise physiology and founder of the first yoga studio on the North Shore in 1999, Udell is our asana and alignment columnist. (p. 8) Andrew Gurvey (a mechanical engineer) masterfully constructs an eight-limbed case and presents both sides of a hot-button issue in “Music in yoga class: a turn-on or a turn-off?” Then, Debi Buzil (co-founder and lead songwriter of Devi 2000) and Jim Bennitt (co-founder of Tejas Yoga Chicago) engage in a lyrical pointcounterpoint. (p. 17) Looking to the past to create something anew, counselor Ruth Diab Lederer drops us into a contemporary Vaastu Shastra meditation space and explains how the ancient Indian building code can enhance the inhabitant’s well being. (“Site specific and well proportioned,” p. 26) Nodding to our commitment to inclusiveness, Loong Chen (a financial analyst) invites diners of all persuasions to navigate a restaurant with ease in “Can we eat out together?” (p. 32) Our first issue presents so much more. Seasonal excursions, fashion, fine art, a manifesto by CrossFit trainer Jonny Vu and a timeline of yoga in Chicago. Enough said! I don’t want to delay your adventure. The day has begun. Illumine has dawned. Explore and enjoy our print debut. Please share your feedback and ideas for future content with me.

Contributors Jim Kulackoski is an adjunct professor at Loyola University and runs Darshan Center, where he leads and develops teacher trainings, workshops and a healing clinic.

Debi Buzil is a cofounder and the lead songwriter of Devi 2000, Chicago’s premier Kirtan group, whose three albums are rooted in Bhakti yoga, the path of love.

Andrew Gurvey is an engineer by day and yoga teacher by night, currently teaching at five different yoga studios in the Northern and Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Danielle Zhu is a junior at Northwestern University, double majoring in journalism and psychology.

Chris de Lizer, a yoga teacher who has taught in homeless shelters and five-star hotels, is inspired by the teachings of Bob Marley’s “One Love.”

Loong Chen is a research analyst, dedicated yogi and food enthusiast.

Visit us on the web searchable directory of studios and classes calendar of events interviews recipes asanas




n choosing the name for our new publication, I considered how living a more conscious life might look and feel, and the words to describe it. Sacred art has traditionally depicted the elevated, conscious state as light. Saints and angels are painted as lit from the inside, standing in front of a light source, framed by a gilt aura or with a halo floating above the head. In class, I invite my students to visualize the breath as a stream of light entering and illuminating the body. As we begin, the imagery might feel unfamiliar and challenging to break through our chitta vritti (mind chatter). But as we continue to visualize the breath entering as light and dispersing throughout our bodies, by Savasana we envision ourselves as illuminated. Our new magazine Illumine is a resource to increase our knowledge of the practice of yoga. We are not using a spotlight to espouse one way of finding illumination; rather, we are starting a conversation about what is illuminating. Illumine explores what it feels like to do and live yoga. “Illumine” is a process, not a destination. It is what we do and how we live. In the yoga energetic anatomy, the chakras and the nadis are centers and pathways of prana (life force) described by color, movement and velocity. Just as we know something is working because its indicator light is on, we start to feel more alive through yoga and might describe this as an inner radiance or kundalini. The moment the power light on our computer screen dims or our phone goes dead and its light fades, we fear disconnection and long for the spark to ignite. Through our writing and editing, artwork and overall design, we aim to provide insight and inspiration and to encourage you to live your most engaged and enlightened life.

Lourdes Paredes


459 Central Avenue

6 847-432-9642(Yoga)

Highland Park, IL 60035

From the founder You hold in your hands a labor of love. I am thrilled for you to explore your yoga community through the work of our writers, artists, editors and designers. Illumine Chicago magazine and reflect my varied interests and loves, and the talent of many engaged writers and other creative people. I have a deep love for the Chicago yoga community. For the past 15 years, as I have practiced and taught yoga in Chicago, I have witnessed students and teachers come and go, thrive and evolve, and make a difference — big and small — through acts of kindness and generosity. Yoga studios, from the community to the corporate, nurture students to become more masterful in their lives. I also love learning more about yoga, I love reading magazines (it’s my guilty pleasure), and I love living in Chicago. In April 2013, from these deep-seated loves, the possibility of creating a yoga magazine blossomed in my imagination. Six months later, Illumine Chicago came to be. As publisher, I am honored to shine a light on Chicago’s diverse studios, gifted teachers and stimulating events. I am at the service of Chicago yoga instructors who illumine our community class by class, student by student and day by day. I don’t consider myself a builder, but I have tended relationships over many years that made it possible to envision, manifest and offer Illumine. I have enjoyed building with the Illumine team, from the many contributors who appeared at the right time to offer their talents, to the opportunity to work with my husband, Jason Campbell.

I hope Illumine offers you food for thought, a conversation that continues beyond the mat, insights into teaching and even a little fashion advice to make us look as good as we feel. Please also visit for more articles and photos, the most complete searchable directory of Chicago-area yoga studios and teachers and an up-to-date calendar of local yoga events. Enjoy Illumine, and if you feel inspired, here are ways to offer your support: • Pass along this magazine (or an article) to someone who might enjoy it. • Subscribe to receive your issue by U.S. Mail. • Find us on our social media and at • Share the articles that inspire you and spark a conversation. • Send comments to • Write for Illumine. Send your article query to • Donate. Sustaining a quality yoga publication requires a lot of love and some money. Please consider donating to help us cover our costs. Go to Shine brightly, Lourdes Paredes


120 years of growth

Timeline of Yoga in Chicago Please visit for extended coverage and featured interviews with studio owners.

Photocredits: David Coligado, Scott Shigley and Jason Campbell

Yoga was introduced to the West in September 1893 at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Held at the Art Institute of Chicago, the gathering promoted interfaith dialogue. Representing India and Hinduism was Swami Vivekananda (above left), then 30. In several speeches, Vivekananda encouraged open communication across faith lines, briefly introduced Hinduism and Buddhism, and sought aid for the poverty-stricken people of India. Vivekananda’s speeches made an instant impact.

Himalayan Institute

(Swami Rama), Barrington. Moved in 1977 to current headquarters in Honesdale, Pa.


N.U. Yoga Center

Yoga Center (n/k/a Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center), Bryn Mawr Avenue.


I’ve had the good fortune to have practiced in over 30 studios around Chicago [in 2013]. Each studio and teacher has offered something helpful in my practice: a new pose, a tip worded in a new way, or a deeper understanding of why it is that we all love yoga. I’ve always walked away thankful for the quality and variety of [our] teachers ... in Chicago! —James Soare

1990 1980

1970 1971

Today, yoga is flourishing in Chicago. Our community is accessible, diverse, dedicated and growing. Almost 50 yoga studios are within a two-minute bike ride of the Art Institute of Chicago, where Swami Vivekananda addressed the Parliament gathering in 1893. ILLUMINE’s timeline notes the founding years of many (alas, not all) of our community’s yoga studios and related resources. [Please help us complete our chart. Send your additions to submissions@ —Ed.]

1990 1979

Blind Faith Café

a vegetarian restaurant, Evanston.


The Chicago Diner

B.K.S. Iyengar

visits Chicago, hosted by Yoga Circle.

a vegetarian and vegan restaurant, Halsted Street.



(Sharon Steffensen), a bi-monthly publication.

N.U. Yoga Center


(Suddha Wexler), n/k/a The Chicago Yoga Center.



a raw restaurant, Lincoln Avenue.

Yoga Circle

(Gabriel Halpern). Gabriel replies that his stand-out memory as a studio owner is “watching my children run free at the Yoga Circle.”

Karyn’s Fresh Corner



The Lab

(Carmen Aguilar), West Loop. “Our name reflects a state of mind. The Lab is a laboratory, a place for experimentation where you discover yourself and share experiences.”

Forever OM

(Cilla Stoll), Lake Forest.

Sat Nam Yoga Chicago

(Karampal Kaur), Kundalini


Exhale Spa

Gold Coast, the first yoga studio in a spa setting.



Yoga Now Gold Coast First all eco-friendly yoga studio.


yogaview Lakeview


yogaview Lincoln Park

(Tom Quinn & Quinn Kearney).

Namaskar Chicago


Priya Yoga

(Chris de Lizer), Yoga studio and Chicago’s first yoga boutique. Alexandra Murman says “I always love interacting with the students, whether in person or via email or phone. We have wonderful students.”

(Jodi Blumstein). the first Ashtanga Vinyasa studio in Chicago. “I used to love sitting at the desk and checking people in for class - really getting to know them and building a new community.”

Moksha Yoga

Yoga Among Friends

Bhodi Spiritual Center

(Laura Jane Mellencamp), the first yoga studio in the Western suburbs. “I wanted to call it sangha, community (of) friends...If you come to yoga you’re among friends”


Healing Power Yoga

(Pam Udell), Highland Park.

Moksha Yoga

(Daren Friesen), Riverwest.



Yoga Now North


Bloom Yoga

(Kerry Maiorca), Lincoln Square.

Lululemon Halsted Lululemon Halsted (first of 11 in Illinois, as of 2013).

yogaview Wilmette.

Tula Yoga

Logan Square.

Village Yoga

(Alyson D’Souza), East Village. “I built the Village here, in what they now call West Town (East Village for the locals), as a place of healing and growth.

Shri Yoga

moves to Elston Avenue.

(Marcia & Thaddeus Tazioli), Highland Park.

Generations Yoga

Samgha Yoga Shala

(Eric Berliner, dec.), Wilmette.

2Hot Yoga

(Desiree Rijos & Randy Rodin), Highland Park.

Global Mala

On Sep. 11, an estimated 500 yogis gather at Buckingham Fountain for Global Mala.


Core Power Yoga

South Loop, the first of 19 Core Power Yoga studios in Illinois.

Transitions Bookplace

Closes after 19 years in Chicago.

(Amy Beth Treciokas), Edgewater. a self-described “hip, real and deep transdenominational spiritual community.”



yogaview Division

the first donation-only studio in Chicago.

(Robert Pelaski). a Jivamukti yoga affiliated center.


Hit an OM Run

hosted by Lululemon at Wrigley Field, gathering an estimated 500 yogis.

Ganesha Yoga

(Jane Musgrave & Mindy Hanzlik).

Twisted Tree Yoga

(Stacy Cushenbery), Des Plaines.

2013 Hamsa

(Monica Yearwood), Lincoln Avenue in North Center, the first ayurvedic treatment center in Chicago.

Prairie Yoga

NEXT Restaurant

Sanctuatry Yoga

Hit an OM Run

(Lori Gaspar), Lisle. Highwood.

Tejas Yoga

Features vegan menu. hosted by Lululemon at Wrigley Field, gathering an estimated 1,000 yogis.

(Jim Bennitt & James Tennant), South Loop. “We wanted a name that carried some weight in both yoga and ayurveda. Tejas means an inner light, radiance and the essence of fire.”

Moksha Yoga

Moksha Yoga

(Lourdes Paredes), a quarterly magazine.


Stonehouse Farm Eco-Retreat Center in Paw Paw, Ill.

Zen Yoga Garage

(Piper Parker), Bucktown.



Standing on your own two feet Asana and alignment Pam Udell dispels the myths, presents the alignment cues, explains the benefits and advises how to deepen the pose (or not).

Pam Udell Tadasana (Mountain pose) is known as “standing on our own two feet.” It is the foundation for all other poses and for our posture. Let’s begin our ascent. What is considered the right way to stand in Tadasana? We hear conflicting cues in classes, and wonder which is right. In Tadasana, do we “touch the big toes together”? Or “have the feet apart”? Do we anchor down through the “four corners of our feet”? Or the “three corners”? In my opinion, none is wrong. Teachers tend to base each cue on our experience and adapt as needed with something that feels as if it works similarly in our own body. Ask yourself, is the subtle change in cueing dangerous to the body? We are each built differently and have to honor that in our body. First, do no harm. Even though there is no one right way to do a pose, there are eight universal cues for proper alignment in Tadasana.


How Tadasana improves your health Mountain pose teaches us good posture. Good posture facilitates full breath, which in turn improves circulation. As our tissues are fed oxygen, we become stronger and healthier in mind and body. Also, a posturally correct Tadasana lines up the bones of the upper legs (femurs) and the lower legs (tibiae), helping to keep the knees healthy. Aligning the natural curves of the spine minimizes pressure on our discs. Anatomy of Mountain pose Stand tall. Stand proud. Use a comfortable breath. Maintain your natural curves. And you will begin to feel an inner strength and beauty — much like a mountain’s. I hope you enjoyed base camp! Learn more at

Amrit Dangol

“Amoghasiddhi Buddha, Green Tara and Vajrapani” (2006, gouache on cotton) Amoghasiddhi Buddha, one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas, is the Buddha of Unfailing Success and Lord of Karma. Adorned with jewels and divine silk ornaments, he sits upon an open lotus blossom with one hand raised in the abhaya mudra (fear-not gesture) and in the other, holds a small bowl with an offering for his devotees. Green Tara (also known as Arya Tara) is the female emanation of Amoghasiddhi — young, beautiful and fiercely committed to protecting all sentient beings from fear. With emerald green skin and attractive eyes, she is a Bodhisattva (an enlightened being) of compassion — as symbolized by the lotus stalk. Her thumb and ring finger are joined in the protective gesture of giving refuge that also symbolizes the union of wisdom and compassion. Her other extended fingers represent the three jewels: Buddha, dharma (the universal teaching of the Buddha) and sangha (community). Underneath these figures is the wrathful protector deity Vajrapani, who represents the power of all of the Buddhas. His taut posture in the active warrior pose (pratayalidha) is based on an archer’s stance and resembles the en garde position in western fencing. Vajrapani’s outstretched right hand brandishes a vajra (thunderbolt) and his left hand deftly holds a lasso to bind demons. His presence supports Arya Tara’s commitment to protect spiritual aspirants who are on the path from the forces that seek to deter them from the journey of liberation. Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, Amrit Dangol is one of the greatest painters of the modern Newar movement and a devotee of Green Tara. The Newars are the indigenous people of Kathmandu, lauded for centuries for their incomparable skills in painting, woodcarving and bronze casting.


How Howyoga yogachanged changed my mymid-life mid-life Cathy Cathy Beres Beres


Certified Certified yoga yoga instructor instructor Cathy Cathy Beres Beres discovered discovered yoga yoga at age at age 54 54 andand credits credits yoga yoga for for helping helping herher getget herher lifelife back back on on track track after after experiencing experiencing major major lifelife upheavals. upheavals. In this In this column, column, Beres Beres shares shares herher views views from from thethe matmat at middle at middle age. age.

mymy sleeping-in sleeping-in phase phase after after mymy husband’s husband’s death. death. I loved I loved mymy bed bed then, then, and and imagined imagined thethe yoga yoga mat mat would would bebe anan extension extension of of mymy bed. bed. In In thethe beginning, beginning, I felt I felt completely completely lost. lost. Before Before mymy husband’s husband’s illness, illness, I had I had enjoyed enjoyed Pilates, Pilates, weights weights and and laplap swimming. swimming. Although Although I couldn’t I couldn’t imagine imagine returning returning to to thethe frenzy frenzy of of a health a health club, club, thethe yoga yoga studio studio still still feltfelt foreign foreign to to me. me. The The studio studio was was so so quiet, quiet, which which I found I found a bit a bit unnerving. unnerving. Did Did I really I really want want to to hear hear mymy inner inner thoughts? thoughts? I wanted I wanted to to getget away away from from them. them. AnAn altar altar in in thethe front front of of thethe room room showcased showcased a bronze a bronze bust bust of of Buddha. Buddha. The The only only altar altar I had I had ever ever bowed bowed to to was was in in church. church. And And there there were were nono mirrors. mirrors. I I didn’t didn’t mind mind this this so so much much (I had (I had putput onon 2020 pounds pounds over over those those few few years), years), butbut I I thought thought a mirror a mirror might might help help meme learn. learn. And And what what were were thethe stacks stacks of of blocks blocks and and piles piles of of straps straps for? for? Then Then I noticed I noticed thethe blankets. blankets. Things Things might might bebe looking looking up.up. I grabbed I grabbed two two forfor what what I was I was sure sure must must bebe naptime naptime at at thethe end end of of class. class. I was I was intimidated intimidated from from thethe first first forward forward fold. fold. Everybody Everybody else else knew knew what what they they were were doing. doing. I was I was down down in in UpUp Dog Dog and and upup in in Down Down Dog. Dog. MyMy Warriors Warriors wobbled wobbled and and mymy Tree Tree toppled. toppled. MyMy Bridge Bridge collapsed collapsed and and mymy Boat Boat sank. sank. Mild Mild hearing hearing loss loss made made it difficult it difficult forfor meme to to understand understand thethe

Tip illustrations by Ashley Wu, girl illustration by Paula Espiritu

amam a walking a walking cliché cliché and and proud proud of of it. it. I’mI’m one one of of those those yogayogachanged-my-life changed-my-life people people you you might might trytry to to escape escape at at a party. a party. NoNo party party here; here; just just anan open open invitation invitation to to keep keep reading. reading. Maybe Maybe you’ll you’ll find find a bit a bit of of yourself yourself in in mymy story. story. Maybe Maybe you, you, too, too, at at some some point point in in your your life, life, will will find find yourself yourself transformed transformed byby yoga yoga —— or or at at least, least, just just a bit a bit better better offoff forfor having having come come to to thethe practice. practice. I dragged I dragged myself myself into into mymy first first yoga yoga class class sixsix years years ago, ago, at at ageage 54.54. De-conditioned, De-conditioned, depleted depleted and and depressed, depressed, it seemed it seemed like like thethe only only physical physical activity activity I could I could muster. muster. I had I had spent spent thethe prior prior three three years years caring caring forfor mymy terminally terminally ill ill husband, husband, while while helping helping to to keep keep hishis business business afloat afloat and and mymy family family onon track. track. I had I had nono idea idea what what I would I would find. find. I thought I thought yoga yoga was was pretty pretty much much just just sitting sitting cross-legged cross-legged or or resting resting in in what what I now I now know know is is Savasana Savasana (Corpse (Corpse pose). pose). I started I started in in anan all-level all-level vinyasa vinyasa class class at at a studio a studio a few a few blocks blocks from from mymy apartment, apartment, so so there there would would bebe nono excuse excuse forfor notnot making making it it to to class. class. The The late late afternoon afternoon time time frame frame suited suited me, me, too. too. I was I was still still in in







Before Before starting starting yoga, yoga, identify identify anyany chronic chronic physical physical issues issues andand share share these these withwith youryour teacher. teacher. Back Back pain, pain, arthritis, arthritis, osteoporosis osteoporosis andand inner inner earear andand eyeeye issues issues areare common common in middle in middle ageage andand cancan affect affect yoga yoga practice. practice.

Look Look for for an an introductory, introductory, beginner’s beginner’s level level class. class. Search Search for for gentle gentle class class listings listings in the in the directory. directory. If your If your budget budget allows, allows, individual individual attention attention withwith a private a private instructor instructor is also is also a great a great wayway to get to get

YouYou willwill feelfeel youryour muscles muscles awakening. awakening. YouYou should should feelfeel something, something, butbut if you if you feelfeel sharp sharp pains pains in class, in class, stopstop what what youyou areare doing doing andand telltell youryour teacher. teacher. He He or she or she cancan offer offer modifications. modifications.




Don’t Don’t worry worry if you if you have have more more graygray hairhair than than other other students, students, or have or have to sit to in sit in thethe front front to hear to hear andand seesee better. better. You’ve You’ve gotgot wisdom wisdom of age. of age. Learn Learn from from oneone another. another.

Blocks, Blocks, straps straps andand blankets blankets cancan helphelp youyou stretch, stretch, reach, reach, open open andand holdhold in poses. in poses. Don’t Don’t be be shy,shy, have have them them handy handy andand askask youryour teacher teacher howhow bestbest to use to use them. them.

Sanskrit Sanskrit terms. terms. I disintegrated I disintegrated into into tears tears at at Savasana. Savasana. AtAt thethe end end of of class, class, I thought I thought forfor sure sure wewe were were wishing wishing each each other other a “nice a “nice day,” day,” instead instead of of “Namaste.” “Namaste.” AsAs I left I left class, class, I tried I tried notnot to to look look at at anyone. anyone. I dragged I dragged mymy mat mat behind behind me, me, Linus-like. Linus-like. What What was was I thinking? I thinking? Yoga Yoga seemed seemed complicated complicated and and much much more more work work than than I had I had imagined. imagined. But But something something drew drew meme back back thethe next next week. week. It helped It helped that that thethe studio studio was was nearby nearby and and thethe time, time, convenient. convenient. It helped It helped that that thethe studio studio wasn’t wasn’t a gym, a gym, and and thethe teacher teacher was was welcoming welcoming and and kind. kind. But But none none made made yoga yoga any any easier. easier. I still I still leftleft dazed dazed and and confused. confused. I knew I knew I had I had to to dodo something something physical physical forfor myself, myself, so so I decided I decided to to give give it two it two months. months. I I vowed vowed to to bebe consistent consistent and and if Iifdid I did notnot feel feel any any different different at at that that point, point, I’dI’d move move on.on. Over Over thethe next next two two months, months, I struggled I struggled through through every every class. class. Compared Compared to to mymy former former exercise exercise regimen, regimen, yoga yoga seemed seemed tootoo gentle. gentle. I didn’t I didn’t quite quite understand understand how how thethe stretching stretching and and asana asana would would whip whip meme into into shape, shape, which which is what is what I was I was looking looking for. for. It It wasn’t wasn’t aerobic aerobic and and didn’t didn’t seem seem as as musclemusclebuilding building as as lifting lifting free free weights. weights. I didn’t I didn’t feel feel that that I was I was “doing “doing enough,” enough,” yetyet I couldn’t I couldn’t actually actually execute execute most most of of thethe poses. poses. I often I often feltfelt frustrated. frustrated. During During heart-opening, heart-opening, I I needed needed a box a box of of Kleenex Kleenex byby mymy mat mat at at allall times. times.

BEND BEND YOUR YOUR KNEES KNEES YouYou willwill findfind yourself yourself in in frequent frequent forward forward folds, folds, standing standing or seated or seated on on thethe floor. floor. Bending Bending youryour knees knees a a littlelittle willwill protect protect youryour back. back. YouYou might might notnot hear hear thisthis from from youryour teacher, teacher, butbut it’s it’s fine.fine. Really. Really.

“This “ IfIfI Idon’t don’tfeel feelbetter better atatthe theend endofofclass class today, today,I Iquit. quit. I Iwill willmove moveon, on,back back totoa agym gymperhaps perhaps ororpossibly possiblyback backtoto my mybed.” bed.” OnOn mymy way way to to class class at at thethe two-month two-month mark, mark, I thought, I thought, “This “This is it. is it. If IIfdon’t I don’t feel feel better better at at thethe end end of of class class today, today, I quit. I quit. I I will will move move on,on, back back to to a gym a gym perhaps perhaps or or possibly possibly back back to to mymy bed.” bed.” Well, Well, it wasn’t it wasn’t a lightning a lightning bolt, bolt, butbut something something diddid strike strike meme that that day. day. OnOn mymy way way home home from from class, class, I noticed I noticed thethe bright bright blue blue sky, sky, thethe brisk brisk autumn autumn breeze, breeze, thethe warmth warmth of of thethe late late afternoon afternoon sun sun onon mymy cheek. cheek. For For thethe first first time time since since mymy husband husband had had died died 14 14 months months prior, prior, I felt I felt slightly slightly better. better. I felt I felt lighter. lighter. A shade A shade was was lifting. lifting. I kept I kept going going to to class. class. SixSix years years later, later, I am I am a 200-hour a 200-hour certified certified yoga yoga instructor. instructor. Along Along thethe way, way, I’ve I’ve mastered mastered some some inversions, inversions, though though I still I still struggle struggle in in Ardha Ardha Chandrasana Chandrasana (Half (Half Moon Moon pose). pose). I’ve I’ve danced, danced, laughed, laughed, chanted chanted and and sobbed sobbed with with amazing amazing new new friends. friends. I’ve I’ve naulied naulied and and netied. netied. MyMy physical physical core core is stronger, is stronger, butbut thethe core core you you can’t can’t seesee hashas benefited benefited thethe most. most. I’ve I’ve dropped dropped thethe 2020 pounds pounds butbut more more importantly, importantly, I’ve I’ve gained gained

ATTITUDE ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING Enter Enter intointo youryour newnew endeavor endeavor withwith an an open open heart, heart, a curious a curious mind mind andand a flexible a flexible spirit. spirit. YourYour body body willwill eventually eventually follow. follow.

anan inner inner strength strength that that hashas propelled propelled meme forward forward into into a new a new world world I never I never would would have have imagined imagined forfor myself. myself. I’ve I’ve been been stretched stretched beyond beyond what what I thought I thought was was possible possible —— in in every every way. way. Today, Today, I am I am a graduate a graduate student student in in creative creative writing writing and and a yoga a yoga teacher. teacher. I I survived survived thethe unraveling unraveling of of mymy 30-year 30-year advertising advertising career career during during thethe recent recent economic economic downturn. downturn. I’mI’m nono longer longer onon antidepressants, antidepressants, I’ve I’ve fallen fallen in in love, love, hiked hiked in in thethe High High Arctic, Arctic, dumped dumped mymy bigbig oldold car, car, emptied emptied mymy nest nest and and adopted adopted two two kitties. kitties. AllAll because because of of yoga? yoga? Well, Well, yoga yoga hashas been been thethe only only constant constant in in mymy lifelife over over these these last last several several years. years. How How can can it not it not bebe thethe yoga? yoga? I never I never thought thought of of myself myself as as a lucky a lucky girlgirl after after what what I’dI’d been been through, through, butbut now now I I I’mI’m lucky lucky to to have have stumbled stumbled into into that that first first yoga yoga class. class. The The yogis yogis would would saysay it was it was karma. karma. Whatever. Whatever. I am I am forever forever grateful. grateful. I hope I hope you’ll you’ll find find your your way way to to a yoga a yoga class class soon. soon. You You might might just just find find yourself yourself feeling feeling lucky, lucky, too. too. For For further further inspiration, inspiration, check check outout grand grand yoga yoga diva diva Tao Tao Porchon-Lynch, Porchon-Lynch, thethe oldest oldest living living yoga yoga teacher. teacher. She She is going is going strong strong at at age age



Sometimes Sometimes breathing breathing is the is the hardest hardest partpart of yoga, of yoga, yet yet it it should should be be easy. easy. Show Show up,up, breathe breathe andand thethe restrest willwill come. come.

Yoga Yoga is aispractice, a practice, hopefully hopefully a lifelong a lifelong Promise Promise yourself yourself youyou willwill givegive it ait a sustained sustained effort effort before before making making anyany judgments. judgments.

HAVE HAVE FUNFUN Sometimes Sometimes yoga yoga seems seems serious serious andand certainly certainly demands demands ourour complete complete focus focus andand attention, attention, butbut thatthat doesn’t doesn’t mean mean youyou can’t can’t enjoy enjoy it. Yoga it. Yoga should should feelfeel good, good, so let so let it show. it show. Frowning Frowning youryour wayway through through a pose a pose won’t won’t make make it any it any easier easier to do. to do.



A child stargazer learns the ‘perfect’ language

Sanskrit Jim Kulackoski



rom a young age, I was enchanted by two things: the universe and language. The universe appeared to be an infinitely diverse collection of matter and in constant change. Language was an equally diverse collection of seemingly arbitrary sounds acting as symbols (words) for specific objects, feelings and ideas. I wanted to know how everything in the world around me worked and fit together. Along the way, I studied physical, biological and psychological sciences; learned how to play a few musical instruments; mastered several languages; and finally delved into spiritual disciplines, such as Catholic mysticism and yoga. My fascination with language embraced both classical and modern languages. I began with Latin and Greek, then studied German, Russian and Italian, and even dabbled in Mandarin. Each language gave me a new and unique perspective of the shape of human consciousness; however, at some point, I became overwhelmed. How many disciplines or languages would I have to study to find what I was seeking?

My background in a simple practice of yogasana (yoga poses) eventually led me to the Vedic sciences and to Sanskrit, commonly known as a “cosmic” language. I finally began to answer my questions. Through an exploration of this infinitely diverse universe, the Vedic sciences clearly and concisely address the “how” and “why” of existence. According to the Vedas (the texts in which this knowledge was recorded), the laws that govern nature become simpler the closer they get to a state of ultimate unity (Brahma). The Vedas offer methodologies, which not only explain these laws but also convey countless practical applications, such as medicine and health (ayurveda), for their understanding and realization. The extensive body of knowledge that comprises the Vedas was originally passed down as an oral narrative and later transcribed. The language used in the oral and written transmissions of the Vedas was Vedic Sanskrit. Sanskrit has been referred to as a “perfect” language, free from the ambiguities and irregularities present in every other human language — ancient and modern. Sanskrit can convey complex ideas with accuracy and precision. To my surprise, my studies in Sanskrit appeared to affect my own ability to think and act coherently and concisely. Through the simplicity of its sounds, its precise and orderly system of grammar and logical yet complex system of Sandhi (the rules for combining words), I found ways in which I could think and act more efficiently. Studying Sanskrit not only contributed to an understanding of the language itself, but also began to offer me glimpses deeper into the nature of reality. I found insights into nature and her processes I hadn’t noticed before. I began to observe orderliness and coherence in the world around me that reminded me of the structure of the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit seemed to mimic the way in which everything — including myself — occurs. I gained access

continued on page 16 14

common Sanskrit terms

Aum At the fundamental level, everything is made of sound. Aum or Om is the sound representation of all possibilities and all probabilities. By chanting “Aum,” we move beyond individual limited identity and momentarily relate to all possibilities, the state of unity.

Asana Asana means “seat.” It refers to a physical posture executed in a manner that creates a state of physiological integration and leads to an experience of expanded awareness or yoga. A yogasana, or simply asana, generally refers to a pose in which one practices to enhance or create the experience of yoga.

Brahma Brahma is the experience of totality, synonymous with the sound “Aum.” The experience of Brahma is the ultimate goal of yoga.

Yoga Yoga means “to unite.” It refers to any action that unites an individual consciousness to universal consciousness. It is a means of expanding one’s awareness beyond the confines of personality, allowing for freedom, choice and spontaneity in any given moment. Although yoga is generally considered synonymous with asana, it refers to any action that has the potential to allow the individual to transcend his or her limitations based on identity.

Namaste Nama signifies a name, a means of identification. Namaste signifies identification with someone or something at the level of his or her fundamental essence. The literal translation is “I identify with you, at the most fundamental level, for at that level, we are both one and the same.”


continued from page 14 to a point of view in which things no longer seemed to exist independently from each other. Instead, they began to appear to be unique expressions or variations of the same thing, and the purpose of the universe presented itself as the opportunity for a single conscious reality to know itself in every possible form. According to the Vedas, as well as a number of quantum theorists, matter originates in sound. Matter itself could be thought of as a dense energy, whose most basic state is a vibration, a sound wave. This concept of sound as the primal cause of matter is called Shabdha or Shabdhabrahma in Sanskrit. It is the perimeters created by Shabdha, the sound wave itself, which define and create space (Akasha). It is space that provides the container and means for the rest of creation to occur. From this point of view, everything from physical matter to thoughts and ideas are simply vibrations of sound. It is speculated in the Vedas that the particular “shape” of the sound vibration, which lies at the basis of any individual thing, is closely represented by the syllables of the Sanskrit word given for that object. Therefore, the sounds of Sanskrit seem to be an approximation of, or the human equivalent to, the actual sounds that comprise physical things within the universe. This principle can be demonstrated by the Sanskrit syllable “Aum” or “Om.” This syllable is comprised of the three sounds, “A,” “U” and “M.” “A” is the simplest sound the human mechanism of speech can create, unshaped by the throat, mouth and tongue. It mimics the undifferentiated shape of silence and represents the state of unity. It represents the pure, undefined consciousness or awareness, which the Vedas state are the basis of the universe. The sound “M” is the opposite of “A,” being the full closure of the

apparatus of speech and thus, creating a sound that mimics the full range of possible sounds. “U” represents the full range of iterations of sound that can occur between “A” and “M.” Therefore, Aum (amen, in English) or Om is the sound of all possible and probable forms in creation. Each word, however complex its meaning, originates from the primordial sound “Aum.” In Sanskrit, the Aksharas (syllables that compose the alphabet) each contain a broad meaning, originating from the sound “Aum.” The syllables combine to become the roots of words, which further combine with other roots and syllables to form increasingly complex yet more specific ideas contained within each word. This idea is outlined in a verse from the Vedas.

In the beginning there was Brahman (the Creator) with whom was Vak (the Word Aum); the Word (Aum) was Brahman, and from it issued forth all of creation (Krishna Yajur Veda, Kathaka Brahmana, XII:5).

A similar idea exists within the Bible: In the beginning, there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). As I continue to study Sanskrit, I am reminded often of the relationship of all things. I feel comforted by the idea of the orderliness of the reality I live in. I understand myself to be an inseparable part of a single living entity. I no longer see language as arbitrary, but as a powerful tool for both creation and evolution. My childhood questions are being answered.

Illumine’s printer JD Graphics recycles on average 20,000 pounds of paper (bailed or in straight bins) every week. All of its paper contains some recycled material, but percentages are not available unless specified. After production, all metal printing plates are recycled. Illumine provides digital access to every print issue at 16

Photo by Ashley Wu. Art by Jillian Schiavi.


प्रजापतिर्वै इदमासित् तसयवाग्दवितियासित्

Visit us on the web

Photo by Michelle Grambeau with permission from Wanderlust Festival


Music in yoga class: a turn-on or a turn-off? Andrew Gurvey

Music has wafted into the yoga studio and taken root. Many factors have contributed to the trend: the westernization and popularity of yoga, the ease of creating and sharing playlists, and the fact that a lot of yogis just like music. But popularity doesn’t mean unanimity. Not every student finds music in class helpful. What is the current discourse regarding music in the practice space? Does music bring us to or take us further away from authenticity in the practice? I present the issues here and then offer representative voices of local teachers — Debi Buzil and Jim Bennitt — with differing viewpoints. First, it is essential to consider the evolution of yoga in the West. These aspects relate to our society’s tendency toward excess and instant gratification. With the advent of modern technology, such as the smartphone, the tablet computer and instantaneous downloadable information, we are able to easily overwhelm ourselves with propaganda. In general, Americans are overstimulated by a constant influx of information, spin-doctored imagery and a fickle pop culture. Our senses are bombarded by the superficial and the subjective, making it even more difficult to unplug from the mayhem and the chatter. Finding silence takes effort. In contemporary life, we are so enmeshed in inessential

but ostensibly important details that in yoga class, we are reminded to leave the chaos (and our cell phones) at the studio door. Contraband sneaks past and we hear a phone vibrate or ping. We are so powered up and logged into our hectic schedules that even finding the entranceway to a place of introspection and quiet is elusive. For many of us, music represents that entranceway. The perfect song plays in the perfect moment and makes an indelible imprint on our consciousness. For many of us, regardless of our state of mind, listening to music is cathartic. The song often helps us shift away from emotional stagnancy and express what we need to in the moment. Music makes us laugh, cry, dance and experience our broader emotional spectrum. Music inspires nostalgia, bringing us back to times — good and bad — in our lives. It also brings us into the present moment. When we lose ourselves in the music, we also divest of our emotional clutter and attachments. Music is a powerful tool in life and is equally so when utilized in a yoga practice; however, the yoga playlist creator has to remain cognizant of the audience’s varied musical tastes. The yogi’s song selection must come from the heart and soul and not be intended as white noise or filler, lest it distract the student during practice. Of course,


(breathwork) and then began to move with the breath. Something was different. About 20 minutes into practice, I realized that no music was playing. This novel way to practice in silence was exciting, even exhilarating! The class was well crafted: from flow sequences to extended holds, from alignment assistance to breath focus. My breath sounded like powerful steam circulating in my ears. At other times, I felt as though I was vibrating. When the teacher cued an inhalation and exhalation, I felt the ebb and flow of my breath to the core of my being. I could hear my fellow students’ breath, too. The sound formed a collective rhythm and allowed me to go deeper into myself. At times, my eyes were closed. The linear idea of time, for a brief period, slipped away. The teacher’s voice and my breath guided me along. In Savasana, my body fell limp. I had never felt more present and yet, more detached. This yoga class was one of my most pivotal. I have since taken and thoroughly enjoyed other classes sans playlist. Having had the transformative experience in the Barrington class, I have a deep appreciation for musicfree yoga classes and understand why the absence of a playlist is necessary to perhaps take that final step toward enlightenment. Yoga practice is based upon disconnecting from the external and the superficial to facilitate a deeper connection with the internal or true self. Eventually, when the connection deepens, the idea is that the yogi is able to shift consciousness away from all physical and mental

within the listener. With this in mind, it would seem that to achieve limbs seven and eight, samadhi (enlightenment), the journey needs to be taken in silence where only the breath is audible. Enlightenment involves a connection to the self and the universe such that the perception of the duality between both ceases to exist. The veil of mystery that shrouds us from seeing the totality of the universe is lifted. Since the practice of meditation on the path to enlightenment is intended to be done in silence and with a focus towards emptying the mind, logic dictates that listening to music counters silence and hence, would be verboten. Enter the silence. My introduction to yoga was in classes at health clubs. After a year or two of asana practice, I began to branch out and try different studios. All incorporated music, and I didn’t know otherwise. And then one evening the teacher who introduced me to yoga was giving a class at a new yoga studio in suburban Barrington. I enjoyed being in this beautiful fresh space with a teacher whom I knew and liked so much. As class began, we warmed up with pranayama

meanderings to find a deep, empty stillness in the soul wherein a non-dualistic union between humanity and the universe exists. This union samadhi (enlightenment) is indicated by a degree of clarity in which all physical, mental and spiritual clutter is detached from the level of deep concentration and connection that is the pathway to enlightenment. Music helps us find this pathway. Silence helps us continue on it. Music and silence both serve the purpose of helping to clear away the noise of our daily existence. Sometimes it takes a long time to find body awareness or an appreciation for being in the present moment. For many of us with extra clutter, noise and baggage, the attempt to go straight to silence can inspire “monkey mind” and increase agitation. Music can alleviate this, helping us find a focused path so that our yoga journey can begin without leaving us stuck at the entranceway. Silence is also powerful and can open the proverbial heavens of the consciousness, taking the yogi the rest of the way on the journey to enlightenment. Music tames the savage beast, but silence is golden, both can be ever-present in the practice of yoga.


Music, thanks Peter Tchaikovsky

in the same way that one may not connect with a particular style of yoga or a teacher, a student may not connect with a song. Unfortunately, it is easy to be dogmatic about what music should or should not be played. To resist the propensity towards dogma, the teacher uses the playlist with intention — that is, to enhance instruction. Music when thoughtfully used by a yoga teacher can be an extension of the yoga practice. In the same way that a brick or strap can help us with our yoga poses, music can help us find grounding and focus within the practice. The playlist gives us the opportunity to let go by connecting with its rhythms and sounds. Because the introduction of music into the yoga practice means that at least one point of focus will be the music, at maximum, Patanjali’s sixth limb, dharana (concentration on one point of focus), could perhaps be achieved through musical connection. The seventh limb, dhyana (meditation), would require an even more enhanced level of concentration, but without the specified focus. As such, music would probably prevent the yogi from reaching that point due to its poignancy and the connection often made






Debi Buzil

My body is an instrument. My skin is the membrane, negotiating the outer with the inner. As I slow down and sit quietly, I feel the rhythm of my breath. My fingers in gyan mudra (index finger to thumb), I feel my pulse. Right there. Between my fingers. The big, bad beat that never stops. It’s Thursday morning, and I’m in my usual yoga class with my beloved teacher Geri Bleier. We recite “Om” three times. I fall into my breath. Emanating from the speakers, Krishna Das chants a prayer. We do some gentle work with the spine. My heart and body warm. Next, Wah! sings about Ram, a Hindu hero. We stand for Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), and I feel an inner sun and my expanding heart. The music permeates my skin and its vibrations are pure and uplifting. We begin vinyasa flow. A slow groove African song feels peaceful and rhythmic. OneRepublic does a chill version of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.” I know what that sound is. My breath. Jim James does a splendid rendition of “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time).” Next, Adele offers a Cure song. The familiar songs free me from my regular thought, and class moves briskly. But wait, there’s more. Thievery Corporation’s “The Richest Man In Babylon.” My mother loved this song and when she died, I inherited her CD. Mind: go back to practice! Focus on my breath.

Jim Bennitt

During inversions, friendly chatter replaces the music. During backbends, suddenly, the Rolling Stones sing “Round and Round.” This works for me. My heart is opening and shining with those of the other yogis in class. I love this feeling. The music isn’t quiet background music. It’s a presence in the room, a force to be reckoned with. I respect my teacher’s sequencing and skilled instruction, and the girl can put together a playlist. Oh, boy. Devi 2000’s “Tierra Mi Cuerpo” comes on. That’s my band, that’s me singing, I can’t focus. Critical thoughts are useless on the mat. Just focus on the breath. Forward folds are introspective with kindness, temperance and awareness. I must focus and avoid my tendency towards tiny tears in my right hamstring. Grateful Dead’s “Brokedown Palace” is next. I’m not a fan of the Dead, but my friend on the neighboring mat is. We exchange smiles. As we prepare for Savasana, I hear the most beautiful but unfamiliar song. My cell phone app Shazam could identify its title and artist. OK, drop that thought and return to my breath. On the mat, I must come back to my breath over and over again — music or no music. That is the practice.

When I began practicing yoga in 1996, I enjoyed music during my classes. Songs alternately stimulated or calmed the nervous system and made difficult poses a little more accessible. Songs I liked made class more fun. Eventually, though, I noticed music could disturb my practice. Sometimes I couldn’t hear the teacher — or even my ujjayi pranayama (ocean breath) — over the loud music. Turning my awareness inward became increasingly difficult with an external broadcast. When I became a yoga teacher, I experimented with music for my classes: ancient mantras, classical, jazz, rock and even metal. About 10 years ago, I concluded that while it’s important to have fun during your practice and though a thoughtfully created playlist can help set the tone, no soundtrack is better than the sound of my own breath. Listening to the internal whisper of the breath focuses my mind, helps me stay present to my effort and most importantly, heightens my awareness of the unconscious becoming conscious. Many fellow teachers take a different stance and spend considerable time preparing playlists. While the playlist can attract more students by creating a certain vibration, the music can distract from one of the main practices in yoga: pratyahara (withdrawal from the senses).

Pratyahara is described in many ancient texts on yoga. In the Yoga Sutra, pratyahara is the fifth limb and enables “supreme mastery of the sense organs” (2.55). The Bhagavad Gita explains, “Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs, the wise can draw in their senses at will. Aspirants abstain from sense pleasures, but they still crave for them. These cravings all disappear when they see the highest goal. Even of those who tread the path, the stormy senses can sweep off the mind. They live in wisdom who subdue their senses and keep their minds ever absorbed in me” (2:5860). The Gheranda Samhita advises, “The restless and unsteady mind is to be reined in from wherever it goes and brought under control in the self. Wherever the sight goes, the mind follows, so draw it back and bring it under control in the self. Hold the mind back from sounds, whether complimentary, rude, pleasant or horrible, and bring it under control in the self” (4:2-4). Pratyahara bridges the external and the internal practices of yoga. As environmental stimulation lessens, we become more aware of the content of the mind with less effort. In today’s media-saturated culture, silence is rare. The 60, 75 or 90 minutes we practice yoga is a time to turn inward and listen to our inner voice. I believe the fewer distractions the student has during that time, the more likely he or she will receive guidance from within.



immediate. Yoga has taught me to not react impulsively and to respond appropriately to each situation. Choice versus habit. In a moment — a breath — see yourself more clearly and respond with love and compassion. But how? Each time you have a negative thought, feeling or emotion, see it as an opportunity to practice. Accept where you are. Is your chest tight? Your breath shallow? Then you may have an “Aha!” moment, remembering you are in charge. Be in the moment. Breathe more deeply and inhale a positive quality. With your exhale, send this quality toward the person or situation at hand. Feel lighter and freer. Pema Chödron, the Buddhist author and a disciple of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, suggests dropping the story line. When we attach ourselves to past actions or future outcomes, our reality becomes distorted and we create anguish in our lives. Attachment promotes suffering. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and asana teach us to how to stay present and to let go of the story line. I am an urban woman and carry a proverbial backpack filled with yoga philosophy and practices to help me navigate. It serves me well and allows me to send love to the man in the red Mustang. He’s speeding down the road, and I am tossing garlands of red roses after him.

Sutra in the city Seeing red Debi Buzil Yoga teacher and chant leader Debi Buzil offers the first of her regular column ‘Sutra in the city,’ applying Patanjali’s lessons to our contemporary urban setting. Here, Buzil explores Sutra 2:33 on cultivating the opposite.

Illustration design by Ashley Wu, illustration by Jillian Schiavi

What’s up with the guy in the red Mustang? He sped up, cut me off and then slowed down, brake lights flaring. Doesn’t he see my two kids in the backseat? My blood is beginning to boil. Dare I say, maybe some “language” will pass through my lips? But, wait! I have an option: yogic techniques to make my life more peaceful and efficient. My “yoga backpack” is filled with lessons learned through practice and study. I use discernment to know what to pull out when. I take a deep breath and offer a moment of gratitude for all that is right. I send the driver some positive energy (a bit of a challenge, but I know the payoff). Then I offer him love (yes, love). Is he late for work? Could he be an adrenaline junkie? Is there an emergency? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. His chaotic driving is not directed towards me. I drop the story line. I take another deep breath. The kids and I sing a song. We feel better, having reached into my yoga backpack for Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2:33, “When having an uncomfortable thought or feeling, cultivate its opposite (pratipaksha bhavanam).” This is radical yogi thinking. I am not a slave to my feelings or my negative thoughts. I can “flip” them, have a different experience and create a different outcome. The shift can be


HOUSEHOLDER YOGI Practicing among parenting and other distractions Lela Beem

“The lotus is a symbol of the life of a householder Yogi, one who maintains his or her calm and grace above the muddy ponds of life.”



— Paramahansa Yogananda y sights had not always been set on motherhood. Everything about it seemed antithetical to the meditation and yoga practice I had carefully cultivated. How would I have the time and energy to sustain another person’s life, while maintaining focus on my own spiritual development? My primary teacher is Rod Stryker, founder of ParaYoga. He and his wife have two sets of twins. When my husband, Nick, and I decided to start a family, I sought Rod’s advice on maintaining practice while nurturing a family. Rod assured me that motherhood would strengthen me as a teacher and a practitioner. A child would give me an opportunity to serve the Divine through serving others, a practice called “karma yoga.” This is the path of the

householder yogi, also known as “the grihasthi stage of life.” According to the Vedic texts of ancient India, this is the time one spends caring for family and using daily challenges as kindling for yoga practice. The basis of all yoga philosophy is Tantra. One definition of Tantra is “to be touched,” which means you allow the world’s messiness to be your teacher. The householder path asks us not to avoid human experience, but to participate fully in relationship to family, work, money and pleasure. Even with a household to run, we can — with moderation and compassion — lead a more balanced and mindful life. I welcomed our son Jasper in early 2013. As my responsibilities have grown more complex, my yoga and

meditation practice has shifted. I often abandon Sun Salutations in favor of Savasana. I’ve come to see how mothering can be a practice of yoga and offers endless opportunity to be present and non-reactive. When my son is overtired and screaming, I remember how yoga has taught me to breathe and remain steady in unsettled circumstances. Whether or not we have children, each of us has a household of responsibilities. Attempting to practice yoga amidst the perceived busyness of our lives is a formidable challenge. Ultimately, the time we spend on the mat or cushion is a training ground for the level of presence and resilience we need to bring into our relationships and household.



Stephanie Starnes, left, and Sarah Starnes at the “Indian Land Dancing� mural on Foster Avenue 22

Life, yoga and highlights Danielle Zhu with Paula Espiritu Photos by Danielle Zhu

Sarah Starnes and Stephanie Starnes light up a room. Their hair is streaked with multiple shades of blue and purple. Their eye makeup is as intricately applied as paint to canvas. Sanskrit mantras are inked around their arms and wrists. 23


also introduced them to yoga. She raised her daughters with an all-natural lifestyle, replete with herbal medicine, an organic garden, meditation and chanting. “[When we were younger] we weren’t really practicing yoga regularly, but our mom taught us all the other things that make up yoga Sarah and Stephanie are sisters and yoga without calling it ‘yoga,’” Stephanie said. teachers. Sarah teaches in the Western and Sarah, older than Stephanie by 5 1/2 Northwest suburbs, while Stephanie teaches years, began practicing yoga at 12 and by in Chicago. They often co-teach workshops. 18, had started teaching. When she was They share a passion for yoga and art and getting her associate degree, Sarah went have similar beliefs and lifestyles, but each to massage schools and yoga schools and has her own distinct personality. decided to teach yoga as a career. On the surface, their unique fashion “I love art, music, dance — a lot of the sense sets them apart from other local yoga right brain stuff. Yoga was the first thing teachers. They attribute much of their style that made sense and was easy,” Sarah to their mother, who influenced how they said. She now offers classes in aerial yoga, dressed and did their hair. Growing up, the where asana is done while hanging from silk Starnes sisters questioned their mother’s gypsy- and Native American-inspired clothing. hammocks, allowing movement that ground Lo and behold, as they grew up, they adopted practice lacks. Stephanie also began teaching yoga at a similar style. 18, but unlike Sarah, she “We’d always be really doesn’t see it becoming embarrassed [by] what her life’s work. Stephanie’s [our mother] wore, but “[It’s about] feeling passion is music. She now she’s just like, ‘Ha! comfortable in the hopes to transition into a Look at what you guys are career of making music; wearing! You’re wearing the body that you’re in in the meantime, she moccasins. And look at your and being okay with incorporates music into gypsy clothes,’” Stephanie her yoga. Both sisters are said. expressing yourself known for singing during Their mother not only — even if it’s not the Savasana. And if that influenced their style but


norm or what’s fully accepted.”

isn’t enough, they also hold monthly sound healing sessions. Students lie down and meditate in a relaxing environment enhanced by singing, gongs, essential oils, singing bowls, harmoniums and flutes. “The idea behind it is that the gongs and singing bowls are tuned to different chakras and planets,” Stephanie said. “The vibrations are healing on a physical, energetic and spiritual level.” Sarah and Stephanie’s goal to heal and to teach comes naturally, a result of yoga always having been present in their lives in some form. According to Stephanie, it’s become a part of their identity, making it easier for them to teach others. Although Sarah and Stephanie say that they don’t care about their eccentric style when teaching, their outward appearance does serve a purpose. Their personal style is a form of self-expression, which they hope to help others find through yoga. “Yoga just means ‘connection.’ You can think about it as creating connections to the different parts of yourself. The practice can help you to really embody more of what you feel inside,” Sarah said. “[It’s about] feeling comfortable in the body that you’re in and being OK with expressing yourself — even if it’s not the norm or what’s fully accepted.” For more information on Sarah and Stephanie Starnes, visit and

DARSHAN CENTER a vision for transformation





YOGA: THE SCIENCE OF BEING 9/25, 10/2, 10/9, 10/16 6:30-8:30PM AT LOYOLA UNIVERSITY



Site specific and well proportioned The Vaastu Shastra building code benefits inhabitants in miraculous ways. Ruth Diab Lederer

Dr. V. G. Sthapathi (1927-2011) began his illustrious career in Vaastu Shastra under his father’s tutelage. He studied in Tamil, India, and earned degrees in mathematics and Sanskrit.



rom the moment the foundation walls were aligned with the grid of the earth, we knew we were onto something very special and very powerful. In 2010, my classmates and I were building a meditation space as part of an intensive five-week course in Vaastu Shastra, the ancient Indian building code based on physics and mathematical principles. Sitting in our newly completed structure, I experienced a pleasant buzz similar to that of a morning cup of coffee, the mellow softness from a glass of wine or the fluttering in the heart when you fall in love. During subsequent visits to other meditation spaces in the U.S. and in India, I have felt a range of emotions from gentle relaxation to excitation, but always the sense of being my best self. In ancient India, Brahmarishi Mayan, an enlightened scientist and artist, conceived of the design of the universe. His plan is astoundingly similar to what our modern scientists have identified through the study of quantum physics. Mayan thoroughly understood the cosmic structure and the positive energy within it, and established a system to teach it to others. This applied Vaastu Shastric knowledge that we reference today concerns the design and construction of the built environment in order to elicit positive qualities of its inhabitants. These qualities include improved health, smoother relationships and greater financial stability. Anecdotally, I know of a person who constructed a meditation space about two years ago that she now uses regularly. She is often complimented on her youthful appearance and asked what she has “done.” Cosmic math plays a significant role in determining how to create and sustain the ideal Vaastu structure. At the inception of the design process, three fundamental aspects are considered to realize an energetically vibrant environment: 1) relevant geographic information (e.g., alignment, orientation), 2) a scientific assessment and the selection of the prospective building site and 3) the creation of the ayadi calculation. “Ayadi” refers to the measurements

Having trained with his father, Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapathi (1927-2011) made it his life’s work to bridge this traditional method of instruction to bring it to today’s world. See sidebar. In 2006, Dr. Sthapathi spearheaded the establishment of an American institution to bring Vaastu Shastric knowledge to the West. He appointed Dr. Jessie Mercay as chancellor, and today the American University of Mayonic Science and Technology (AUM S&T) offers a two-year certification program. Over the past few years, the university has built seven Vaastu structures in Patagonia, Ariz.: three meditation spaces, two homes and two studio garages. Each structure brings balance and energy to its inhabitants and to the surrounding environment. Precision — from the foundation to the roof and on every interior finished surface — ensures it. And a little cosmic math.

The structures pictured here derive their elevating power from having been properly aligned, sited and built according to the Vaastu Shastra code. Legend asserts that Patanjali was enlightened by spending time in a Vaastu structure. 27


used throughout the project. The ayadi calculation is the most influential element in the design and construction process. Using an Indian reference system, this calculation defines the interior perimeter of the structure, its proportions (either square or rectangular), the optimal location for the front door, the essential benefit to the owners (such as health, friendship or prosperity), the precise size of every wall, door and window, and other details. The exacting mathematical exercise is essential to create the intended, precise energetic effect. We can also understand Vaastu Shastra through the lens of traditional physics. We know the quality of a lightwave by the color we see. For example, violet has a wavelength of 400 nanometers. Similarly, we know the quality of a soundwave by the sound we hear. Middle C vibrates at 262 Hertz on a standard piano. When we construct a building using Vaastu Shastric concepts, we capture a stationary wave. This wave has specific characteristics that were determined through the ayadi calculation. More comprehensive than a lightwave or a soundwave, the ayadi calculation is the mathematical microcosm of the entire design and must be used in tandem with the other design requirements. Vaastu Shastra guides the designer, builder and every skilled worker in the process of using these three aspects — orientation, site and ayadi — and the perimeter dimension for a finished structure that is a living form vibrating with beneficial energy. No physical icons, yantras (symbols), furniture positioning, wall color or décor are necessary or ever a part of this exercise. These three aspects alone determine the qualities of vibration manifesting within an enclosed space. This core concept is what sets Vaastu Shastra apart and above any other way of interpreting the built environment. Vaastu Shastric knowledge has been preserved through the ages by the Vishwakarma Brahmin communities in India established by Brahmarishi. The knowledge was passed from father to son and taught in the guru kulam style. A boy would follow his father to the stone yard and perform menial labor while observing, absorbing and understanding how to apply this profound knowledge. The communities and method of instruction endure to this day.

The DNA of discipline: how yoga redefined my work ethic Adam Grossi



am an intense person, and always have been. Intensity is in my family genome — on both sides. Each member of my family benefits (and suffers) from this shared trait. My father, an office worker by day, became a selftaught, expert woodworker and then remodeled much of my childhood home in Reston, Va. Many of us are drawn to mechanics, carpentry and craft disciplines. We’re good with our hands and we enjoy quiet, focused detail work. The shadow side of our propensity for excellence in a honed, intricate skill is a surging yet aimless anxiety. My mother struggles with catastrophic thinking. My uncles pace when feeling emotionally unmoored. My cousins are obsessive list-makers. And of us all, I am perhaps the hardest hit. At age 20, I was at the top of my class in art school at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. My anxiety careened out of the realm of the manageable, and I spiraled into psychosis. I spent a month in a mental hospital, years on powerful medication and much of the ensuing decade licking my wounds and carefully piecing back together my sense of self. As intricate woodcraft channeled my father’s intensity, a daily rigorous yoga practice slowly brought me to a place of comfort and clarity. Yoga has been a somatic therapy and a powerful intellectual tonic. In

my work ethic was just what I did. I set my sights on the next project, accomplishment and milestone. Our American culture reveres hard work, and I was able to dupe everyone, including myself. Instead of sailing in a sturdy vessel fueled by my absorption in work, my inspiration was running towards empty. I became scattered in my pursuits and started to feel the exhaustion of compulsive, constant effort. Terrified of not working but unclear of purpose, my system was caving in on itself. The floor beneath me dropped out. Yoga was a radical lifestyle change, a proactive form of mental health care. The physical practice of asana (postures) was effective immediately. I was surprised by how well vinyasa practice — linking the movement of the breath and the body — soothed my nervous system and released mental and emotional tension. It felt like magic. I became curious about the theory that supported these physical methods, and sought out the underlying tenets. I studied the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, and commentaries of luminaries such as B.K.S. Iyengar and Richard Freeman. Eventually, I reconceived the meanings of work and discipline. From a yogic perspective, we work towards a singular purpose: connection with the divine nature or highest intelligence that is both at our core and all around us. As the

(continuous practice) and vairagya (dispassion or detachment). Work is fueled by tapas, a special kind of discipline that provokes inner fire and stimulates transformation (2:1). The Sutra offers a map of specific obstacles we will encounter in our work and practical methods of mitigating their influence. My shift in orientation regarding discipline and work has been liberating, but it has taken some time to sort out. When my outmoded approach no longer sustained me, I felt destabilized. Staying patient while the tectonic plates of my life re-aligned has been a difficult and unnerving process. Passion does not require crippling anxiety as its fuel for growth and success. My professional artistic practices survived the reorientation and ultimately benefit from letting go of a reliance on destructive psychological patterns. I’ve grown slowly but in marked ways. I am more sensitive to the means of working. I am more patient about the ends of the work. The scope of what I call “my work” has expanded dramatically. My work is still painting, drawing and teaching, but my work is also nurturing my relationships, refining my asana and pranayama (breath) practice, enjoying life and finding inspiration in the world around me. Goals can be motivating, but when narrow and egocentric, goals can also be obstacles.

As the march of time layered my experiences, emotions and traumas, my survival strategy began to reveal its brittleness. the philosophy at the heart of yoga practice, I have found inspiration and effective visions of what pure discipline looks and feels like. As a child, I had grasped intuitively the importance of using discipline to ground myself. I coped by building an identity out of distinction. I was good at things. I mastered skills easily. This strategy served me well as I became an accomplished artist and designer. As the march of time layered my experiences, emotions and traumas, my survival strategy began to reveal its brittleness. When I was suffering internally, I simply worked harder. Activating

Bhagavad Gita articulates, the nature of this work is varied according to the disposition of each individual. The physical practice of asana and focused awareness is, among other things, a way of giving the restless striving of the mind a clear context in the living, breathing body. This is therapeutic. And pragmatic. No profound work can be accomplished without the skillful application of the entire human organism: intellect, body, emotion and spirit. From the Yoga Sutra (1:12-16), I have learned that working itself is a highly refined art form, comprised of opposing qualities like abhyasa

Adam Grossi “Open to suggestion” (2012, gouache and acrylic on paper)

Through my practice, I’ve learned that enjoying work for what it is and softening the focus on achievement allows the work to progress and evolve with ease. Often the work is headed toward destinations much more fulfilling than the ones for which I had initially set out. I am the same intense man that I always have been, with the same double-edged genetic makeup, but I am less anxious. My work breathes — sometimes with hot steam and sometimes with a cool breeze. My discipline has softened, and yet also has become more effective and more expansive. 29


outdoor adventures to enjoy before winter

Maria Boustead The days are growing shorter, and Chicagoans know what that means. Cold is coming, and it won’t be pretty. Well, pretty perhaps, but pleasant? Definitely not. Before we transform into winter hermits, let’s enjoy these last few weeks of the season and head outside in the fresh, crisp autumn air. Here are four of my favorite outdoor activities for you to try before snowfall. 1. Cycle in the city Of the many picturesque bike routes in Chicago, the lakefront path is the most iconic and scenic. I ride along the lake from my home in Uptown to my office in the Loop in all seasons, but fall is particularly enchanting with the changing colors of the leaves and the breeze off of the lake. Although the north side of the trail is more popular, some true jewels are on the South Side of Chicago. For breathtaking views of the Loop, head south from Museum Campus to Promontory Point. Continue to the South Shore Cultural Center (7059 S. Shore Dr.), where the Obamas held their wedding reception in 1992. The Center’s Parrot Cage restaurant was voted Diners’ Top Choice best brunch 30

in Chicago in 2012 by Open Table. The Jazz Brunch is served buffet-style Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and features an omelette station, waffles and fried chicken wings.

accessible by Metra’s Union Pacific West Line. You can bring your bike on board when it isn’t rush hour. By car, take Interstate 88 to Highway 59 and go north.

2. Ride the Trails While I mainly bike in the city, at least once a year, I treat myself to some suburban trail riding. Paths are usually completely separated from traffic and therefore, more conducive to relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Trail riding in the fall means a less-crowded path, cooler weather and fewer bugs. Fox River Trail, 24.7 miles long and (mostly) paved, follows the River from St. Charles to Aurora. The long, green stretches and picturesque Fox River views are punctuated by charming commercial strips in Batavia and Geneva. Take a break to poke around antique shops and sip a hot chocolate at one of the old-timey restaurants. Of several landmarks gracing Fox River Trail, Fabyan Villa just south of Galena, is a must-see. The estate features Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Rest and collect your thoughts at the tranquil Japanese Gardens. The Fox River Trail is about 40 miles west of downtown Chicago and easily

3. Canoe in Chicagoland rivers Bikes and fall foliage aside, do not miss this last opportunity of 2013 to canoe or kayak in Chicagoland’s rivers. Savor fall’s radiant colors along Northern Illinois’s idyllic river valleys and footbridges. Head out to Fever River Outfitters in Galena for one of its popular canoe and kayak trips. The roughly two-hour trip launches four times daily through Oct. 31, from the outskirts of Galena to the Galena Boat Landing. Snacks are available to purchase at Fever River. Stop and browse in the shop (full disclosure: Fever River carries my Po Campo line of bags). For a river adventure closer to home, try Chicago River Canoe and Kayak’s guided Skyscraper Canyon tour. What a name. Experience our stunning architecture from river level. The 5.5-mile, round-trip tour starts at the edge of Chinatown and paddles north through Downtown, past River City, the Willis Tower and more.


The heart of a teacher:

Packing for an outdoor excursion • Apply sun protection before you head out. Use a facial moisturizer with sunscreen, such as Origins A Perfect World SPF 25. • Stay hydrated with a collapsible, reusable Vapur water bottle. • Satisfy hunger pangs without feeling weighed down with PROBAR’s new Fuel bars, which are certified organic, gluten-free and packed with chia seeds, nuts and superfruits. • A bag to hold it all and clip to your bike? Po Campo designer Maria Boustead suggests the Logan bag, available in four weatherproof fabrics. Use coupon code ILLUMINE for 15% off.

4. Walk a maze Located in the heart of Downtown, the St. James Cathedral Walking Labyrinth is nestled in a plaza just off Michigan Avenue at 65 E. Huron St. It’s free and open to the public 24 hours a day. The difference between walking a maze and taking a regular walk is that you won’t go far physically, but mentally you will arrive at a different place. Try walking the labyrinth until you forget where you are walking; by then, you will be calm and steady. After experiencing the maze, poke around the cathedral, the oldest Episcopal church in the city. Its walls and bell tower predate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. According to, Abraham Lincoln visited the church the day after he was elected president in 1860. Use these last crisp, cool days of fall to explore new vistas and scenic routes by bike, by boat and on foot. Not only will you enjoy the adventures now, but you will also create warm memories for the long winter months ahead.

Maty Ezraty Chris de Lizer with DeePaola Picasso A pioneer in the yoga world, Maty Ezraty studied with Shri K. Pattabhi Jois and with Iyengar teachers Dona Holleman and Gabriella Giubilaro. In 1987, at age 23, Ezraty and partners Chuck Miller and Alan Finger opened YogaWorks in Santa Monica, Calif. She and Lisa Walford directed its teacher training program for over 16 years. Many yoga teachers who went on to international acclaim began as Ezraty’s students in the teacher training at YogaWorks. In 2005, Ezraty and her partners sold YogaWorks to an investor group, and Ezraty focused on teaching and traveling around the world to share her love and knowledge of yoga. Jul. 12-28, 2013, Pure Yoga, New York City Local teachers Chris de Lizer and DeePaola Picasso attended Maty’s workshop and share their experiences. Mysore Practice Unlike traditional Mysore (selfpractice), props were favored. Ezraty gave each of the 50 students a personal sequence. To prepare the shoulders, some sat in Sukhasana (Easy pose) and held a block above their head. In backbends, students used a block between the feet and a strap around the forearms. No one dropped back or came up unassisted. By the end of the two weeks, you could feel the rhythm and harmony of the Mysore room. Everyone practiced with consciousness and intention. At the wall for standing poses, Chris de Lizer created a rooted foundation and a correct alignment. Slowing down Mysore practice was a bit tedious

and frustrating at first. Ezraty reminded us that when “alignment becomes natural, the breath and the mind create a balance.” By the end, de Lizer found the practice to be a moving meditation. The afternoon and weekend sessions focused on a sequence and a theme, using props. In each asana, Ezraty created the foundation of the pose and explained its mechanics. We partnered for hands-on adjustment. The restorative and pranayama practice with bolsters, straps, blocks and blankets was a favorite with students. Finally, we reach Savasana, “our beginning.” Ezraty said Savasana is “probably the most important asana in the class” as we start “to work towards being able to meditate.” The Mysore practice created an individual awareness and fostered a mindful approach to the asanas. Ezraty reminds us that the poses are “just the vehicle we are using to build attention.” She asked us, “What is vinyasa?” Although linking breath to movement is a logical answer, she said, “It is a gradual progression that is appropriate for you.” Even now during practice, de Lizer hears Ezraty’s voice: “Press down, reach up, hip bones up, buttocks down” and Ezraty’s signature phrase, “Don’t tighten your tuchis.” Other gems were “Add, don’t subtract,” “Don’t make it fancy” and “No drama.” Take advantage of the opportunity to build attention and advance your practice with Ezraty on Nov. 15-17 at yogaview Lincoln Park.

See for complete calendar of upcoming workshops and events.



Photo by Loong Chen taken at OON


Can we eat out together? Loong Chen


Chicago is a lively restaurant city with no shortage of dining options by cuisine and by budget. Likewise, many restaurant patrons have dietary preferences, restrictions and even allergies (“Is there peanut oil in your Pad Thai?”). The omnivores and the pescetarians, the raw vegans and the gluten-free, can we all be satisfied at the same table for a meal? Yes! Follow these guidelines, gather your friends and celebrate at a restaurant among my top picks reviewed here and online at Go local. More local chefs are showcasing vegetables as main courses, instead of as side dishes, and touting their responsibly sourced farm fresh produce and even in-house vegetable garden. Burger joints are offering new takes on the veggie burger and an expanding array of salads and sides. Travel the globe. Certain cuisines (e.g., Indian, Mediterranean, Italian) lend themselves more naturally to non-meat eaters and even offer something for most, if not everyone. A Middle Eastern café offers schwarma and kebabs for the meat lover and hummus, couscous and roasted vegetables for the vegan. Tap the app. The Chef’s Feed app highlights favorite dishes of some of Chicago’s most admired chefs, including Paul Kahan and Bill Kim. Taste Savant bills itself as the “opposite of Yelp.” It aggregates ratings from critics, bloggers, chefs and your friends, and offers curated recommendations. Tip: Use the vegetarian filter. Call ahead or ask your server. That tasty mussel dish with tomatoes and peppers may get its extra kick from chorizo. Most menus do not list a dish’s complete ingredients or methods of preparation. Staff can suggest modifications and substitutions to accommodate your dietary restrictions.

Loong’s Top Pick: OON OON’s Foraged dish features braised daikon and maitake mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and a ginger-carrot purée.

OON (802 W. Randolph St., West Loop) opened July 2013 in the same stretch of Randolph as some of Chicago’s busiest restaurants. Artfully presented small and large plates mix Southeast Asian influences with western ingredients. The menu offers a good selection of seafood and vegetarian dishes, along with meat courses. A particularly noteworthy dish is the bowl of mussels served in a curry broth, good enough to be mopped up with a fried bao (bread). 33


shares with illumine

Champagne mango with Thai flavors Yield: approximately 18 ounces 30 grams sugar 120 grams warm water 2 1/2 grams kaffir lime leaf [available at an Asian grocer] 2 grams green cardamom 2 grams coriander seed 2 grams galangal 240 grams ripe champagne mango juice 120 grams coconut milk 100 grams lime juice


Dissolve sugar into the warm water. With a mortar and pestle, pulverize kaffir lime leaf, green cardamom, coriander seed and galangal. Add the pulverized spices to the sugar water mixture, and let cool. While the spices infuse, peel, seed and juice the mangos. Strain the spices from the water and combine all liquids: sugar water mixture, mango juice, coconut milk and lime juice. (Recipe courtesy of Robert Murphy, Director of Non-alcoholic Pairings, NEXT Restaurant)


(Photo/Christian Seel, photographer and videographer for Alinea Restaurant, The Aviary and NEXT Restaurant)

NEXT Restaurant dazzles diners with their limited run menu throughout the year. In their introduction to the Vegan meal, they averred, “It’s time for vegetables to take the lead.” Indeed, and they paired the 20-course meal with nonalcoholic beverage options. This Mango Coconut drink stole the show.

yogaview teacher trainings and continuing education for teachers visit for details


For students new to yogaview— $29 for 2 weeks of unlimited yoga Weekend Retreat in Grand Beach, Michigan with Quinn Kearney, Tom Quinn and Claire Mark, October 4-6 Weekend Workshop with Maty Ezraty, November 15-17 Please visit for additional retreats, workshops, class schedules and upcoming events.

2211 N. Elston, Chicago 1745 W. Division, Chicago 1231 Green Bay Road, Wilmette 773.342.YOGA 35



9:46:04 AM










459 Central Avenue 847-432-9642(Yoga)

Highland Park, IL 60035

Combining the best practices of holistic nutrition and personal development counseling, Aura Yoga & Wellness’ programs create a foundation for whole body nourishment. With a holistic and integrative approach, Aura Yoga & Wellness provides support on: Self-Care Practices • Goal Setting • Self-esteem & Empowerment • Stress Management • Nutritional Cleansing & Detox • Weight Management • Natural & Whole Foods • Seasonal Eating • Food Preparation & Cooking • Relationship with Food & Overeating • Work/Life Balance • Movement & Yoga • Breathing & Meditation

aurayoga wellness

85-hour Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training program begins early 2014

stacy levy certified holistic health coach & yoga instructor contact: 773-463-YOGA (9642) 4663 N. Rockwell, Chicago, IL 60625

Free Health History Consultation with mention of this ad 37

Grateful Yoga weekly all-levels hatha classes inspired by Kripalu ParaYoga Phoenix Rising iRest yoga therapy & private instruction

What was it you ate ?

Yearly Retreat

Yoga Therapy

Allowing for Autumn: A Yoga & Meditation Retreat with Nick and Lela Beem Sunday, October 20, 9a-5p Lakeview Room, Wilmette

Yoga for Emotional Balance with Corinne Peterson Thursdays, 6:30-8p, Sept 19 - Oct 24

In-Depth Study Yoga for Structural Balance Free & Balance the Pelvis: Sat, Sept 28, 2-4:30p Neck & Shoulders: Mobilize, Stabilize & Align: Sun, Sept 29, 3:30-6p

Prenatal & Postnatal Life After Birth: Yoga for the Postpartum Body with Lela Sundays, 2-3p, Sept 15 - Oct 6 and Oct 27 - Nov 17

Dinacharya, The Art of Self-Care: A Yoga & Ayurveda Series with Yoli Maya Yeh Saturdays, Oct 5 - 26, 2-4p

Meditation & Relaxation Foundations of Mindfulness: A Meditation Series with Lela Saturdays, 8:30-9:30a Sept 7 - 21 and Oct 12 - 26 Rested & Renewed: A Yogic Approach to Sleep & Relaxation with Rhoda Miriam Mondays, Oct 21 - Nov 4, 6:45-8:00p

1108 Davis St, Evanston /

You eat healthy but somehow you still get bloated, gassy, & an upset stomach. Where did you go wrong? What was it Sick you ate ? again this

Is that whole season? Stressed? tub of chocolate almond butter 70% of your immune gone in 1day system is in again your You do not find a ? gut.

Yoga classes, privates and Yoga from Scratch 38

healthy life, you create It. CreateWithKLA Schedule your FREE breakthrough session with Katarina now!

Trayci Handelman 847.903.4775

773.492.1646 Katarina Arneric Certified Health Coach E-RYT200 Healthy Lifestyle Expert Digestive Health Stress Management Emotional Eating Corporate Wellness 39

Yoga glow on the go Lourdes Paredes

Local stylist Lee Goldenstein shows the urban yogini how to build upon your leggings and yoga top to make the transition from the mat. Dressing beyond spandex is necessary at times. What looked fresh pre-yoga may look wilted post-yoga class. Goldenstein offers Illumine readers inspiration from Oak Street to dress up a basic yoga outfit of leggings and a cami.

OLIVER PEOPLES - $365 Oliver Peoples

JOIE - $228 Intermix


With this flawless addition of a lace tee, blazer that hits below the hips, patent oxfords and suglasses, no one will notice that you negotiated Urdhva Dhanurasana in the same base layer as you negotiate your latest contract. OTTOTREDICI - $425 Barneys CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN - $795 Neiman Marcus THEYSKENS’ THEORY - $690 Barneys

IRO - $798 Scoop


Your date will admire your yoga glow with this combination of modern shirt under a sleek jacket and scarf, paired with a low-wedge peep-toe bootie. HELMUT LANG - $320 Intermix PROENZA SCHOULER - call for price Intermix FORGET ME NOT - $475 Barneys

BARNEYS NEW YORK - $475 Barneys

OUT WITH THE GIRLS A silk top and scarf, ballet slippers and catch-all purse create a polished look to go from Savasana to kombucha with your girlfriends.

CHLOE - $485 Net-A-Porter NINA RICCI - $990 Barneys


YOGA WEAR TO EVERYDAY WEAR Chicago designers find inspiration on and off the mat. Linda Mura O’Toole THERESE KUEMPEL JEWELRY Designed with clean lines, strong materials and unexpected shapes, Therese Kuempel’s necklaces and earrings provide a distinct contrast to traditional yoga-based imagery. Kuempel is a metalsmith and sculptor based in Chicago whose inspiration comes from nature. “My work is inspired by the investigation of natural processes: how things grow, bud off and reproduce,” said Kuempel. She works primarily in metal, creating one-of-a-kind pieces and “aims to suspend the viewer in an ethereal place: a place between the impermanent, delicate organic and the impenetrable, industrial qualities of metal and polymer.” In September, Kuempel’s collection was featured in Wicker Park at the Renegade Craft Fair, a curated indie-craft marketplace showcasing the brightest talents in contemporary craft and design.

GOOD KARMA Slip into one of Good Karma’s cotton tees, and you’ll instantly feel luxurious and inspired. From Brahma (the Hindu god of creation and the universe) to Happy Buddha (enlightened one), Chicago-based designer Judy Lichtenstein combines silkscreen yoga-based designs with soft, “distressed” cotton shirts. Lichtenstein has been creating wearable art for 30 years. Her handcrafted creations are sold in boutiques, spas, museum shops and department stores nationwide, including, for 10 years, at Barneys and Takashimaya in New York. “Although I use well-known deities,” said Lichtenstein, “I make everything unique by adding my own artistic twist.” Currently she’s designing a line for Chicago’s East Bank Club. A portion of the proceeds from Good Karma Tees goes to the Global Orphan Project, an international orphan care ministry headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.

APRILSTAR When you see AprilStar’s jewelry collection, you can’t resist immediately picking up and trying on the pieces. There’s something uniquely inviting about the beads, malas, stones and precious gems — maybe it’s the way the cool stones feel against your skin. Designer April Cohen Urdan creates “spiritual jewelry out of a desire to dream.” The charms and amulets are selected from regional artists in India, China and Tibet. The bracelets and necklaces make for bold statements to be worn alone or in combination with other pieces from the collection. Using leather, black diamond Oms, and Buddhas made from Tibetan ox bone and pearl horns, AprilStar’s line is distinctive and affordable. April Cohen Urdan: (312) 532-5666

SECOND CUT On any given day, you’ll find Laura Merlo in a studio of one sort — either teaching vinyasa flow yoga or designing handmade, one-ofa-kind tees. Merlo’s entry into the design world isn’t surprising; she studied fine arts and oil painting at the University of Illinois. Her entry into the clothing business is more serendipitous. Two years ago, Merlo discovered her husband's well worn and slightly faded Pink Floyd T-shirt. She recalls that she cut and hand stitched it, creating a contemporary, oneof-a kind top. Friends and family encouraged her to make more designs. Today Merlo’s company, Second Cut, sells tees and hoodies at Reach Yoga in Glencoe and yogaview in Wilmette. If you stop by either studio, you might be lucky enough to pick up a Second Cut “Namaste” tee while practicing your Downward Dog in a class with Merlo. Laura Merlo: (312) 933-2356 PHOTOS BY ASHLEY WU ON LOCATION AT REACH YOGA STUDIO IN GLENCOE, ILL. AND COURTESY OF THERESE KUEMPEL


An illumined life will regularly feature the manifesto of an inspiring Chicagoan. Send your nomination to

An illumined life Smile... At a stranger With the ones you love When no one else is around Give... Back Unconditionally Thanks Take... Feedback Nothing for granted A moment Work... Harder than ever before On your goals Out Love... What you do Your friends and family Yourself Jonny Vu 33 years old CrossFit seminar staff

Photography by Mary Carol Fitzgerald 2013

42 43


Illumine Magazine - Premier issue  

Illumine Chicago is here. Your new yoga-inspired magazine. A magazine for leading a more yogic lifestyle.

Illumine Magazine - Premier issue  

Illumine Chicago is here. Your new yoga-inspired magazine. A magazine for leading a more yogic lifestyle.