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  • Yogi of the Week: Sheri

    Meet Sheri.

    She was used to being great at things. Running, swimming, water polo – Sheri was tough to beat. But yoga was another story. When Sheri tried it, she wasn't good at it, so she didn't like it. Funny how things change.

    A bridge that many competitive athletes have to cross is how to treat their bodies after an injury. Yoga can be a beautiful tool for recovery. Sheri turned to yoga to soothe her aching joints and bruised muscles. And it did soothe her body. Then it changed her perspective about it. She went from using diet and exercise to tell her body what to do, to listening to it and giving her body what it needs for holistic balance.  If her body needs to go for a run, she does, but if it’s asking for some ice cream, then she does that too.

    Sheri's not "perfect," and she accepts that. But she's happy, and able to be of service and kindness to others. And that's perfect. That's Sheri-perfect.

  • Yogi of the Week: Lori

    Meet Lori.

    She was in a hectic spot. Balancing life as a college student and a single mother, her yoga mat was the glue that kept her together.

    “During those precious moments on my mat I didn’t think about how bills were going to be paid, laundry was going to get done, or how I was going to handle three kids all by myself. My practice not only gave me physical strength, it gave me the emotional strength and resolve I needed to make it through each minute of my life.”

    A dozen odd years later, Lori is happily married with now FIVE children and a fulfilling career teaching yoga – often to students whose path feels similar to her own. When a frazzled yogi rushes in moments before class begins, stressed for time and visibly distracted, Lori can relate. And she's in a special position to give other busy moms their one moment of sanity that they look forward to all week. Yoga is how SHE managed to to keep it all together, and life has a blessed way of coming full circle.

    Building off her idea of 'the yoga life raft,' Lori is working to cultivate the power of her local community through yoga. With her husband, she has created the OmWork Club, a yoga-centric afterschool program for Chicago teens to study and socialize in a peaceful, positive  and expressive environment.

  • Yogi of the Week: Bobbie

    Meet Bobbie.

    Yoga was her 50th birthday present to herself. And it's been an amazing gift. Even after that very first yoga class, she knew her world was going to feel different.

    Her practice is "the best thing ever," having eased her joints, given her infinite encouragement and a tranquil home anywhere she chooses – especially the yoga studio. While rock climbing will always be her "first love," yoga is her partner, helping her climb more than mountains. Recently, she climbed the wall, kicking up into her first headstand with the help of her teacher – she couldn’t stop smiling knowing that yoga had both literally and figuratively turned her world around.

    “Yoga has been a huge help with my whole life. I love the energy I have after a good hard class. I love the serenity that comes a little later and how all my joints feel fresh and ready to take on the world. I spent some time away from the mat. The day I went back to class I couldn't believe the relief I felt. While I was just resting in easy posture I started crying and didn't stop until half way through. Life is good with an active yoga practice."

  • Yogi of the Week: Meaghan

    Meet Meaghan.

    Soon after signing up for yoga teacher training in Costa Rica, Meaghan thought 'wait, am I crazy? This is not what responsible adults do!' Confused and second guessing herself, she began to talk herself out of the training. Then Meaghan got a sign from the universe – she stumbled on a giant billboard advertising a café with the same name as the training site in Costa Rica. She put her doubts to bed that day and hasn't looked back since.

    Sometimes we spend too much time in our own heads; for Meaghan, yoga was a way out. Her world happens outside herself now, and her love of travel and cultural immersion has given her an awareness for the desperate need for access to education in countries that have limited resources. Recently, Meaghan got on her bike and rode across America for the organization Playing for Change. raising awareness and funds for schools and music education in developing countries.

    Yoga has moved Meaghan to see her purpose of service. She has developed a reverence for her life and the people in it, making a conscious effort to serve people, the planet, and her own spirit.

  • Yogi of the Week: Gigi

    Meet Gigi.

    When she was 3, yoga was a game of copying mommy on the mat. By the time she was 14, she was going to yoga  studios for class. As a high schooler, Gigi was competitive – thriving off the stress and desire to perform. By college, the rush of team sports was over and she needed a new outlet for her focus and energy. She revived her yoga practice, and this time it was much more than a physical experience.

    Yoga has been the guiding energy in her lifestyle since then. These days you can find Gigi teaching yoga and spreading the love in one of the most notoriously loveless places in the country – the LA Freeway. Her car sports a custom paint job of inspirational mantras to help calm the mind in even the tightest jams. “You’re Too Blessed to Be Stressed,” “Each One Teach One,” “We Are All One,” and “Be the Change” -- they give people a reason to smile, like a moving meditation even when you're not moving so fast. It's also led to some great red light conversations!

    Throughout the years, yoga has helped Gigi and her mom stay bonded, and the student has since become the teacher with Gigi sharing the tools of pranayama, meditations, and restoration with the woman who introduced her to yoga in the first place.

  • Yogi of the Week: Theresa

    Meet Theresa.

    Theresa started yoga 11 years ago to help ease the process of quitting smoking. Little did she know that yoga would also eventually lead her to quit her job.

    After spending decades as a reporter covering murder trials, Theresa had quite a hardened shell around her.  But the consistent yoga practice she developed had started to chip away at the walls she had built up to reveal a softer, more open side of herself. She slowly started to realize that she wanted a major career change – one where she could help people and truly make a difference. After years of practice and training, she is now a Yoga Therapist in her very own studio. Her life now feels light and happy.

    Theresa remembers a moment during her Adaptive Yoga for Disabilities training where she watched her instructor align a paralyzed student into Tadasana on her back on the floor, and actually seeing the student experience the pose, even though she couldn’t feel it in the traditional sense. That moment affirmed for Theresa the power of the inner-body experience of yoga. .

  • Yogi of the Week: Camille

    Meet Camille.

    Doctors told her she would have back pain for the rest of her life. That she would need to attend regular physical therapy sessions and wear a bulky, uncomfortable back brace for always. That's how it was supposed to go.

    Camille attended many therapy sessions for her scoliosis, but shortly after each session the pain always came back. She wanted another solution and thought back to the few yoga classes she had tried years before and how they made her feel — relaxed, recharged. She decided to go back to yoga, more seriously now, with more intention. After developing a daily practice, her back and neck spasms completely went away.

    While yoga gave Camille relief from her pain, it also taught her how to relax as her most authentic self. Yoga helps her feel the most like who she truly is — and breaks down the walls she puts up around herself keeping her from who she's supposed to be. To do that, Camille says they key is to relax.

    “I can’t tell you how much I resisted “final relaxation” when I first started yoga. You have never seen anyone fidget about so much! I was attached to the idea that only action was worthwhile. In the end it finallyclicked that my Type A personality really, really needed to learn to switch off and relax. That relaxing is not 'doing nothing,' it’s actively doing a thing, a very valid thing that our body needs as much as food or water, and that is resting and recharging."

    Camille is proud to be a young, African American female in the yoga world and looks forward to welcoming more yogis into an increasingly diverse community. We are all already connected, and this practice reveals and belongs to everyone.

  • Yogi of the Week: Carla

    Meet Carla.

    As a high school teacher, Carla says that nothing gains you street cred as the ‘artsy, hipster’ teacher better than walking through the school quad with a yoga mat on your shoulder.

    Carla uses yoga to help teach her students about handling anxiety. One of her favorite memories is when she canceled her 12th grade English class for a day and replaced it with yoga. Her students were in the midst of receiving college acceptance letters, as well as deferral and rejection letters. She could feel the tension and stress in the room – but teaching them some poses and watching them let go, be present, and go for it, really eased the anxiety of everyone in the room. She’ll never forget watching them help each other kick into handstand, and laugh as they wobbled in tree pose.

    Teachers have their own favorite teachers, and Carla’s is her grandfather. While he didn’t teach her asana, he did teach her a lot about perspective and patience. His guidance combined with her yoga practice has changed the way Carla approaches work, relationships, and future goals. She admits that before yoga she was “Type-A-all-the-way”. Today she feels less brittle, and more giving – and feels comfortable at what she calls “Type B+”.

    "Yoga helps me recognize when I'm inspired to give," Carla shared, "whether that's love, advice, comfort or something more concrete – and reminds me that I have the ability to act on that inspiration."

    Practice On.

    --Manduka

  • Yogi of the Week: Cristina

    Meet Cristina.

    Sitting behind a desk in a stressful job, Cristina found herself daydreaming about a different life. Her head kept wandering to her yoga practice. Thinking about that sound of sweat hitting the mat got her through those days. Then she saw her uncle lose his battle with cancer, she realized how short this precious life could be, and ultimately found the courage to quit her job and make her daydreams a reality.

    Cristina never expected that yoga would inspire her to want to give so much to others. She has lost two aunts and her uncle to cancer, now her mother is currently fighting breast cancer for the second time – this is why Cristina wants to devote her time to running retreats for cancer patients and survivors. She wants to help them heal and realize how strong they are.

    Cristina feels lucky that she has been able to have her two favorite companions by her side along the way: Noah and Jack. They come with her on every road trip through Ontario, standing guard during all of her yoga breaks. They are the inspiration behind her downward dog, as Noah and Jack are, in fact, Cristina's dogs.

    Practice On.

    --Manduka

  • Yogi of the Week: Sheri

    Meet Sheri.

    Sheri is a mountain-thrashing, nose-grabbing, 360-spinning snowboarder (metaphorically). But a serious injury to her upper left leg kept this Betty off the slopes and brought her to the yoga mat. Unable to walk without pain and with limited mobility, Sheri focused on her yoga practice. After one dedicated year on the mat, Sheri's pain was gone and her mobility back. That's the power of, as she puts it, "yoga magic."

    That's also why Sheri is studying to become a yoga teacher - where the hospital couldn't help her recover, her yoga did. And as an unexpected benefit, she also found a deep sense of community and kindred connection. Sheri travels often and has studied with many yoga teachers, and every single one has left her with something to remember – from a helpful tip for Pigeon to sage wisdom to a happy memory. These are her inspirations.

    Yoga has moved Sheri to always make the choice that she knows is truly right. Not easier, not cheaper, not quicker – but the option that brings her to a place where she is happy with the life she is living and the person that she is.

    Practice On.

    --Manduka