Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

Guest post by yoga instructor Linda O’Toole. 

This week in stillness…

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”~Theodore Roosevelt

We live in a society built on competition — who is the fastest, smartest, and most beautiful. Who is the best chef, dancer, or reality TV star? Who can eat the most hot dogs?

And therein lies the beauty of yoga. There is no blue ribbon awarded for the most precise Warrior II pose, no gold statue presented if you can stand on your hands, or wrap your feet around your head.

We practice on our mats, in our own “sacred” space. Yes, the mat is there for safety so we don’t slip, but it also marks a place on which we arrive. When you approach your mat, you visit a place that is completely your own. On our mats, we aim to calm the chatter in our minds and turn our focus inward. Silencing iPads, iPhones, Twitter and Instagram. What a gift!

When you arrive on your yoga mat, you cannot hide. Whatever truth reveals itself is right in front of you. At the end of our practice, when we roll up our mats and walk out of the studio, the hope remains that the truth will stay with us, guide us and take us back to our mats again and again.

This week at Reach Yoga:

  • Monday Basics and Beyond 1:15-2:15 pm
  • Tuesday Basics and Beyond 11:00 am-12:15 pm
  • Thursday Hatha Blend Level 1 9:30-10:45am ***I’m teaching a new class! Perfect for the Basics and Beyond student. Be my guest… just send me an email:)

Hope to see you on the mat soon!

Schedule of Everything

Stressed? 5 Ways to Let Go

The transition from summer to fall can produce stress, anxiety, or even sadness.

Maybe you are a parent, and you worry about how well your kids will fare in their new routines as they head back to school.

Maybe your summer didn’t include all the relaxation you were seeking. And now you’re facing a mountain of to-do items.

Clinical studies have shown that yoga effectively reduces your heart rate, calms breathing and allows you to relax and let stressful experiences go. (1) 

Professionals at the Mayo Clinic (2) suggest incorporating a small yoga break into your busy day enables letting go of stress and a chance to gather your thoughts.

Use yoga at home or work (not just at the studio) for immediate relief. Find a quiet area where you will not be disturbed for a few minutes. Put down a mat or towel. Set your mobile device to produce some soothing music or nature sounds. Then, try one or more of these poses (which you’ve probably practiced many times in class): 

Child Pose/Balasana

Begin by sitting on your knees with your calves and feet together. While remaining in a seated position, slowly lean forward extending your arms in front of you. Continue to reach and move yourself forward until your chest is touching the ground. Slowly inhale and exhale at least 12 times with each breath being deep and long.

Seated Forward Bend (4)

While sitting on the floor with your back straight, stretch your legs out in front of you. With your feet touching, slowly flex your feet and pull your toes back toward your body. Slowly inhale as you bring your heels off of the floor. Raise your arms over your head and slowly exhale. Stretch forward, extending your arms and reaching out to where you can comfortably grasp your thighs, ankles, or knees. Rest your head quietly and hold for approximately 12 breaths. Breathe deeply and release stress and anxiety as you exhale with each breath.

Bridge Pose

Lay flat on your back and slowly bring your feet up towards your buttocks. With your heels still on the floor, reach down and grasp them. Slowly lift your bottom off of the floor. Keep your thighs, hips and back elevated and in a straight line. Take approximately 12 deep breaths while in this position, releasing tension and anxiety each time as you exhale.

Viparita Karani

The viparita karani or “legs up the wall” pose helps re-establish circulation and elicit a feeling of groundedness. Sit next to a wall and slowly lay flat on your back, extending your legs up and resting them on the wall. Make sure your bottom is firmly pressed against both the wall and the floor. Lay quietly with your hands at your side and your back straight, and touching the floor. Breathe deeply 10 to 12 times, inhaling and exhaling slowly. As you breathe, the impact of your legs being elevated will cause your circulatory system to begin to work harder. Focus on how your body begins to feel as you continue to breathe, allowing your anxiety to slowly be released each time you exhale.

Corpse Pose

The corpse pose is one of the simplest in all forms of yoga and requires a high level of mental participation. As you lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides, slowly inhale and exhale regularly. Starting with your feet, breathe in and allow any stress you feel in the area to dissipate. Exhale and begin to move up to your ankles. Again, breathe in, concentrating on the area allowing any stress or negativity to dissipate. Continue to move up your body focusing on each area, calves, knees, thighs, hips, stomach, etc., until you reach the top of your head. Once you reach the top of your head, breathe deeply allowing yourself to completely relax. Clear your mind and enjoy the silence.

Whether used alone or in conjunction with one another, they can be performed at various times to prevent anxiety caused from dealing with your day to day obligations.






200-Hour Teacher Training Announced

Reach Yoga will host a 200-hour yoga teacher training, beginning in January.

I am excited about our faculty this year, which is led by Paul Weitz, Deb Wineman, and (new) Sharyn Galindo of North Shore Yoga.

The combined experience of this faculty is impressive indeed. Using a well-honed and tested curriculum, these inspirational teachers can empower any serious student of yoga to deepen their practice, live in accordance with yogic wisdom, and effectively share yoga with others.

The schedule for this 200 hours of training is accessible to almost anyone. January 26 – December 15 2019, Thursday evenings 6:30-8:30pm, plus ten weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 11am-4pm. There will be no formal class meetings in July or August. 

No schedule works for everyone, and if you are seeking a weekday-only option, I encourage you to investigate Sharyn’s other training at North Shore Yoga.

If you’d like to learn more about the Reach Yoga teacher training, read here and/or request more information.

If you are ready to sign up, we are so happy — apply here.

Fall Schedule Adds: Becky, Zoe, Linda, Judy, Mark, Hala, Beth

Here are changes to our weekly schedule for this fall. We are so sorry to say good-bye to Colleen Y., who moved to Michigan … but happy that we have wonderful teachers stepping into her classes, as well as a few other interesting changes:

  • Thursdays 9:30am: Hatha Blend I now taught by Linda O’Toole
  • Sundays 8:00am: Basics & Beyond to be taught by Zoe Nitsun, beginning 9/16
  • Mondays 1:15pm: Basics & Beyond to be taught by highly recommended, new-to-Reach instructor Beth Mulhern, beginning 9/24

Additions to our schedule coming soon – please note locations!!! Some of these meet at locations other than the Reach Yoga studio. Can you use your Reach Yoga membership or package for these classes? YES

  • Starting 9/13: Thursdays 5:15-6:15pm, Vinyasa Flow 1-2 with Becky C. (Reach Yoga studio)
  • Starting 9/17: Mondays & Thursdays, 11:00am-12:15pm, Gentle Flow with Judy R. (Takiff Center)
  • Starting 9/24: Mondays, 6:00-7:00am AND 9:30-10:30am, Cardio Flow HIIT Yoga with Hala S. (Unify Fitness)
  • Starting 10/3: Wednesdays, 9:00-10:00am, BodySculpt Yoga with Mark N. (Unify Fitness)

If any of these looks intriguing, please mark your calendar now to try out a new class (maybe with a friend?).

Here is the latest schedule – and you can sign up for class in advance.

Namaste, xo


Reach Yoga / Unify Fitness Partnership

New – more space for private yoga. Our studio is jam-packed with classes, leaving little time for you to work one-on-one with an instructor. Reach Yoga has partnered with Unify Fitness to use its lovely new studio for private yoga instruction. It’s just one block south of us (where Books on Vernon used to be).

If you are interested in private yoga instruction, please let us know what you are seeking here.

Coming soon: Additional class offerings that blend strength, cardio, and yoga, in the Unify studio. Watch for news! At least for a while, you’ll be able to use Reach Yoga membership or classes on file for these new classes.

Finally, if you would like to add some personal training or different kinds of classes to to your physical fitness regimen, consider checking out Unify.

Owners Melissa and Leslie are ready to help you meet your goals.


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