VOL. 1 NO. 3 SPRING 2014
Keeping the wisdom alive
Rod Stryker So you want to be a
Tom Quinn in Trikonasana
Private, Semi-Private & Group Yoga
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Contributors Adam Grossi is fascinated by the shape and structure of normalcy, using both visual art and yoga to refine his understanding of the world and increase his empathy for the other beings in it. He practices and teaches primarily at Tejas Yoga in the South Loop.
Kylie Gordon works in strategic communications at Stanford University. She’s a certified yoga instructor, and when she carves out the time, a poet. A Chicago native, Kylie now lives in the beautiful and whimsical San Francisco Bay Area.
Katarina Arneric is a yoga teacher, health coach and dancer. She has a degree in dance from the University of Texas and was certified as a health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Ashley currently studies journalism at Northwestern University. She loves design, graphics, photography, and music. She has been playing the flute for nine years. She loves burgers, thrift shops, Netflix, and runing outside. She hopes to travel the world one day.
Letter from the editor Julia Jonson
I love the way spring affords us the opportunity to begin anew, to get off on the right foot. It’s seasonal rebirth; a time when flowers bud, then blossom into radiant displays. This season and its colors inspire us to tap into our creative potential and grow vibrantly. Before the seeds of new growth can sprout, symbolic weeding is often needed. Enter the cleansing process, which can be as much about what we eliminate from our diets as what we let go of from our lives. In his article “The Path of Breath,” Adam Grossi (page 33) asks us to slow down and breathe with the subtle practice of pranayama. In the process, we learn more about our “inner space,” getting to the root and ultimately letting go of toxic emotions that hinder growth. Finding the breath can help to reframe negative thoughts that prevent us from growing -- and reveal the gift of being alive. “Clearing the Air” (page 31) provides a step-by-step guide to making the air we breathe at home cleaner and safer. In this article, Brooke Cline offers practical advice for our living spaces. Certified health coach, Katarina Arneric (“A Doable Detox” page 32) suggests a simple approach to cleaning up our diets in lieu of a juice cleanse or a fast. She offers a gradual introduction of cleansing practices developing into daily life habits. Renewal -- indeed, all change -- occurs outside of our comfort zone. Fulfilling a dream of becoming a yoga teacher can seem daunting with the myriad training programs available. Linda O’Toole demystifies the process in her comprehensive look at teacher training offerings (page 16) in the Chicago area. Yogaview co-owner, Tom Quinn, opens up about his path to becoming a locally renowned teacher and shares some of his life’s journeys in a lively discussion with writer Paul Tootalian (page 8). Rod Stryker, the Los Angeles-based Parayoga founder, reflects on the student/teacher relationship (“Keeping Wisdom Alive” page 26). The teachings of yoga remind us that we are all interconnected -- that our individual actions have impact beyond ourselves and that each time we act in a way that honors ourselves, we all benefit. In “Organic Matters,” Kylie Gordon examines how we can do a better job of taking care of our planet through organic farming. She describes one such California farm as “a breathtaking 1,800-acre paradise,” and “a model of sustainable organic agriculture.” Gordon’s conversation with the farm’s owner (page 34) She introduces us to Silvia Croce, a former Highland Park resident, who inspires us to take better care of ourselves and the environment. May this season of renewal offer you a fresh approach to life, and awaken within you the seeds of long-lasting, positive change.
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Volume 1, Issue 3 Spring 2014 Founder and Yogini-in-Charge Lourdes Paredes Managing Editor Julia Jonson Advisory Editor Heidi Schlumpf Publishers Jason Campbell Lourdes Paredes Print Design Jason Campbell Web Design Laura Fairman Social Media Jane Rubin Art Jillian Schiavi Ashley Wu Sales and Marketing Lisa Gordon (Advisor) Kristin Osborne (Accounts Rep) Writers Katarina Arneric, Marci Barth, Jaclyn Bauer, Leela Beem, Ryan Blume, Debi Buzil, Brooke Cline, Kyle Gati, Kylie Gordon, Adam Grossi, Carol Horton, Julia Jonson, Jim Kulackoski, Ruth Diab Lederer, Linda O’Toole, Kimberlee Ovnik, Suzanne Norman, Lourdes Paredes, Robin Schwartzman, Paul Tootalian, Pam Udell Contributor Nick Beem Editors/Proofreaders Andrew Gurvey, Ruth Diab Lederer Heidi Schlumpf, Bill Sullivan Jennifer Ward, Danielle Zhu Distribution Cari Barcas, Cathy Beres, Trayci Handleman, Carol Horton, Karla Huffman, Julia Jonson, James Soare Submissions@illuminechicago.com Advertise@illuminechicago.com Subscription@illuminechicago.com
ON THE MAT Teacher feature: Top Quinn
Workshop preview: Yoga for the Special ChildÂŽ
Finding the right teacher training program
Keeping the wisdom alive
The path of breath
OFF THE MAT Artist profile: Ryan Blume
Spirit and Heart: Mark Anthony Lord
Chicagoâ€™s best veggie burger
Milk & cookies: Comfort food revisited
Cover Photo: Tom Quinn by Scott Shigley at Yoga View.
Get over it!
Sutra in the city Illustration: Ashley Wu
I’m on my way to Las Vegas, an unlikely destination for this yogini. Yet here I am on the runway. My two brothers and I have a job to do: we are going to distribute my mother’s ashes. Her ivory urn has been at my house for some time, and I’ve held ambivalent and heavy feelings about keeping it there. Whenever I asked my brother Mark to take the gold-veined vessel, he had replied, “Hey, Deb, I gotta go!” He would take off, both of us laughing. A plan has been put into action, but suddenly I can’t let the ashes go. What is this grasping, this obsessing? My “yoga backpack,” filled with lessons learned through practice and study, comes to my rescue. Aparigraha--yes, that’s it! Patanjali’s fifth Yama, or “inner facet,” says I must stay on the path of acknowledging abundance to set my mind at ease. Sutra 2.39—“One who perseveres on the path of non-covetousness gains deep understanding of the meaning of life (aparigraha sthairye janma kathanta sambodhah).” Why am I trying to hold on? What is it that I lost and for which I am grieving? Is it possible I’m holding on to something I no longer need? What do we hold close that we no longer need?
Aparigraha helps facilitate inner cleansing through letting go. By detoxifying the mind, you declutter your environment. Surrendering in this way is akin to cleaning out a computer hard drive. With a clean slate, it’s easier to recognize the perfection all around you and gain insights into your purpose. Easier said than done, but there are many ways to practice non-grasping. The stillness of meditation settles the mind. You could also set a timer for 15 minutes and empty out a closet or clean out a drawer, purging the lingering apprehensions of needing something. Selfless service, or Seva, is yet another way to let go of clinging. Seva can help you develop a sense of gratitude for both inner and outer abundance. With my yogic skills intact, I sit on the plane preparing for this adventure of the spirit. My mother, with her wild hair and untamed soul, left this world so unexpectedly, so abruptly and even tragically. Two years later, my brothers and I are still reeling with grief and disbelief. Challenging as it may be, I will let go of my mother’s ashes knowing she will not be with me any less. Putting aparigraha into practice will serve me well to keep her essence, not her ashes, close to my heart.
y two greatest passions in life are yoga and art. I feel blessed to have been able to combine the two through my illustrations. My style of yogicinspired artwork is focused on the human form, its anatomic features and the prana (life energy) that surrounds us. My work depicts how human beings are so delicately connected to our surroundings and how the outer world mingles with our inner world. In my illustrations, the same organic shapes that make up the figure also make and merge with the surrounding space. This emphasis on figure and environment cohesion speaks to how our movements and actions have an effect on our environment and vice-versa. My brother, Adam Blume, is a stained glass architect. He and I blended our art forms to create yogic stained glass windows. When light shines through our collaborations they then epitomize the effects yoga has on body, mind and spirit.
Artwork and Photo: Ryan Blume
Our works have most recently been displayed at lululemon athletica on Rush Street in Chicago, Sweat on State, Pure Barre in the Lakeview neighborhood and Both Sides Art Gallery.
Pranayama 2012, Prisma Color marker Strathmore drawing paper (18â€? x 24â€?)
A man of poetic movement
From rugby to reverse warrior Referencing a Hindu symbol of physical strength is opportune and to the point, considering Tom is 6’ 4” and 240 lbs. It is no surprise then that athleticism played a role in his initial pursuit of yoga. Quinn recalls “during college at The University of Illinois I played rugby and was selected to the Junior National Team. After moving to Chicago, I was introduced to yoga by taking Gabriel Halpern’s Intro to Yoga course. Initially, I found this static form of Iyengar Yoga with a lot of stretching really challenging. But Gabriel also turned me on to a lot of cool philosophy, feeding my interest in Eastern spiritual practices - Hinduism, Buddhism, others forms of meditation and liberation practices. It all resonated, and a seed was planted.”
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Retiring from rugby that season, Tom soon after seriously pursued yoga with a return trip to India. Eventually, he did a six-month study in Mysore under esteemed teacher Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, direct student of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, developer of Ashtanga Yoga, one of the most influential styles of practice today. Returning to the states, his learning continued with top American teachers like Boulder, Colorado-based Richard Freeman and Encinitas, California’s Tim Miller, credited with being the first to bring Ashtanga ,ogacihC .eto vA trophtuoS .N 6493 Vinyasa the States.
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“Fast forward a few years later, and a sabbatical had me traveling around the world, visiting Tibet and India, far-away places that blew my mind, bringing about a major shift. When I went back to rugby, I was on tour in England, and on the first play, the kickoff, I tackled someone and my whole side just went dead. As I was lying there, I thought, ‘Yoga or rugby? Maybe it’s time to make the switch.’ ”
Tom Quinn is transmitting super powers. Not the mutant skills of hackneyed Hollywood stories drawn from old Marvel comic books. No, these are more the special abilities conveyed in epic Indian books of poetry like The Ramayana, the kind of capabilities fostered by ancient spiritual practices. “Hanuman is a Hindu deity, a Varana or a monkey-like humanoid,” Tom explains at the start of his Level 1-2 class at his Yogaview Lincoln Park studio, one of three in the Chicago area, including Wilmette and Wicker Park. “Devoted to Rama, he was sent to find a healing herb, but when he’s unable to locate it exactly, he lifts up the entire mountain where it grows and delivers that instead.” This is just one of several colorful stories, anecdotes and poems Tom Quinn uses in the singular teaching style of one of the Chicago area’s most learned, yet refreshingly laid-back, yoga teachers.
Photo: Giacobazzi Yanez
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Family comes first
On death and spiritual liberation
After traveling between the U.S. and India for a few years, the birth of son Galen inspired a return to Chicago. Along with his impassioned commitment to learning and teaching, being a father to Galen, age 14, and daughters Soleia and Serena, 11 and 5 respectively, guides Tom’s life as a “householder” (in Buddhism, a “householder” is used synonymously for a “layperson,” in contrast to a Buddhist monastic, or one who has “abandoned home”). Quinn shares that “after the birth of my first son I could have gone back to working in the business world, but I chose to keep teaching, which was really what I loved. Now, I’m supporting myself teaching yoga, raising kids and balancing all that with the responsibilities of running a business. It’s a blessing; it’s just a different kind of dharma as to my duties in this life. I actually think its more realistic in today’s world, when you consider where yoga came from and where its going; starting outside the boundaries of normal society and now becoming more mainstream. So here I am following a similar arc, if you will, as a householder, a father, a teacher and a businessman, and I really have to walk the talk. So yeah, it’s a full plate and we have a busy house.” A great boon is Tom’s wife Jessica, also a yoga teacher and massage therapist.
Offering his many perspectives on teaching, learning and life, I asked Tom about death. “Unfortunately, I had to deal with loss first hand this year with the passing of my own father. Obviously it’s a powerful metaphor for the practice of yoga, or any spiritual practice, to face our ultimate common denominator, impermanence. Facing and living with that paradox, that mystery, allows us to live a richer, fuller life in the present moment. To me that’s what it’s all about. I think there’s that line that we work with, that razor’s edge, whether it’s meditation or yoga or the indigenous traditions (harkening to his exploration of other shamanic practices, working with Native American tribes in South Dakota and indigenous traditions in South America). “We work to balance on that edge, to understand what it means to be embracing everything fully and letting go at the same time. To me, that’s the practice.” Dropping into pigeon pose and poetry Life, death and silence all play parts in Tom’s yogic philosophy, as does right speech and even poetry. “I see the practice and poetry going together, this aspect of seeing things from a
different angle. I would even consider Mary Oliver to be more my guru than anyone else.” Mary Oliver is the American poet known for her clear, poignant observations of the natural world, words that combine dark introspection with joyous release. “She’s an enlightened being offering simple, elegant, powerful perspectives on what it means to be alive. And I’m always blessed to be able to convey that.” At the close of class, this bigger perspective on life, death and spiritual practice has him offering up the sweet ending to Oliver’s “Peonies” as bodies surrender in corpse pose all around.
Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath? Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness, fill your arms with the white and pink flowers, with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever?
Nurture and grow your practice.
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Bija mantra The seed of creation Art and Photos: Jillian Schiavi
Jim Kulackoski have had a life-long fascination with various modes of thought and numerous philosophies. Even as a child, I pondered the nature of reality. Who or what am I? What is “existence,” and where does it occur? I felt perplexed by the idea of an infinitely vast and expansive universe -- a context so much larger than my lone self but one in which I seemed to play an important part -- if for no other reason than the fact that “I” was experiencing it. These questions led me to examine the concepts of time and space, infinity and eternity, ideas so enormous, I could barely wrap my mind around them. My curiosity ultimately led me to yoga. My first recollection of yoga was from a 1970s film. I don’t recall the name of the film, but in it, a bald man in a colorful robe sat, legs crossed, in the corner of a room. His hands were poised in a distinctive manner and his were eyes closed as he made a series of unusual noises. Although I had no idea what the man in the movie was doing, I was fascinated. Why would anyone do something so peculiar unless it was important? Growing up in rural North Dakota, I didn’t think much more about yoga beyond this somewhat comical clip. It wasn’t until my late teens that I suddenly felt an urge to actually learn about yoga. My pursuit led me to the public library where I checked out every book I could find on the subject of yoga. What I mostly found were numbers of books filled with dated images of women in leotards demonstrating various physical postures and a lot of philosophy, most of which I found to be incomprehensible. However, as I began teaching myself these postures, the philosophy became easier to understand. None of it, however, resembled my first impression of yoga from that childhood memory of the bald yogi in the movie. Years later I was initiated into a meditation technique in which I received a mantra, a specific Sanskrit word chosen for its sound value rather than its meaning, or so I was told. The mantra was to be used as a direction of attention in a particular practice of meditation called dhyana. Learning of this technique brought me closer to that first impression of yoga. It was also this technique that led me to a deeper understanding of yoga as a science, one which
allows an individual to comprehend who and what they are in relationship to the universe they inhabit. The Sanskrit word mantra is commonly used in contemporary culture and is generally translated as “sound.” In Tantric cosmology, as well as a number of contemporary quantum theories, the material universe is composed of sound at its most basic or fundamental level. In Tantra, it is the sound wave or shabdha that creates the potential for time and space. The peaks and valleys of the wave define space itself, and the alternation between the peaks and valleys gives the experience of time. The Sanskrit language is considered cosmic because the specific sounds that construct the words are said to closely mimic the sounds of the actual concept they are conveying. The word mantra is constructed from the Sanskrit roots man, meaning “mind” and tra, meaning “vehicle” or “means” by which something is accomplished. A mantra, therefore, could be said to be a vehicle of the mind. According to Samkhya, a philosophy from which yoga draws its methodologies, the mind is the mechanism that allows for the occurrence and observation of thought. Everything that one experiences, comprehends or does ultimately has its basis in thought. The purpose of the mind is that it allows for sentience, the ability to consciously generate, realize and organize specific thoughts, resulting in the creation of the individual universe one inhabits. Thoughts, like everything else, are composed of sound. The vibrations that constitute thoughts, however, are so subtle that they are only comprehended within the mechanism of the mind, rather than with the gross sense of hearing. Although thoughts may be appreciated as language on the conscious level, subconsciously they exist as concise impulses that contain whole and complete ideas. Mantra and thought are ultimately the same, both referring to the subtlest level of creation, the vibratory impulse that calls forth names and forms into existence. Language exists as a means to arrange, codify and communicate individual thoughts, allowing for greater complexity and variation within the
process of creation, resulting in the potential for an infinitely diverse universe. It is through language alone that we as humans have the means to conceptualize and create -- from music and art, to skyscrapers and computers. It could be said that a purpose of being human is to responsibly use our abilities to think and to produce mantras in order that the Universe may evolve. The Sanskrit language is based upon an ancient Vedic language consisting of single syllable sounds called bija mantras. Bija means “seed.” A bija mantra is a seed sound or complete idea distilled into a single syllable or several simple syllables. In other words, a bija mantra expresses—and contains within it—an entire paradigm in seed form. Each bija conveys a particular possibility, an impulse of intelligence from which creation arises. One well known bija has a meaning so broad it encompasses the entire range of what is probable and possible. This mantra is “Aum,” or “Om.” “Om” carries within it the entire spectrum of possibilities available in the entire universe. The meditation technique I learned, and that I found to be so profound, used such a mantra. The practice of this technique allowed me to transcend the level of my conscious mind in which I only perceived the mantra as a meaningless sound, in favor of comprehending its complex meaning on a level beyond what I normally recognize as conscious. In doing so, I glimpsed the aim of yoga, an experience resulting from awareness of the most subtle state of my own consciousness. In this state, my awareness became so expanded, it transcended the limitations of my own identity, as well as my own personal limitations of perception as an individual and as a human. I realized this to be the fundamental state inherent in everyone and in everything. As I continue my study and research into yoga, the Vedas and Tantras, as well as my own consciousness, I continue to be fascinated as I explore the entire range of possibilities the science of yoga affords. Thinking back on the image of the yogi in that film, I am grateful that “seed” was planted in my awareness.
continues on page 12 illuminechicago.com
continued from page 11 The following are some powerful, yet commonly used bija mantras. Chanting or using them in meditation can enliven the meaning of the mantra in the practitioner.
Aum (pronounced OM)
The sum total of all possibilities and all probabilities. The seed of all sounds and all of creation. All other bija mantras reflect a particular possibility in relation to this AUM, and all other mantras originate from AUM. Therefore, it is recited before reciting other mantras.
Aim (pronounced AIYEEM)
The idea of creative intelligence, the organizational and creative power of nature. AIM Is personified as Sarasvati, the goddess of music, academics, language and intelligence.
Hrim (pronounced HREEM)
Shrim (pronounced SHREEM)
The idea of Soma, the possibility of coherence that allows for the material universe to exist. This mantra is personified as Lakshmi, the goddess of love, devotion, beauty and abundance.
Gam (pronounced GUM)
The creation of space in which something can occur. This mantra is personified as Ganesha, the remover of obstacles that creates the proper space for an intention to be realized. This mantra can be chanted before embarking on any endeavor to create the proper space for its fulfillment.
inversions Pam Udell When you think of yoga, flying mammals that hang upside down are usually not what comes to mind. However, bats and yogis do share one thing in common: They both invert their bodies. When bats are at rest, they hang upside down. Among other reasons, bats invert to lower their breathing and heart rate during hibernation. Inversions can also alleviate pressure in the joints. According to bewellbuzz.com, bats and sloths are the only creatures not afflicted with osteoarthritis. Inversions are good for humans for the same reasons. Inverted postures can help temporarily lower heart rate and blood pressure. As an added benefit, going upside down can also facilitate the movement of lymph through the body, which helps with detoxification and strengthens the immune system. Your lymphatic system works like a well-oiled waste removal machine. It affects every organ and cell in the human body carrying nutrients to cells removing carbon dioxide and other waste. We have more than 600 lymph nodes which are the collection sites for the waste. Lymph is circulated by movement, so it would make sense that going upside down can stimulate the efficiency of the lymphatic system. The practice of yoga and, in particular, inverted postures, such as downward facing dog, legs up the wall, shoulder stand and headstand, can stimulate the lymphatic system and assist the process of removing toxins from the body. Just as bats ward off osteoarthritis by hanging upside down, natural health care providers use inversion tables and traction therapy to combat the condition and alleviate back pain. Thanks for hanging with me!
Photo: Reid T. Sanders
The primordial energy behind all things. HRIM is personified as the goddess Kali, the destroyer of illusion, allowing people to experience their true nature.
Going batty for
Sonia Sumar Creator of
Yoga for the Special Child®
Kimberlee Ovnik One of the many gifts of yoga is that it meets you where you are. Maybe that’s part of the reason why Sonia Sumar’s program, Yoga for the Special Child®, has become internationally recognized. Sumar, who used to live in Evanston, created the program in 1970 for children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and attention deficit disorder. Sumar says she sees miracles every day … kids who get healthier, develop better attention and children grow in self-confidence. On April 27th Sumar will be in Chicago instructing others to teach yoga to kids with special needs. She shares with illumine how the program began, how it works and the miracle of practice. How and when did your yoga journey start? I started in Brazil, around 1967, after receiving a book on Hatha Yoga by Indira Devi. It felt very familiar to me and I totally immersed myself in that practice. Years later I signed up for classes in a yoga school. My connection with yoga was so strong that I attended a teacher training program in 1974. After that, I began teaching. How did yoga for the special child manifest? That was in 1972, after giving birth to my second daughter, Roberta, who was born with Down syndrome. At that time, no one was talking about early intervention and my baby’s physician told me our only option would be to wait for seven years and she would qualify for a school for children with special needs. That sounded like an eternity, and I knew right away that I could not wait that long to help my baby.
How did yoga become an inspiration for you as a mom? Just by watching my daughter’s progress. In the beginning, I was only a mom trying to help her own child in any possible ways! However, God seemed to have another plan for us. As Roberta’s improvements started to show up, I was invited to work in a school for children with special needs and Yoga for the Special Child® and Roberta’s story started to spread around. Can you describe and share why yoga has such a profound effect on the development of children with special needs? Yoga has a profound effect on everyone who practices it with commitment and consistency. I had experienced the amazing benefits of yoga before Roberta was born. My inner world had been totally changed and the results were showing in the outside world as well. My husband was an alcoholic and life with him was a daily challenge. Yoga brought me the balance I needed to cope with the situations he was always creating around us. Since Down syndrome is a genetic condition, I knew that I could not heal my daughter. I knew yoga could help her to better understand and accept her condition. With yoga and a vegetarian diet, Roberta’s health improved. Her diet consisted of fruits, veggies and whole grains. It was devoid of white sugar and processed foods.
Photo provided by Sonia Sumar
Sonia Sumar travels the globe instructing and certifying students to teach “Yoga for the Special Child.”® The combination of her sacred wisdom and her personal experience is an incredible asset to this program. You can check out Sonia’s schedule at specialyoga.com
What is it about yoga that can help develop and shine a light on a child’s abilities? Yoga is not a competition and can be adapted to people of all ages and abilities. It does not focus on the external appearances. I follow the teachings of my Guruji Sri Swami Satchidananda, beloved founder of Integral Yoga. He taught that the goal of this practice, and the birthright of every person, is to realize the spiritual unity behind all of creation. He said it is about striving to live harmoniously as members of one universal family.
Musings from the mat Reflect on the inner space and regain balance.
Affiliates in Counseling
Why we keep coming back
day in the life…
I rush to class in my SUV, carving out just enough time between dropping off the kids, leaving work or finishing the laundry to squeeze in 75 minutes of stretching, twisting, flowing, sweating and deliberate breathing. After a final rest … Savasana, the yoga mat gets rolled up, the phone switched back on and the race to the next activity begins. This is a slice of life in modern American yoga. And we love it! But what brings us back to the yoga mat? Why do we rearrange our schedules to be sure we can fit in yoga?
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With all of the rushing around we do and the necessity that we be everywhere at once, time is like currency, and how we choose to spend it is the question. We could go to Zumba, spin class or dismiss the movement altogether and meet a friend at a coffee shop instead. It is clear that there is something truly fulfilling about yoga. A deep satisfaction comes from yoga practice through the routine of stretching, breathing and even sweating. By rolling out the mat day after day, week after week, something more begins to emerge, a depth that goes beyond the physical practice. This revelation that there is something more is the entrance to the spiritual side of yoga. When we describe yoga as a spiritual practice, it implies connection of the spirit to the mind and body—connection to the real Self, the Self that resides deep inside, the Self that was there before judgments, rules and social pressures, the Self that is joyful, free, loving and fearless. This Self is the true embodiment of You. And it is elusive. Modern psychologists like Carl Jung refer to this Self as the “whole self.” The Yoga Sutras call it divine consciousness. In her book, “Yoga PhD,” Carol Horton puts it this way: “The sense that my practice is enabling me to shed layer after layer of accumulated psycho-
emotional detritus has become stronger. It’s like peeling back layers of sediment that block my ability to access the light or witness consciousness more clearly.” This level of spiritual deepening is a tall order for a 75-minute yoga class. How does it work? As with all of the deep universal questions, the answer lies in simplicity. Over time, through the practice of yoga, a deeper connection is made to the vibrations beyond the physical body. As the practice of asana evolves, we are able to feel more and think less. Breathing with depth and consistency releases tension. A state of relaxation is attained, the parasympathetic nervous system activates, and the mind begins to quiet, to settle. The volume and density of the mental chatter decreases to reveal the internal vibration. That “feeling-tone,” as renowned yoga teacher and author Erich Schiffmann calls it, feels like home. There is now a connection to the Self in a somatic and energetic way. The body is more sensitive and the mind is less encumbered. We are closer to our center— our spirit. When we can get a glimpse of our soul, we feel awake and alive. When we sit up after Savasana, we feel stronger, longer, more spacious, energized and relaxed all at once. There is a sense we have tapped into our own inner light, even just in glimpses. And then we want it again. So we keep coming back to this physical practice of yoga because it teaches us that what we really need already exists within us. When we realize the connection and give it time and space to cultivate, it makes itself known. And so we keep coming back…
Marci is a devoted yogini and teacher on the North Shore. When she is not teaching or practicing, she is studying how yoga influences and guides her relationships in the real world.
Healing Power Yoga 15
HealingPowerYoga.com Highland Park IL 847-432-9642 (Yoga)
So you want to be a
Finding the right training program Linda O’Toole
Photo: Scott Shigley
In the mid-1990s, Chicago was the home of only a handful of yoga studios. Today it’s not unusual to see two or even three studios on a busy street like Clark Street or Lincoln Avenue. You can practice yoga at the health club, in the workplace or at the local park district. The centuries-old practice that teaches us how to connect to each other and ourselves is now commonplace in the Midwest. As the demand for 16
yoga grows, the training programs that prepare yogis to teach this venerable science and spiritual tradition are on the rise.
University in Los Angeles launched the first master’s degree program in Yoga Studies in the U.S. And it’s no surprise why this is happening.
Choosing a training program that fits your needs requires time and energy. There are many options; 200 hour, 300 hour, 500 hour, online, restorative, prenatal, power yoga, yoga sculpt … the list goes on. Last year Loyola Marymount
Nearly 20 million Americans practice yoga today, compared with 4.2 million in 2001. Yoga is the fastest-growing exercise activity in the U.S. so it’s only natural that the industry demand for teachers is on the rise. But how do you select a teacher training program?
For many yoga practitioners, choosing a teacher training program will require pratyahara (turning inward) and dharana (concentration). Focusing on these two stages of the eightlimb path of yoga will help to find the wisdom needed to make the right choice.
what inspires you to teach yoga,” he says. “Find a program that reflects that intention and offers a clear and detailed methodology of how to get there.”
Do your homework
Teacher training programs are rigorous and require a physical, mental and emotional commitment. Yoga Alliance, a nonprofit organization, registers teacher training programs that meet its minimum standards in 200-hour, 500-hour, prenatal and children’s. For example, at the 200-hour level, the Yoga Alliance breaks down how many hours should be spent on each part of the training, including teaching methodology, physiology and philosophy.
Lori Gaspar, director of Prairie Yoga in Lisle, launched the studio’s teacher training program in 2006. Today, the program is so popular they often have to turn people away. Gaspar recommends that students take time to investigate the available options. “There is a big difference in the quality of different teacher training programs. Not all good teachers make good teacher trainers,” Gaspar says. “Ask teachers you respect for recommendations. And talk to graduates of different programs to compare how well they were trained and how satisfied they were with the program.”
Timing is Everything
Yoga is a practice of self-study or “svadhyaya” and involves a great deal of
Quinn Kearney, co-owner of Yogaview in Chicago, shares a similar philosophy. “The best thing to do is research a program, see who’s teaching and what style is being taught. Do you like the type of yoga being taught? Do you want to teach with a script like Bikram or teach a flow class where you create your own sequence?” Be Inspired
illumine founder Lourdes Paredes and Pam Udell coteach the House of Shanti teacher training program at Healing Power Yoga in Highland Park. “I have always said it’s important to be inspired by and connect with the teacher because they are passing on information that you want to take root in your life,” says Paredes. Getting to know the program’s faculty beforehand is key, says Stacy Levy, a graduate of the Yogaview program. “Take their classes, immerse yourself in their community and experience it firsthand,” she says. “It is important that their ‘style’ resonates with you and also inspires you.” It’s also important to be clear about your own intentions, adds Jim Kulackoski, who leads a 500 hour advanced teacher training program at the Darshan Center. “Ask yourself why you would want to be a teacher. Be specific about
introspection and self-awareness. For example, Yogaview students are required to meditate by themselves or with the group for at least onehalf hour a day. “The program has an emphasis on self-understanding. We want students to go deeper into their own practice – that’s where people will learn to teach in the most effective way,” says Kearney. If you are working part- or full-time, schedule time to practice, teach, observe or assist in yoga class as part of your training. Knowledge of anatomy is such an integral and essential part of being an effective and successful yoga teacher. You’ll spend time studying the body, including key muscles and how to best provide a safe environment for your students. If you haven’t studied physiology since high school, this might require additional time spent at the library.
“A teacher training program is a big time commitment, so it is important to carve out time to devote to the program,” says Deb Wineman, co-leader of the program at Reach Yoga in Glencoe. Reach Yoga offers a summer intensive program and anticipates that the timing will appeal to people whose schedules tend to ease up in the summer. At What Cost? The average cost of a 200-hour teachertraining program is $3,000 plus an additional $100 or less for books. Some programs offer slight discounts for early registration. It’s a significant investment, and students should be realistic about a fulltime career as a yoga instructor. House of Shanti invites graduates to visit the weekly teacher training class to lead a class opening, meditation or simply observe the class. “Having the House of Shanti teachers available to continue to learn from—in and out of the studio—is priceless and has really allowed me the confidence to grow my own practice, as well as pass the endless knowledge to my students,” says Trayci Handelman, a House of Shanti teacher-training graduate. Training participants at Moksha Yoga Center receive a 20 percent discount on all workshops held at the studio’s three locations, including Satvic Nutrition, Prenatal Yoga, Kid’s Yoga, Ayurveda and Business. Students are also offered two apprenticeships Photo: Jim Kulackoski with a teacher of their choice, practice teaching opportunities and access to studio space for practice throughout the year. “We believe the most important aspect of a teacher training program is a community that lifts you to your highest goal,” says Zoey VanDuren, teacher training manager at Moksha. Yoga teacher and Moksha graduate Kayla Anderson says her class became very close and even continued to meet for dinner after graduation. “It was a very hands-on environment where we made a strong bond,” she says. “The program gave me a ‘voice’ and confidence to stand in front of a room and teach.”
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You’ve Received Your Certificate of Training. (Congratulations!) Now What? Once you’ve received your teaching certificate there are many opportunities to teach. You may opt to teach in a small setting such as a community recreation center, local Y or gym, or you may choose to teach private lessons to friends or colleagues or at a studio. Whatever the case, you’ll need liability insurance, available through Yoga Alliance, and the initiative to market yourself (and your classes). This can involve creating a website, flyers, brochures and business cards. Sharyn Galindo, teacher, owner and studio director of North Shore Yoga, oversees studios in Northfield, Evanston and Bannockburn. The studio offers 200 hour and 500 hour teachertraining programs, as well as several workshops for teachers and students. “There are a lot of criteria for hiring an instructor, “ Galindo says. “First of all I have to see each person teach. A lot depends on timing, availability and having the right person to teach the appropriate level class. New teachers also have to be willing to stick with it and build a class. Subbing for other teachers is a great way to get in front of students.” Easing into teaching is a good idea. “We recommend our students start teaching slowly and not take on too many classes too fast,” says Gaspar. “We invite them to return as a mentor in our future trainings. They learn a lot from participating in the training again for free. They learn the information again at a much deeper level, and mentors also get a lot of hands-on adjusting experience.” As you begin your journey, remember the teachings of Buddha: “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”
Linda O’Toole is a Registered Yoga Teacher and received her certificate of training from House of Shanti. She currently teaches at Reach Yoga in Glencoe.
Teacher-Training Programs 2014-2015 Visit us on the web
chicago.com Yoga Teacher-Training Programs Compiled by Linda O’Toole (start dates in 2014, unless otherwise specified)
April – July Samgha Yoga Shala, Jivamukti Affiliate Center 200 Hour Hatha Teacher Training Robert T. Pelaski (773) 348-6222 samghayoga.com May – June 2015 Darshan Center 500 Hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training Jim Kulackoski (773) 972-6745 darshancenter.com May 9 Core Power Yoga Five-week Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training June 18 Core Power Yoga Eight-Week Power and Hot Power Fusion Training Robyn Rabicke (847) 322-5942 corepoweryoga.com May – August The Lab 200 Hour cYoga Teacher Training Carmen Aguilar (312) 526-3467 labchicago.com June Prairie Yoga 200 Hour Summer Intensive Lori Gaspar (630) 968-3216 prairieyoga.com July – August Yogaview Level 1 (200 Hour) Teacher Training One-Month Summer Intensive Rachel Massey (773) 342-9642 yogaview.com June - August Reach Yoga 200 Hour Summer Intensive Teacher Training Dani Petrie (847) 786-4211 reachyogaglencoe.com
2014 Blue Sun Yoga Summer & Fall 200 Hour Intensive Teacher Training and Practice Intensive Wendy Dahl (847) 971-9835 bluesunyoga.com
October – October 2015 Himalayan Yoga & Meditation Center 200 Hour Teacher Training Diane McDonald (847) 221-5250 hymc.com
August 1-22 Moksha Yoga 200 Hour Foundational Program Zoey VanDuren (312) 942-9642 mokshayoga.com
January 2015 Heaven Meets Earth 200 Hour Teacher Training Lisa Faremouth Weber 847 475-1500 heavenmeetsearthyoga.com
September - November Chicago Yoga Center Hatha Yoga Theory and Practice Teacher Training Course, Level 2 Suddha Weixler (773) 327-3650 yogamind.com September – August 2015 Yoga Now Advanced Yoga Teacher Training 500 Hour Amy Beth Treciokas (312) 280-9642 yoganowchicago.com September – May 2015 Yoga Trek 200 Hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training Nicole Sopko (708) 660-0868 yogatrekcenter.com September – June 2015 Bloom Yoga Studio 200 Hour Teacher Training September – June 2015 Bloom Yoga Studio 300 Hour Teacher Training Kerry Maiorca (773) 463-9642 bloomyogastudio.com October – December 2015 House of Shanti 300 Hour Advanced Teacher Training Pam Udell (847) 912-2004 houseofshanti.net
January 2015 North Shore Yoga 200 Hour Teacher Training Sharyn Galindo (847) 784-8844 nsyoga.com March 2015 Tejas Yoga 200 Hour Teacher Training James Tennant (312) 386-9642 tejasyogachicago.com Chaturanga Holistic Fitness 200 Hour Teacher Training Kara Schmidt (773) 358-2998 chaturangafitness.com Kundalini in the Loop Kundalini Yoga TeacherTraining Shakta Kaur (312) 922-4699 shaktakaur.com Spirit Rising Yoga 220 Hour Kundalini Teacher Training S.S. Shiva Singh Khalsa (773) 975-9754 spiritrisingfoundation.org Spring Wellness & Fitness Center 200 Hour Vinyasa Teacher Training David Duerkop (773) 644-1694 springwellnesschicago.com
Spirit+Heart A conversation with
Mark Anthony Lord Julia Jonson He is both larger than life and refreshingly down to earth. Reverend Mark Anthony Lord, the founder and leader of the Bodhi Spiritual Center in the City’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, reaches thousands of people through his Sunday services, ongoing classes and podcasts. He is also an author whose latest book is titled “Thou Shall Not Suffer - 7 Steps to a Life of Joy.” His center started as a modest operation. Lord started teaching classes out of his apartment and eventually moved to the back of a metaphysical bookstore before he created the Bodhi Spiritual Center. “It’s amazing when I look back,” he remembers. “It all came together with so much ease. I really felt the Universe causing this vision to manifest.”
In this interview, Mark Anthony, who will be a regular contributor to illumine beginning in the Summer 2014 issue, shared about his journey to overcome addiction, tough times during his childhood and his long-term, loving marriage with his husband, all experiences that have molded him into the dynamic spiritual leader he is today.
You had a rough start in life, finding yourself in dire straights by the time you were in your 20s. Tell us about that. Yes. By the age of 24 I was a full-blown addict. I was out of control and on the edge. It was very rough but also the beginning of my spiritual awakening. Realizing I was an addict in my midtwenties was scary and painful. I never thought that would happen to me. But, over time fear turned into gratitude as I started awakening to my higher power, which to me was and is God within. I didn’t have that awareness or experience as a child. When I was a kid God was external, male, white, punishing, and homophobic. I credit my recovery and the many men and women who loved me in the 12 step programs for my healing around God. The amazing thing is … there have been quantum leaps in my life that I don’t understand. I grew up a little gay boy in blue-collar Detroit. I don’t get it, now I’m a spiritual leader. How has your role as teacher and minister helped you, the human being, along your path in life? It has caused me to really see and face my insecurities, my character defects. When you have hundreds of people around you always mirroring and reflecting you, it can be intense. The gift is that I have learned how to have so much compassion for myself. Without this self compassion, you end up feeling horrible. Loving myself has been my greatest gift on this journey. You say you teach spirituality, not dogma. What’s your take on the difference between religion and spirituality? Religion teaches spirituality but also has rules of behavior, which in its extreme controls its people and excludes others. Spirituality says that you have within you your own inner guide/knower - your own joy, your own God (Divine, Source, Love … whatever word you want to call it). My purpose is to help you locate that so that you may discover your own way to live. I’m not here to tell you how to live or what to do, I just want to help you get in touch with your own Being.
Photo: Doug Birkenheuer
Yoga is a spiritual tradition that has exploded in popularity in the Midwest. You lived in Los Angeles, then came back to the Midwest. What are your thoughts on yoga in the heartland? Indeed. When I came back to the Midwest, it was clear that I was coming back to fertile soil, green pastures. In L.A., yoga is on every street corner. It was beautiful to be out there because I really expanded. The Midwest is really always the last to get it (trends like yoga), but what’s beautiful about this part of the country, is when it gets here it takes root and it goes deep. I feel like we are the heartland. Our Midwestern roots are strong, and I love that yoga is meeting us where we are. It’s refreshing to see that yoga is what’s naturally leading people. Just get them in their bodies!
illumine’s theme for this spring issue is cleansing, which is obviously not just about food. Your thoughts on a spiritual cleanse? A great way to cleanse spiritually, is to fast from negativity. For 21 days do not complain. No complaining WHATSOEVER (laughs)! If you get a flat tire, get sick, a parking ticket or anything that seems negative, just say, “Gee, that’s great!” If you get to Day 5 and you start complaining, start over with Day 1. And if you get to day 20, don’t speak, just shut up (laughs). That’s my favorite cleanse. Putting an end to complaining will be like getting off sugar. You will not believe the clarity of mind and spirit you will have after 21 days of no complaining. What inspires you to keep ministering to the masses and progressing on your own spiritual path? I’ve been to India. I’ve sat at the feet of gurus. I’ve had mystical experiences of oneness. What matters to me now is helping other people to become free. When you understand your oneness with everyone, problems are no longer someone else’s problems. Whatever we can do to help people change the collective consciousness from fear to love is great work. My job is to help people wake up spiritually and love themselves more. I feel like I’m a “spiritual chiropractor.” I can see the mental and emotional patterns people are stuck in, and I can help adjust it or help heal it - and then they can go out and change the world!
200 Hour and New 300 Hour Advanced Teacher Trainings start September 2014 No matter where you are on the path of yoga teaching, Bloom's well respected Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS) programs can support you in your continued development.
bloomyogastudio.com 773-463-YOGA (9642) 4663 N. Rockwell, Chicago, IL 60625 illuminechicago.com
FREEDOM YOGA IN MILLENNIUM PARK
ALIE McMANUS A DVD that transports you to a bright summer day of yoga in the park. Three all level practices to feel strong, refreshed, and liberated. Purchase your DVD now on Amazon and aliemcmanus.com.
Illustration: Ashley Wu
HOUSEHOLDER YOGI Practicing among parenting and other distractions Lela Beem Lela Beem, E-RYT 500, is co-founder of Grateful Yoga “Once, there was a way to get back homeward. of Evanston and The Amala School of Prenatal Yoga. Once, there was a way to get back home. www.gratefulyoga.com Sleep pretty darling, do not cry, and I will sing a lullaby.”
- The Beatles t’s the middle of the night. I’m lying in bed waiting to be summoned for duty as mother to the small child I brought into the world. He’s in the other room starting to stir. Within minutes, he becomes inconsolably demanding. Despite feeling like I am glued to the mattress, I rouse myself and stumble to his room. A 2-foot tall person in striped pajamas is clamoring like an inmate at the bars of his crib. His cries grow more frantic as I approach. I try all the stupid sleep book recommendations: pat him and leave the room, stay hunched over with my hand on him, pick him up and then put him down. Nothing works. Eventually we move to the rocking chair, his tiny body writhing in desperation. I hold him tightly and slow down my breath, attempting to salvage my interrupted dream as I rock with eyes closed. Deep within me, I remember
why it feels this way for my child. All children work hard to separate and distinguish themselves from their parents. In learning how to function in the binary world, we must sacrifice the blurred boundaries of infancy and become individuals. While this separation is vital to discovering our unique destiny, it is also painful. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras teach that the root cause of sorrow is believing we are separate from the Divine (kleshas 2:3-2:9). Yet cultivation of this belief is an essential part of human development. The ego is a necessary component to our existence, but the more we cling to and identify with it, the more deeply we suffer. This self-protection keeps us isolated from the oneness some part of us longs for. As my son searches for a womb-like restfulness in my arms, I recall my own deep
longing for the same sense of home. It brought me to the yoga mat at age 21 when I was at my most unhealthy and alone. I distinctly remember an epiphany in dancer pose as a moment of profoundly relaxed presence. Time slowed, and my breath took over. My skin was permeable to the air. I experienced a state of yoga, at one with my Self and my surroundings. vBy the time we are adults, there is no returning home. Our parents, if they are even still alive, are often not the source of comfort we might hope. Though I’ve become accustomed to soothing myself through the aloneness of adulthood, my desire to be held in a safe embrace has not changed. Yoga has been the practice that reunites me with a feeling of belonging -- a sense of home found within my body, breath and mind. illuminechicago.com 23
Blissful buildings The “Vaastu effect” fosters remarkable heart/mind healing Ruth Diab Lederer
BASICS and BEYOND with
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On my 8th day in Tamil Nadu, I fell in love … with a building. It captivated me, pulled me in, with stones set in perfect rhythm, decorative elements sculpted in perfect harmony and the exact measure of all elements expressed in perfect balance. My heart attuned to the rays of sunlight dancing with the waves, the shimmering waves of the building’s stone base that flooded my peripheral field and held me in a rapture. Time stood still. I beheld a centuries-old temple constructed according to the specific methods outlined in the Vaastu Shastras of ancient India, and as I observed it, its luminescence revealed the true nature of its composition. A fundamental concept articulated in the Prana Veda, authored by Brahmarishi Mayan and preceding the seminal Vaastu Shastras, is that all of creation begins on a subtle level and manifests on the gross. An apple, an alligator and an artist share common, cosmic origins, and they embody distinct physical, energetic patterns based on the mathematics of their forms. Ancient artisans, Vishwakarma Brahmins, initiated the tradition of creating according to the cosmic mathematical formula articulated by Mayan, and they satisfied the ancient world with energetically vibrant artifacts of jewelry, cooking vessels, furniture and buildings. The temple I now love serves as an example of their work, and the traditions are re-emerging with growing interest throughout India and the West. The key element of such creations is that they are “energetically vibrant.” Vibrancy benefits a person on all levels—spiritual, psychological and physical. In the temple, I experienced the revelation of its wave nature as a profoundly spiritual moment. I witnessed the “proof” of energetic vibrancy in the waves and felt psychological comfort. I stood on the
crushed rock of the temple’s ancient birthplace and felt physical stability. Every properly-designed and executed Vaastu structure offers these and many more benefits. While personal anecdotes hold interest, scientific research seeks to quantify the human experience within Vaastu structures. According to the HeartMath Institute, heart coherence describes a state in which balanced emotions enhance creativity, intuition and focus. Given that these states are on the spectrum of what might be considered blissful, assessing coherence is one way to establish a measurable “Vaastu effect.” When our mental state is stable, our physical state follows. Dr. Jessie Mercay, Chancellor of the American University of Mayonic Science and Technology, explains the “Vaastu effect.” In a yet to be published study, she finds a 20-30% heart coherence - a typical measure for the general population - prior to occupying a meditation-size Vaastu cottage. After a 20-minute stay in a cottage, a second heart coherence measurement reveals an increase for every subject—often double the initial rate. A blissful state born of the “Vaastu effect” is the intended result of perfect execution. Human forms benefit spiritually, psychologically and physically from the mathematics of Vaastu-designed forms. These age-old traditions are taking root in the Chicago area. Indeed, planning is underway to build several Vaastu cottages for meditation and/or extra living space in the northern suburbs. For more, see vaastu.us.com. Ruth Diab Lederer, principal of Vaastu Consultants has studied in the lineage of Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati at the American University of Mayonic Science and Technology. Ruth was inspired to begin a third career in the field of Vaastu Shastra.
In this recurring column, we ask Chicago area teachers to interview their teacher about lineage and the teacher/ student relationship. Nick Beem interviewed Parayoga founder Rod Stryker.
How do you define the terms “master teacher” and “Master”? We have become a little fast and furious with the term “Master.” It began about 15 years ago as yoga was developing in popularity. In Sanskrit, the term is “Swami,” meaning self (sva) master (mi). Now for the most part, senior American yoga teachers have begun to call themselves “master teachers,” [meaning] you teach something masterfully, as opposed to “Master.” A Master is someone who completely understands and embodies the destination of yoga practice.
Photo: Courtesy of Parayoga
Do you consider your own teachers—Kavi Yogiraj Mani Finger (Mani) and then Pandit Rajmani Tigunait (Panditji)—Masters? Or, masterful teachers? I would call both of my teachers “Masters.” At 19, I met Mani and studied with him for 30 years. He was a South African who trained in Tibet and India. There is no question in my mind that my current teacher Panditji is a Master, meaning he has an extraordinary relationship to what lies beyond the fields of normal perception. That is the meaning of yoga—to taste something that the senses don’t normally allow us to see. To see the invisible, to hear the inaudible and to connect to the sacred is the realm of the Master. Often when we look for a master teacher, we look for a master entertainer. Panditji doesn’t necessarily fit that bill. His teaching requires students to have an openness that most people would [find difficult] to stay present for. Yet the ancient methodology of teaching was more of an inculcation of wisdom, and much less didactic than it is today. Half the time, when you are listening to Panditji you’re thinking, “What is
he talking about?” Yet on a deeper level, something is being infused. Then it’s over and you go, “Oh my god, something happened there and I don’t know what it was.” If you start to feel a quality of light, thriving and beauty, and if fearlessness and capacity begin to unfold in your life, then it means you are with a Master at one level or another. When I started teaching in 1980, not a lot of people [taught or practiced]. The benefit [of little competition] was that I didn’t become a popular yoga teacher for almost 15 years and had a lot of time to stay a student. I was blessed to have time to incubate with my teacher and interface with practice. How did you begin to train other teachers? In 1987, Mani’s son Alan Finger opened YogaWorks in Santa Monica [with Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller] and taught meditation and some asana. After seven months, Alan left and they asked me, as his senior student, to teach meditation. In 1989, classes were starting to fill and they needed more teachers. Someone figured out teacher training could be lucrative. [Only a handful of yoga schools in L.A. had teacher training.] For YogaWorks’ training program, I manned the philosophy, pranayama and meditation part, and my partner taught the asana portion.
How important is it to have a dedicated teacher or a teacher who is part of a lineage? Does everyone need a teacher? I don’t think everyone needs a teacher. It depends on what you want to get out of yoga. [However,] the further the destination is from your level of understanding and your capacity, the more [a teacher is] necessary. When I was young, I learned how to do a cartwheel (it’s not that different from a handstand). I could look in a book and do a handstand, even if it wasn’t perfect. It would have been nice to have someone there who does handstands better than I do, but it’s not critical. A teacher provides tools, and if we practice them, they can reveal what we are seeking. The teacher becomes a mirror for the parts of ourselves we don’t see and eventually, for all our projections and disappointments and unmet needs. The teacher provides
can learn all kinds of new tricks and techniques online and at workshops, but the actual relationship to a teacher can’t happen just in group classes. Some personal interface [is necessary]. Most American teachers are not trained this way. No technology will replace what happens to you during direct transmission and wisdom from a teacher. At ParaYoga, students meet with me one-on-one. I come from a tradition where this is the seminal element. Without it, I can’t be someone’s teacher. The goal is to light the light within the student so his or her own inner teacher wakes up. But that can’t come in a group of a thousand people just by saying you’ve attended my class. The lifeblood of what has kept these teachings alive is threatened by all this “iGuru” technology. What is your hope for your students, particularly since they are spread across the globe? What I expect of the student is very straightforward. It’s practice. There is a unique exchange when a teacher gives you a practice specifically for you. The elements of Ayurveda, selfinquiry, pranayama and the potential for the most mystical of all teachings: mantra. The highest-level teacher gives you these things, and that is what I train my students to be able to do. After that, what is understood is that it’s the student’s job to practice. Each time you sit down to practice, you consciously bring the teacher back. The teacher and the teachings are in the practice. Over months and years of doing this practice, we become who we are meant to be.
If we are serious about understanding who we are, we need someone who sees us better than we see ourselves
Given the new era of teacher training on seemingly every corner, what do you believe it takes to deliver an effective teacher training? The teacher understands and has embodied the light and wisdom of [yoga], and also admits that it is impossible to train someone in 200 hours to teach yoga. I would like to see teacher trainings focus on the portion of yoga they can teach effectively while still being able to convey the larger context. Not everyone has to teach the meditative portion or the history of yoga. Some schools will emphasize the physical aspects of yoga, and even just for that, 200 hours can only cover a thimbleful of what could be taught.
the cauldron of our own evolution and also a loving hand to show us how to become more self-reliant through practice. Then we become part of the timeless chain of teachers and students that helps us unveil the deeper truths of life. The teacher provides for us the opportunity to avoid the minefield of our own misunderstanding, ego and self-indulgence. If we are serious about understanding who we are, we need someone who sees us better than we see ourselves—who just sees better than we see.
In 2007, when Nick Beem first studied with Yogarupa Rod Stryker, it was like discovering a hidden treasure. The blend of classical yoga, Ayurveda and tantra deepened his practice and teaching. Today, Nick
The traditional teaching format was guru/shishya. Does this model still apply? Now students can pick teachers by signing up online based on their training interests. There are people who teach, and then there are people who enlighten. I’ve been [referring to] the latter type. We
Beem, E-RYT500, is a Level 1 Certified ParaYoga teacher, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner and member of the Phoenix Rising teaching faculty. He owns Grateful Yoga in Evanston with his wife, Lela.
Spring into Balance
the inside out Putting a holistic spin on your yearly detox by taking your ritual beyond the body. Over time, we accumulate physical, emotional and spiritual toxicity. Here are some effective ways to reboot your system by incorporating mind, body and spirit practices into your daily life.
To cleanse or not to cleanse?
Experts weigh in on detox practices Jaclyn Bauer
hen it comes to spring cleaning the body, detoxification tends to be the default mode of de-cluttering. The word “detox” though, is loaded with a host of speculations, preconceptions and misconceptions, all of which seem to run counter to one another. Health enthusiasts are left confused as to the best means by which to attain optimal health and rid the body of toxins. How does the body detoxify? And what is the safest, healthiest way to go about achieving balance in your body? Some of the most common forms of detoxification are juicing, fasting, exercising (particularly sweat-inducing movement) and food-based cleanses (such as eating a strict diet of rice and beans). A few of these seem more extreme than others, and each of them works differently based on a person’s mindbody constitution. Opinions vary drastically though when it comes to determining the most direct means of detoxification. Some argue that extreme detoxifying is not effective and may even be dangerous. “The liver needs taurine, glutathione and other amino acids to detox. If you’re not getting them in your diet, “[then] your body will break down muscle tissue to find them,” Pam Vagnieres, a Boulder, Colo.-based nutritionist and exercise physiologist, told “Better Nutrition,” “You also need antioxidants from food to combat the free radicals that are created when you detox.” The main issue is the “starvation” aspect often associated with cleansing. Health journalist Lisa Turner suggests that a person make lifestyle changes in order to fully detox the body, rather than follow shortterm extreme cleanses that can often leave
the body feeling weak. Turner proposes decreasing portion sizes, drinking more water as well as exercising to sweat and burn fat (which is the primary home of toxins). David A. Bender, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at the University of London, says “the body’s ability to deal with toxins” precludes the need for extreme detoxifying approaches. In an article in “The Biologist,” Bender claims that many detox methods and supplements on the market today are backed, not by scientific evidence, but by consumerism and trickery. Bender asserts that “the human body processes and removes toxins very efficiently” on its own. Bender says that in the presence of toxins, the body undergoes a dual-stage process, in which a chemical combines with the toxic compound in order to create soluble matter that is then excreted through urine or feces. He argues that the more toxins present in the body, the more of this particular chemical will be produced to make up for that excess. Ayurvedic practitioner John Joseph Immel claims though that “cleansing [particularly] in the spring supports the body’s natural instincts to purify and renew.” Immel is particularly partial to juice fasts, arguing that “detox juice assists the body in the process of releasing fats, sugars and toxins.” Immel also references particular foods that aid in rebuilding a person’s digestive fire, such as raw garlic and black pepper. He argues that incorporating juice fasting and additional healing foods into the diet could reverse the effects of reflux, sluggishness and irritability. While Vagnieres and Bender hold that intense, deep cleansing is unhealthy, and Immel argues that cleansing is healthy, Neal Barnard falls somewhere in the middle. In a 2008 interview with “Vegetarian Times,” Barnard says that a “short fast is like a punctuation mark.”
However, Barnard stresses that a fast is only “a start on a new and better path,” not something to be sustained for any length of time. Barnard also argues that “some people shouldn’t even consider [fasting]” or extreme cleansing, such as those with low blood pressure or a history of eating disorders. Further, Barnard admits that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that cleansing or fasting actually eliminates toxins from the body. If you are looking to shed pounds, a cleanse might be a way to kick-start your body into gear and put you on a path toward healthier eating and a more sustainable lifestyle. As Barnard points out, though, “fasting can often be followed by feasting” if you deprive yourself too much of needed nutrients. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more spiritually-oriented cleanse, detoxifying practices like juicing and fasting can aid in overcoming mental hurdles and recognizing the capacity of the human mind and body. Bender points out that “most religions practice periods of self-denial regarded as a means of freeing oneself from the concerns of the body to concentrate on prayer and reflection.” Either way, the most important aspect of any cleanse is to identify your intention and find a plan that fits that intention. Whatever your intention, let it involve self-love and kindness. There is no sense in causing harm or feeling anything less than love for the one and only body that you will occupy in this lifetime. It is your life to live, and the body that you inhabit is the vehicle by which you will live that life. Don’t sacrifice either for someone else’s ideals of perfection.
Mindful immunity Suzanne Norman CNC, CHt
pring is traditionally the time of year for detoxification diets and cleanses. For thousands of years, body purification has been a part of humankind’s rituals for health and wellbeing. Nearly all modalities of healing use purification protocols as a foundation. Today we tend to think of detoxification as a way to clean out environmental pollutants or drug residues trapped in the body. Historically speaking, however, detoxifying was used as a way to reconnect with the divine and as a pathway to spirituality.
of new chemicals are introduced to the exponentially growing number of chemicals already in the environment. Between 80,000 and 100,000 active synthetics currently pollute our world. The effect that these chemicals can have on the human body is debilitating. Environmental pollutants can enter into the cell membrane and negatively affect the transfer of information in all systems of the body. Detoxifying diets and cleanses are a vital step to finding and keeping balanced health. But are they enough?
Historically, detoxifying was used as a way to reconnect with the divine and as a pathway to spirituality.
A detoxification program is a time-honored way to keep immune response high, elimination regular, circulation sound and stress under control, all of which help the body handle the enormous amount of environmental and stress toxins to which it is exposed. Residents of Western societies are exposed to chemicals and toxins on an unprecedented scale; no one is immune to unhealthy lifestyle choices. Such exposure negatively affects every system in the body, with issues ranging from tissue damage to sensory deterioration.
The challenge is to remain healthy in a destructive environment. Detoxification leads to continued health and is one of the most basic automatic functions of the human body. Every day the body detoxifies naturally. Its natural metabolic processes continuously dispose of accumulated toxic matter. In today’s world, however, our bodies are fighting a losing battle. Systems and organs once capable of cleaning out toxic material are now overloaded. Every year, hundreds
Psychoneuroimmunology is a branch of medicine that deals with how immune function is influenced by emotional states, particularly how stressful emotions relate to the onset and progression of disease. Research in this field over the past 30 years has evidence that thoughts create emotions, which in turn influence the physical body. The ground-breaking work and research of scientists Candace Pert and Bruce Lipton reveal how beliefs control behavior and gene activity. The natural chemicals within the human body form a dynamic information network that link it with the mind., which directly affects the dynamic of our lives and health. Science has now established a biomolecular basis for emotions and how they, in conjunction with thoughts, influence the functions of the body and the ability to create
a state of health or disease. These molecules of emotions, created by thoughts, run every system in the body and, if used properly, can potentially keep us healthy and disease-free. Everything that is registered in the mind is registered in the body. In his book “Perfect Health” Dr. Deepak Chopra writes, “the mind is in every cell of the body. Every thought we think causes a release of neuropeptides that are transmitted to all the cells in the body.” The mindfulness practices that we undertake to reduce stress and calm the mind are like a computer that programs directions to the systems of the body for both psychological and physical accord. These practices can help with processing bottled-up emotional pain, anger and fear that, by their very nature, may be aggravating health problems. True health is a dynamic state of vitality along with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. No cleansing ritual is complete without also addressing the thoughts and emotions that create consciousness. While unhealthy or debilitating unconscious emotions and thoughts can easily make a healthy body diseased, the proper use of consciousness can bring health to an ailing body.
Clearing the air
How to breathe easier in your home Brooke Cline
ou can’t throw a stone without hitting a yogi who is on a cleanse. Once you experience the benefits of asana, pranayama and meditation, a logical next step to improve your health is to be more mindful about what you put into your body. But have you considered what’s lurking in your home? Staggering figures on the toxicity of indoor air estimate that it contains two to five times more contaminants than outdoor air. Even more astonishing, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the air inside homes and buildings can be worse than the largest and most industrialized cities. Inadequate ventilation traps volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from carpeting, paint and building materials, as well as particulates from mold or dirt and dust tracked in from outdoors. Other contaminants that pollute indoor air comes from heating systems, upholstered furniture, pressed-wood products and phthalate-containing plastics and electronics.
The good news is you can take steps to rid your home of toxic air just as you would eat whole foods to improve our health. Here are some ways:
Do-It-Yourself • Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda in toilet and add 1 cup lemon juice or white vinegar. Let sit for 1/2 hour, scrub and flush.
• Leave shoes outside. They track in pesticides. • Air out your home often by opening windows. • Dust often and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
• Scouring Powder: Use baking soda with a damp sponge for stove tops, refrigerators, tubs and tiles.
• Clean from top to bottom (i.e. dust before sweeping).
• Glass/Window Cleaning: Mix four tablespoons of lemon juice with 1/2 gallon warm water, or mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar with 1 quart warm water.
• Reduce moisture to avoid mold accumulation. Bathrooms are the most common spots for mold.
• Mold and Mildew Remover: Use undiluted white vinegar or lemon juice and apply with sponge.
• Carpet can be toxic. Replace carpet with hardwood floors, natural linoleum or ceramic tiles.
• Oven Cleaner: Spread 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup water throughout oven interior. Let sit overnight and then remove and wipe clean.
• Paint with low-VOC, water-based paint and keep windows open while painting. • Check for radon in basements and consider a mitigation system where levels are elevated.
• Carpet Cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda on stain. Wait 10 minutes and vacuum. Next, mix 1 tablespoon dish soap, 1 tablespoon. white vinegar and 2 cups warm water. Apply to stain with sponge and blot until clean.
Experts say long-term exposure to polluted indoor air could damage immune, • Use eco-cleaning cloths, which are non-toxic, Store-Bought reusable and biodegradable. reproductive, endocrine and respiratory systems and cause other health problems. • Avoid cleaning products that come laden The average person spends about 90 percent • Grow house plants to clean and circulate the with warning labels. air in your home. of their time indoors. So it makes sense to find ways to make the air you breathe in your home cleaner. • Find a “green” cleaner for dry-cleaned clothes. • Select “non-toxic” or “green” cleaners that don’t contain ammonia, chlorine and triclosan. To locate one in your area, visit ecovian.com.
The EPA estimates that the average person • Look for products that are biodegradable and free from phosphates, petroleum and solvents. receives 72 percent of his or her chemical exposure at home. You can significantly reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals by • Consider non-toxic brands like Seventh Generation, Ecover, Mrs. Meyers and Earth using safe cleaning products. Friendly (www.ewg.org).
A doable detox? Katarina Arneric
Image Courtesy of the Clean Progam
The Clean Cleanse Julia Jonson
One of the the more popular ways to cleanse these days comes from Alejandro Junger, M.D., who wrote the New York Times bestseller, Clean. Junger, an Eastern medicine specialist, cardiologist, head of Lenox Hill Hospital’s Integrative Medicine program and a doctor at New York City’s Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, had his own bouts with medical problems. Dr. Junger found that eliminating certain foods in favor of a radically clean diet could both heal and transform. Junger’s solution suggests getting rid of foods containing gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, processed sugar and most fruits for 21 days. The renowned physician and author says we Americans spend a lot of time medicating ourselves with food. “We take coffee in the morning, so that we pump our adrenals and we can function.” Junger continued, “And then in the evening, we need to calm down and we drink alcohol. And during the day, when the slumps of energy come, you need sugar or coffee again. So we use uppers and downers without even knowing it, just like drug addicts do with cocaine and then anti-anxiety pills. So we medicate ourselves with food and when you take one out, the whole thing kind of is unstable. But when you take everything out, it’s a shock to the system for a couple of days and then it’s really good.” The integrative doctor recommends a light breakfast, a shake with some supplements, and clean, hearty meals for lunch and dinner chock full of fresh veggies. He says after the program, people tell him “eating broccoli gives you almost the same pleasure as eating an ice cream before.”
leansing doesn’t have to be radical to be effective. Your body is miraculous and naturally eliminates toxins. Often though, just through daily living, it gets bogged down. Simple dietary and other changes can be very effective in lightening your load both physically and emotionally. The air you breathe, the food you eat and even the products you put on your skin can tax your system. While cleanses and detox diets often make you feel great after they are over, they can leave you feeling deprived. You need a lasting change, not just a quick fix. Your body will thank you for progressively and consistently reducing processed foods, eating real food and adopting healthier habits. Here are some ways to detox without doing a full-blown cleanse. Drink more water, hold the ice please Water is nature’s best cleanser. All of your cells need it. Try sipping warm water throughout the day. Water’s greatest health benefit is that it hydrates the body. Good hydration stands as a base for biochemical and metabolic processes in the body. Try sipping warm water as it has a dilating effect which helps flush out toxins. Ayurveda teaches that drinking warm water on hot days can even aid the process of perspiration, helping you to cool down. Eat whole foods Trade in processed, packaged foods for whole fruits and vegetables. Processing strips foods of key nutrients, and such foods can also contain more chemicals. Your best bet is whole food in its original form (shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store).
cells are released while you slumber. Melatonin, of these hormones, inhibits the growth of tumors and stimulates the immune system. Move and sweat Sweating not only regulates body temperature, it also helps release heavy metals and other minerals. Walking, running and biking all stimulate digestion and can help with elimination. Yoga is especially effective when it comes to renewing the body. The postures, specifically spinal twists, encourage deep tissue hydration and detoxification. So pick an activity and get moving daily! Choose naturally detoxifying foods Certain types of food support your body’s natural ability to cleanse. Citrus is high in vitamin C, which stimulates the liver and your digestive tract. Garlic acts as a natural antibiotic. Dark leafy greens help improve circulation and act as blood purifiers. They are also chock full of vitamins and other micronutrients. Mung beans absorb toxins that build up in the lining of the intestinal wall, and beets improve liver function. All of these foods help support your body’s natural ability to detox itself. Crowd out unhealthy foods Most cleanses focus on diet restriction and food elimination. Trying to curb your appetite too dramatically, can actually lead to more tension, stress and toxic thoughts. Instead, choose to focus on nourishing yourself. You can do this by adding more of the foods that will support your energy (like the ones listed above), instead of just taking away what bogs you down. It’s a simple equation -- when you add in more good foods, the bad ones will naturally get crowded out.
Get more sleep Sleep rebuilds and refreshes your body. Most of us are always “on.” This can drain your battery; sleeping will help you recharge. Growth hormones that assist in the healing of your
These key changes in your daily habits could give you more energy and a happier outlook on life without having to endure what can seem like a torturous regime of “doing without.”
The path of breath Adam Grossi
pring signals a time for juice cleanses, diets, new exercise regimens and countless other ways to rid the body of toxins. While these approaches to well-being can serve the body well, physical cleansing often represents a temporary, even superficial path. Like new paint on the walls after a plumbing leak, they cover the water stains but neglect the deeper structural issues.
nervous system. Breath navigates the grey area between mental activity and deep physical processes like an interface between the mind and the body.
by a burst of anger or fear, for example, the energy that propels the emotion will expend itself, like a firework that stuns with its spectacle before dissipating into the sky.
Breathing properly takes practice. Pranayama teaches you to observe, regulate and shape the flow of the breath. Paradoxically, control of the breath releases control of the prana. By experimenting with
In this way, pranayama cleanses the mind and the heart. Through regular practice we attenuate the influence of old, stale patterns of thinking and feeling, creating space for fresh experience and allowing us to be truly present. Shifting habits becomes easier as we become less subordinate to past decisions. Our conscious intention becomes more of a proactive agent in our actions and decisions.
Yoga follows the philosophy of Samkhya, which is built on an understanding that outer life, our physical form, flows from the inner life of our complex psychological, emotional and spiritual core. Obviously, eating unhealthy foods makes the body unhealthy. Yoga teaches that in order to make smarter dietary choices -- like replacing diet soda with lemon water -- the desire and will to eat healthier foods must first take hold in the deeper layers of our existence. The yoga tradition explains that working on your “inner world” affects the root of the mind and the energy that animates it--prana. While it’s difficult to give an exact definition of prana, our best way to understand it is to actually work with the disciplines that reveal its nature. The practice of pranayama, which in Sanskrit roughly means “the extension of the vital life force,” is the art of breath control that can bring the mind and body into a harmonious state of health and peace. The breath is our best access point into the movement of prana. Breathing links our conscious awareness to the largely unconscious workings of our autonomic
As with yoga postures, pranayama is to be approached mindfully. Just as forcing your way into a pose may injure your body, forcing advanced breathing techniques can produce aggravation and stress. Some teachers insist that pranayama is only for advanced practitioners. Others feel that basic breathing techniques can be effective for anyone. Most local yoga classes contain a component of breath awareness, and many teachers incorporate breathing techniques into their class plans. Chicago teachers Jim Bennitt, co-owner of Tejas Yoga, and Gabriel Halpern, director of The Yoga Circle, both offer regular pranayama classes. Pranayama is not dramatic to watch and is exceptionally subtle to practice. Those that can slow down and turn inward enough, however, may find this quiet practice to be the most rejuvenating cleanse of all.
Artwork and photo: Adam Grossi
your current breathing patterns, you disrupt the habitual flow of prana, which causes subtle patterns of feeling and thinking to arise. Powerful emotions can often arise during pranayama practice. It’s important to continue on when these strong feelings surface. These psycho-emotional patterns, known as samskaras, will eventually weaken and dissolve. By avoiding the urge to get hooked
Matters Photo: Marcos Croce
A yogic vision for the sustainable future Kylie Gordon
At weekly farmers markets in the San Francisco Bay area, under pop-up canopies in public squares from Marin to San Mateo, entire communities come together for several hours at a time to chat with local farmers, to sample pluot and persimmon slices, to stuff canvas grocery bags full of fresh herbs, and to introduce their children and friends to the abundant color, sweetness and diversity of California produce. Dozens of rolled yoga mats dot the landscape of these markets. Slung over shoulders and peeking out of backpacks, obscured by a tuft of beet greens or wedged against a Brussels sprouts stalk, the ubiquitous mats tell a story of the kinship between yoga and sustainability â€“ the fact that many practitioners are invested not only in their personal wellness, but in the health of the planet too.
Over 5,000 miles from home, as the demands of work, routine and family life fell away, we communed with parts of ourselves we hadn’t experienced in a long time. This farm, a spectacular combination of natural beauty infused with intentional living,
invites the traveler into a perpetual state of svadhyaya, or self-reflection. FAF provides an experience of biological interdependence, the knowledge that we are not separate from the natural world, but a part of it. Growing up amid such natural beauty, it is no wonder Barretto-Croce has dedicated a lifetime to preserving it and teaching others to do the same. illumine asked her about how she got started in organic farming and to discuss the connection between yoga and agriculture. On plants and bees: When my father owned the farm, he was using conventional agricultural practices. I got very interested in beekeeping and started learning how to do it. When I did, I started to see the connection between everything.
Photos: Marcos Croce
One such practitioner, Silvia Barretto-Croce, is a longtime devotee of natural and organic principles. With her husband Marcos, Silvia owns Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza or FAF (loosely translated from the Portuguese as “Environmental Fortress Farm”), a progressive organic coffee plantation outside of Sao Paulo that has been in the Barretto family for more than 100 years. Though BarrettoCroce grew up in Brazil, in 1991 she moved to the Chicago area, and eventually began organizing “organic retreats” to bring visitors to FAF. In 2007 I traveled there and learned about Silvia and Marcos’ remarkable vision: to manage a farm -- and eventually a hands-on learning community -- that demonstrates how agriculture can be ecologically, socially and economically sustainable. As the devastating realities of climate change take hold, we’re all learning that to enjoy clean air and water, physical health and biodiversity, we have to be mindful of which resources we consume and how we consume them. For decades, Barretto-Croce has cultivated a practice of paying attention – of increased personal and ecological consciousness – that has allowed her to build a model of sustainable organic agriculture and a model yogic life. At FAF, a breathtaking 1,800-acre paradise nestled against pockets of native Atlantic Rainforest, visitors wake up to an organic breakfast of foods grown and prepared right on the farm before starting the morning (and then evening) with yoga practice. On my visit, we toured the vegetable garden, fruit trees and beehives; separated curd from whey in the dairy; slept on hammocks as toucans coasted overhead; and watched, awestruck, as a just-birthed calf tottered in the grass, umbilical cord still attached to its wrinkled belly.
My father would say, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I have to spray herbicides and it will affect the honey and your bees.” I would say, “Why? The bees are far away.” He would answer, “But it will kill the plants, so the bees won’t be able to get honey.” For the first time I started to see that everything that happens around the farm – like spraying chemicals – affects the bees. That triggered thoughts about how our behavior and daily practices impact the world around us. Because of that, I became interested in learning what “organic” was.
continues on page 38 Opposite page: main house at FAF. Above: (top to bottom) Luzia with lunch from the garden, sorting unripe coffee beans, flowering coffee in consorcium with black oat, FAF gift baskets.
continued from page 37
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On organic versus conventional agriculture: Organic is when you treat the soil as something alive. To do that, you can’t rely on chemicals. With conventional agriculture, you either use chemicals or minerals in the soil. You don’t see the soil as something alive, just as a composite of minerals.
sun or too much rain. You have to always be aware! I think it’s very important for people from the city to come see the work behind growing the food because only then will they know how to make choices.
On social sustainability and fair business practices: Near our farm, a lot of good people on small, family-run farms were not surviving financially. They were selling their coffee for a very low price to buyers who felt quantity was important, not quality.
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Bob-o-link is a bird that migrates from Illinois to Brazil. We like people to think beyond their borders!
Photos: Marcos Croce
On svadyaya or aligning our daily actions with our deepest values: For me, beekeeping Conventional agriculture thinks in terms really was a revelation. When I understood of death. For example, you choose to plant through beekeeping that everything is something – a monoculture – and you kill connected, I started on my path. One thing everything else, because everything else is led to another. After I started beekeeping I seen as a potential enemy competing with —weivawent goytooorganic; t wenthen stnI went eduto tshow roFI was your crop for resources. We saw that these farmers would be the going to deliver a baby naturally; then I went agThey oy detto imanthroposophic ilnu fo skee w 2 roand f 9decided 2$ I perfect people to grow quality coffee. medicine With organic farming, we believe that had good soil, the right altitude, the right work needed to change how I received medicine agriculture is life, ettemliW ,6-4 lirpA and tsefood; rroFthen anAI thought • that life is diversity, kraP nlocniL ,02-81 lirpA nosInhad ewto S change divaDthe • way I and that you have viewed people and work kraP nlocniL ,22-61 enuJ at ytthe arzfarm; E yta M • to learn to live and ogacihC ,notslE .N 1122 and then I s g n i n i a r T r e h c a e farm with that arrived at yoga.T • ogacihC ,noisiviD .W 5471 diversity. You find ettemliW ,daoR yaB neerG 1321 kraP nlocniL ,1 tsuguA–7 yluJ :htnoM enO remmuS— solutions that add AGOY.243.377 ettemliW ,81 rebmeceD–4 rebmetBefore peS :lyoga, laF—I think I more life instead of moc.weivagoy.www lived very much in my killing things. head. This whole path ,spohskrow ,staerter rof moc.weivagoy.of wwhow w tisyou iv estreat aelP your .stneve gnimocpu dna seludehcs ssalc On the parallels body, how you feed between yoga and care for yourself and organic impacts how you treat farming: We started other people. You want transforming the other people to have the farm to organic in same opportunities. Then 2002 and bringing you feel that we are all groups to the farm connected, all together. for yoga retreats in 2005. Yoga was a Left: The Croce Family (Daniel, big transformation Silvia, Marcos, Rita, Felipe, in my life. I noticed Boxer-Ze and Husky-Toby. that it made me Below: coffee ready for export. more aware of things and made me a person that was more in tune with myself. Because I was more ethic. When you’re a family-run farm with no in tune with myself, I could better observe hired employees, you have to survive, so you what was around me. work all hours every day, do whatever it takes to get your farm to be sustainable. I noticed that people who came to the farm were totally disconnected. We would So my husband and son, Marcos and Felipe, show them the farm, but they would not see. started teaching the farmers what good People carry a lot of stress, so they are often coffee is, helped them shift their focus from living in their heads and cannot feel nature quantity to quality. They taught them to raise around them. their bags, not to put coffee on the ground, not to mix green beans with ripe beans, how I thought that bringing groups to do to dry well, store well, etc. A Midwest native, Kylie Gordon taught yoga on yoga retreats on the farm would help Chicago’s North Shore for several years. Silvia people be more open to experiencing their Then Marcos and Felipe started investing in Barretto-Croce was one of her very special students. surroundings by getting in touch with the their farms. They brought buyers directly to In 2009, Kylie moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, daily work of agriculture; by paying attention the farmers and organized direct trade, which where the abundant produce and emphasis on to the weather; by waiting for the right day to meant the farmers could now sell their coffee sustainable living has been steadily shifting how she plan for the crops; by dealing with too much for a much higher price. Marcos and Felipe thinks about her food, her habits, and the relationship created a brand for this coffee and called it between yoga and ecology.
yogaview teacher trainings and continuing education for teachers visit yogaview.com for details
For students new to yogaview— $29 for 2 weeks of unlimited yoga
• • • •
Ana Forrest April 4-6, Wilmette David Swenson April 18-20, Lincoln Park Maty Ezraty June 16-22, Lincoln Park Teacher Trainings —Summer One Month: July 7–August 1, Lincoln Park —Fall: September 4–December 18, Wilmette Please visit www.yogaview.com for retreats, workshops, class schedules and upcoming events.
2211 N. Elston, Chicago 1745 W. Division, Chicago 1231 Green Bay Road, Wilmette 773.342.YOGA www.yogaview.com
The Hive Life Chicago rooftop beekeeping Kyle Gati Photos: Becky Gil
Yoga connects me with my inner self, deepens my connection with the earth and enhances my appreciation for nature. Living in a big city like Chicago, one can feel disconnected from nature at times, but beekeeping has helped me find balance between nature and urban life. This is my third year keeping honeybees on my roof in Noble Square and in a community garden in Ukrainian Village. I reinvest the money I make from selling honey and lip balm into more hives and equipment. Soon I expect to place hives on local farms and in more community gardens in Chicago. I raise my bees free of chemicals, and I manage the hives with a hands-off approach. When in doubt, I let the bees figure it out.
Some people say bees in urban areas actually are better off than those in rural areas. Urban bees experience lower exposure to pesticides and encounter more diverse sources of pollen and nectar, which they convert to honey. Chicago offers quaint, tree-lined streets, gardens, parks, alleys and
abandoned city lots with many sources of pollen and nectar, including wildflowers many would consider weeds. Compare this diversity to that of a monoculture farm that grows a single crop across a vast region. This diversity appears in the taste and texture of the honey.
The truth about local honey Some claim that local honey helps build tolerance against local allergens. While this remains unproven, there are many other benefits of honey – particularly raw honey. Honey is considered raw when it is unheated and unprocessed. Straight from the hive, it contains natural vitamins, nutrients, enzymes and powerful antioxidants. In my opinion, raw honey tends to be more delicious and uniquely flavored. Honeybee colonies are disappearing Over the past few years, beekeepers across the country have lost their hives in historically high numbers. Many attribute this to the phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), where whole colonies mysteriously disappear. Bees, beekeepers and the agriculture industry face many challenges that are thought to contribute to CCD: • Pesticides – thought to cause neurological problems and disorientation • Parasitic mites, beetles – weakens bees, reducing a colony’s population
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Support local beekeepers. Your business is always appreciated, and it keeps us going strong. It is important to source locally and to stay connected to the origin of our food. When we stay connected to nature, our community and the inner self, we strengthen our connection to the world as a whole. As taught in the philosophy of yoga, we are all one, no matter if you are a plant, animal, insect or human being. For more information on my beekeeping adventures, visit my blog: www.thehivelife.com. To find out when honey and honey-based products are available, follow and like my page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/noblehoneychi
Photo courtesy of Burger Bar Chicago
Our mission: Find a burger joint that could please all food preferences at the table. Mission accomplished! At Burger Bar Chicago in Lincoln Park we found a place that has full-on burger culture and delicious options for all. We loved the loud music, the craft beers and the burgers. This place has mega-flavor in everything from the sandwiches to the sides (yes, we did deem it necessary to taste the mac and cheese), and well-stocked bar.
The Powerhouse Veggie Burger was definitely not a slight afterthought. Our server seemed proud and knowledgeable of the freshness and variety of ingredients when we asked about it. We were told later by the chefs/owners, John McLean and Martin Murch, that John’s daughter was vegetarian and they created this burger with her in mind. The ingredients are both local and organic. The Powerhouse is made with “grilled mushrooms, brown rice, ceci beans and fresh herbs ... the rest is a secret.” For a longer review see illuminechicago.com
got cookies! Debi Buzil Liquid Gold Brazil Nut Milk (B’Zil Nut Milk)
Robin Swartzman Chocolatey Chip Comfort Cookies Biting into a homemade chocolate chip cookie that’s made with a lot of love is one of the most comforting treats around. If you’re looking for a reasonable indulgence or want to treat someone, these cookies are as soothing as they are decadent. What makes them extra special is using high quality chocolate and chopping it into chunks. To me, sharing freshly baked goodies is a great way to spread love. My nieces and nephews refer to me as “Auntie Cookie” because for every family gathering (which is often) I arrive with a plateful of these delicious cookies.
Nut milks are delicious, dairy-free alternatives that are easy to make at home! Healthier and fresher than boxed counterparts, homemade nut milks are free of preservatives and chock full of beneficial nutrients. Plus, there are no hormones or antibiotics to worry about. I absolutely love making and sharing Liquid Gold Brazil Nut Milk with friends and family, who keep coming back for more. Brazil nuts are very high in selenium, an essential mineral that is very hard to come by naturally. Selenium is an immunity booster, which also functions to strengthen the heart and detoxify the liver. Turmeric is nature’s anti-inflammatory. I sneak it into everything including brownies. Cinnamon is a digestive spice that warms and sweetens. Coconut oil adds a richness and a delicious flavor. This heavenly concoction makes me feel strong, healthy and happy, which is why I adore drinking it and sharing it.
Makes 24 cookies Serves 2 to 4 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 stick of butter, softened 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar pinch of salt 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks with a chef’s knife (use good quality chocolate)
In a Vitamix or high-speed blender, blend nuts and water for approximately two minutes, making sure nuts are thoroughly blended. Strain the milk through a nut milk bag or multiple layers of cheesecloth twice for smoothness. Rinse the blender cup and place the milk back in. Add remaining ingredients, and blend to combine. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Keep tightly covered in refrigerator for 2-3 days. If it separates, give it a good shake. Could it be a coincidence that my last name is Buzil? Sounds just like Brazil! Let’s just call it B’Zil Nut Milk!
Photo: Ashley Wu
Cream butter until light and lemony in color. Scrape down mixing bowl. Add both sugars and salt. Mix until well until combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat lightly. Add sifted flour and baking soda on low speed until combined. Fold in chocolate chunks. Divide dough in half and place on 2 separate pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough into 2 logs; each 2 inches wide and 10 inches long. Tighten log and twist the ends of the parchment paper. Refrigerate mixture for 2 hours. Slice logs into 1/2 inch thick rounds; place on parchment covered cookie sheets. Bake at 350° F for 12-15 minutes; cool before removing cookies from sheet.
1 cup raw Brazil nuts, soaked 4 hours or more 4 cups purified water 1/4 cup agave nectar or raw honey 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoons ground turmeric 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon Pinch of sea salt
An illumined life
Our society needs new paradigms that better support human and environmental flourishing. As yogis, we can help build them by sharing our most meaningful experiences of yoga â€“ which means sharing our most authentic selves â€“ with the world. Together, we can co-create new scaffoldings of meaning that will enable us to climb higher, and more clearly see both the problems and possibilities of our lives and times. Carol Horton, Ph.D.
Carol Horton, Ph.D., is author of Yoga Ph.D. and co-editor of 21st Century Yoga. She serves as a yoga teacher and Board member with Yoga for Recovery, and is a co-founder of the Socially Engaged Yoga Network (SEYN).
An illumined life regularly features the manifesto of an inspiring Chicagoan. Send your nomination to email@example.com.
43Photo: illuminechicago.com courtesy of Kristie Kahns
my yoga it doesnâ€™t matter if things arenâ€™t perfect. my practice is my time to feel alive, loved and free.