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VOL. 1 NO. 2 WINTER 2014

ELEVATING COMMUNITY

CHICAGO

Alexia Bauer Ashtanga: maintain focus

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LINCOLN

AVE

Yoga zone

behind-the-ink Memorial tattoos

Svadhyaya:

ISSN 2330-2860

Self-study

Alexia Bauer in Bhujapidasana illuminechicago.com

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h c n u la party a ago yog The Chic brated le e c y it commun of illumine ch the laun 6, 2013. e Sept. 2 in z a mag k and c hoe che With a s sts e u g ode, a dress c fa o rt fo m co the had the h it ctice w r. ie yoga pra m re p of a panache the 900 N. y Hosted b lulemon lu n a ig h ic M tore, the s a athletic with erflowed party ov o among wh a who’s was a yogis. It o Chicag nion weet reu festive, s ew n me and of longti rs and friends. ne practitio m ages fro More im t a re a t the even om. hicago.c illuminec

Photos 13 ane 20 : Seth K

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Healing Power Yoga HealingPowerYoga.com illuminechicago.com Highland Park IL 847-432-9642 (Yoga)

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Contributors Souvik Dutta is a teacher of Jyotish (Vedic astrology), Vaastu, Mantra Shastra (the science of chanting) and Hindu philosophy. He lectures nationally on the relevance of esoteric sciences in daily modern life.

Kimberlee Ovnik is a private yoga wellness instructor and selfstudied ayurvedic healer, who originally pursued yoga practice to offset the effects of her rheumatoid arthritis.

Kristie Kahns is a freelance photographer based in Chicago. Following her original passion for dance, she has connected with the dance, capoeira and yoga communities through her camera.

As a licensed clinical social worker, Nancy B. Perlson has extensive experience working in the field of grief and loss. A certified yoga teacher, she founded Connecting Through Yoga, a yoga bereavement support program in 2010.

Stephanie Poulos, a real estate broker, has been practicing yoga for eight years and is dedicated to sharing her experience through the written word.

Brooke Cline found yoga nine years ago while trying to relieve lower back pain during pregnancy. She completed teacher training in 2010, and holds a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Iowa.

Petras Barcas is a full-time journalist and photographer working in the Western suburbs and the city. He enjoys travel, warm weather and practicing power yoga in Downers Grove.

Jaclyn Bauer is a freelance writer and editor, a yoga teacher and the Head of Social Media at b. A Salon on Armitage.

Welcome back, illumine readers! Thank you for your glowing praise of our premier issue and your additions and clarifications, mostly to our “Timeline of yoga in Chicago,” intended as a sampling of the countless groundbreaking activities and notable participants within our community over the decades. Online we provide the responses we received and a correction to the Sanskrit depicted in “Common Sanskrit terms” and the illustrated Devanagari in “A child stargazer”—both by Jim Kulackoski. The text accompanying artist Amrit Dangol’s illustration was written by Siddhartha V. Shah. Please visit illuminechicago.com for the complete list of corrections and reader replies.

Please pass on or recycle. Digital download avaiable online at illuminechicago.com 4

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Volume 1, Issue 2 winter 2014 Yogini-in-Chief Lourdes Paredes Publishers Jason Campbell Lourdes Paredes Layout Jason Campbell Managing Editor Lisa Thaler Web Design Laura Fairman Writers Alexia Bauer Jaclyn Bauer Cathy Beres Lisa C. Bookstein Jason Brammer Debi Buzil Loong Chen Brooke Cline Chris de Lizer Souvik Dutta Gabriel Halpern Trayci Handelman Jim Kulackoski Kerry Maiorca Gavin Mullen Alexandra Murman Linda O’Toole Kimberlee Ovnik Lourdes Paredes Nancy B. Perlson Stephanie Poulos Taz Rashid Pam Udell Cynthia Woods Monica Yearwood Art Jason Campbell, Jillian Schiavi, Ashley Wu Photography Pat Barcas, Jason Campbell, Seth Kane, Annie Mullen, Alexandra Murman, Ashley Wu Proofreaders Ruth Diab Lederer, Heidi Schlumpf


Contents CONTRIBUTORS

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ON THE MAT Ashtanga: Maintain focus

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Svadhyaya

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Studio feature: The Lab

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Excerpt from Shiva Rea’s ‘Tending the Fire’

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Asana & alignment

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Meditation

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Breathe positive, breathe yoga!

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OFF THE MAT Jewelry with a purpose

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Sutra in the city

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The gift of faith

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Memorial tattoos

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Artist profle

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Create a home altar

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Householder yogi

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Lincoln Avenue: Chicago’s yoga zone

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Recipe from Little Goat

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Cover Photo: Alexia Bauer by Kristie Kahns, from the book “The Beauty of the Sequence: A Photo Essay of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series.” kristiekahns.com

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jewelry

with a purpose: Baltic amber eases teething pain

Photo: Marceline Gatabazi Photo courtesy of The Art of Cure

Many organic materials, gemstones and crystals are said to have healing properties. Amethyst is considered the master healing stone for its calming properties. Rose quartz, known as the “love stone,” is believed to foster intimacy. And then there’s Baltic amber. Formed over 44 million years, amber, a deep honey color, is fossil resin produced by pine trees mainly in northern Europe. The key ingredient in amber is succinic acid. Contemporary uses for succinic acid include as a food additive approximating the umami flavor, as an industrial lubricant and as an anti-aging ingredient in personal care products. But it is as a traditional folk remedy for teething pain that I became acquainted with amber. Presumably, when Baltic amber is worn, the body’s warmth releases the succinic acid that is then absorbed into the skin. I have had great success with my 2-year-old son Kenny (pictured above) who wears a teething necklace of Baltic cherry amber (and turquoise, for additional immunity). He is more relaxed, sleeps better and drools less. Kenny now has 13 teeth and has had few complaints. 6

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Photo: Marcrline Gatabazi

Kimberlee Ovnik

Many other parents are turning to amber as a natural solution to their children’s teething issues. After her son had an adverse reaction to acetaminophen during teething, Jennie Campbell learned of amber teething necklaces from pediatrician Dr. Lauren Feder. Intrigued by its success on behalf of her son, Campbell was inspired to become a homeopath, using amber in many of her treatments and designing a line of amber jewelry called The Art Of Cure (theartofcure.net). For my son, wearing amber has worked better than any other remedy, including teething pills and numbing gels. Baltic amber has been a big, warm, pain-free gift for Kenny during his teething experience, not to mention its fashion statement. Kenny started a trend, and now I’m wearing an amber necklace, too.


‘Beats with Devotion’ A Club Divine Experience Enter the room and you are instantly immersed in a field of love and celebration. People of all ages are unmistakably happy—hugging, smiling, feeling the music and open to the experience of letting go. “Beats with Devotion” is a two-day journey of dance, yoga, meditations, kirtan, art, poetry, inspirational talks and workshops that visited Chicago for the first time in October. Club Divine, created by local musician, DJ and event designer Tazdeen “Taz” Rashid, has been hosting similar dance experiences in Chicago for more than two years. In October, the Windy City featured Club Divine’s debut offering of Black Swan Records label artists including DJ Drez, EarthRise SoundSystem, Srikalogy and vocalist Sheela Bringi. Artists, DJs, healers and body workers, and vendors co-created the distinctive vibration of the weekend event. Sunday afternoon began with two hours of uplifting yoga voyages guided by Rich Logan, Lourdes Paredes and Andrew Gurvey, and accompanied live by Black Swan Records artists. In the evening, local mixed media ensemble ChiKaGo transformed the dance floor into a beautiful expression of live poetry and euphoric music. “Club Divine” re-creates itself monthly at Bodhi Spiritual Center. clubdivinechicago.com

Taz Rashid

Dvesha (aversion):

get over it!

Sutra in the city Debi Buzil

Photo: David Ziemba

More images from the event are at illuminechicago.com.

A family reunion. My cousin is getting married. My little brother bought the plane tickets, and I was to send the gift. Holy Moly. Fast forward roughly 10 months. Our card, a little smudged and crumpled, is still on my desk. Don’t tell my brother. Oh, the newlyweds just had a baby? It’s been that long? What do I do? Make it stop. I’ve spent hours fabricating stories about the situation. The gift didn’t arrive. I shopped for silver bowls and cake servers that I never ordered. Now the idea of gifts for the wedding and the baby seem paralyzing. I wake each morning with this on my mind, but I never send the gifts. How can yoga help me stop avoiding the task and get back on track? Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.8 says, “Aversion follows identification with painful experience (duhkhanusayi dvesha).” Dvesha is one of the five kleshas (obstacles) that keep us from moksha (freedom). Are you ruled by your aversions? Controlled by your avoidances? How can we stop suffering? We cannot tame our external environment, but we can choose our response. Focus on your breath and find a centered place, free from fear and preconceived notions. Living in an anxious state detracts from the joy of being in the now. Memories of pain create dvesha, or avoidance of people and things we dislike. Anticipating these moments causes stress. What do you find yourself resisting? Experiencing suffering is a way into new life skills and competence. Losing my mother. Negotiating a miscarriage. Moving through a broken heart. Embracing these difficult times has provided my most profound times of development and change. Meditation, chanting and asana have taught me that I am beyond my expectations and can exceed my limited range of knowledge. Right action frees us up for more right action. I’ve sent a cake server and a check with the card. I’m now ready to apologize to my brother, tidy up some paperwork and straighten out a bad business deal. Looking at dvesha is liberation. My true nature can shine. illuminechicago.com

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The gift of faith Alexandra Murman opens her heart wide at a Kenyan orphanage

Carrying four huge duffle bags filled with clothing, shoes, hygiene products, medical supplies, toys and other donations from her friends and family, Alexandra Murman, owner of Namaskar Yoga in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, arrived at Watoto Wa Baraka (Children of Blessing), since closed, an orphanage 90 kilometers north of Nairobi, Kenya. For four weeks in the summer 2013, Murman volunteered and helped the staff and children run the home. WWB houses, feeds and educates 15 children ages 8 to 16. Not all of the children are orphans; some have parents who are unable to support and shelter them. WWB provides three meals a day based on a staple diet of corn, red beans, rice, kale and tomatoes, as well as offers social and spiritual care. Recently, illumine asked Murman about her experience in Kenya.

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Illumine: What inspired you to volunteer? Alexandra Murman: I wanted to experience Kenyan culture from the perspective of a local. I love children and have worked extensively with them. Volunteering in an orphanage seemed like a good marriage of my interests. Illumine: Have you done anything like this before? AM: When I was younger, I took several volunteer trips that allowed me to travel internationally and inexpensively while experiencing different cultures and offering service. I worked in a homeless shelter in Dublin, in environmental conservation in Greece and in structural preservation in Italy. None was like this trip. Illumine: What was most memorable? AM: The trip was challenging on many levels. It took a while to build trust and comfort with

the kids and in the process, I often felt lost and inadequate. As a result, the moments of kindness, innocence and hope touched me deeply. The following memory was one of many that opened my heart in a huge way. As far as I could tell, the kids had few if any toys of their own. Although I brought lots of activities, crafts and toys (that quickly got destroyed from overuse) they played with empty bottles, old tires, or whatever else they could find. One night, one really sensitive, quiet 9-year-old boy who barely spoke English, came up to me holding something in his hands: two paper American flags and a Styrofoam airplane. I was impressed with his well-kept toys. After a few awkward moments of trying to figure out what he wanted to do with them, I got his intention. With humility and tears, I realized that he was giving me his toys.


Illumine: What made you feel connected to the people there? AM: Most of the children spoke only limited English. Our connection came through presence, laughter and smiles, play, eye contact, shared activities, touch and energetic exchange. It is a great example of how much can be communicated without words. Illumine: What part of home did you miss the most? AM: My loved ones. Big time. The situation was such that contact with someone I could relate to, share with and feel supported by was not available. I came home with a newfound appreciation for my friends and family and the power of their presence in my life.

“ The Kenyans I met had a level of faith in God that... is unwavering and inspired.”

Illumine: What practice, tradition, characteristics or values from Kenya did you appreciate and/or incorporate into your life upon your return? AM: Maybe faith. Prior to this trip, I was struggling with my connection to the “bigger picture.” For a few reasons, being there initiated a reconnection with my core beliefs and personal faith. Illumine: Do you feel like you made a difference? AM: In ways, their needs are so big that it would be easy to say I’m not sure if I made any difference. But I think it’s beautiful how in life, small interactions can often be unexpectedly powerful. We never know the effect our actions, care and intentions have on others. I can only hope that I impacted them half as much as they did me.

Photos: Alexandra Murman

Illumine: Is it worth making a tiny difference in this big world? Or, is it better to make a big difference in your world at home? AM: I think any effort done with positive intention is beneficial.

A yoga practicioner for over 20 years, Alexandra Murman has been the owner and manager of Namaskar Yoga in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood since 2008.

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Yoga Retreats Winter 2014 Visit us on the web

chicago.com Jan. 24-Feb. 4, 2014 India Yoga Retreat with Alie McManus Visit yogaview.com or luckylalita.com or email Alie at aliemcmanus@yahoo.com. Jan. 25-Feb. 1, 2014 Yoga & Music Retreat with Erica Merrill and Jesse Hozeny in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Visit oceanretreats.net or yogaview.com. Feb. 8-15, 2014 Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat with Quinn Kearney and Claire Mark Contact Claire at Clairem555@aol.com or call (773) 383-1449 or visit yogaview.com. Feb. 8-15, 2014 Yoga in Belize with Kali Om (Cara Jepsen) Contact Kali at kaliOm108@yahoo.com. Feb. 15–22, 2014 Yoga Retreat with Jim Bennitt at the Akbol Eco Resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize Visit jimbennitt.com/retreats.php. Feb. 16-25, 2014 Nicaragua Yoga Retreat with Alyson D’Souza Contact Alyson at (312) 664-9642 or Alyson@villageyogachicago.com. Feb. 21-25, 2014 & Feb. 27-March 3, 2014 Amber Cook/Surf Sun Sanctuary Yoga Retreat to Puerto Rico Contact Amber at ambernreskey@gmail.com or visit mokshayoga.com. Feb. 22-March 1, 2014 Maya Tulum with Suddha Weixler Sponsored by Chicago Yoga Center Contact Suddha at (773) 327-3650. Feb. 22-28, 2014 Healthy Lifestyle and SUP Yoga Retreat with Katarina Arneric and Kristy Wright Schell at Peace Retreat Costa Rica Visit klahealth.com/events/2014/02/sup-yoga-costa-rica-retreat. March 1-8, 2014 Vinyasa Yoga Retreat with Tom Quinn and Amy Schatz in Costa Rica Contact Tom at tom@yogaview.com or visit yogaview.com or bluespiritcostarica.com/blue-spirit-retreats. March 1-8, 2014 Savasana on the Rocks – A Yoga Retreat with Jenny Kaufman and Jessica Sandstrom in Puerto Vallarta Visit yogaview.com or contact Jenny at jenny@jennykaufmanyoga.com or Jessica at sandstrom.jessica@gmail.com. March 1-8, 2014 4th Annual Yoga Getaway with Rachel & David Duerkop in Nayarit, Mexico Visit resonateyogachicago.com. March 22-29, 2014 Yoga Vacation in Mexico with Gabriel Halpern and William Prottengeier at Villas Shanti, Cancun Contact Yoga Circle at (312) 915-0750 or info@yogacircle.com.

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Ashtanga: Maintain focus

Photo of Alexia Bauer from Kristie Kahns’s “The Beauty of Sequence: A Photo Essay of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series.”

Alexia Bauer It is a misconception that Ashtanga yoga is only for advanced students. Everyone—despite physical condition—can practice Ashtanga. By modifying the pose and by breathing, visualization and sensation, each student is able to work through the practice. The only requirement is to have a strong desire and the commitment to stay on the path—regardless of the physical and mental obstacles. When I first started practicing yoga, someone told me Ashtanga was like gymnastics: “People jump around and are very rough with their bodies and often get injured.” I didn’t want to try Ashtanga as my idea of practicing yoga was to discover more about myself and deepen my spiritual life, not just do physical exercise. Later that year, I went to a workshop without realizing it would be an Ashtanga one. I not only fell in love with the practice and its method but also met the teacher Kino MacGregor. Since then, Ashtanga yoga has been my daily practice, and MacGregor has been my inspiration to stay on the path. The Ashtanga system was designed to be practiced in its traditional form: Mysore style. The name comes from the city of Mysore in India where the father of the lineage, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, started teaching it. In a Mysore room, the teacher doesn’t guide the class; instead, the students arrive at their leisure and are guided individually according to the needs of their bodies and progress at their own pace. First, we work on concentration and memorization of the sequence and over time, the body starts to move with more fluidity through the postures. The six series of postures are intended to be learned in order. Thus, when we encounter a difficult or uncomfortable posture, there is no escape. We simply work on whatever we need to work on, and only when our body can perform the posture, can we move onto the next one.

One of the beautiful aspects of this system is that it is a self-practice. You can take it anywhere. You aren’t dependent on a teacher creating a sequence for you, and yet at the same time you have the support of others (when practiced in a studio or an Ashtangaled class). The system is based on a method called “Tristhana,” the three, main focal points of our attention: breath, drishti (gazing point) and asana (posture). If we practice these without interruption and do not respond to the urge to stop or to avoid what appears difficult, we will learn to remain non-reactive to the fact that everything is constantly changing. We will learn to observe our minds diligently and build a sense of stability for when situations arise that could change our thoughts or emotions. Ashtanga yoga provides each student with whatever he or she needs to find a balance between extremes to live healthier and happier in every way. Unlike other styles of yoga, the practice doesn’t often align with the idea that yoga is supposed to make us feel comfortable. Of course, Ashtanga helps us feel good in many ways, but its

main purpose is to observe the mind and increase awareness and clarity. When we find obstacles within the sequence, challenging postures bring out fears, attachments and insecurities. We observe the fluctuations in our minds, and by being aware of them, we can find a way of getting out of the patterns that block us from seeing who we really are and how we react. Ashtanga is as hard or as easy as the student wants it to be. If we react to what arises through the practice with aggression, injuries or physical and mental exhaustion may result. If we try to avoid or run away from the difficult postures by breaking the rules and skipping poses or practice, we will fall into the opposite extreme: laziness or inertia. Finding the middle path is usually what we all learn in Ashtanga, discovering our mental, physical and psychological behavior and getting to a place of acceptance and loving kindness towards ourselves and the world around us. When the mind gets in the way, we can find it hard to observe, maintain equanimity and accept the impermanence of things. Through my Ashtanga practice, I have developed more self-awareness, selfknowledge, patience, acceptance and compassion. These are the reasons why I started practicing yoga. Ashtanga is not like gymnastics as I had heard, but a way of confronting whatever arises at the moment and bringing it into everyday situations to lead a more conscious life.

Alexia Bauer moved from her home country of Guatemala to Chicago to learn more about yoga. She teaches at Moksha Yoga Center and Tejas Yoga. See alexiabauer.com. Bauer’s Spanish-language translation of this article is at illuminechicago.com.

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behind-the-ink Memorial tattoos: wearing and sharing stories of grief Nancy B. Perlson

W

hen my father died by suicide in 1996, I was struck by how little support and patience there was in our culture for those grieving the death of a loved one. Early in the process, I found my voice and made it a personal mission to, in some small way, change the way we, as a culture, talk about death and the grieving process that surrounds it. As a licensed clinical social worker, I have helped hundreds of individuals, in groups and in private practice, move through the complicated journey of grief and loss. I am also a yoga teacher and developed Connecting Through Yoga, a yoga bereavement support program. Many of my clients and students were struck, as I had been, by the absence of support and the unwillingness of others to be able to hold the pain and truths of loss and acknowledge the need to find permanent homes for this experience within. An idea took hold of my imagination, and behind-the-ink was born. For several years, I have noticed a growing movement to memorialize loved ones indelibly and visibly in the form of body tattoos. The trend welcomes the difficult conversation about death and acknowledges the constant presence of deceased loved ones in our lives. Through my project behind-the-ink, I am asking mourners with memorial tattoos to share their stories so I can create a book. The book will be a tangible object that gives the modern language of our grief— tattoos—a place to be seen and be heard.

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This project: • honors a new and modern language with which to share our experience with death and loss • provides a communal space for these stories of love, loss and resilience • creates a permanent tribute—in book form—to those we will never forget: mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends, teachers and our life’s inspirations. Memorial tattoos are a new language of loss communicated through ink, akin to mourning jewelry, which reached its heyday in the late Victorian era with the death in 1861 of Prince Albert and popularized by his grieving widow (and jewelry design devotee) Queen Victoria. The death of a loved one is not something one ever “gets over.” Instead, each loss etches a permanent mark on our lives. Each tattoo has a story to share, a life to be illuminated and a voice to be heard. Every time I have asked someone to please tell me the story behind his or her tattoo, he or she says, “Thank you for asking.” To learn more about behind-the-ink and how to participate and share your story, please visit behind-the-ink.com.

Photos: Ashley Wu


Lotus After Nancy B. Perlson's father died by suicide in 1996, the lotus flower (below) became a daily reminder of “the choice we have each day to rise above our darkness and reach for the sun.”

Brother | Two years later “My brother, the blue of his beautiful eyes echoed in the wings (below), has ‘got my back.’ I peek over this shoulder and get a sense of calm as the angel wing tip almost starts to wrap around my shoulder like a hug from the heavens. Oh, how powerful the relationship between siblings is. I miss that person to ‘lock rolling eyes with,’ as I often use to express our connection.” —Erin Alianello

Key hole | Four years later “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson “Death is a journey that takes us deep inside ourselves. The reality I have been forced to face is now ever so present in my daily life. We cannot change the past, we cannot predict the future, and we certainly cannot change anyone but ourselves. All I have is me, and only I have this key to finding out what it really means to be in the moment.” —Erin Alianello

Rosary Alianello got this tattoo (right) in memory of her brother Danny after his death by suicide in 2009. A symbol of their faith, the rosary represents to Erin the spiritual connection between brother and sister that endures beyond this lifetime.

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illumine

asked ‘What is

Svadhyaya?’

Teachers answered

Light on personal insight Gabriel Halpern In order to make the American dharma more mainstream than it has already become, svadhyaya (self-study) has to be extended into something much more broadly luxuriant than simply studying yogic scriptures or chanting mantras. Yoga has to impact our personal relationships as well as our civil, social and political responsibilities. The fierce grace of our daily life is where we have the most ongoing opportunities to test ourselves and see whether or not our yoga practice is really bearing fruit. If our yoga merely serves to stretch our hamstrings and help us stand on our head but doesn’t change the way we bring kindness to our family and the people we work with in our businesses and communities, our victory is both shallow and self-centered. The gift of yoga has to impact the way we act in the world and not just the way we show progress on the mat. Anything less than a radical transformation of our outlook and lifestyle is not the miraculous realization that we are living Spirit. Svadhyaya is the study of yoga that leads to redemption, not just to postural improvement.

Gabriel Halpern has been practicing yoga since 1970 and trained at the Iyengar Yoga Institutes in San Francisco and Pune, India. In 1985, he founded and directs the Yoga Circle, voted the best traditional yoga studio in town by Chicago Magazine in 2013.

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Attention to life

Rooted in tradition

Cynthia Woods

Eddie Stern

One of the original meanings of svadhyaya was to find enlightenment through studying and memorizing ancient texts. Many years ago, I had to memorize scores of Bible verses in order to be confirmed into my church. I can still recite some of them. At the time, the verses had unknowingly become a mirror into myself, revealing the cause of my pain, discomfort and even joy. My method of svadhyaya has changed over the years through studying different writings and poetry from many spiritual disciplines, spending time on my yoga mat, walking in nature and meditating. I had always been looking for something on the outside, or for an epiphany to move up a few rungs on the spiritual ladder. Then one day, I truly did have an epiphany! It was that there would be no epiphany, no bells or whistles, no angelic appearances telling me what to do. My joy and connection to the divine would come from small moments of stillness, being in nature, reading, being truly present with family and friends and spending time on my yoga mat. Many aspects of my daily life reveal my inner self—if only I pay attention to them. So at this moment, svadhyaya means to me paying attention to my life. Cynthia Woods is a yoga instructor at Power Yoga on Main in Downers Grove. She earned a bachelor’s in holistic nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health.

Excerpted from an interview with illumine during his Nov. 2013 visit to Chicago

Svadhyaya means to move firmly towards oneself. At its most traditional, svadhyaya is the repetition of personal mantras that have been passed down through your family lineage. The Vedas, especially the Upanishadic portion, are about ritual and self-knowledge. You are repeating all of the mantras associated with sva (the Self). The mantras are transmitted and recited over thousands of years by the family lineages who are energizing, keeping alive and charging these teachings on the Self. Another understanding of svadhyaya is self-study or reflection, which has come about in some of the modern translations. Sva means “one’s own” and adyaya means “a chapter.” Svadhyaya can mean “one’s own chapter,” such as the narrative of one’s life. How are you examining the narrative of your life? Are you creating a new narrative that is liberating? Or are you reinforcing an old narrative? Are you creating a narrative of honesty and selfreflection? Or do you allow yourself to be a slave to your biases, judgments and opinions—even while practicing yoga? Svadhyaya in that regard refers to a willingness to examine your narrative with honesty and to be open through different practices to creating a new one that leads you away from bondage and towards freedom. Eddie Stern directs Ashtanga Yoga New York (AYNY), opened in 1995 as the New York City branch of Pattabhi Jois’s institute in Mysore, India.


Svadhyaya:

know thyself Svadhyaya is the art of truly knowing oneself. It is the cornerstone of the philosophies and practices Jnana and Karma Yoga, which seek to understand the nature of individuality as a means to transcend its limitations. Svadhyaya is composed of the two Sanskrit words Sva and Adhyaya . Sva means “self,” referring to both the self in the sense of an individual as well as Self in the cosmic or universal sense. Adhyaya means “lesson,” something that is learned or accomplished through study. Svadhyaya, therefore, refers to the mastery of Self though internal study and examination of self. Svadhyaya is a type of yoga in which one inquires deeply into the

nature of one’s own individuality. Each of our personalities is made of a unique set of beliefs, from which we construct the individual universes we each inhabit. These beliefs determine the specific meanings we attribute to the things and situations we encounter. Our thoughts and emotions, both pleasant and painful, are a product of them. By examining the beliefs and preferences one identifies with, it is possible to gain perspective, insight and ultimately freedom from those beliefs. The value of svadhyaya is that it gives us insight into the very beliefs that compose our identity, allowing us to transcend its limitations and act from a place of

Sanskrit

Jim Kulackoski

creativity and spontaneity. We then have access to choose how we may respond to any situation from a sense of possibility, rather than simply react due to an emotional reflex. The ultimate lesson of svadhyaya is the realization of Self, the underlying consciousness, which pervades all of existence. When one identifies with Self, one is free to act from a level of complete congruency with the moment at hand. The result is choice, free will, in which life becomes an opportunity to consciously create, moment to moment, regardless of circumstance.

Be happy with now Trayci Handelman Ending Savasana, I often ask my halfconscious students, “Do you feel content? If you only had what you have right now, could you be happy?” In a society that depends on our wanting more for its economic survival, our contentedness is a hard trick to pull off. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.42 (santosha) says to be happy with what you are given, not just with what you have. Embracing santosha, one of the five niyamas (observances), helps me as a yoga teacher to let go of expectations both on and off the mat. I experience “teaching an amazing class” as giving perfect cues, syncing the playlist with the poses smoothly and ensuring the students leave the studio

glowing. The santosha comes when I feel content with myself, with what I am given and what I create in that moment— regardless of the outcome of a particular class or the accolades I receive. Yoga teaches us to turn inward for sustenance, to be happy from the inside out. Welcome the curveballs of life. Let go of our war with reality. Like many of the things we seek and run towards, the more we search, the more it eludes us. In asana, we want to nail that pose and move on to the next challenging one. Santosha invites us to look in, to see the beauty of what is there and to feel it is enough. Each of Patanjali’s niyamas overlaps. For instance, it is vital to tap into svadhyaya

(self-study) to find santosha. Consider your desires. Is desire bad? Should I not desire a bigger crowd in my class? Does the size of the crowd depend on how well I teach? If the crowd is small, will I be content? Whether teaching or practicing and in Savasana, contentment is a challenge, a place toward which to strive. Start with gratitude for the now.

Trayci Handelman teaches yoga at several studios in Highland Park and by private instruction. yogalibra68@gmail.com

See illuminechicago.com for more feature articles on svadhyaya, including how to establish a home practice, yoga nidra, self-tracking fitness devices, taming distractions, more community responses and a low-tech way to explore the effects of your diet on the mind.

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Journaling, self-study the old fashioned way Cathy Beres Long before the endless chirping of message alerts and clicking of keyboards, there was the quiet hush of pen floating across paper, the gentle stir of pages turning and the sigh of having finished a sentence just so. Long before we pushed the send button, broadcasting our innermost thoughts and desires to millions of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like, there was the journal. Journals have been with us for centuries, the earliest example dating back to the second half of the 2nd century A.C.E. “To Myself” was written in Greek by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Journals and diaries have been kept ever since as a way to record the details of daily life as well as reflections and meditations. Journals and diaries, such as those by John Quincy Adams, Jane Austen, Anne Frank and Bob Dylan, deepen our understanding of social history from a personal viewpoint. My first journal dates back to my little, vinyl 6th-grade diary with its tiny brass lock and key. In those days, my musings were generally limited to cute boys and strict nuns. Today, as a relatively low-tech, aging baby boomer, keeping a journal the old fashioned way—putting pen to paper—is a satisfying method of self-study. Over the years, my journal writing has progressed and my journal has been my deepest confidant, a silent advisor and a supportive friend. My journal has provided solace and stability when there was none, a respite from the outer world and a place for reflecting on my inner world. A journal is private and never judgmental. Approach journaling as a daily practice, and you will soon reap the rewards of greater selfknowledge and awareness. The Buddha would encourage it: “Be a lamp unto yourself. Work out your liberation with diligence.” Five tips to start a journal There are as many tips to journal writing as there are attractive journals to fill. Here are a few tried and true pointers. 1) Write daily. Your journal writing should be a practice, much like your yoga. Designate a set time each day, beginning with just 10 minutes. Select a journal that beckons you to fill its pages. (See illuminechicago.com for a list of local shops

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with a selection of journals.) Begin each morning by collecting your thoughts through the gentle art of putting pen to paper. Delight in the slow unfurling of your handwritten words. No tapping of keys is required, just the soft scratching of your favorite pen. A few lines can suffice; what is important is to just do it—with authenticity and consistency. It may help to have coffee or tea nearby. Most journaling experts recommend writing before you turn on the computer. 2) Begin where you are, just like yoga. If you are stuck on what to write, write how you feel that day. Write about what happened the previous day or about the upcoming day. Write about your dreams, your desires, your angst or your gratitude. Write whatever comes to mind. 3) Stick with it. Although you do not need to write every day for years, it’s good to begin with writing daily to establish the habit. Give it a few months. At the end of your trial period, look back at what you’ve written. What patterns emerge? Have your thoughts shifted? Are you more positive or negative? 4) Extend your practice. As you progress, you may wish to write for longer periods of time; 20 to 30 minutes a day is plenty. If you wish to commit to journaling as a form of self-study, assign a topic to explore such as your dreams, your interactions with others or your mood swings. 5) Keep it handy. Keep small notebooks in other places for jotting down quick thoughts while on the run. For some, this is their main form of journaling, and it may work best for you. As we age, we move into the more creative and intuitive phase of our lives. According to Ayurveda, our later years is the vata dosha stage, a time of inner reflection. It is a perfect time to take up the contemplative practice of journaling. By spending a few minutes each day with your journal, you will come to marvel at the wisdom you have gained about the most important person in your life: you. Cathy Beres is a Yoga Alliance certified Vinyasa yoga instructor, freelance marketing consultant/writer and graduate student at Northwestern University.


Photo: Jacob Hand

Artist Profile Jason Brammer In my art-making practice and mixed media paintings, I try to create a sense of openness, space and depth. Whether it’s the illusion that a flat painted surface is folding or a primordial ocean is expanding into infinity, I am honing my techniques to “fool the eye” (trompe l’oeil) into perceiving what is not there. Similarly, yoga and meditation are ways to create space within myself. The mind can get claustrophobic with its ceaseless patterns of repetitive thought, which was the inspiration for the work pictured here. Much like swirling clouds that continuously dissipate into one another, it takes effort to access the ocean of boundless calm that lies beneath. For me, yoga and art are disciplines that grow incrementally over time, breath by breath and brushstroke by brushstroke. The Buddha teaches that even the tiniest drops of water will eventually fill the water jar. Once the gears start turning, the body responds (“Wow! I can touch my toes!”), and the picture gets painted. I sometimes wonder how I will begin to create a work of art. It usually starts by being grounded in what is happening right now, putting one foot in front of the other and trusting that the accumulated marks will create the visual sense of expansion that I receive internally through yoga and meditation.

Jason Brammer is a Chicago-based painter, muralist and visual artist. jasonbrammer.com

Behind The Clouds Of Thought 2013, acrylic, plaster, antique hinges, panel and wood (36” x 36” x 1”)

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Three steps to create a

home altar

Chris de Lizer

Incense represents our desires and flowers, our growth. Chris de Lizer’s sacred space is also graced by a statue of Ganesha, images of her family and of Pattabhi Jois, and a lingam symbolizing Shiva and Shakti.

1) Clear a space First, designate a space for your altar where you will create ritual. Choose an area that is quiet, clean and not too busy. The space can be anywhere—in your home, garden or office. It could be a room, a corner of a room, a table, a bookshelf or even a closet. 2) Select meaningful items To embellish your altar and stimulate emotion, choose items

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that represent your spiritual path. Each item may appear ordinary, but is personally significant and symbolizes an important experience or memory. Photographs may be used to evoke feelings of love, reverence and friendship. 3) Arrange your objects in a visually pleasing way To curate your altar, place its largest object in the center. The focal point of my personal altar (above, right) is a brass statue of Ganesha, the Hindu Lord and remover of obstacles. Then, work outwards. There is no right way or wrong way to appoint your altar, but do keep it clean and uncluttered. You might make an offering of flowers, which represent the good in us that has blossomed. An offering of fruit symbolizes self-sacrifice and surrender. Incense represents our desires. Candles represent divine presence and wisdom and also symbolize the light within that we offer to the absolute. The altar symbolizes a separation between the everyday and the spiritual. Your altar, a place of peace and stillness, is a sacred space to commune with your higher source and selfreflect. Begin a daily practice sitting quietly in front of your altar. Feel inspired and calm. The more time you spend in front of your altar, the more sacred the space becomes.

Photos: Ashley Wu

I love when I go to a yoga studio and before class, the teacher lights a candle or incense. Or, maybe a student brings a flower from his or her garden, or class starts with a simple, collective “Aum.” In each example, consciously or not, we are making an offering to our higher power and expressing love and gratitude. The quiet space allows us to find stillness and clarity in our lives. For millennia, followers of various traditions have created altars as places of worship, prayer, reflection and meditation. You may already have an altar in your home but may not consider it as such. Do you have a place where you keep family photographs and mementos? Do you feel reverence and devotion when you pass by or look at your space? The purpose of your altar can be healing, devotional or anything else of personal significance. The design of your altar can be as simple or as elegant as you wish. Creating your altar is as easy as 1, 2, 3.


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Reflect on the inner space and regain balance.

2961 N  Lincoln  Ave  Ÿ  773.348.6222  Ÿ  edu@samghayoga.com  

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THE THE

HOUSEHOLDER HOUSEHOLDER YOGI YOGI TheThe unrelenting unrelenting pace pace of parenting of parenting self-study self-study Kerry Kerry Maiorca Maiorca

“The “The lotus lotus is aissymbol a symbol of the of the lifelife of aofhouseholder a householder Yogi, Yogi, oneone who who maintains maintains hishis or her or her calm calm andand grace grace above above thethe muddy muddy ponds ponds of life.” of life.”

Illustration: Ashley Wu

ILLUSTRATION BY ASHLEY WU

ILLUSTRATION BY ASHLEY WU

A

— Paramahansa — Paramahansa Yogananda Yogananda

fter their first swim lesson this

my 7-first andswim 4-year-old fterfall, fter their their first swim lesson lesson thiswater this fall,fall, champs were thrilled when I said my 7myand 7- and 4-year-old 4-year-old water water champs champs they could stay hour were were thrilled thrilled when when I an said Iextra said theythey could could swim. When wasswim. time stayfor stay anfree extra an extra hourhour for free foritfree swim. to leave, they continued tothey goof When When it was it was timetime to leave, to leave, they off, ignoring escalating Mean continued continued to goof to my goof off, off, ignoring ignoring my my Mommy threats. “It’s time to go.” escalating escalating Mean Mean Mommy Mommy threats. threats. moving.” “.....NOW.” “It’s“Get “It’s timetime to go.” to go.” “Get “Get moving.” moving.” As parents, we have endless “NOW.” “NOW.” for have svadhyaya Asopportunities parents, As parents, we have we endless endless (self-study). interaction with opportunities opportunities forEach svadhyaya for svadhyaya (self(selfour children has the potential to study). study). Each Each interaction interaction withwith our our reveal habits, patterns and children children has has the the potential potential to reveal toblind reveal spots. But because the pace of habits, habits, patterns patterns andand blind blind spots. spots. parenting is relentless, growth ButBut because because the the pace pace of parenting of parenting opportunities often arise at the is relentless, is relentless, growth growth opportunities opportunities most inconvenient times. often often arise arise at the at the most most inconvenient inconvenient In the midst of my pool locker times. times. parenting I flashed Inroom the In the midst midst of my ofchallenge, pool my pool locker locker back to a recent workshop room room parenting parenting challenge, challenge, I I with yoga teacher Judith Lasater in flashed flashed back back to ato recent a recent workshop workshop which she mentioned the power withwith Judith Judith Lasater Lasater in which in which sheshe of non-violent communication (NVC). mentioned mentioned the the power power of non-violent of non-violent NVC means having self-empathy communication communication (NVC). (NVC). NVC NVC means means

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to recognize your own needs,

urgency enable me to calmly

acknowledge myand communication cultivating empathy for the needs fact.fact. having having self-empathy self-empathy to recognize to recognize TheThe distance distance and lessened lessened missteps. Compassionate selfof others and then communicating youryour ownown needs, needs, cultivating cultivating empathy empathy urgency urgency enables enables me me to calmly to calmly care is a baseline that makes a honestly in way that inspire for the for the needs needs ofaothers, of others, andwill and then then acknowledge acknowledge my communication my communication calm perspective possible. Only compassionhonestly in the other person communicating communicating honestly in ain way a way missteps. missteps. Compassionate Compassionate self-care self-care when I consistently give myself (“I’m frustrated you aren’t listening thatthat will will inspire inspire compassion compassion in the in the is aisbaseline a baseline thatthat makes makes a calm a calm sufficient rest, nourishing food even after I let youfrustrated stay for other other person person (“I’m (“I’m frustrated youfree you perspective perspective possible. possible. OnlyOnly when when I I and timegive forgive yoga practice do I swim”) rather than assigning aren’t aren’t listening listening even even after after I letI you let blame you consistently consistently myself myself sufficient sufficient have the energy to pay attention (“You are making me than crazy”). rest,rest, staystay for free fortwo free swim”) swim”) rather rather than nourishing nourishing foodfood and and time time for for and act consciously in the challenging It’s hard enough to be assigning assigning blame blame (“You (“You two two area are yogayoga practice practice do Ido have I have the energy energy to to situations. conscious human making making me me crazy”). crazy”).being in a room paypay attention attention andand act act consciously consciously in in That day in the pool locker byIt’s yourself. As to a parent, rarely challenging It’s hard hard enough enough be to abeconscious ayou conscious challenging situations. situations. room I luckily had enough in my have time to contemplate how human human being being in ainroom a room by yourself. by yourself. ThatThat dayday in the in the poolpool locker locker room room reserves pull back to communicate empathetically As aAs parent, a parent, youyou rarely rarely have have timetime to to I luckily I self-care luckily hadhad enough enough intomy in selfmy self-and communicate both my frustration with yourhow kids you’re contemplate contemplate how tobecause communicate to communicate carecare reserves reserves to pull to pull back back and and and my apologies for turning into focused on trying to get them to empathetically empathetically withwith youryour kid kid because becausecommunicate communicate bothboth my frustration my frustration Mean Myturning sweet children swim lessons their andand you’re you’re focused focused onon trying ontime, trying to worried get to get them them my apologies myMommy. apologies for for turning intointo followed suit bysweet apologizing for being screaming might other to swim to swim lessons lessons on time, onbother time, worried worried Mean Mean Mommy. Mommy. My My sweet children children uncooperative. svadhyaya people at the store orbother simply too followed theirtheir screaming screaming might might bother other other followed suitsuit by apologizing by Parenting apologizing for being for being requires equal parts self-compassion tired wish they just people people atand the at the store store or you’re orwould you’re simply simply uncooperative. uncooperative. Parenting Parenting svadhyaya svadhyaya and self-awareness, and it’s a gift that listen because youthey saidwould so. too too tired tired and and wishwish they would justjust requires requires equal equal parts parts self-compassion self-compassion can only be givenand to and our My parenting svadhyaya listen listen because because youyou said said so. so. often andand self-awareness, self-awareness, it’schildren it’s a gift a giftif we first give it to ourselves. begins with a reflection on My parenting My parenting svadhyaya svadhyaya often often thatthat cancan onlyonly be given be given to our to our children children unskillful techniques after if we begins begins withwith aparenting reflection a reflection on unskillful on unskillful if first we first carecare for ourselves. for ourselves. the fact. The distance and lessened parenting parenting techniques techniques after after the the


NĀMARŪPA magazine honors the many www.namarupa.org systems of knowledge that have originated in India. Passed down through the ages, they have left tracks – paths already traveled – that can guide us back to the Self, the source of all names {NĀMA} and forms {RŪPA}. Its content aims to be clear and inspirational without any particular agenda or sectarian bias. Available in both print-on-demand and online versions. NĀMARŪPA BANDHĀVA has been established to aid villagers in the Uttarkashi region of the Himalayas devastated by recent floods. NĀMARŪPA YATRA guides unique annual pilgrimages to sacred places in India. WWW.NĀMARŪPA.ORG

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studio feature

A look at the studios and teachers making Chicago-area yoga diverse and unique

Interview with Carmen Aguilar The Lab is meant to be a laboratory, “a place for experimentation where you find yourself, sometimes you lose yourself, too,” explains owner Carmen Aguilar. “You discover elements about yourself that you weren’t aware of, you get over your traumas or fears, you share experiences with people, you make friends, you laugh, you mingle, you learn.” Aguilar opened The Lab in Chicago’s West Loop in March 2010. Initially, she taught all the classes but now has trained each of The Lab’s 14 teachers in her cYoga method. The name “cYoga” was chosen for its modern sound and many possible meanings, including “see,” “Chicago” and, yes, “Carmen.” She says she developed cYoga “out of the need to keep myself not only challenged but also injury-free and with the understanding that to get to a certain pose, you need to warm up your body in a certain way, so what you do, how you do it, and in which order are extremely important.” Originally from Zaragoza, Spain, Aguilar first tried yoga at a gym when she lived in Colorado. At that time, she had injuries from running and struggled with anorexia and bulimia. Aguilar became “instantly hooked” on yoga’s physical and mental benefits. “I had always been a very active person but this discipline challenged me in new ways.” Aguilar wears many hats at The Lab, “too many to describe.” In addition to being owner and teacher, she is “motivational speaker, lecturer, hug provider and anchor.” Clearly she has nurtured teachers and students in her cYoga style. With more than 50 reviews by the studio’s students, Yelp gives The Lab an 22 illuminechicago.com

average 4.5 (out of 5) stars. Aguilar has practiced at many local studios and considers her primary teacher to be her daily practice. “There’s no greater guru than your daily practice.” She says cYoga “came out of the need to explain to the world that anyone can practice yoga. Even ‘advanced’ poses, when the student warmed up properly, with the proper technique and hours of practice, can be achieved. Anyone can have fun and be painand injury-free. Anyone can breathe fully and properly. Anyone can keep his or her head focused and should learn from the real teacher, his or her own practice.” Aguilar is humorous, irreverent and extremely serious about the yoga business. “As a business owner, I offer what I think is interesting and noteworthy based on my personal experience. I then observe the reaction of the audience and act accordingly. It’s a symbiotic process and I try to shape things in a certain way. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t; sometimes I get in return something better than I expected; sometimes I reject it completely. It’s an exercise in adaptability. I find out what is essential and what’s not worth fighting for that I should let go of. On another note, being surrounded by incredibly talented teachers and practitioners, no doubt, has improved my personal practice faster than it ever had before. Excellence is contagious. I’m sure of that.” Carmen says, “People take a teacher training somewhere, and suddenly they

Photo: Moises Aguilar

by Lourdes Paredes

Carmen Aguilar in Valgulasana think they can teach yoga. No daily practice, no devotion, no discipline and no understanding of what they’re doing because everything is too new. That’s dangerous and a potential hazard. Then you have others who follow the latest trend, practicing the silliest things in the name of yoga. Depending on the day, that makes me a) roll my eyes, b) want to vomit or c) laugh really hard.” “If I ‘window demo’ in my underwear (or less), contorting in impossible positions just to promote myself, I’m not sure people will see more than just the facade. Maybe they’ll feel truly inspired by the body or the practice, rush over to the nearest yoga class and discover their true self, who knows? Nowadays, big companies have realized that there’s money in yoga, there’s money in attaining health, pursuing perfection dressed in a perfectly matching, stink-free attire. And


Book review A slam poet of the sutras: Moises Aguilar interprets Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras Jaclyn Bauer

people are willing to spend. An image sells, so it was just natural that marketing companies would combine a perfect body plus minimum clothing plus a hint of sexuality and naughtiness plus incredibly difficult asanas to guarantee a successful marketing campaign. Add the social media phenomenon where if you don’t have followers, fans, hits, visits to your YouTube channel, Facebook page, website, and if you don’t tweet, post, blog or upload, you’re as old as a dinosaur. You have a new version of yoga that’s trying to figure itself out. Evolution is inevitable. The important thing for us is to keep the content of our yoga message meaningful and relevant to our times.”

The Lab (159 N. Racine Ave., Suite 2, West Loop), 312.526.3467 Labchicago.com

Moises Aguilar’s “The Yoga Sutras: A 21st century interpretation” (2013) is simultaneously insightful and scandalous. As the subtitle clearly states, the text is not a translation, but an “interpretation” for which Aguilar “armed [him]self with seven different translations.” Aguilar’s “Sutras” aims to be approachable, yet retain the essence of each message conveyed by its original scribe Patanjali. The reader could imagine Aguilar almost reciting the first group of sutras via slam poetry: “Now let’s talk about yoga. Yoga is attained by removing the noise from the mind so you can remember who you are.” The colloquial diction transforms what has been for years an esoteric and exclusive text into something more inclusive and accessible. Another innovative aspect of Aguilar’s rendition is his construction of the Sutras “as a continuous text” rather than broken into static glimpses of information as has been the norm. The Yoga Sutras, though never an extant text before Patanjali codified them sometime between 400 B.C.E. and 200 A.D., is believed to have been based on a larger body of knowledge that circulated throughout the culture. The sutras, or aphorisms, then were merely reminders of the larger picture. Similarly, Aguilar is creating that larger picture for our time, filling in the holes he sees with previous interpretations of the text. Enlightening, relatable and debatable, Aguilar’s interpretation is worth the journey whether you are a strict traditionalist or a light-hearted yogi; there is something for every yogi to take away.

About Moises Aguilar. Moises Aguilar began practicing martial arts at age 7 and took his first meditation course at 10. Since then, Eastern philosophy has been a part of his life. He started practicing yoga in 1999 to help him relax from his traveling consulting job. While helping his wife, Carmen Aguilar, advance her asana practice, he felt especially drawn to the subtleties of adjusting poses. In 2010, Moises and Carmen opened The Lab yoga studio in Chicago. He currently teaches the adjustments and philosophy sections of The Lab’s Teacher Training as well as regular yoga classes. Look for Moises’s next book “Symbols and teachings in the Bhagavad Gita” in mid-2014.

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Shiva Rea

‘Tending the Heart Fire: Living in Flow with the Pulse of Life’ Adapted from “Tending the Heart Fire: Living in Flow with the Pulse of Life” by Shiva Rea. Copyright © 2014 by Shiva Rea. To be published by Sounds True in January 2014. We are created in rhythm, kept alive in rhythm, and evolve through rhythm. Tides, breath, and blood flow in rhythm. We are born into a universe of currents, and our heart is the great conductor of the body as it maintains the rhythmic pulse that oscillates to the flow of our lives. Twenty billion years ago when the universe surged into being, a primordial fireball exploded in a colossal burst of light. Everything in existence today still pulses with original light—including our own bodies. The Heart Fire within each of us connects us to the beginning of creation, to the

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rtam or cosmic rhythm generated by the blazing tapas—generating heat—of this original fire. From this original burst of light, Surya (the sun), Chandra (the moon), all the heavens, and the cycles of cosmic time emerged. Your heart’s rhythm embodies the pulse of creation (spanda). In addition, our hearts vibrate as the innermost essence of consciousness (hridaya), the flow of love (rasa), and the light of the true self (jyotir). Each of us carries this enormous source of power and love in our bodies.

expands and recedes, dims and intensifies. While we may not often pause to think about it, this intimate connection and truth in our hearts is reflected in our speech by how we counsel one another: “Listen to your heart.” “Trust your heart.” “Follow your heart.” Our heart feels “heavy,” or we are “lighthearted.” When we affirm the truth, we “swear upon” our heart, instinctively making the universal mudra of connecting hand to heart. When we open to our heart’s deepest knowing, we have a “change of heart.”

To live in ways that honor these natural currents, those within and those without, is to live vinyasa, in touch and in alignment with the flowing rhythms of our world.

While we can think of the heart as the extraordinary circulatory-system pump we learned about in school, we know in our bones that it is so much more than this. All of the world’s spiritual traditions—and now recent scientific discoveries—have revealed the Heart Fire as a radiant field of connection and inner wisdom that transcends time, space, and culture.

If we drop into our feeling sensations of our body, we discern a subtle reverberation of this light in our chests as a deep, penetrating heat that ebbs and flows,


Inner Firekeeping - Ayurveda and the Cultivation of Tejas, Ojas and Prana In living vinyasa, the micro- and macrocycles of yoga and ayurveda both emerge from the fire altar. Agni—sacred fire—is revered as the divine consciousness and is understood to be both material and spiritual. In the body, agni performs much like the outer fire that burns wood. It is the metabolizing force of creation, and as such it requires physical fuel in the form of food, and spiritual fuel in the form of mantra and prayer. Agnideva, the personification of fire as a deity, has two faces: one creative, the other destructive. In its igniting capacity in the body, agni sparks cellular regeneration as well as the destruction of old cells to make room for the new.

Agni represents the fire at our core. Depending upon our constitution, lifestyle, and practices, it can be well balanced to support our evolution or lead to imbalances. When unbalanced, agni can burn us up and dry us out (known as excessive fire), manifest in low energy and lack of inspiration (weak fire), or oscillate in place, leaving us unable to move forward in life (wavering fire). Ayurveda applies Vedic and tantric teachings on balancing the sun, moon, and fire within to maintain inner vitality. Agni manifests as tejas—inner illumination—and governs all metabolic processes in the body. Because it involves heat, it is related to the sun’s energy; it keeps body, mind, and emotions radiant. The moon of the Vedas and Tantras is

soma or lunar nectar. It supports the cultivation of ojas within our physiology as a vital protective energy, a subtle substance providing luster and immunity to the system. Ojas nourishes the body in a way similar to the moon’s effect on plant life. It soothes the emotions and the mind. The sun as vayu (wind) is prana, the life force, the flow of intelligence, creativity, and the circulation of vital energy. In cultivating your Heart Fire and creating a healthy life, you work to maintain balance between these qualities of tejas (fire), ojas (moon), and prana (sun) that is the core Vedic-tantric metaphor and practice of tending the fire in an altar or in one’s spiritual or worldly life.

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Jyotish astrology is stellar! Souvik Dutta

Illustration: Jason Campbell

In the summer 1988, my cousin and I were staying at my aunt’s home. My cousin, then in her late teens, had developed a keen but fleeting passion for astrology and its insight into relationships. Her bible was “Love Signs,” by best-selling author Linda Goodman. I was intrigued—and confused—by how the solar calendar date ranges mapped to Western names of the zodiac signs. I borrowed the book from my reluctant cousin, who may have believed she was giving away her only tool for a future happy relationship. The next few days (and nights), I read the book cover to cover. To my 8-year-old, curious, yet inexperienced mind, “Love Signs” and its concepts differed from my rudimentary understanding of the word “astrology.” “Jyotish” (pron. JO-tish) is the Sanskrit term and translates in English to “the science of light—astrology.” This was my truth, learned from Gurudeva (a teacher of spiritual life) and based on a set of complex, intricate rules. Stars play a key role in Jyotish astrology, but nothing I had heard from Gurudeva mentioned date ranges mapping to zodiac signs. Years later, I finally solved the puzzle. The most common opinion is that Western and Vedic astrology are mutually exclusive. However, looking deeper, one will find the tie that binds them. Western astrology’s tropical model is heliocentric I think the term “Western” astrology is a misnomer. If we accept that the planet is almost a sphere, then how can we cast 26 illuminechicago.com

directions on east and west on a sphere? In the language of nature, east and west don’t exist. The tropical model used in Western astrology is based on the heliocentric view of the system of Earth and sun. Assuming the sun is stationary, the Earth experiences four unique stages: two equinoxes and two solstices. The Vernal Equinox is the only day of the year when day and nights are equal and days get longer from that day onward. The Autumnal Equinox is also a day with equal day and night on Earth but nights get longer from that day. Spring and fall are the seasons associated with Vernal and Autumnal Equinox and form the basis of the system of time. In Western astrology, the Vernal Equinox is the day when the sun (as seen from Earth) enters the sign Aries. This concept of “beginning” is why the zodiac signs start from Aries and not from Leo or any other sign. “Beginning” is when life begins and life begins with spring. Thus, the zodiac begins with the day of the Vernal Equinox and thereby, the tropical Aries. With Western astrology’s tropical model in place, the solstices become the beginning points of Cancer and Capricorn. On the Summer Solstice, rays of sun directly fall on the Tropic of Cancer (hence, its name). On the Winter Solstice, the same thing happens on the Tropic of Capricorn. These days mark the entry of the sun in tropical signs Cancer and Capricorn. And hence, the signs signify a strong connection with the Earth and the

sun. These are stages of evolution of the Earth in a cycle around the sun, and that the frame of reference fixed on the sun. Many astrologers claim that the tropical model doesn’t take into account the precession (the concept that Earth wobbles like a tap while revolving around the sun) of the equinox. This is an incorrect notion. Precession plays no role since the conceptual basis is heliocentric: the frame of reference is the center of the sun, and the position of the Earth is relative to the sun. In other words, the tropical model is based on the sun-Earth relationship. The Vernal Equinox will be the same timeslot approximately (and thus, approximately the same date in any solar calendar) each year, has been for thousands of years and will be for thousands of years hence. The core beliefs of the tropical zodiac are that the sun is fixed and the Earth is mobile. This is how the tropical zodiac system was developed, and it is a valid system if any astrologer uses the above concepts accurately. Vedic astrology’s sidereal model is stellar Vedic astrology is modeled upon three celestial entities: the Earth, the sun and the moon. Since the three entities are considered dynamic, the frame of reference in the vedic model of astrology is the stars. Whereas the tropical model is heliocentric (sun-centered), the vedic (also called “sidereal”) model is stellar or galactic. Most ancient calendar systems followed


Waning Crescent

Last Quarter

Waning Gibbous

Illustrations: Jason Campbell

New Moon

Full Moon

Waxing Crescent

Waxing Gibbous

(left) The underlying model of Vedic astrology is the interrelationship between Earth, the sun and the moon shown by the phases of the moon.

First Quarter

a solilunar (mapping time in terms of the phases of the moon) pattern of timekeeping. This system is based on the moon’s revolution around the Earth in its various phases (by light reflected by the sun). In a year, there are 12 full moons. Since the moon is full 12 times in a year, the year has 12 months. Each month was assigned a zodiac sign. These 12 full moons in the night sky were studied deeply by the ancient sages of India. The region of celestial space in which the full moon occurred against the backdrop of the stars was called the “signs.” The sages of ancient India drew shapes in the sky linking its stars and named each shape. Aries, the Ram, has three major stars. Taurus, the Bull, incorporates Aldebaran; Gemini has both Castor and Pollux. In this way, a celestial zodiac was created against the backdrop of the stars and was called the “sidereal zodiac.”

My confusion that began that summer long ago took years to resolve and a number of teachers to clarify. In the following years, I delved into the world of science. Mathematics and physics became my favorite subjects. Understanding physics brought me closer to astrology. Then some great teachers walked into my life to show me that there is actually no duality in astrology—Western or Vedic. Ptolemy and Parasara actually were talking about the same thing—just astrology. And yes, my cousin finally found lasting love and consulted me to ensure that the stars were aligned for her to have a blissful conjugal life. She has a happy married life and a wonderful son. As for me, I am eternally grateful to Gurudeva and Goodman for igniting the confusion of the zodiacs in my curious mind since all wisdom begins with a confusion!

Autumnal equinox September 22

Summer solstice June 21

Winter solstice December 21

Vernal equinox March 20 (above) The underlying model of Western astrology is the interrelationship between Earth and the sun shown by the occurrences of Equinoxes and Solstices.

Follow Souvik Dutta’s monthly astrological forecast at illuminechicago.com.

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Nurture and grow your practice Vinyasa Flow - Mindful Yoga - Restorative - Yin - Yoga for Runners/Athletes

namaskar

YOGA

New Students: 2wks Unlimited Yoga for $30 3946 N. Southport Ave. Chicago, IL. (at Irving Park) 773.472.0930

NamaskarYoga.com

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awareness

Yoga

EnErgy P rivat e

ContaCt Samantha Berger at 847.535.7173 or email SBerger@lfh.org for more information and to SChedule your private SeSSion.

1200 north Westmoreland road | lake forest | illinois 60045 | 847.535.7000 | lakeforesthfc.com

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LINCOLN

N

AVE

One of Chicago’s yoga zones Lourdes Paredes

LIN CO LN

BELMONT

WELLINGTON

RACINE LIN CO LN

DIVERSEY

SHEFFIELD WRIGHTWOOD

LIN CO LN

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Lincoln Avenue from Fullerton to Belmont is a uniquely yoga-dense corridor with many active lifestyle offerings and spiritual communities. Within 1.4 miles, there are seven yoga studios, numerous boutique gyms and pilates studios, a historic church and the Chicago headquarters of the controversial religious community, Scientology. Established businesses, such as a family-run candle business, holistic health centers and a scuba school, have weathered the economic roller coaster. Among the newer businesses is the designer toy store, Rotofugi. Eateries include the Golden Apple, open 24/7, and newer brunch spots with long waits. What used to be a shortcut driving route through the city is now a one-stop fitness and shopping destination. Here are a few highlights from illumine’s amble along this issue’s Yoga Zone.

Vintage modern charm Lincoln Avenue is a charming street whose architecture is overall vintage with updated and modern moments. Some business and store fronts have maintained the more Chicago style loft buildings, while new condos with balconies overlooking the street remind us of the consistently high demand for real estate with a Lakeview address. Photo: Ashley Wu

! s l a i c e p s Lincoln Pressbox

Waxman waxmancandles.com A destination for candle lovers, this family-owned business offers many creative options for an illuminated home and life. At the Lincoln Avenue facility, artisans make the candles by hand, in just about every shape, size and theme. The over 300 fragrances change seasonally.

Chicago Yoga Center (founded as N.U. Yoga) yogamind.com Suddha Weixler came to Chicago in 1984 and with the blessings of his guru, opened up one of the first yoga centers in the city. The Chicago Yoga Center offers a well-rounded schedule of classes, from Ashtanga (led and Mysore) to Hatha, Yin and Vinyasa. Beginners are welcome.

Ganesha Yoga and Adventures in Fitness ganeshayogachicago.com Cheerfully painted storefront and interior, this boutique and yoga studio offers colorful, flattering yoga clothing and yoga gear. Classes such as Stiff Guy and HeavyWeight Yoga® welcome the non-typical yogi. Nia, Yoga Dance Party, BollyGroove Cardio and Broadway Fit classes are also on the schedule.

Samgha samghayoga.com The only Jivamukti-affiliated studio in Chicago, this urban sanctuary is guided by the hip and holy Robert Pelaski. Deeply rooted and infused with traditional elements, Vinyasastyle classes include Spiritual Warrior, Jivamukti open, Ashtanga and Bali Spirit.

usepressbox.com Catering to the person with nontraditional hours, they offer 24/7 access to drop-off and pick-up dry cleaning service.

Participating Lincoln Ave. yoga studios and businesses are offering specials to illumine readers during through March 31, 2014. Please see illuminechicago.com for details.

Heritage General Store

bodyrnd.com This challenging 50-minute workout delivers results. Owner Harry Shelley brought the Pilates-like intense and fast-paced megaformer cardio-free group class to Chicago.

heritagebicycles.com A full-fledged coffee shop and bike shop, Heritage does both well. They serve Stumptown Coffee, Girl & The Goat pastries, and Glazed & Infused doughnuts on Sundays. In the same space, they fix, tune-up and build custom bikes.

dSPACE Studio

Bodhi Spiritual Center

dspacestudio.com This architecture firm is a good neighbor to have! In collaboration with the city’s Department of Transportation, the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce and Heritage General Store, they created the Lincoln People Spot, a seasonal outdoor seating structure.

bodhispiritualcenter.org Located just a few hundred feet from Lincoln Avenue on Magnolia, Bodhi Spiritual Center has a modern approach to church without religion and is committed to awakening “Divine power and purpose.” Rev. Mark Anthony Lord leads the community.

Body R&D

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Rotofugi rotofugi.com The triangular corner storefront has been home to internationally recognized designer toy store and art gallery since 2010. Its toys are for little ones, collectors and others with a whimsical state of mind.

Shen Shen Health & Harmony

New possibilities

shenshenhealth.com Using massage, acupuncture, herbs and other bodywork, therapists create the ideal conditions for healing. Specializing in women’s health and infertility, they also address the common cold and symptoms related to cancer and lupus.

Lincoln Avenue yoga and fitness studios offer a wide variety of styles and possibilities. Several studios also offer teacher training and continuing education. Try something new or go deeper.

Divine Power Yoga divinepoweryogaonline.com/ The owner of a Naperville yoga studio of the same name will be the new owner of this space beginning January. The hot studio will offer Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga.

I.D. Gym Photos: provided by dSpace, used with permission

The People Spot In collaboration with the city and Heritage General Store, dSpace created a userfriendly outdoor space. In collaboration with the city and Heritage General Store, dSpace created an inviting space to enjoy Chicago’s glorious spring, summer and fall. Read a book about the Sutras, write in a journal, or catch up with a friend on their chaise lounges or cafe tables. Open for all.

id-gym.com Seasoned yoga teacher and personal trainer Brent Holten opened this boutique gym in 2008, replete with weights and cardio equipment with a personalized workout. Fly Yoga®, Vinyasa yoga and group fitness classes are offered.

WholeHealth Chicago wholehealthchicago.com WholeHealth Chicago is the Midwest’s oldest center for integrative care, combining conventional medicine with alternative therapies. Check out their apothecary.

The Chicago School of Yoga chicagoschoolofhotyoga.com With two heated yoga rooms and shower/locker facilities, they offer Sunrise classes most days and many after-work options, including Detox, Yin restorative and Candlelight.

illumine contacted the Peace School. As of presstime we had no response. Their website indicates daily yoga classes.

illumine

WINTER LAUNCH EVENT:

Concept rendering by dSpace

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Experience Lincoln Ave Jan. 24, 2014. Featured yoga and fitness studios will be offering $10 classes on Friday afternoon/evening for illumine readers. Try a new studio! Have dinner at one of Lincoln Ave’s restaurants and then experience Club Divine at 9 pm at the Bodhi Center. See illuminechicago.com for details.


5 amazing workshops February 7-9

Please join Dice Iida-Klein & Briohny Smyth, guest teachers from California at Forever Om Yoga, Lake Forest

These dynamic workshops include: BryceYoga’s Signature Inverted Flow (Master Class), The ABC’s of the Inverted Flow Practice, Teaching Risky Poses & Transitions, Foundations Handstand and Bend Your Inversion - Inverted Backbends. All levels are welcome! Each workshop is 2 hours $45

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take a seat at the front of the class Embrace your practice and take the next step. Submerge your mind, body and spirit in the ancient wisdom and teachings of yoga with the Moksha Yoga 200hr and 500hr Teacher Training Programs. Whether you are planning on teaching or looking to expand your personal practice, Daren Friesen and Rich Logan will lead you through the comprehensive programs. Embark on a rewarding journey, and continue the lineage and the learning.

200hr Program begins March 2014 at Moksha Yoga three-week program begins August at Stonehouse Farm

500hr Program begins March 2014 at Moksha Yoga two-week program begins May at Stonehouse Farm To learn more email Zoey@mokshayoga.com • mokshayoga.com • 312.942.9642

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Sadhana: The lifestyle practices of ayurvedic medicine Monica Yearwood Ayur means “life” and veda means “knowledge.” Together, the two words come to mean “life knowledge.” This life knowledge is gained through self-inquiry and by observing nature. Through our observations, we come to know that cycles, fluctuations and predictable patterns in nature profoundly influence us. Ayurveda teaches that by aligning ourselves with these cycles through the use of specific practices, we can improve our mental wellbeing and prevent and reverse disease. Many ayurvedic practices to align ourselves with the cycles of nature have been used by our ancestors for thousands of years. And yet, modern life’s demands and opportunities disrupt our ability to easily sync with nature’s cycles. Ayurveda teaches the importance of regular sleep, but sleep disorders and insomnia are increasingly prevalent. Scientific studies show how exposure to synthetic light prevents the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that triggers the desire for sleep. Ayurveda teaches to eat fruits and vegetables that are in season, but grocery stores are stocked with produce from all over the world and available throughout the year. Ayurveda teaches to be more externally active in young adulthood and more internally reflective in old age, but financial demands keep many of us working well into our old age, without adequate time for leisure and self-reflection. According to Ayurveda, if we live out of alignment with these biorhythms for long, sickness in mind and/or body can ensue. What is worse, the cells of the mind and body can lose their memory of these practices. Distortion of the cell’s memory intensifies desires for unhealthy things. Prolonged use of detrimental substances, inferior foods and counterproductive lifestyle

activities further inhibit the cells from remembering their holism. Addictions, food cravings, mental unrest, insomnia, poor weight management and fatigue are just some of the many imbalances we may confront after years of self-neglect. We can recover health by honoring the ayurvedic lifestyle practices that reestablish our relationship with nature, called “sadhanas.” Sadhanas work to increase many facets of health and restore cellular memory in mind and body. There are sadhanas one can adopt that touch every aspect of life, such as sleeping at an appropriate hour. Both the lifestyle practices and medicinal applications in Ayurveda are founded on the idea that each person is a microcosm of the universe. In other words, we are part of the universe, made up of the same stuff, in different proportions. Air, ether, fire, water and earth are the five elements in Ayurveda used to describe our physiological condition, mental tendencies and metabolic processes. The five elements come together in three defining pairs called “the doshas”: vata, pitta and kapha. Every person is made up of the three doshas, but has different proportions of each. Ayurveda’s lifestyle practices and medicinal applications are chosen according to one’s individual mind/ body constitution called “prakruti,” and imbalance called “vikruti.” When the doshas become excessive or deficient, imbalance begins to occur. Toxins can accumulate and bring with them a host of ailments. The lifestyle practices and medicinal applications in Ayurveda work to reduce these excesses. In this way, no two people are utilizing exactly the same practices. Ayurvedic lifestyle is individualized. Sadhanas and practices are prescribed to dispel negative mental and physical tendencies. The sadhanas work to awaken their positive counterparts by

rousing inner awareness. To determine one’s ayurvedic constitution and to understand which sadhanas would be beneficial, it is important to ascertain mental constitution, doshic constitution and digestive type. Sadhanas are chosen to enhance positive traits and disrupt characteristic patterns that inhibit the full potential native to each mind/body type. The medicinal applications of Ayurveda work to expel excesses and correct imbalances through more powerful and immediate measures, whereas the sadhanas tend to reduce excesses steadily over time. The medicinal practices in Ayurveda are significantly enhanced by the lifestyle practices and greatly hindered by their absence. At its most fundamental level, Ayurveda is not only a lifestyle but also a medicinal science that can be applied during disease. But the sadhanas, the lifestyle practices, are the heart of Ayurveda. While they work to restore our relationship with nature, they also work to restore the relationship with one’s self. The practices of daily meditation, learning about locally grown foods, preparing high quality meals and consistently getting deep sleep restore us. It is rasayana (rejuvenative) to every vital tissue in the body. The sadhanas are our first line of defense in disease prevention, and ideally our go-to source if we become ill. Sadhanas are founded on the belief that we are intrinsically part of everything around us, we have a wellspring of our own medicine inside us, and we can access it by cultivating a deep relationship with our inner experience. Monica Yearwood is a graduate of Dhanvantari Ayurveda from the Florida Vedic College. She is a Panchakarma technician, licensed massage therapist and certified yoga instructor. In 2013, Yearwood founded Hamsa Ayurveda & Yoga, Chicago’s first ayurvedic treatment center.

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Serving the Chicagoland community for over 18 years

with time-honored practices of yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, proper diet, and Ayurvedic lifestyle practices. YOGA FOR ALL LE VEL S OFFERED 7 DAYS A W EEK • Vinyasa

• Ashtanga

• Mysore

• Yin

• Restorative

• Prenatal

• Meditation

INTEGR ATED HE ALING TO ENHANCE THE BENEFITS OF YOGA • Ayurvedic Healthcare

• Acupuncture

• Therapeutic Massage

SPECIAL WORKSHOPS & PROGR AMS COMING IN E ARLY 2 014: • Pranayama with

Sudhir Tiwari (March)

• Yoga Anatomy with Josh Akin (March)

• Intro to Ayurveda with Sharyn Galindo (April)

THREE CONVENIENT LOCATIONS: Northfield, Evanston and Bannockburn

With pleasure, we invite newcomers to a week of unlimited classes for $20. Northfield Studio

310 Happ Road, Suite 216 847.784.8844

Evanston Studio 1407 Greenleaf Street Bannockburn Studio 2523 Waukegan Road in the

Bannockburn Green Shopping Center 847.607.8581

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Visit our website for a complete listing of all yoga classes and workshops. www.nsyoga.com


Asana & alignment

Losing balance and gaining perspective Yoga teacher Pam Udell is passionate about the study of yoga and anatomy and strives to help her students prevent injuries in their practice.

Pam Udell

Five steps to explore your mind and improve your balance 1) Observe your reactions. How do you respond when you fall out of a pose, or when class doesn’t go the way you expected? Studies have shown that our thoughts affect our brain waves, including the beta wave associated with stress and the alpha wave linked to relaxation and calm. Try to become aware of your thought response and create a more serene environment. 2) Breathe. Slow down and deepen your breath. This will lower your blood pressure and levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and decrease your heart rate. Focusing on your breath can help you connect with yourself and improve your balance inside and out. 3) Find a drishti (focal point). This may help you to slow down your thoughts and increase concentration. 4) Redirect your thoughts. Just as you strengthen your heart with cardiovascular exercise, you can train your mind to think more positively. 5) Feel whatever is touching the earth. Whether on or off your mat, use the sensation to ground down and let everything else oppose the action of whatever is rooting down. Find freedom in your body. If we stop and think before we react, we can steady our minds and our bodies. Just stay present and all will be upright.

Photo of Andrew Gurvey by Chris Mielk

Losing your balance on the mat is an opportunity to explore yourself and how you respond to life’s imbalances off the mat. What happens to your body and mind when you lose your balance? Well, that depends on how you react. If you can slow your thoughts and practice calming your mind and body even half of the time, you are ahead of the game. Here are five steps to help you get to know yourself better and improve your physical balance. Each requires you to stay present.

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yogaview teacher trainings and continuing education for teachers visit yogaview.com for details

$29

For students new to yogaview— $29 for 2 weeks of unlimited yoga Teacher Trainings Spring 2014 Level 1: March 8 - May 25 Level 2: March 13 - June 12

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

4949 Forest Ave, Downers Grove 630-960-5488 • YogaAmongFriends.com

Nourish your mind, body and spirit with the healing tools of yoga in the tradition of Krishnamarchya • Certified yoga therapist and yoga teachers • Drop in classes 7 days a week • Fundamentals for beginners, prenatal yoga, yogakids® ...plus Sutra, meditation, and workshops in deeper practices

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Meditation: The path of clarity Stephanie Poulos

I began meditating unintentionally and unwillingly. Excited to begin yoga class, I resisted having to sit quietly and be mindful of my breath for a seemingly endless 60 seconds. I had so much energy (and stress), I couldn’t wait to dive into a high intensity Vinyasa Flow. Now I am grateful for the introduction to the practice of meditation. After years of asana practice, somewhere along the way, I began to crave more. More of something. Silence? Stillness? I thought meditation would be good for me, and I wanted to release patterns that were no longer serving me. Here’s how I built my practice—a minute at a time—and how you can, too. First, I committed to a time of day Morning was best, as I wanted to ready my mind for my work challenges as a real estate broker and to bring clarity, equanimity and compassion to each day. They say it takes 21 or even 28 days to cultivate a new habit and that eventually, the pleasure derived from the new habit will override the discomfort required to implement it. Start small and start somewhere, even in 60-second stints, and see what happens. Next, I needed some structure—a method, a guide I began by focusing on the rise and fall of each breath, not knowing what else to do

except sit there and shut up (verbally and mentally). I discovered the power of mantra, a sacred word, phrase or sound repeated as a refrain during meditation. In Hindu, Buddhist and Tantric traditions, the mantra is a Sanskrit word or syllable. Sanskrit is believed to be a vibrational language; sound transmits energy representative of the five elements of nature into the universe. Any personally meaningful phrase, such as a positive thought or a prayer, can work. The purpose is to cultivate attraction and awareness. A set of mala beads are in order. A mala (garland) is a strand of 108 round prayer beads used to count a mantra or chant. The practice of japa mala dictates that one repeats a sacred mantra 108 times (see sidebar on the significance of 108). At the time, I was facing the recession’s repercussions on the real estate market and my livelihood. I learned chants to Ganesha believed to help one overcome obstacles. I had nothing to lose, so why not chant to a Hindu elephant god? I used my prayer beads to do malas, or sets of the mantra “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha” 108 times. Although daunting at first, the practice of mantra focused my mind on a positive intention. My transformation had begun. Positive thoughts replaced negative ones, and I directed willful energy towards a positive outcome. I was distracted from nagging worries about the economy and scarcity. Dwelling on

Why are there 108 beads in a mala? Jim Kulackoski In tantric cosmology, the universe exists as a relationship between subject and object. Hence, there are essentially three components necessary for existence:

1. 2. 3.

a subject an object their relationship

The number 108 is significant because it is a hyperfactorial, a mathematical concept of this sacred number three. In tantric cosmology, the manner in which relativity exists is based on a fractal of this particular concept. In other words: 1 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 108.

continues on page 40

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continued from page 39

‘Breathe positive, breathe yoga!’

Photo: Yogi Yoga, China

Workshop with

Sudhir Tiwari North Shore Yoga

my fear of the unknown had not eased my sense of uncertainty, but increased the possibility that these fears may be realized. I had a choice in how I wanted to feel and to face my troubles. It seems simple now, but at the time, I was diving into a new ocean of possibilities. My entire perception of life had changed. Finally, I went high tech and found calm Technology aided my practice, too. In 20-minute stints, I listened to guided mantra meditations, including a recording by Shiva Rea. Through the internal repetition of breath-coordinated mantras, time dissolved and I was bathed in a soothing calm. The difference before and after meditation was palpable. Many other tools are available to make meditation more accessible and even mobile. My life has transformed in miraculous ways. Through meditation, I have learned discernment and how to observe my thoughts and then release them. I have learned to train my attention, recognize and change unconscious patterns, and witness the expansion of my sense of consciousness and all the possibilities that I can imagine. My practice continues to evolve as I modify my current methods and learn new ones. Meditation serves as a sanctuary, a refuge from my worries and troubles. I greet each day with bravery and acceptance. Meditation has been a rich supplement to this daring human journey. I hope that you, too, will let meditation be your guide.

Feb. 28, March 1 and 2 Brooke Cline Sudhir Tiwari grew up at the Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute in Lonavla, India, under the tutelage of Swami Digambarji and his father, pranayama master Shri Om Prakash Tiwari. Degreed in engineering and business and pursuing a successful career in the health and wellness industry, Tiwari recalls, “Yoga helped me with stress management, decision making and handling difficult situations in an objective manner.” Then in 2012, Tiwari found his true calling: spreading the teachings of his early community. His mantra “Breathe Positive, Breathe Yoga!” highlights the focus of his spring workshop at North Shore Yoga in Northfield: pranayama. Through breathwork, one can control prana (life force) and remove distractions from the mind to better prepare for meditation. Participants “will learn the correct

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techniques of these practices based on authoritative yogic texts,” Tiwari said. In addition to pranayama instruction and an exploration of its health benefits, workshop includes discussions and practices of asanas, a progressive chakra-based Beej Mantra, meditation techniques and ayurvedic principles. Learn pranayama techniques and dive deeper into your yoga practice with Sudhir Tiwari at North Shore Yoga Northfield (nsyoga.com).

Feb. 28, March 1-2 9:30 a.m.-noon Pulse reading, explanation of salient features of pranayamic practices, preparatory practices and pranayama 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Discussion, chanting, pranayama and meditation

Visit illuminechicago.com for Stephanie’s ‘Seven reasons to pull up your cushion’ and her top picks for meditation resources.


Style & Boots!

STABILITY

The ubuquitous shearling-lined boots are cozy and practical, but miss the mark for stepping out in style. illumine visited two of Chicago’s favorite independent shoe stores for their recommendations on footwear that provides stability off our yoga mats and onto the streets during Chicago’s long, rough winter.

á Pied (2037 W. Roscoe St., Roscoe Village) carries a wide variety of stylish and walkable shoes for urban yogis.

Trippen Rocket: A knee-high leather boot with their signature “xo” wedge sole offers comfort and ease for cold weather walking. $425

La Canadienne Massie: A sophistocated option for Chicago’s winter wonderland. It features waterproof stitching and an easy platform for comfort. Made in North America. $398

Pajar Denise: These snow boots are a down jacket for your legs. Put these on for a day of errands in the rain, snow, slush or just plain cold. $155 white at á Pied $199 msrp

Photos courtesy of La Canadienne and Pajar Trippen Picture Credits © Juergen Holzenleuchter, Ottensoos Exclusive rights of use Trippen A. Spieth, M. Oehler GmbH

Traipse (4143 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square) has a large selection of practical and fashion forward footwear including Trippen, a line designed and made in Germany that offers many options for the brisk walk in cold, sometimes slushy weather.

Trippen Corset: The lace-up boot slightly gathers above the ankle creating a ruffle effect. Like other comfort walking shoes, its cork footbed becomes your own the more you wear it. $448

Trippen Polis: The “Happy” sole is an optical illusion. The awardwinning platform was designed with durability and stability in mind. “Elaborately positioned air chambers reduce the weight and guarantee, together with the material, excellent shock absorption” (trippen.com). $435

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Eric Huffman

Healing Samurai DH Reflexology

Healing the world, one sole at a time™

Quality foot reflexology specializing in: Energy clearing and balancing • Deep relaxation • Rejuvenation

dhreflexology.com 773.895.4415 220 W. Huron St., Suite 4004, Chicago, IL

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Mindful eating:

An inspirational approach Lisa C. Bookstein Eating mindfully is eating with attention and intention. Slowing down to taste each morsel of food, savoring the many flavors and feeling satiated increase the pleasure of eating and contribute to overall wellness.

Photo: Pat Barcas

Before eating, take note and give thanks Just as in the beginning of an asana practice, when you sit down to a snack or a meal, draw your attention inward and observe your thoughts and feelings (svadhyaya). Take a moment and close your eyes. Relax and take a few breaths. How do you feel? Are you famished, or do you have a small appetite? Where are you eating? Outside, or in a cozy room? What is the mood of your surroundings? Is the room flooded with bright sunlight or candlelit? The environment can heighten (or detract from) the pleasure of a meal. Set the table with cloth napkins and a vase of flowers or a plant (the color green enhances calm). Open a window and enjoy the fresh air. When seated with your food, draw in a full breath. Pause, and feel the stillness of your mind. Close your eyes, and take in the aroma of the food. Then gently open your eyes. Appreciate the colors of the food on your plate. How much food is there? Is the food more than an inch high? How are the different foods on your plate arranged? Can you create spaces among the foods and see some of the plate underneath? Be grateful for the people who were involved in growing, harvesting, transporting and supplying your food. Give thanks to the person who prepared your food. If you prepared the meal, acknowledge the gifts of your time and ability.

the distractions of simultaneously watching television or surfing the Internet. Halfway through eating your meal, pause. Are you still hungry? Are you still savoring the food? Do you have room for more food? Often people stop eating when their plate is empty. Experiment and see if you can be finished eating when food remains on your plate. After eating, reflect When you finish eating, assess your progress. Did you remember your intention to slow down and eat mindfully? Were you able to discover pleasures along the way? Eating mindfully and experientially can be nourishing to the body and gratifying to the heart and mind.

While eating, engage all of your senses Explore the tastes of your food. What is salty, bitter, astringent, sweet or umami? Describe each texture, whether the food is crunchy, smooth or soft. Note the food’s temperature, whether it’s hot, cold or room temperature. Practice santosha (contentment) when eating. Let the pleasure of eating be the center of your focus. Try and find an inner peace. Let your body and your mind be fully present and calm. If you savor the foods you chose, you will eat the right amount. In other words, if you slow down enough you will satiate on less food. Choose foods that you want to eat and look forward to eating, rather than choosing foods that you think you should eat because they are healthful. Incorporate different types of food so your body receives a balance of nutrients. Ensure satiety by including protein, fat and fiber. Relax and enjoy, slow down and focus. Eat at the pace of a person strolling along a beautiful pebbled road flanked on either side by fields of willowy green grass. Eat sattvicly (in a balanced and relaxed manner). Eat purposefully. Chew thoroughly to facilitate digestion and increase satiety. Focus on eating—without illuminechicago.com 43


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FLAVORS

Little Goat is chef Stephanie Izard’s follow-up to her always buzzing smash Girl & The Goat. Izard is the first woman to win “Top Chef.” She was named a James Beard Best Chef (Great Lakes, 2013) and one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs (2011). Little Goat’s Diner satisfies cravings from early morning breakfasts to late night snacks. Its menu showcases her unique, fun take on comfort foods, including brunch classics, finger foods, salads, burgers, sandwiches and entrees, accompanied by bread made in-house. With so much to choose from, The Chickpea Salad stands out as a favorite.

Little Goat’s Chickpea Salad Yield: 4 servings 2 bunches or 8 cups kale 1 cup shredded carrots 1 cup celery, sliced thin 1 cup fennel, core removed and sliced very thin 1/2 cup radishes, sliced thin 1 cup cooked chickpeas 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled Parmesan cheese 1 1/2 cups lemon juice 1 cup The Chee* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Photo by Loong Chen taken at OON

For dressing: Whisk together lemon juice, The Chee and olive oil. Lightly salt and set aside. Rinse kale and pull off of center rib. Slice kale widthwise into 1/2-inch strips. Combine kale, carrots, celery, fennel, radishes, chickpeas and half of the Parmesan. Dress salad and top with remaining Parmesan.

Photo: courtesy of Little Goat

shares with

* The Chee is Izard’s take on a classic kimchi dressing from her sauce line The Flavor. It can be used as a goto Asian spicy condiment and is intended to add an interesting spice to just about anything—mayo, veggie dip or even a marinade. If The Chee isn’t on hand, the home cook can substitute another kimchi base or Asian hot sauce.

Little Goat Diner (820 W. Randolph St., West Loop), 312.888.3455 littlegoatchicago.com stephanieizard.com

Did you know chickpeas are gluten free? Don’t miss Wendy Cullitan’s article “Going against the grain” and her top picks for going gluten free in Chicago, at illuminechicago.com.

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An illumined life Manifesto

Everything from waffle irons to broken hearts can be repaired, and made right again Search your toolbox, figure out what is needed, and give it a go Always give life a try Be ever ready for the next adventure Fall in love with opera Be generous towards others Have faith in yourself and in others Death and endings happen, they are required, but for me, they are made doable by the knowledge that life is rich, my children love each other and our deepest connections are unquestioned

An illumined life regularly features the manifesto of an inspiring Chicagoan. Send your nomination to submissions@illuminechicago.com. Read Gavin Mullen’s article about Dr. Fisch online

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Photo: Annie Mullen

Dr. James Fisch, an 80-year-old yoga student, with grandson Kai Fisch


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Illumine Magazine - Issue 2. Winter 2014  

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

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