Who’s On That Mat? Meet Meg Murphy



I feel so lucky to often see Meg Murphy at the studio. She has a sunny, positive aura that always makes me smile. And I love hearing about her work; she inspires me.

Read on to learn more about Meg.

Q. Why do you practice yoga? How does it benefit you?

This is a huge question!!! Do you have a couple of hours? Honestly, I practice yoga because it makes me feel strong, physically and emotionally. More often than not, I work things out on the mat; about ¾ of the way through the class, I gain clarity on all of the different thoughts circling through my mind.

I also love the lessons yoga teaches about how to live our lives off the mat: focus on the process, leave your ego at the door, be grateful, lead with your heart. All of these ideas are at play in my life and I appreciate yoga’s ability to remind me of them. Plus, it’s just really delightful to put your body into different shapes!

I must say that I really value my Reach Yoga community. I’ve formed so many new relationships with people I may have already known (but not well) or would have never met. I even reconnected with my freshman year floormate!  (We both transferred colleges after freshman year.) I am inspired by the teachers and staff, who are all true professionals and amazing human beings. Within the studio, I know I am valued and respected.

Q. How often do you typically practice yoga?

I practice yoga anywhere from 3-6 days a week. The membership benefits and the varied class schedule allow me to practice every day of the week; it’s just a matter of committing to getting there.

Q. How do you occupy your time outside of Reach Yoga?

I have been married to Kevin for 23 years. He comes to the Studio when he’s not nursing a torn achilles or acl. We have three teenaged sons, who keep us both very busy.

Outside of my home life, I have taught humanities and writing at DeVry University for the past ten years. I absolutely love teaching at DeVry: most of my students are the first in their generation to go to college and they bring an honest and fresh perspective to the classroom and a willingness to learn. They happily share ideas and listen to one another, so it’s pretty awesome.

I also work with seniors in high school on their college application essays through my venture, Dream Roots College Essay Consulting. Yoga actually inspired this name! One day after Missy’s Friday 9:30 class, I kept thinking of her (and may other teachers’) expression, “root down to rise up,” and how a strong foundation is essential to getting into the pose. My business partner came up with the name. That’s our approach with working one-on-one with students: we encourage them to draw upon what they know and have experienced to achieve their dreams.

Q. What was your first job?

My first job requiring a work permit was scooping ice cream out of an RV that was parked in a lot in my hometown of Saginaw, Michigan. I made $2.10 an hour, but I got also got a free ice cream cone. My sister was my manager. Particularly witty patrons would ask, “do you guys take this camping on the off-season?,” which always cracked us up. I think it was called the Flav-R-Parlor.

Q. What city, anywhere in the world, would you recommend everyone visit?

Rome Italy for the artistic treasures you will find every time you walk into a church or turn a corner. The food isn’t bad either! I spent my sophomore year of college studying art history there. It will always be my favorite city.

Q. What is you favorite food to cook or eat?

Believe it or not, I love a salad made of the freshest veggies, homemade dressing, and a little grilled protein on top. I’m also a sucker for chocolate (and seem to find an excuse to eat it every day).

Q. What was the last live performance (concert, play, etc.) you attended? How was it?

The last cultural event I attended was the musical Trevor at Writer’s Theatre! It should be required reading for all middle and high school students. A fabulous (and young!) cast, brilliant songs and choreography, and a very important message. See it!

Q. Do you participate in any sports or fitness activities other than yoga?

I play competitive paddle tennis. It’s a double’s sport and I love the challenge of working with my partner to thwart our competition. I’m crazy at the net and actually take it pretty seriously. It’s pretty un-yogic, but it gets me outside in the winter months.

Q. Coffee or tea?

Coffee. Two cups a day!

New Prices and Membership Benefits



After five years (happy anniversary to us), Reach Yoga is raising prices for the first time. Here are answers to some questions you may have.

Q. Why are you raising prices? 

We are offering more value to our students than ever before, including many more classes and a broader choice of classes and instructors. We haven’t raised our prices in five years. Our pay-as-you-go prices are similar to or lower than other yoga studios in the area. And, our membership remains the best value on the North Shore, by far.

Q. Which payment option is the best for me? 

If you take or aspire to take 2 or more classes per week, the best value is our membership, which includes unlimited yoga along with several additional benefits.

Q. I am a student, but I am older than 23. Can I get student pricing? 

No, sorry, at Reach Yoga we use “student” as shorthand for “someone 23 or younger.”

Q. What is a “senior”? 

Someone aged 65 or over.

Q. I am a member now, and my card is generally charged on the xth day of the month. When will my automatic payment go up? 

Memberships begun prior to August 5, 2017 will have a grace period at the current rate of $97/month until their payment date in November 2017.

Q. I’d like to end my membership and switch to 10 or 20 classes. 

To terminate your membership, please email info@reachyogaglencoe.com at least 5 business days prior to the next date your card will be charged. So sorry, but we cannot honor verbal requests to terminate your membership–too many opportunities for misunderstanding or mis-execution on our end. If you email us, we’ll get it right or make it right. Your membership will end at the completion of the month you already paid; you can continue to take unlimited classes until that date.

To purchase 10 or 20 classes, use our app (see what it looks like in the App Store on the right; our app also is available in the Google Play store). Or, visit our website, or visit the studio when the front desk is staffed (generally 9-5:30 on weekdays, 9-5 on weekends).

Q. I’d like to switch from 10 or 20 classes to a membership. 

Please complete a (short) membership form in the studio the next time you visit. (We need your physical signature for a membership.)  Then start taking advantage of all the benefits of membership, including free first-time guests, retail discounts, and discounts on workshops and special events.

Remember you must commit to at least three consecutive months to get the benefits of an unlimited yoga membership. If you sign up for a membership prior to September 5, your first month will be only $97. Subsequent months are $117/month.

 

“The Mother of Asanas”: Shoulder Stand



Learn why shoulder stand has been called “the mother of asanas,” and see how to benefit from this pose. Jeremy Caplan demonstrates. To learn more about Jeremy, read this interview or attend his class, Thursdays 4:00-5:00pm.

Shoulderstand with Jeremy Caplan from Reach Yoga on Vimeo.

 

Meet Jeremy Caplan



We are so happy to have Jeremy Caplan on our regular weekly schedule (Thursdays 4-5pm). Jeremy received his teacher training at Reach Yoga several years ago, and continues as a student of Paul Weitz. You’ll see the profound changes yoga has brought to his life in the interview below … and he wants to share what he has learned with you.

Read on, and also watch Jeremy teach shoulder stand in this video.

Q. Why do you practice yoga? Why do you teach yoga?

Yoga has been a part of my life now for almost 5 years. It’s been a major source of peace and stillness in my life and has given me many tools to deepen my understanding of the world and the people in it. Like many, I started because I was stiff, sore, and was recovering from a major injury to my lumbar spine. I am proof that you can improve quality of life by strengthening the body and mind through a consistent yoga practice.

I teach yoga because I like sharing my knowledge to others, it’s important to me to help others feel good about themselves so they can improve their quality of life. Teaching also grounds me in my practice, it forces me to remain consistent and practice daily so that I can be the best I can be while teaching others.

Q. How would you describe your teaching style? What can students expect when they come to your class?

I teach Sivananda yoga, a traditional Hatha style asana practice which is designed to create harmony in the body and mind. The practice is medium paced with lots of rest, allowing the practitioner to receive the full benefits of each pose. There are some challenging poses in the sequence but everything can be modified to accommodate any students needs regardless of age, weight, balance, strength, or flexibility.
The class is consistent and follows a sequence of poses which allows the practitioner to watch their development as time goes on. You can expect to leave class feeling calm, but energized and restored but not tired. A wonderful practice to begin your day, break up a chaotic day, or end the day feeling happy and alive. Although each class follows a sequence, each time you come to class you will continue to feel excited and enthusiastic about the practice as most teachers will swap poses in and out so the student can have a slightly different experience each time.

Q. What cues have seemed particularly helpful to your students recently?

While observing others in teaching and attending classes, I find that the pose most people do incorrectly is Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). People tend to allow their hips to collapse and their shoulders to turn as they forward fold over the extended leg. The pose is not about who can reach the floor easiest and is certainly not a forward fold. While coming into the pose, reach the back arm behind you as if you are reaching for something (like a chair), keep the top shoulder stacked on top of the bottom as you SIDE BEND over the extended leg. Do NOT allow your hips to rotate! When you have reached your capacity extend the top arm to the sky, reach the bottom arm to a block (or the floor) outside of the extended leg. If you can’t reach a block rest your hand on your thigh.

 

Q. What is your favorite yoga pose, and why?

I have two favorite poses… Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) and Paschimottonasana (two-legged seated forward fold). I like these poses because of their extraordinary beneficial properties. Shoulderstand is unmatchable in the benefits to the human body; it stimulates the thyroids, rejuvenates the spine, relieves stress and depression, improves digestion, opens the shoulders and neck, strengthens your legs, butt, arms, and abs, brings fresh blood flow the brain, and more.
Paschimottonasana also has a wide range of health benefits including; stress relief, removes anger, anxiety, and irritability, removes fatty deposits from the abdomen, creates flexibility in the spine, calms the mind, tones the abdominal pelvic organs, and regular practice cures impotency and enhances the sexual power. If you can only do two poses in a day… these would be the two not to leave out.

Q. Why do you think there is currently a surge of interest in yoga in North America?

Society has placed its highest value and virtue on wealth and status, power and fame. With this in mind too many overwork themselves to achieve goals that they think will bring them happiness in the long run. Whether they realize it or not, they are digging their own grave. A lot of people are beginning to see the true goal of humanity and what makes them truly happy. Yoga is more than just an Asana practice (practice of postures and stretching) it is a life style. Behind the postures are answers to all of the suffering you come across in a lifetime. When one person finds balance in their life that energy is shared and the love and power of yoga is spread throughout the world like a pulse or vibration. It’s trendy because many people are finding just a small amount of relief from their stressful lives, and those who commit to their practice and make yoga part of their daily life live in complete happiness without suffering.

Q. What is your advice to people who understand the health benefits of yoga, and would like to start a practice or practice more often, but have difficulty finding time?

Stop making excuses and own your life. Everyone has time, they just aren’t willing to make a commitment. It only takes 5 or 10 minutes, 1 or 2 exercises, to remove just a little bit of suffering. Go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier, even if it’s just 10 minutes, and realize that there is more to life than work and entertainment. It’s about serving others and living in peace. Learn how to love others unconditionally, forgive those who wrong you, support those that need help, this will bring you true happiness. Life is more than just pleasure and pain, the two go hand in hand and you cannot have one without the other. Yoga starts with a thought, continues with a daily commitment to yourself, and the more consistent you become the more you will start to see your suffering go away.

Q. What are your hobbies or pursuits in addition to yoga?

My family is number 1, my life is dedicated to my pack (I have four huskies). My wife and I are working hard together to realize life’s purpose, we share the same goals and are motivated by the same power. We are committed to help each other relieve suffering from our lives and the lives of those around us. Outside of yoga the only time I feel truly free beyond time and space is on my snowboard, I could live out my days in the mountains and pray for fresh powder daily.

Q. What is your favorite yoga quote?

“The one I love who is capable of ill will, who is friendly and compassionate. Living beyond the reach of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and of pleasure and pain, patient, contented, self-controlled, firm in faith, with all their heart and all their mind given to me – with such as these I am in love.” – Bhagavad Gita 12:13

Who’s On That Mat? Meet Bob Bernstein



Bob(by) Bernstein is one of these students that makes you smile every time you think of him … whether he’s posting a lighthearted joke on social media, offering a cheerful greeting on the way out of class, or (our favorite!) singing the praises of Reach Yoga wherever he goes. Thanks for bringing the fun to our community, Bob. Read more about Bob below (and be sure to get his latest music recommendations).

Q. Why do you practice yoga? How does it benefit you?

I found yoga prior to adopting my daughter from China.  I was looking for a way to connect to Eastern culture that had a history and something that was introspective. I fell in love almost instantly.  I thrive on the challenge of a new pose or sequence, and when I nailed my first crow, the addiction was very real. Ever since I’ve loved the idea of how it not just challenges my body, but equally if not more so challenges my mind.  It continually keeps my brain thinking both on and off the mat. The benefits are not just endless for me, but they are both new and different every day I practice.

Q. How often do you typically practice yoga?

I practice pretty much every day.  Since both my wife and I both work and we have small children, I have fallen into sunrise yoga.  The fact that Reach is able to give me a 6am practice with great teachers Monday through Friday allows me to not just work on things daily, but we have a nice core group of friends that are all up at daybreak.

Q. How do you occupy your time outside of Reach Yoga?

In November I will be celebrating my 15th anniversary with my wife, Marjorie, and we have two pre-teen children which take up plenty of my time and are constant source of inspiration as well as perspiration. By day, I’m an Independent Financial Advisor with a niche market for executives and individuals in transition. Not only do we do manage assets, but we have employment placement services to help people better their careers in hopes to make them more successful. I’m also an active volunteer in several community, school and civic organizations in Highland Park, the city in which I reside.

Q. What was your first job?

I worked at Stash’s Hot Dog Stand in Highland Park as a 13-year-old.  I cleaned up tables, filled ketchup bottles, and made French fries.

Q. What city, anywhere in the world, would you recommend everyone visit?

This is easy: The Big Easy!  I have been to New Orleans 20-plus times. For me it’s like heaven.  Its the only place left in this country that blends 100′ of years of culture, art, food, music and more, and it still feels like it’s cutting edge, yet it’s an old world atmosphere, it’s like Gumbo!  That and the people are total salt of the earth. One of my favorite studios I have ever been to is there, The Wild Lotus Yoga Studio.  The owner Sean Johnston and his Wild Lotus Band often do Kirtan both at the studio and in the city.

Q. What is you favorite food to cook or eat?

Hard question because I love to both cook and eat but, last year for my birthday I got a Big Green Egg Smoker and I’ve smoked just about everything.  Biscuit, pork shoulder, prime rib, salmon, ribs, veggies … It’s a super fun toy that makes things delicious.

Q. What was the last live performance (concert, play, etc.) you attended? How was it?

If you know me, you know that I’m a music junkie and I’m always  at concerts, finding new music, talking about music and searching for a new sound. I grew up as a Deadhead and it’s only grown leaps and bounds from there to an uncontrollable passion. I saw this super goofy funk band called Vulfpeck at The Metro just last week who formed at the U of Michigan several years ago and they were such a hoot.  Think Frank Zappa meets Earth Wind & Fire. Although I was maybe the oldest guy there, I danced my butt off.

Q. Do you participate in any sports or fitness activities other than yoga?

I do a ton of yoga but I also play tennis.

Q. Coffee or tea?

Java!

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