ILLUMINE Spring/Summer 2015

Page 1

VOL. 2 NO. 3



Discovering your purpose


Bringing the outdoors in


Keeping the wisdom alive


ISSN 2330-2860

Raise the vibration

Succulents from Alapash New Home

your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself



Contents 13


I Dharma, do you? Taming the monkey mind Ayurveda: Bringing the outdoors in VIBEUP: Raise the vibration Excerpt from Bliss Project Book Review: “The Work� by Wes Moore



Artist profile: Matthew Hoffman Sutra in the city Musings from the mat Illuminating the spirit Illumined city Chicago Athletic Clubs bring yoga into the gym



Jyotish Vaastu Sanskrit Keeping the wisdom alive: Noah Maze



Yoga glow on the go Restaurant Review: The Winchester Fearless Food Gardening

24 28 30 34 36 37

8 9 10 11 12 14

16 18 20 22

38 40 41


In the winter issue article on Yoga Six (Vol. 2, No. 2, p. 12), we misspelled the last name of Bill Koman, founder of Yoga Six. We apologize for the error.

41 Cover


Succulents by Marco Chavarry of Alapash New Home

Contact Us:


With love I’ve met people who seemed to love what they do. It’s inspiring when someone excels at their job because he or she truly seems matched in terms of his or her skills, interest or talent. Unique or quirky interests may lead someone to find a job where they can contribute to make the world better and create a life they love. When someone loves what they do, it changes their attitude, drives their efforts and raises the quality of their work. We are instructed by the Yoga Sutras to “yoga chitta vritti nirodaha,” to quiet the fluctuations of the mind, so we can listen to the small still voice inside of us. Perhaps when the mind quiets, we can listen to what makes our hearts sing, and we can distinguish between activities that cause our breath to be more expansive and full of wonder versus activities that cause us to feel suffocated.

Reflect on the inner space and regain balance.

Affiliates in Counseling

Dharma is not just something we like to do or have a passion for, but the contribution we make that has purpose in the world. A few lessons I have learned so far about dharma: · One of the most powerful decisions I made was to leave a job that was not right for me. · Sometimes our full-time job allows us the resources to pursue and live our dharma. · Living your dharma feels like swimming downstream rather than upstream. · Living your dharma feels like you, your work and your colleagues are of the same tribe. · Living your dharma can sometimes pull you to the edge, and challenge you to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow. · Living your dharma lights you up and it keeps you thirsty for new experiences. · Living your dharma allows you to create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning! It might take some time and effort to figure out and live your dharma, but feeling the right fit and working with your tribe provides an aliveness and inspiration to everyone around you.

Lourdes Paredes

Psychotherapy Children, Adults and Couples and


Gavin Mullen, Psy.D. Chet Mirman, Ph.D. John Gobby, Psy.D. Jason Price, LFMC

910 Skokie Blvd. Northbrook


Founder and publisher


Contributors What is your favorite spring/summer activity? Volume 2, Issue 3 Spring/Summer 2015 Founder and Publisher Lourdes Paredes Managing Editor Abby Hart Editorial Consultant Heidi Schlumpf

Mark Anthony Lord columnist, Illuminating the Spirit

Jillian Schiavi Sanskrit artist, Jilly Ink inspiration page

Debi Buzil columnist, Sutra in the City

Hanging out with dear friends at a barbecue— laughing, singing, enjoying good food and great friendship. There's nothing better!

Hiking. Where I live in the Bay Area, the landscape is gorgeous, diverse and surprising. I can be hiking in the middle of the woods, come out to a clearing and the ocean spans before me. It's moving meditation, fuel for creative thought and a beautiful way to connect with the people I love to spend time with.

Spring and summer are delightful to be outdoors and look around, to see trees begin to change form, softening as they bloom, into leafy green vital trees. I watch my neighborhood change— every day is a new poem! And of course I love the summer festivals. Bhakti Fest and Sukhava Bodhe Rock!

Ellen Diamond this issue’s Musings from the Mat Riding my bike! My bike has changed over the years from three wheels with streamers, to a fast and furious 10 speed, to a granny bike with fat wheels. But my excitement is the same as I gleefully anticipate riding along the lakefront, refreshed by the breeze and warmed by the sun.


Teresa Gale Fearless Food Gardening

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I love tending the garden and watching for lightning bugs at dusk.

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Editorial Board Jaclyn Bauer Abby Hart Jim Kulackoski Lourdes Paredes Heidi Schlumpf Print Design Jason Campbell Graham Ebetsch Web Design Laura Fairman Artwork Jillian Schiavi Social Media Jane Rubin Megan Suckut Writers Jaclyn Bauer Debi Buzil David Coligado Ellen Diamond Teresa Gale Kyle Gati Matthew Hoffman Christine Huang Joel Kashuba Jim Kulackoski Sarah Landicho Ruth Diab Lederer Mark Anthony Lord Vanessa McClure Pamela McDonough Sara Strother Monica Yearwood Distribution Cathy Beres Saba Haider Areta Kohout Linda Mura O’Toole Gayathri Raghavan

Let me help you find your way hOMe! Offering heart centered business savvy and conscientious client care for all of your real estate needs Services available for home buying and selling as well as rentals Feel free to contact me anytime to see how I can help you manifest your real estate intentions! Stephanie Poulos Real Estate Consultant @properties 618 W. Fulton Chicago, IL 60661 Cell: 847.212.8279


Community Artist profile

Top photo: Ben Derico Headshot: Kevin Oh

Matthew Hoffman


My personal work has branched out into many other phrases, all bold, positive messages in the landscape. The messages are intentionally vague and open to interpretation. I never want to tell people what to think. I want people to experience the phrase, and let them run with it, however they need to. My hope is to make moments in daily life just a little better. One person at a time. Matthew Hoffman is a Chicago-based artist and designer who operates out of his studio, Hey It’s Matthew. He is the founder of the You Are Beautiful project, and his ideas and work have been included in Good, the New York Times Magazine and Ready Made as well as a number of art books. In 2013, he was featured in a segment on the Oprah Winfrey network. Learn more about his work at and


Photos: Matthew Hoffman

enjoy making public works that are open and accessible to everyone who walks by. It started in 2002 with a small sticker that simply states “you are beautiful.” That sticker has traveled around the world, by the power of community. It’s been handed or stuck over 2 million times, on every continent (including Antarctica) and translated into 81 languages. The project has really taken on a life of its own, with community being the driving force behind the message.

TOP: go for it, 12' x 40' x 4', plywood, 2x4s, corrugated plastic MIDDLE: home, 8' x 20', plywood, paint, Collaboration with Architreasures and Thresholds members BOTTOM: you are beautiful sticker


Sutra in the city

Fly Right The yogic wings of practice and detachment can help us "wake up"

Illustration: Graham Ebetsch

by Debi Buzil


hile visiting a yoga ashram in the Bahamas, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. with a bell, sat for meditation, daily chants and inspirational talks each morning and again in the evening, plus practiced yoga twice a day. Waking before sunrise, I felt alive and vibrant. At home I am Ms. Snooze, pressing the button over and over for “five more minutes.” How do I take the ashram experience home? Can I keep that awareness and vibrancy, and implement the changes I desire by incrementally working them into my day? How can yoga help us find our dharmic path, the “right way of living”? The answer can be found in what’s considered the “two wings” of yoga: abhyāsa and vairāgya. Yoga Sutra chapter 1 verse 12, "Abhyāsavairāgyābyhāṃ Tannirodhaḥ" translates that yoga, or union exists through practice and detachment. This sutra advises that practice and detachment are the two means to elevate the movements of consciousness. If we want to maintain clarity and a calm attitude as our soul’s desires are examined, we need to soar on both these wings.

Yoga is the great transformer. Sustained practice helps clear your mind and can help you see things as they really are. These changes can be exciting, yet unsustainable for those who catch the yoga bug and move too quickly. Some students discover yoga, and show up every day for two weeks, striving for longer hamstrings and craving instant inner peace. Then we never see them again! It is better to dedicate yourself to yoga for the long haul and to commit to a couple classes a week and a little home practice. There are no quick fixes; time and patience are needed to cultivate this type of understanding. Abhyāsa, or practice, ensures that we put in effort and enthusiasm towards our goals. When we are stuck in mindless repetition, our movement and intelligence may be dry and uninspired. Yoga is a joyful practice, thus our efforts should be cheerful and charged. To change our path, or change our outcomes, we must work to change our minds, through the purification techniques of a devoted spiritual practice. These techniques include practicing postures, breathwork, meditation and self-study, cultivating the unfolding of consciousness.

Vairāgya, or detachment, can sound cold or uncaring, but actually it is a liberation from our yearnings. When we “detach” from our judgments, attractions and aversions, we can begin to experience something that may have been lost, creating space to shine brightly. We can experience our own divine nature. By reflecting on who we really are, these desires and yearnings begin to fade. We can be in the present. It is in combination with our ability to remember the self with practice (abhyāsa), that we experience grace and ease as our path unfolds.


hough I still have occasional struggles with the snooze button, I’ve now set my alarm clock 10 minutes earlier than usual, so I can wake and have a longer meditation in the morning. I want to do it, but I let go of any judgment if I don’t make it. My aim is “practice, not perfection.” It’s not easy to make long-lasting changes. Through abhyāsa and vairāgya, we can fly right, and fly straight, towards our soul’s desire.

Debi Buzil is the leader of Chicago-based Kirtan group Devi 2000. She is a longtime teacher and student, and a mother of two.



Musings from the mat

Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) This basic standing asana helps us root down and branch out by Ellen Diamond


s a longtime yogini and an even longer time clinical psychologist who has studied both Freudian and Jungian analytic thought, I delight in the rich symbolism of becoming a tree. Vrikshasana (tree pose) is one of the basic standing asanas and is considered an important balancing posture. It teaches us to reclaim our center, helps us feel fully supported on one leg, improves concentration, and cultivates grace and ease of body and mind. The language used in cueing Vrikshasana captures the transformation from actual object to the physical pose and ultimately to greater psychological integration: Stand tall and straight. Reach your crown to the sky. Pour all your weight into your standing leg. Root down. Hug the midline. Find your driste, or gazing point. Place your opposite leg above or below the knee. When you feel balanced and solid, stretch your arms and grow your branches. Visualize energy radiating out of your fingertips. Raise your gaze and allow your branches to gently sway in the breeze. This asana (posture) is then repeated, standing on the opposite leg. The labyrinthine branches and roots of an actual tree echo the human body’s nervous and circulatory systems. We refer to the bronchial “branches” of our lungs and the “branches” of the arteries and nerves. Our spine, like the trunk of a tree, is the backbone (pun intended) of our health.


The benefits of Vrikshasana are enhanced when the yogi envisions these similarities between the tree, the human body and the psyche. A visualization of drawing up energy from roots (feet), to branches (arms and fingers) and the crown (head), then spiraling along the chakras (energy centers in the body) up the trunk (spine) is sure to release kundalini energy, or our inherent spiritual energy. Kundalini yogis believe that this energy lies coiled like a serpent at the base of the spine, and that it is awakened by practicing asanas, pranayama (yogic breathing) and meditation. In Vrikshasana, the yogi becomes a living metaphor of a tree, firmly rooted in the ground even as it reaches its branches to the heavens. Trees are symbols of the unity of opposites, since a tree is the very essence of the integration of opposites. The roots tunnel into the lower realm of matter, ground, Mother Earth; while the branches reach to the upper realm of heaven, spirits, Father Sky. Trees, with their straight and upright form, express a phallic and masculine quality. However, trees also have been symbols of fertility and immortality, with many cultures having legends about human beings, royalty or divine spirits born from trees. Deciduous trees cycling from bloom to hibernation capture our fascination with rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation. Trees show us how from a tiny acorn a mighty oak can grow, thus symbolizing the cosmic potential for life and creativity seeded within us. The Tree of Life is a universal symbol of birth and sustenance. Yet if we choose to be buried in a coffin, we will end our life inside a tree.

Trees can survive on their own, and as such are potent symbols of autonomy. Like a tree, each one of us is unique and different. Trees represent that elusive psychological goal of individuation, of our desire to become our most authentic, best self. And, like the tree, we aspire to that quiet knowing of who we are and trusting that what we need to grow and thrive is within us.


n becoming a tree, in Vrikshasana, we inhabit their place of stability, harmony and connection to nature. We aspire, like the tree, to be steady and solid, balanced and grounded, strong but flexible, no matter what the weather or circumstances. All this takes intense focus and equilibrium. The breath remains deep and rhythmic throughout, infusing the body and mind with a sense of calm and life-giving prana (energy). When the practitioner returns to Tadasana (mountain pose), the body and mind feel recharged, stronger, more alive and in greater alignment. Vrikshasana teaches us to cultivate a sense of inner balance, of standing tall and strong, of the flexibility to go out on a limb that reflects the beauty and majesty of a tree.

Ellen Diamond is a Jungian-inspired licensed clinical psychologist currently in private practice in Highland Park, Illinois. She is a long-time yoga devotee and a bona fide tree-hugger.


illuminating the spirit

Passionate living 3 steps to pursue your purpose by Rev. Mark Anthony Lord


s a society, we are evolving from working just to survive, to thirsting for experiences of meaning and contribution. We ask questions like “What is my life for? What are my unique gifts, and how can I more fully express and share them? What’s my purpose?”

into a brand new, more fulfilling experience. They stopped saying, “I don’t know what my purpose is,” and instead say, “I am amazed! I don’t know how I got here, but I’m living my purpose, and I feel so alive!”

Finding the answers to these questions, and courageously moving toward their fulfillment, is necessary for our souls to truly feel complete. Yet rather than feel inspired by these questions, many find themselves frozen in fear and trapped by the terror of failing before they even begin.

Seldom is there ever a one-decision, miraculous breakthrough that causes your entire world to change. Instead, one miraculous moment of decision is followed by many, countless choices to recommit, stay the course and not give up.

Second, recommit and recommit and recommit.

People hide behind the belief that they first need to know exactly what they’re here to do, and then they will become passionate and take that courageous step forward. The opposite is true. You do not need to know, you just need to go!

This is where life reveals the enormous difference between the passionate and the passive. If you fail to fan the flame of passion with recommitment, you will eventually get lazy and become susceptible to the haze of mediocrity, which will lull you back into its grayscale world.

How? First, make the decision to take action.

Finally, follow those who live in their passion.

You can begin living your life with passion and purpose today, right where you are, without having one more penny in your pocket or new shoes on your feet. You can choose today to ignite a new passion for living, and if you do your very best to honor that choice, you will quickly discover that you don’t have to know how, where or what—your passion alone can and will open new doors.

Study them, look to them, and if you can, hang out with them. Surround yourself with the images and energy of that which you want to become. That’s super easy to do—YouTube passionate people and learn about their lives. If you do this, passion will grow and bring more purpose to your life.

I have seen those who have decided to live with passion quickly become happier, healthier and more prosperous. And, to their surprise, they find themselves either having a renewed joy for what they are doing, or they easily find their way

Rev. Mark Anthony Lord is an internationallyrecognized author, speaker, teacher and founder of the Bodhi Spiritual Center in Chicago, Illinois. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he has founded Pride 2.0, a ministry focused on healing the world from homophobia. Visit his website at


Community illumined city

Shake up your workout for spring and summer Take your fitness to new heights

For those looking to keep their feet planted on solid ground, BKB also offers yoga classes and a fitness facility with personal training classes. Location: 100 South Morgan Street Chicago, IL 60607 open 10 a.m. – midnight, daily

Photo: Jeremy Kanne


rooklyn Boulders (BKB) offers 25,000 square feet of climbing walls and a colorful, upbeat and supportive atmosphere at its West Loop space. First-time climbers, fret not: BKB provides a mandatory 15-minute orientation and introduction before you can even plant your fingers and toes in those


holds. This includes an introductory climbing lesson, a “learn to fall” clinic, an explanation of risk management in a climbing environment and a free fitness assessment. Learn how to belay, an essential skill for climbing which involves securing and safeguarding another climber by using a rope to hold their weight if they fall.

Upcoming Events: • Wednesday Nights: Ladies Night! 5 p.m. to close All females get a day pass and full gear rental for $19, rather than the typical $36 charge. Select Wednesdays will feature female-oriented partners, such free samples from LUNA bar on June 3. Events are free to members of BKB, nonmembers may attend with the purchase of a $25 day pass. • May 14: Tacos + Tuneups: Heritage Bikes will be on site providing select bike services in the BKB back lot. The Salsa Truck will also be on hand, selling their delicious tacos. • May 16: BKB Gear Swap A BKB Market will be set up in BKB’s back lot where guests can swap or sell gently used outdoor attire and equipment. Set your own price. • May 20: Memorial Day Mixer This event will feature a crate-stacking competition, belay buddies mixer for climbers who want to meet other climbers, a live DJ, raffle prizes and a food truck on hand for those looking for a late night bite. 5 p.m. to close. Check for upcoming events throughout the year.

Practice your Warrior on the water Yoga and SUP instructor Katarina Arneric and Chicago Paddle Company offer stand-up paddle (SUP) and SUP yoga classes at Kathy Osterman Beach (Hollywood Beach - 5800 N. Lakeshore Dr., Chicago, IL) from June 13 through Labor Day weekend. Arneric recommends that yogis new to SUP take an Intro to SUP class first before attempting their first vinyasa on a paddleboard. Group classes are $35/person and include paddleboard rental. Supportive and comfortable swim/yoga wear is recommended, and personal floatation devices are provided and must be worn during these classes. This summer’s specialty workshops include “Surfing with Gravity: Arm Balances and Inversions on the Board.” For class and workshop details, and more information about Chicago Paddle Company’s SUP yoga and other offerings, visit or

Photo: Scott Shigley


Community Advertiser profile

Bringing yoga into the gym Chicago Athletic Clubs offer a variety of classes plus 'everything else' by Vanessa McClure


t can be a bit overwhelming: walking into a new gym, seeing rows of exercise equipment filled with runners and lifters looking confident in their workout, while you wander in search of the drinking fountain. Or at least it can be intimidating for a yogi used to a small, dimly lit neighborhood studio. During a trial week at various Chicago Athletic Clubs (CAC) locations, my initial hesitation soon morphed into an appreciation for the yoga program and a desire to try the other fitness classes the clubs offer. CAC began with the Evanston club in 1980, and expanded to six additional Chicago-area locations (Bucktown, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, West Loop and Wicker Park).


“We are known for our variety,” says Sarah Ruhl, CAC’s director of fitness, who has spent the past eight years developing the more than 900 fitness classes offered per week across the seven clubs. CAC offers plenty of yoga classes at each gym. The Vinyasa Flow class was similar to most vinyasa classes, but that familiarity was far from boring, as the class was filled with interesting pose combinations and and transitions that were new to me. Power Flow was definitely a core challenge. Although I tend to shy away from weights, I enjoyed Yoga Sculpt, which offered a balanced blend of yoga, strength training and cardio. (Katie Hochberg’s class Saturday mornings at Bucktown Athletic Club is invigorating and fast-paced. You’ll feel the burn along with the yoga flow.)

Other yoga options at the CAC locations include Pre/Postnatal Yoga, Hatha, Ashtanga, Hot Room Yoga and Meditative Yoga. “We strive for that boutique yoga studio feel, where we can offer variety within yoga, with everything else at your fingertips,” says Ruhl. That “everything else” at my fingertips was nice. I ran a few miles on the treadmill before or after class and explored some of the cardio and strength classes. In the Step Aerobics class, I enjoyed the concept of building small movements into longer sequences, similar to the way yoga poses build into a flow. The difference is you’re on a step instead of a mat, and the cardio intensity level is pretty high. Live DJ Spin felt like a party (a difficult, sweaty party). And

Chicago Athletic Club Yoga Sculpt class

the CXWORX class, a nationally trademarked strengthening class, offered 30 intense minutes of core, stomach, butt and oblique work—which I definitely felt the next day. Yogis might want to give it a try as a way to strengthen poses like plank and side plank.


uhl has observed others like me, people who are hesitant to pick up a pair of five-pounders and then discover yoga can be a pathway to new forms of fitness. She also sees those on other side of the spectrum, who think yoga isn’t for them and then realize it can become a meaningful element of any exercise regimen. That’s why CAC offers so many options for classes as well as private yoga lessons and intro classes open to all levels, she says.

“We aim to break down that intimidation factor,” Ruhl explains. Ruhl’s experience in the yoga community has allowed her to bring in teachers with diverse backgrounds from well-known yoga studios including Moksha Yoga, Yogaview and Bare Feet Power Yoga. She credits that network for helping her keep a finger on the pulse of the ever-changing fitness demands of Chicagoans. For example, Ruhl just finished an aerial yoga training in March. “I try to stay current, but at the same time I don’t jump on every new thing out there,” she says. “I want it to have legs, enough to stay around for two to three years.”

CAC will expand its reach with the opening of an eighth location, Webster Place Athletic Club at Webster and Clybourn. The new club is scheduled to open this spring and will offer Aerial Yoga as well as Hot Room Yoga and Yin, along with the yoga classes currently offered at other CAC locations. CAC’s membership fees vary based on single location memberships or all-access memberships with promotional pricing available. For more information on each location, pricing and group fitness schedules, visit Vanessa McClure is a business development manager at ATI Physical Therapy. She enjoys exploring Chicago and growing her practice by visiting the area’s many yoga studios.


Traditions Jyotish

What’s My Dharma? by Pamela McDonough My Jyotish guru calls the influence of Jupiter in the horoscope the “akash touch.” Akash (or ether) is the fifth of the five elements in Ayurveda. Jupiter is the only factor in the system of Vedic astrology that carries the key element of ether. This influential element is a vital ingredient for us to understand our dharmic path in life. For those who do not have the direct touch of Jupiter, there are other ways to uncover this element. An experienced Vedic astrologer can help you connect the dots and find your dharmic path through careful analysis of the birth chart.


s a Vedic astrologer, I have had many people ask me, “What’s my dharma?” Interestingly, no single word in the English language translates this word exactly. Some of the common translations are described loosely as “right action” or “our innate purpose.” We can think of dharma like this: the dharma of the bee is to make honey, the dharma of the river is to flow and so on. There are 12 zodiac signs and 12 houses in the horoscope. Each house signifies specific areas of our lives. The ninth house of the horoscope is the house of dharma. This house is called pitru bhava (house of the father), and key meanings of this house connect to our dharma, our teachers/gurus, our father, good fortune and spirituality. Jupiter is the natural ruler of the ninth house, and Jupiter’s influence can give direction and purpose to our lives, helping us to find our own dharmic path. It is particularly important in our horoscope for Jupiter to connect with the planet that rules our charts, our Sun or our Moon.


Your time of birth determines where Jupiter is placed in your birth chart. For those fortunate enough to have Jupiter placed in the ninth house of their horoscope, it can indicate a very blessed lifetime. Natural teaching ability, wisdom, love of learning, excellent teachers, deep spiritual experiences and an expansive nature can be some of the outcomes for this placement, along with the knowledge of our dharmic path. Jupiter in the other houses of dharma in our horoscope (one and five) can also support these auspicious influences. To discover the influence of Jupiter in your own horoscope, have a Jyotish reading done. Having an understanding of the akash touch can help you navigate your life and help you find your dharmic path.

Pamela McDonough is a Vedic astrologer and artist. Learn more and schedule a reading with Pamela by visiting

“LIFEBOOK CHANGED MY LIFE.” Go to for free resources to create the life you’ve always dreamed of, and empower yourself to become greater than you are right now.


Traditions Vaastu

Dharma through Vaastu by Ruth Diab Lederer


arious traditions have subtly different interpretations of the word dharma. Although the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain traditions generally understand the term to exemplify the highest levels of existence, there is no Western equivalent to understand it. Researching the word through its syllables reveals an interesting meaning. If “dhṛ” can be understood to convey “holding, possessing, having,” and “mā” can be similarly understood to convey “measure, mete out, mark off,” then dharma has an intersection with Vaastu. Vaastu is a philosophy of possessing a measured space/structure. According to the Vaastu Shastras, the ancient texts that articulate this philosophy, the space/structures designed in this system— from micro to macro—are designed with specific measures derived from Ayadi calculations. These “measured” calculations are specific to every structure, affect every detail of the structure and influence every person in the structure. Ayadi is a mathematical formula that is based on measurements and identifies the characteristics of a building. These characteristics are specific qualities of energy. There are 16 sets of energetic characteristics, and each calculation corresponds to one of the 16. The sets range from pleasure and enjoyment to wealth, bravery and fearlessness. Just as light waves have characteristic colors and sound waves have characteristic tones, Ayadi calculations identify specific energetic characteristics and can bring benefits or detriments.


One characteristic refers to the type of gains the resident will enjoy. Gaining through a “growth in wisdom” is one possibility, as is gaining by way of “substance” or material possessions. Another characteristic is related to the front door, which can be placed on any of the walls. In the appropriate spot on the wall, the front door can confer wealth, physical comfort either with or without peace of mind, and other qualities. A basic function of the Ayadi mathematical formula determines the size of the structure that is most beneficial for an individual, family, business or community. The structure size that results from the calculation is then precisely built to match the dimensions of this calculation. While the structure itself represents dharma in its own way—“holding” a particular “measure”—this “held measure” also affects the inhabitants in the way the energetic characteristics are experienced. For example, a perimeter of 120 feet, which would be a good size for a two-story house in Chicago, would provide gains to the inhabitants by way of their principles and values. This could be realized in a work environment where decisions based on principles and values brings either a tangible benefit, as in increased revenue, or an intangible benefit, as in an improved relationship.


pace constructed with the precision of Vaastu becomes alive. Its Brahma Sutra, the spine-like line that bisects the space, vibrates. As a structure is created, the energetic characteristics identified in the Ayadi

calculations begin to collect in the space, bringing consciousness there. Before long, workers and others near the space— even neighbors—begin to feel something they cannot describe. It’s an energetic experience beyond our words, yet it is undeniable. Imagine that the building’s spine has become enlivened and is vibrating. This energized spine is delivering the qualities designed into the building— qualities of consciousness—into the air and then into the inhabitants. Short-term visitors or permanent inhabitants experience the same things in varying degrees. Over time inhabitants more fully resonate with the structure’s defined characteristics. This activates the person’s Brahma Sutra—his or her bisecting line—producing a luminous experience for the inhabitants. This experience may include the feeling of living in fearlessness, growing in wisdom and finding physical comfort. It can all be the result of the pure dimensions of Vaastu built space. Indeed, the luminous experience of Vaastu is the result of dharma—the “held measure.”

Ruth Diab Lederer is the principal of Vaastu Partners LLC. Contact her at for more information or to visit a newly built Vaastu cottage in Lake Bluff, Illinois.

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Traditions Sanskrit

Understanding Dharma by Jim Kulackoski

F Jim Kulackoski holds an adjunct faculty position at Loyola University Chicago and runs Darshan Center, where he leads and develops programs such as teacher trainings, workshops and a healing clinic. Photo and artwork: Jillian Schiavi


or the majority of my life, I have been as much a teacher as a student. As a child, I loved to try to figure out how things worked and then share my discoveries with those around me. I was intrigued by a broad range of subjects ranging from the human body and the physical sciences, to languages and music. It was important for me to understand what made things tick and even more important to share my findings with others, hoping they would benefit from that information.

I will always be a teacher, first and foremost. For me, it is a natural and effortless way to grow personally and to connect with those around me by sharing something that I love with them. My first job was teaching the cello, and through the years I have taught a number of disciplines such as yoga, sanskrit and philosophy in various settings including yoga studios, health clubs, universities and medical schools. Despite my generally positive experiences in teaching, sometimes the very act of teaching has felt like more like a purposeless struggle than a fulfilling experience. Fortunately, the study of yoga, particularly karma yoga, provided me with insights into what makes both my actions and my life purposeful. According to karma yoga, the universe exists within a state of continual change resulting from karma, or action. This change creates an arc of evolution for each action that occurs. It is this principle that sustains the universe and constitutes it as a living, ever-changing entity. This process of evolution is governed by a principle called dharma. The word dharma is composed of the roots Dhṛ meaning “to hold, support or maintain” and Mā meaning “to make, produce or create.” Dharma therefore literally means “that which supports or maintains creation.” It is the way the universe works, the rhythm and flow of nature; hence, it can also be referred to as “Mother Nature,” “the Tao” or simply “natural law.”

by examining, understanding and ultimately transcending the true sources, or motives, behind our actions, also known as samskaras. Samskaras are the impressions or memories left over from our past actions and experiences. These subconscious impressions form the basis of our personalities by constructing the specific beliefs we have about ourselves, the world around us and the situations we encounter. Although it may appear that what makes us feel and act the way we do is the result of our environment, karma yoga states that our behavior and actions are actually based in these core beliefs and, consequently, limited to them. In other words, who and what we believe ourselves to be is the result of our samskaras, and our lives, for better or worse are the result of the karma or actions fueled by those beliefs. When we begin to realize this, we realize that who and what we think we are is nothing more than a set of pre-programmed behaviors we unknowingly subscribe to. We then gain the potential to transcend these behaviors, affording us the opportunity to act in a spontaneous manner, consciously choosing how we act instead of reacting in a reflexive manner based on past experience.


On a universal level, dharma refers to the laws of nature that uphold existence. On an individual level, dharma refers to a person’s vocation, “life’s purpose” or the path of action that supports his or her own evolution and that of the environment.

hen action is the result of conscious choice, it is called yajna, or “pure action.” Yajna is dharmic because it involves action beyond the scope of an individual’s known self, thus increasing his or her future potential and fueling his or her evolution. The experience of evolution contributes a sense of direction to life, affording one the experience of purpose, which in turn generates the experience of inspiration. When we act in a manner that inspires us, we profoundly affect our environment, and as we evolve, we inspire others to do the same.

Karma yoga teaches that each of us has our own unique dharma, or path most appropriate for our personal evolution, as well as the evolution of our surroundings. It offers insights into how we can find our dharma in any situation we encounter

History is full of many individuals who stepped outside of the confines of their identity, discovered their dharma and elevated their surroundings. One example is Mahatma Gandhi, who inspired a deep connection and

relationship between people of opposing political ideologies and religious beliefs, through acting in a manner larger than himself as an individual, and inspiring countless others to do so. Therefore, the main hallmarks of yajna, or dharmic action, are that the action is consciously and freely chosen—it causes evolution for everyone involved and that creates the experience of a purpose and inspiration.


ooking back, it becomes apparent that the times I experienced teaching as a struggle were when I was acting in a manner that wasn’t dharmic. For example, at times I got caught up in the admiration I received from others and the sense of specialness I felt from seemingly knowing more than someone else. As a result, I would look for ways to perpetuate this imagined sense of self importance by attempting to solicit even more admiration. I overextended myself, oftentimes saying yes when I really meant no. Once in that cycle, I felt like I was chasing a carrot dangled in front of my nose I could never quite reach. Rather than something that gave me joy and purpose, teaching had become a burden and source of discontent. At some point my own dissatisfaction drove me to step outside the confines of the points of view I held and challenge the hidden beliefs that shaped my choices. I began to realize that it was possible to act in an inspiring manner, rather than an imaginary need to be liked and admired. It was when I consciously shifted my motives from ones that solely benefited a limited view of myself to ones with a larger scope of impact, teaching once again became a source of energy and inspiration. With practice I have come to realize that in any situation it is possible to act in a manner that is dharmic, and that every situation presents the potential for my own evolution and that of those around me. I realize that when I feel the most purposeful, I am also the most inspired. These are the times I enjoy the most, the times when I am in my dharma, whether teaching or learning.



Keeping the wisdom alive


with Noah Mazé by Sara Strother

Photo: Scott Shigley

In this recurring column, we ask Chicago-area teachers to interview their teachers about lineage and the teacher/ student relationship. LEFT TO RIGHT: Sara Strother with her child and her teacher, Noah Mazé


s a yoga practitioner, it fascinates me how momentum is built around particular teachers. Teaching yoga can be a bridge to celebrity and international fame. I naturally shy away from “celebrity” teachers, so in 2007 when I began studying with Noah Mazé, who has taught yoga globally for over a decade, the natural skeptic in me practiced with a bit of hesitation. Now, having studied with him for many years and having hosted him during his many visits to Chicago, I can confidently say Mazé is true to his teachings in and out of the classroom.

Photo courtesy of Sara Strother


Perhaps his deep dedication to service was shaped from being raised by Siddha yogi parents. Siddha yoga is a deeply spiritual practice springing from the scriptures of Kashmir Shaivism and Vedanta, and it focuses on meditation, chanting and service work. He began asana as an early teen in Boulder, Colorado and studied with some of the world’s most reputable teachers such as Richard Freeman, K. Pattabhi Jois and Manouso Mano. I spoke with Mazé at yogaview Chicago at the beginning of his 2015 tour.

Could you describe YogaMazé, your teaching style of yoga?

quality experience? Should there be room for the disposable, superficial yoga class?

Mazé: I would say that I am a direct, no-nonsense asana teacher. My job is to teach you yoga poses, facilitate your experience of awareness and to educate you about the practices and philosophies of yoga. I don’t play music in classes, because I want you to hear the instructions I am giving; I want you to be in the somatic conversation happening in your body, and not be distracted by additional input.

Mazé: As my teacher, Douglas Brooks, has said, “You don’t become a generalist by learning things in general.” A well-taught general yoga class reflects a high amount of skill and craft. Class doesn’t need bells and whistles, and it doesn’t need to be a lifechanging event. I want yoga to be normal. I want a normal yoga class to be effective and reflective of deep care and intelligence.

I’m not your life coach, nutritionist, psychologist, doctor or your parent. I am a critical thinker. I’m interested in evidence-based methodologies, and we should be willing to revise our understanding based on new evidence. I don’t know that the above is what sets my style apart from other styles, because there are no black and white categories that any of us fit in.

In a sense, the teacher should fade behind the experience of the student, and students should feel successful and like they did it themselves. To be a teacher is to be deeply committed to the path of learning, to strive for excellence and high standards for oneself and for one’s students. We lead by example. If you are a lazy yoga teacher, you will attract lazy yoga students. If you raise the bar and expect excellence and integrity from yourself, you will attract that company. Who do you want to be?

Your teaching style stresses intensity of direction and physical prowess. How do you navigate going city to city and teaching to a population that perhaps hasn’t experienced your style? Mazé: I’m pretty much myself everywhere that I teach. I can turn the intensity up or down, but I take a pretty direct approach to practicing and teaching yoga poses. It works to my advantage when a percentage of the room is familiar with my teaching style, as I don’t have to spend as much time explaining who I am and how I teach. How do yoga teachers get students to be on board with a style and return for more, without alienating the students’ desires? Mazé: When a teacher is confident and knows how to gauge students’ abilities and limitations, students can relax into that and focus on the task or pose at hand. Some of the studies on happiness I have read recently say that we are happiest when we are fully engaged and absorbed in what we are doing. In that full engagement, there is no time to feel regret about the past or anxiety about the future; rather, one can find complete absorption into the task at hand.

Where do you recommend teachers go for education outside of the general studio 200hour program?

learning, continually inspires me. My teachers continually inspire me. Nature continually inspires me. My chosen dharma of teaching continually inspires me to learn and grow. My children are some of my greatest teachers. My wife is undoubtedly my greatest teacher. My first asana teacher, Richard Freeman, used to talk about the life of a householder as advanced practice, and I wholeheartedly agree with that perspective. Householder life is advanced practice because on a given day there is no time to meditate or put a mat down for “practice,” so everything must become practice. It’s crunch time all the time with two small children and a busy teaching and work schedule; that’s where I see my yoga rise to the occasion (or fall short). I used to think that yoga was more of an individual’s pursuit to their own greatness. I used to go to ashrams regularly to meditate and do yogic sadhana (the dedicated study of yoga) in pursuit of enlightenment. Honestly, I think I have transformed more since becoming a husband and father than all those years of ashram life.

Mazé: Yoga students and teachers are blessed to have access to amazing teachers and resources all the time. Taking yoga classes is some of the best continuing ed I can think of. There is something to be learned from everyone. When guest teachers come through town, take workshops and trainings with them. The yoga community also has access to university classes and online learning communities. I am committed to offering the highest quality online courses that I can deliver.

For some, lineage points to legitimacy. Does this apply to you? Why or why not?

There are so many fantastic continuing ed opportunities, I think we are only limited by time and our own motivation and creativity. Learn anatomy. Learn philosophy. Learn about yourself. Learn the myths and stories of your ancestors. Ponder deeply what it is to be human, a cultural and social being. Ponder deeply what it is to be alive, to be a somatic, living, natural being.

Some of them are teachers in the present, and I am actively in conversation with them and honored to keep such company. Some of them are teachers yet to come, and I look forward to being in the back of the room learning from them.

It is impossible to juggle every students’ expectations and desires, much less meet those expectations. What we can do is pursue the techniques and art of teaching yoga with deep interest and sincerity, and become ever more authentic and skillful in our ability to share that with others.

The yoga tradition is as deep as it is wide. What are you interested in? How deeply do you want to go? There is at least a lifetime of learning within the yoga tradition.

Do you feel all teachers should have high standards for themselves in order to be offering a

Mazé: My students continually inspire me. My practices continually inspire me. Being a student,

Mazé: Absolutely! I invoke my teachers every day. I have been blessed to have many great teachers. I learn from my teachers’ great qualities and their deep flaws. Everything and everyone has their great virtues and their deep shadows. I have been let down, hurt and deeply disappointed by teachers on my path; that too is part of the learning.

Learn more about Noah Mazé at Sara Strother has been a committed student of yoga since 1999. She is a mother, a hiker and a plantbased dynamo in the kitchen. Check her out at or in Chicago at yogaview.

Who are your sources of inspiration? 23

Rod Stryker, a prominent American yoga teacher and author, sheds some light on our understanding of dharma: “This desire to live with purpose and meaning and to contribute to the world is dharma.” “…dharma, the desire to become who you were meant to be” “Dharma, in simple terms, is the drive to fulfill your potential; it is the inherent drive of every being to thrive. Dharma is also the impulse toward altruism, the inner longing, known or unknown, of every individual to add his or her unique luster to the gem of creation.” yoga teacher and author, Rod Stryker “…I was lucky. Your career and your passion don’t always match up. Plenty of talented people don’t have the careers they want. Plenty of untalented people make millions and make movies. There’s a difference between determination and talent. Hard work doesn’t always matter." "Creativity is connected to your passion, the light inside of you that drives you, that joy that comes when you do something you love. That small voice that tells you “I like this. Do this again. You are good at it. Keep going.” THIS is the juicy stuff that lubricates our lives and helps us feel less alone in the world. Your creativity is not a bad boyfriend. It’s a really warm, older Hispanic lady, who has a beautiful laugh and loves to hug; and if you are even a little bit nice to her, she will make you feel great and maybe cook you delicious food. Career is different. Career is the stringing together of opportunities and jobs, mix in public opinion and past regrets, add a dash of future panic and a whole lot of financial uncertainty. Career is something that fools you into thinking you are in control, and then takes pleasure in reminding that you are not. Career is the thing that will not fill you up and make you feel whole.” actress Amy Poehler, from her book, "Yes Please"

We approached this issue’s theme by asking people in the illumine community to share their insights on what it feels like to be living their dharma and suggestions for readers to discover what that is for themselves. 24

DHARMA FEELS LIKE…We feel an underlying sense of fulfillment and ease. Rather than feeling dread and anxiety, we cannot wait to take on the day and chase our dreams. This shift has helped us live passionately in the present moment, rather than holding out for an end result in the future. It’s very settling. Our desire to discover our dharma was very intentional, but now that we’ve cultivated it, we feel that it is just a part of us. It’s not some separate entity that we plug into here and there; it’s more of life. WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Baby steps. Find small ways to do the things you love and feel passionate about more often. This might be doing yoga twice week, signing up for an art class or starting a blog on a topic you feel strongly about. Having these outlets are so important, regardless if they can realistically provide a lucrative job opportunity or not. We also recommend journaling. We tend to focus on the world around us and how others react to us that we forget to look inward and seek our own opinions. By writing a few words down each day and reflecting on your own life experiences, you might discover personal tendencies that are very meaningful and telling. Remain open-minded and continue to pay attention to yourself…what makes your heart beat a little faster? Hilary Schlesinger + Lindsey Cavanaugh co-founders of Vibe Tribe Creative

DHARMA FEELS LIKE…It’s more of an abstract energetic feeling than something concrete. It’s a sense of understanding the course that should be taken. When living your dharma, actions require less decision. Having a job is a requirement to get by, earn a living and make ends meet. Living your dharma is about fulfilling your purpose. Living my dharma was not a sudden revelation; it slowly developed over time and continues to develop. WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Set a daily sankalpa or intention to live your dharma. Don’t be too hard on yourself or expect an immediate revelation. With consistent time, dedication and devotion, you will find yourself exactly where you need to be. Over time you will slowly start to understand how to live a life with fulfillment and purpose. Joshua Nickell CEO & co-founder of Sankalpa Yoga Community

DHARMA FEELS LIKE…It weaves into my life, improves my life. It’s not as if everything flows and there are no worries or troubles, but it gives me space to realize that things are going to work out as they are meant to. There are struggles, but following your dharma will make your life flow better than it ever has. WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Aligning yourself with your true principles and passions will fulfill you. Best of all, there’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by exploring it. Sarah Landicho yoga teacher/writer

DHARMA FEELS LIKE… Practicing real estate allows me to integrate being my best self in offering my services. Rod Stryker’s book "The Four Desires" taught me how to “yoke” my spirituality, intentions, actions and dharma in a creative mode of manifestation. Many people require me to do my best for them and make meaningful things happen in their lives. In turn, my dharma transforms my service into positive energy that is of benefit to all. Honoring the home is dear to my heart, so the work that I do resonates with me. Essentially, my dharma is to serve with an open heart. Living my dharma means embodying my higher self while working and understanding that the universe is always “on” and listening to me. WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: If you seek to align with a new vibration, you must understand that is your higher, “future” self calling to you. Answer the call. The universe supports you and will meet you on the path. Seek a source that understands positive energy and manifestation. There are many great teachers, writers, coaches, therapists, etc., out there promoting these principles and practices. Look for one that resonates with you. Then apply yourself with faith. Stephanie Poulos, Real Estate Broker/Home Manifestation Guide

DHARMA IS NOT…It is not something that you can turn on and off. So, “living your dharma” is not different or separate from “having a job,” or sleeping or even breathing! DHARMA IS...Here’s a description: when the yogini is immersed in dharma, which arises from Svadhyaya, self-study; practicing yoga, it illuminates the divinity not only in herself, but also those who come in contact with her. Patricia Hyland Bowman A practitioner, yoga teacher, spouse, mother, daughter, and sister. 25

Are you living your truth? Do you know your greatest gifts to the world? Have you ever really explored what lights you up inside? What would it be like to wake up every day feeling on fire, leaping out of bed ready to seize the day? The following resources may help you on your path to discovering your purpose:

DHARMA IS…My dharma in this lifetime is to awaken people with music. My first inkling of this came when I was a teenager playing guitar and piano. I went along my path doing other things that seemed random and unrelated, but I eventually was led back here. With the help of probably hundreds of workshops, classes and a deep commitment to my spiritual path and knowing myself, I have re-discovered my internal gold mine. I am convinced that Divine creativity is the fuel, the journey and the fruit of my life’s purpose. It feels like there is great meaning behind everything I am a part of—even the “little” things. I am not saying I have it all figured out. With the creative path there is still great mystery around how things will turn out. The fact that I live in trust rather than fear makes it flow in every situation. Working together with other self-empowered individuals makes for effective teamwork, collaboration and co-creativity. In a way I feel the “Divine Plan” is this giant orchestral piece where so many things merge to make that unique sound. Without each of the parts it wouldn’t be that unique work of art. I personally feel it is inspiring, comforting and ultimately critical to have mentors and support systems on this unique path. It’s a solo journey—only we will walk through our own lives—but we can find teachers and collaborators to keep the dharma alive! WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Taking time out of our busy lives to relax and reflect on what is going on within can really create the space for our dharma to start communicating with us. From my experience our dharma is not just something we do, it is a living power within us, and through us it is a force in this world of form. Taz Rashid Musician, DJ, Event Producer


Programs Lifebook ( a four-step life development system for goal-setting in 12 life-categories through in-person seminars or online course. The Hoffman Process ( a weeklong retreat in California or Connecticut that helps identify negative behaviors and and ways of thinking from childhood The Landmark Forum ( a three-day program designed to bring about positive, permanent shifts in the quality of your life The Institute for Self-Actualization (isaexperience. com): a weekend retreat designed to expand who you are as a person, in order for you to achieve the results you want in your life. Transcendental Meditation ( offers certified teachers for a form of meditation that provides relaxation, stress reduction and self-development. Awesomeness Fest ( a twiceannual, invite-only (through application) event of change-makers and visionaries who want to impact the world; next one is October 2015 in Costa Rica Celebrate Your Life ( Chicago (Lombard) conference on June 12-15 featuring 30+ workshops with top spiritual teachers Al Diaz Life Purpose Discovery (mylifepurposeandgift. com): certified guides in the “Life Purpose Discovery” method available via phone and email. Passion Test Facilitator ( passion-plan): course includes video lessons and workbook with exercises


Processes • Yoga • Vision boards: create an inspirational collage of your ideal life using magazine images and words • What makes me happy list • Surrounding yourself with happy, fulfilled people • Coaching • Book clubs • Meditation classes • Learn a new skill by taking classes, such as cooking, photography, art, etc. • Informational interviews with people who seem to be passionate and love what they do Movies “Billy Elliot” (2000) This is the story of a young Irish boy who pursued his dream of becoming a dancer in spite of his family’s resistance. “The 100 Foot Journey” (2014) A family-trained chef receives the highest recognition for his talent and passion for food. “Whiplash” (2014) A driven young jazz musician proves his worth in the eyes of a strict teacher. “Ratatouille” (2007) Against the odds, a rodent follows his dreams of cooking in a Parisian kitchen, helping a struggling young chef and a once-great restaurant in the process.

DHARMA FEELS LIKE…It feels like a calling. And it’s easy. It flows. I feel like it was forever unfolding. Every job I had, every workshop I went to, every certification or degree I earned led to this. You feel very fulfilled and bubbling up inside. It might feel like a leap, but it’s the healthiest happiest leap you will ever take. And you’ll never look back. WISDOM TO FIND YOUR DHARMA: Focus on what you love, what you really love. Always choose in favor of what you’re passionate about. Steffani LeFevour Happiness Coach/Director of Happiness

For a full list of recommended resources on dharma, please visit

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Meditation helps college students de-stress by Christine Huang


tressed college students often struggle with “monkey mind,” which author Elizabeth Gilbert describes as “thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl.” Fortunately, mindfulness meditation offers an anchor for even the most untamable mind—and now universities are offering mindfulness courses for students. ”Practicing mindfulness in general calms the body and mind, helps to manage emotional reactivity, increases concentration and focus, and enhances overall health and well-being,” says Ginger Carr, associate director of health promotion and wellness at the University of Chicago. Carr teaches a three-week introductory mindfulness course for students and staff. In the course description, she highlights that “mindfulness arises naturally out of living and can be strengthened through practice.” “I’ve always valued self-care and learned early on that I needed to manage my own life and stress level to be effective in my profession,” says Carr, a former nurse who has taught meditation on the U of C campus since 2009. The practice gives students “an opportunity to learn how to pause in life, see what is needed and act out of wisdom rather than operating out of old habits,” she says. Carr’s course is based on the popular eight-week course on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. It takes a scientific approach to mindfulness and is often used to complement treatment for different illnesses. “Brain studies suggest that there are changes in the structure of the brain resulting from


meditation practice, including positive changes in the cortex, amygdala and immune function,” says Carr. Student-led meditation groups provide continued opportunities for meditation practice. Ira Abrams, a University of Chicago alumni, hosts weekly meditation and discussion sessions at his Hyde Park home. Abrams first stumbled upon meditation 15 years ago when he began teaching high school students. “I knew if I was going to continue teaching I’d have to find a way to enjoy having my buttons pushed [by teenagers],” he says. “I think I’m more cheerful and flexible because I meditate, and I’m a good listener, compared to how I was before I started practicing.”


editators seeking to deepen their practice can pursue longer retreats. The Insight Chicago Meditation Group organizes different retreats, days of mindfulness and classes in the Chicago area. The Illinois Vipassana Meditation Center offers free, 10-day intensive courses. Vipassana is a self-transformative meditation that focuses on self-observation and pays special attention to the physical sensations in the body. Though the wide variety of meditation traditions can seem daunting at first, most practices are similar at core. For students of all ages, the practice of calming the monkey mind and finding fulfillment in the present moment can be invaluable. As Angela Lam, a thirdyear University of Chicago student, explains, “Meditation helps clear away stress and noise, and reminds me of what is really important in my life.” Christine Huang is a fourth-year English major at the University of Chicago and the organizer of Wake Up Chicago, a meditation group inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Additional Resources for College Students in Chicago

University of Chicago • Mindfulness for Stress Reduction workshops (wellness.uchicago. edu/page/mindfulnessmeditation) • Samatha Meditation Class ( • Hyde Park Vipassana Meditation • Zazen at Rockfeller Chapel • Hyde Park Shambhala Meditation • Wake Up UChicago

Northwestern University • Introduction to Mindfulness workshop (go.dosa. workshops/workshops/32) • Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago in Evanston • Chicago Zen Center in Evanston

DePaul University • Ten Directions Zen (

Other Practice Centers: • Buddhist Temple of Chicago - buddhisttemplechicago. org/ • Ancient Dragon Zen Gate • Jewel Heart Tibetan Buddhist Organization chicago/



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Part one of a two-part series on cultivating nature in your home as a city dweller



s yoga’s “sister science,” Ayurveda teaches that by living in alignment with the cycles in nature we enhance health in body and contentment in mind. When we become disjointed from these cycles, we foster disease processes and emotional discordance. Living in a city environment poses unique challenges and opportunities for closing the gap between self and nature. “We have to start with a harmonious relationship with our own body, which is a microcosm of nature,” says David Crow, pioneer of the Grassroots Healthcare movement and founder of Floracopeia Essential Oils. “After that we should work to create healthy conditions in the environment around us, starting with our homes, which is the closest part of nature that we can influence.”

The power of plants One simple way to restore a relationship with nature is by bringing plant life into your home, advises Carol Venolia, architect and author of Get Back To Nature Without Leaving Home. “In cities, creating some kind of window or balcony garden is a great idea. A few native habitat plants and a bird feeder and water will support the local web of life while bringing you back to your senses and your delight,” she says. “To me, living in alignment with nature means understanding that our human bodies require the rich, varying sensory stimulation that comes from the rest of the living world, and making changes in our habits and our surroundings that reunite us with the rest of nature,” she says. “This is important to our health and well-being, and it’s important to the flourishing of all life on earth, because human alienation from the rest of nature is at the root of our environmental crises.” Ayurvedic medicine embraces plant life and its relationship with human beings. In addition, adopting a plant-based diet is one of the most direct ways of infiltrating the body with prana, or life force. Ayurveda healing also maintains that plants possess intelligence and souls that we can interact with, come to know and use to inform a healing process in the body. According to a study reported in on a Psychology Today blog, having plants in the home increases mental well-being, lowers systolic blood pressure and improves attention span. In addition, research from the NASA Clean Air Study confirms that plants fight indoor pollutants, fight off colds and enhance a positive disposition. The study showed that common indoor plants such as dragon tree, ivy and ficus naturally remove toxic substances, such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichlorethylene, from the air. NASA researchers suggest efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space. All photos by Marco Chavarry


Seasonal home design In addition to bringing plants into the home, the design of the building itself can facilitate a connection with nature. But you don’t have to tear down walls. Living space can change seasonally, expressing different colors found in the environment. “One can also seasonally change environment or atmosphere by replacing simple interior elements such as rugs, throw pillows, accessories, etc.,” says Maureen Ford, Chicago resident and interior designer. For example, in fall use the diverse colors found in falling leaves to accentuate living space. In winter, incorporate the colors of the light blue sky. In summer, explore the abundance of colors found in nature and bring them into the home.

“The defining feature of the ecological kitchen isn’t energy efficient appliances or recycled-content countertops (though those are good, too),” Vernolia writes. “Kitchens are about the food. And food is about many things we sometimes forget: plants, soil, rain, pollinators, farmers, weather and seasons...If you plan to redesign your kitchen, think of ways to enhance its connection with the act of growing food.”

Photo by Marco Chavarry

Incorporating nature’s elements is especially important in the kitchen, according to Venolia. “The kitchen is widely regarded as the heart of the home, and its nurturing qualities emanate throughout the house,” she writes in Natural Remodeling For The Not So Green House.

Growing food in your kitchen space can be as simple as purchasing fruits and vegetables still on the vine when possible and displaying them attractively on your counters or tables until you are ready to consume them. Potted herbs can be used in your cooking and also bring the element of earth into your kitchen. Composting your food material is another way to stay connected with your food. Urban gardening, co-ops, rooftop gardening and local organic farm sourcing are becoming more prevalent in Chicago, and these efforts show that there is a desire to bring nature into our everyday lives, and to help one another remember through our everyday interactions that we are nature.

Monica Yearwood is an ayurvedic practitioner, author, speaker and founder of Hamsa Ayurveda & Yoga.


Photo by Seth Kane

“In my work, I find that the main obstacle [from living in alignment with nature] is within, says Vernolia. “People tend to be driven, overwhelmed, so busy they think they can’t take a few moments to be outdoors or to put up a bird feeder or add a green plant to their desk. The first step is understanding how powerful and essential these simple actions are; the second is believing that we deserve to feel really good, that we shouldn’t feel guilty about taking care of ourselves.”

Ayurvedic Resources

Photos by Marco Chavarry

illumine readers receive a 50% discount on Carol Venolia’s ebook, “Get Back to Nature without Leaving Home.” The book details her approach more deeply, and gets you started with a fun process of exploring yourself and your surroundings, followed by 10 simple practices that you can do right away. Visit and enter the coupon code “ALIVE” in the checkout window.

David Crow offers an online introductory course on essential oils called “The Pharmacy of Flowers” through his company Floracopeia. Visit floracopeia. com for more information.

yogaview teacher trainings and continuing education for teachers For more information please visit


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New wellness business brings like-minded people together by Sarah Landicho


eekends might never be the same for Chicago yogis. VIBEUP, a new social event business with a focus on wellness, dreams up and hosts yoga-centered gatherings that are more fun and healthier than a typical night out at the bar. With just two events under the new organization’s belt, VIBEUP has quickly evolved from a fun yoga night out, to a social group based in yoga but focused on better health, wellness and accessible conscious consumerism for all. Geared toward urban yogis, VIBEUP’s initial events offered cool spaces for DJ’d yoga as well as space and time to socialize with other like-minded people. The first event in January featured two class options followed by a party, all at The Godfrey Hotel in River North. Sponsors like Kitchfix, GreenSheep, Body Works Health & Wellness and InfiniteUS Rocks & Juice provided food, drink and massage, catapulting the evening from just another yoga class to a full-on social scene.


Photo: Scott Shigley

On May 29, join VIBEUP and Chicago celebrity chef Rick Bayless at Block 37. In addition to a yoga class and social, the event will include a book signing, cooking demonstration and Q&A session with Chef Bayless in celebration of his latest cookbook, More Mexican Everyday. For more details, visit

VIBEUP’s February event expanded to three nights at West Loop’s Brooklyn Boulders with yoga from The Lab’s Carmen Aguilar and Nicole Cavanaugh. Yogis rock climbed before and after, enjoyed food and drink samples from mindful companies like Door to Door Organics, Vita Coco, Freshii, Arize Artisan Kombucha and more, and dipped into holistic and alternative medicine and chiropractic care options. The party carried on after at Old Fifth Restaurant and Bar. The brainchild of Luke Jensen, a local yogi and entrepreneur, VIBEUP began simply as a plan to bring yoga out of the studio and into unique venues such as Brooklyn Boulders rock climbing gym, The Godfrey Hotel and Headquarters, an arcade and bar. Inspired by similar events in Chicago, as well as a bigger yoga and wellness movement on the East and West coasts, Jensen wanted to tap into the best of those but create something true to Chicago. He took his idea to yoga teachers Ashley Kohler, Dr. Nolan Lee and Dr. Dominika Hertsberg—the latter two also practicing chiropractors. “The biggest draw is the positive vibes at the events,” says Lee. Mar Miles, VIBEUP’s director of events, says it’s clear Chicago’s yogis have been craving something like this. “The lifestyle is contagious,” she explains. While yoga will always be a part of VIBEUP, future plans include expanding into other athletic arenas. “We’re starting with yoga because that’s where we’re all from,” Jensen explains. “Personally and selfishly, a huge drive comes from yoga, and that extends out of what yoga does to infect us with love and light… But we’re looking to incorporate other elements, like cycling and running—all with conscious consumerism and wellness at the core of it.” Summertime pursuits include an outdoor series so everyone can enjoy Chicago’s best season. VIBEUP has been working with the city for venues such as various rooftops, Navy Pier, Millennium Park and Daley Center. In addition to adding smaller events each month, VIBEUP founders hope to align with charities. Also on the horizon is a VIBEUP app to help people find events, as well as healthier, on-thego food options, near them. To learn more or get involved with VIBEUP, visit

Photos by Scott Shigley

Sarah Landicho teaches yoga in and around Chicago. Always a student first, she loves to write about how the different aspects of practicing yoga weave throughout life. 35

Escapes Perspectives

Bliss Project by Joel Kashuba

In an excerpt from his book, the author shares his thoughts on finding purpose in your career. Let’s Admit Where We Really Are And How Little Time We Have To Do This.


ome people feel that the best way to start out on a new path is to begin with a grand statement of purpose. These “purpose statements” or “mission statements” can apply to either your personal life or your job. It is a fairly academic exercise that has high potential to stay safely on the pages of a workbook and never find its way into your real life. Regardless, it is helpful for some people. It may be useful, but it is not the solution I will pose here. The solutions I will present to you here will begin in a setting that you know well: your very real and very busy life. Though I will not neglect deeper and more philosophical questions about having a purpose in your career, I [have] empathy for the fact that you may not have the kind of time in your day to ponder the ethereal and poetic aspects of purpose. You simply need some help focusing, getting started, and most likely the sooner, the better. Isaac Newton suggested that “an object in motion tends to stay in motion,” and finding your purpose is no different. A purpose in motion tends to stay in motion. That is why it is unrealistic to expect that just by writing a statement of purpose you will magically have meaning in your day-to-day work. Do not just write your statement of purpose. In order to feel personally connected to your purpose, start with actions. Or even better, start focusing where action is already occurring. Take a deep look at the work you already have. The reality is, every day you spend a chunk of your time using a certain set of skills, talents and actions to accomplish something for someone else. So why not enroll that audience into helping you do something good for your purpose? If done right, it can be very fruitful, but


you must have a working environment that is conducive to your personal ethos. To figure out if you have a conducive working environment, ask yourself these questions:

no one even knows you want to do it. The job you want does not exist. You must visualize it for the world so that the world understands its value and its meaning.

1. Do I enjoy the skills, talents and actions I use? 2. Do I respect the people for whom I use my skills, talents and actions? 3. Do I like what my work produces in the end?

You will need to showcase the skills, talents and actions you enjoy while accomplishing the work your boss expects you to do. Your boss will either like it or not, but either way, you will be happier for it because you were able to do something you enjoy. If your work is accepted, you can find new ways to do it again. You may even be invited to do so, or even rewarded for it. If there is resistance to your work, then you will need to ask yourself if the job you are currently in is the right place for you. Being honest with yourself and making choices that align your job with the things you enjoy doing is a major factor in being happy in your career.

If your answer is “yes” to all three of these questions, then the job you are currently in is fulfilling you, and you are in a job that will align with your purpose. If you answered “no” to any of these three questions, then you will need to find a way to change these aspects of your daily routine so that your answer is “yes.”


f you don’t enjoy how you accomplish your work, then it is difficult to imagine that you enjoy your career. Most people who don’t like the skills, talents or actions involved in their work either have those skills and actions forced upon them by company procedure, or they have demonstrated their proficiency in skills and talents that they never intended to showcase.

Bliss Project By Joel Kashuba 272 pages. CreateSpace. 2010. $24.95

Think about the skills, talents and actions that you do enjoy, even if you don’t currently use them. You need to start bringing those into your workplace. No one will invite you to bring these and, when you do, you will either be met with resistance or acceptance. For example, if you work in a phone sales position and you love graphic design, you will need to find ways to showcase your graphic design talents in your job. Maybe you design a new, more readable way to report your daily numbers. Or maybe you design an email graphic for communicating with your coworkers. Don’t wait for an invitation. It won’t ever come. In fact,

Joel Kashuba is a writer, industrial designer and creative researcher, and has been a keynote and inspirational speaker at design conferences throughout the US. Learn more about Bliss Project at

Escapes Perspectives

Tuesday, June 30th 5:00pm-9:00pm

Work that matters Book tells one man's story of finding his passion by Jaclyn Bauer

entrepreneurs featured in the book’s case studies, there are those who fail. However, Moore argues that there is often a larger price to pay for inaction. “Sometimes people with the most promise are also the most fearful, and in many cases fear is what keeps that promise from turning into action,” he writes. His own mentor told him, “Every day you stay [at a job you are not passionate about] longer than you have to, you become extraordinarily ordinary.”


hy does my life matter?” This is the fundamental question in bestselling author Wes Moore’s second book The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters. In his autobiography, Moore traces his own journey from the White House to Afghanistan to Wall Street and finally to his life’s passion, with the hope of inspiring readers to do the same. The crux of Moore’s thesis hinges on passion, yet he acknowledges that change can be terrifying. Just because a job is lackluster does not mean that it is easy to leave. “There’s always a reason not to make a change; it’s rare that everything perfectly aligns,” he writes. Fear may play an integral role when it comes to actually finding and divining passion, Moore argues. He believes that “…our work finds us. When we run to the thing we fear, the problem that keeps us up at night, sometimes we find the work we were meant to do all along.” Yet diving into fear is not easy, nor does it mean everything will fall perfectly and instantaneously in place. Even among the

This ordinariness drove Moore to leave the safety of his career as an investment banker and to continually question his own desires, passions and goals in life until he came to the point where he is today, working as a motivational speaker, philanthropist, and the host of Beyond Belief.

Where Thinkers & Sneakers come to compete


Though The Work may fall under the category of a business book, Wes Moore’s tone and narrative style are so fully engaging that they enrapture the reader as if the book were a novel. Even the case studies are told as stories, building heroic characters that are relatable, fallible and inspiring. The Work is a book “about how we come alive” while also serving as a “reminder that at every stage of our lives we must make our time here on earth matter.”

#imathinker #imasneaker The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters By Wes Moore 272 pages. Spiegel & Grau. 2015. $25.00 Brought to you by RIver North Business Association and

Jaclyn Bauer is a freelance writer, editor and kids yoga teacher whose work has been published in 37

Escapes Style

Yoga glow on the go Spring is here, and there is no better time to seek some wardrobe inspiration. Stylist Lee Goldenstein shows off some fashion-forward pieces to top off your yoga base layers.

Run around the city in style in a classic striped boatneck underneath a chic long linen coat. Comme des Garcons Converse and a unique illustrated map scarf add offbeat, whimsical touches. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Wilfred Verdi duster, $195,; St. James striped tee, $90,; Madewell city guide scarf, $62,; PLAY Commes des Garcons by Converse sneakers, $105, 38

Post-yoga style shouldn’t be a chore for anyone, especially men. A soft striped tee, slim bomber jacket, classic Adidas sneakers and unusual shades create an easy, cool look for grabbing a juice or smoothie after class. TOP TO BOTTOM: J.Crew striped tee, $45,; Everlane lightweight bomber jacket, $68, everlane. com; Ray-Ban Clubmaster sunglasses, $340,; Adidas Stan Smith sneakers, $75,

An effortless plaid top and comfortable stacked-heel sandals are the perfect combo for plotting your day over a cup of coffee. A lightweight parka in a standout print and timeless Ray-Ban aviators keep the breezes and the rays at bay.

TOP TO BOTTOM: Penfield Vassan parka, $185,; Ray-Ban round metal aviators, $160, ray-ban. com; TNA Holberg shirt, $60,; Madewell Frida sandal, $158,

A gently draped crochet top and strappy black and white heels take you from Crow pose to cocktails. Top off the look with a crisp white blazer or an edgy leather moto jacket, depending on your mood, and play up your post-yoga glow with a bold red lip. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: J.Crew tassel clutch, $98, J.Crew linen blazer, $350,; NARS Jungle Red lipstick, $27,; Zara leather jacket with zips, $279,; J.Crew ankle-strap high-heel sandals, $258,; Zara crochet top, $25, 39

Escapes Flavors

Yogis who brunch The Winchester offers healthy, delicious dishes

by Kyle Gati


runch is my favorite meal. There’s nothing like gathering good people around good food to start the day. This is one reason why I’m pleased to have The Winchester in my neighborhood. The Ukrainian Village restaurant has been open for just over a year now and has become a brunch hotspot. If you find yourself waiting for a table, you can grab a coffee at the bar and enjoy some peoplewatching. Creative facial hair and colorful hairstyles abound, as The Winchester draws an eclectic crowd. The Winchester offers its own take on classic dishes utilizing produce, meats and artisan products from local and organic providers. Its menu continues to evolve, as it is largely driven by the seasons and what is currently available. Nonetheless, there are options for everybody, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or all of the above. Their creative offerings extend to their beverages, such as cold-pressed juices made daily in-house with a mix of seasonal fresh fruit and veggies.

The local focus goes beyond the ingredients. The artwork hanging on the walls is curated from local artists. Currently on display are textile pieces, bringing softness and warmth to the cool, painted brick interior. Like the items on the menu, the artwork is seasonally rotated. While the sun-filled dining room is open for brunch on weekends only and for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week, The Winchester also has a space on the second floor available for private parties and even yoga events. In the past, The Winchester has partnered with Yoga Plus Chicago for an early morning yoga class followed by a delicious brunch downstairs.

This neighborhood spot is truly a communitybuilding establishment, going beyond tasty food and supporting local arts, food producers and healthy lifestyles.

Kyle Gati is an adventurer at heart. An industrial designer by day, his other passions include traveling, urban gardening, beekeeping, fly fishing and yoga.

Trendy ingredients like creamed kale can be found in the eggs Benedict—a dish not to be missed. It consists of thick braised bacon, creamed kale, preserved apple slices, topped with a couple of poached eggs, all unexpectedly resting upon two Liège waffles. You won’t go wrong starting with fresh-squeezed juice and the avocado toast. The creamy avocado, tart grapefruit and the heat from thinly sliced chili pepper combine to make a flavorful spread, and the fresh whole grain bread is delicious on its own. The Winchester is located at 1001 North Winchester Ave, Chicago. (773) 698-8703. illumine readers receive a complimentary glass of prosecco from 5-10 p.m. daily, with the purchase of an appetizer and the mention of illumine. For more information, visit 40

Photos clockwise from top left: Chris Pappas, Andrea Donadio, Nathan Richards


Excerpt and illustrations from “Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland” reprinted with permission from the Peterson Garden Project. The book is available for purchase at


d o o f s s e l r Fea

g n i n e d r Ga land in Chicago

by Teresa Gale

It's time to start planting—and harvesting


pring is a busy time in the garden. Coolseason plantings such as peas and salad greens are coming along and might even be ready to harvest. In May, the weather is finally stable enough to plant hot season favorites like tomatoes and basil.

Harvesting cool crops It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Pull your peas from the vine, and don’t be shy about popping them straight into your mouth. Savoring your first harvest of the season is one of the most deeply connected and blissful moments a food gardener can experience.

Illustrations: Scott Westgard

It’s best to pick veggies just prior to eating them so they’ll be at their peak freshness and nutrition. If your schedule doesn’t permit this, then try to harvest in the early morning or evening when plant stress levels are low. For small root crops such as radishes, carefully pull from the soil by hand. Peas can be harvested with one hand holding the vine and the other gently pinching off the pod. Pick peas at least every other day, as frequent picking will help increase yields. Leaf crops like lettuce or parsley can be snipped with scissors or pinched off by hand. Trim just the outer leaves to promote continued growth of the plant. If you have several varieties, you can take a few leaves from each plant for a mix of flavors. Many greens are sensitive to heat and can wilt quickly after they’ve been picked, so try not to harvest during peak heat of the day and promptly take them indoors to cooler temperatures.

Greens are best stored unwashed in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer (38 degrees is ideal if you can control the temperature). Put a small paper towel in the bag to absorb extra moisture and help them stay fresh longer. If you have apples in your fridge, keep them separate from greens, since apples emit a gas that accelerates the spoiling of greens.

What to look for when plant shopping


s temperatures rise and remain steady, plant the heat-loving superstars—tomatoes, peppers and beans—if nothing else. They’re superior in taste and quality than supermarket veggies, and their high yields make them a costeffective and satisfying choice. Review seed-to-harvest times when deciding which crops to plant from seeds and which to plant from seedlings or “transplants.” Allow ample time for plants to mature before the season winds down. Fast-growers, like summer squash, beans and cucumbers, can usually be planted from seed. Crops that take longer to mature, like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, are better off started from seedlings. Hot season transplants should be latecomers in your garden, as they’re highly susceptible to injuries from frost. We suggest planting them no earlier than May 15, or around Mother’s Day. Tomatoes, in particular, won’t set fruit in temperatures below 58 degrees. So while you might be eager to get them into the ground, it’s best to wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently in the mid- to high-50s.

When shopping for seedlings, check for healthy foliage and new growth. Avoid anything that looks diseased or poorly maintained. Young plants sold in four-packs are more affordable than a single plant, but will be a few weeks less mature. A single plant will cost a couple dollars more, but likely will buy you an earlier and longer harvest. If you have no choice but a multi-pack and don’t have space for all the plants (one zucchini plant can go a long way in a small garden), give the extras to a neighbor or friend, or consider donating them to a community garden or school gardening program.

Heirloom tomatoes Heirloom tomatoes have become increasingly popular in recent years—and for good reason. They taste much better than what you buy at the supermarket. Commercially grown tomatoes are bred to maintain a long shelf life and withstand shipping, often at the expense of flavor. Heirloom varieties also offer distinct colors and shapes—beyond the typical red and round—not found outside of home gardens. These heirloom tomatoes grow well in the Chicago area: Slicing tomatoes Brandywine Dr. Wyche’s Yellow Earliana German Pink Green Zebra Jaunne Flamme (orange) Moonglow (yellow) Paul Robeson (purple) Pink Oxheart Purple Cherokee Sheboygan Silver Fir Tree Tasty Evergreen Sauce tomatoes Amish Paste Italian Gold Plum Lemon (yellow) Rosso Sicilian San Marzano Striped Roman Salad tomatoes Austin’s Red Pear Black Cherry Blondkopfchen Currant Sweet Pea White Cherry


An illumined life


Strive to be the best version of you, every day of your life. I feel a lot of people hold on to an old version of themselves and get stuck in the past. I did this until my early 20s. I was in a bad place mentally and physically: I weighed 310 pounds, smoked a pack and a half a day and had a poor diet. Once I resolved to get healthier, my whole life changed for the better. Now I strive to improve myself. Not every day has been perfect, but nothing in life ever is. Just as long as you are constantly working towards that “best version of you� and making yourself happy, that is all that matters. Dave Coligado


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

Photo: Lindsey Cavanaugh

Dave Coligado is a managing consultant at a national IT infrastructure integrator. He began running six years ago to try to overcome a very difficult loss in his life. Since then, he has run 48 marathons and ultra-marathons. In November, inspired by a recent trip to South Africa, Dave completed the Smile Train challenge, running 100 miles on a treadmill and raising $25,000 for cleft palate surgery for children all over the world. His dream is to run across the country, from Los Angeles to New York City. 43

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