Stephie Falberg



How did you get into practicing yoga? My family and I moved to Highland Park in 2001. With young children, carpools are a necessary tool for survival. Pam Udell was one of the moms in the carpool.  As we got to know each other, Pam offered to give me a private yoga class thinking I would enjoy it.   I gave her a million reasons why I wasn’t interested: not enough time in the day, 3 small kids, I wasn’t interested in chanting, blah, blah, blah…  She didn’t take no for an answer and dragged me into her studio.  That was it!  My lightbulb went off.  I began my practice at the old Healing Power studio in Highland Park in 2002 and have never looked back.

What made you want to teach? My mother has always said that I was born to teach.  When I was a small child I used to play ‘teacher’ with my younger siblings and stuffed animals “correcting” spelling tests and reading Dr. Seuss books.  I have my masters degree in elementary education and specialized in early childhood eduction (I was a teacher In New York City) so I think becoming a yoga teacher was inevitable. I didn’t seek out a training program but when I learned that 2 of my favorite teachers from Healing Power (Pam Udell and Lourdes Paredes) were conducting a teacher training I signed up immediately. The universe was talking to me, thankfully I was listening!! 

What would you consider your yoga style and who were a few teachers that influenced you the most? I love a good slow-flow class; to take and to teach. Having the time to connect breath to movement is liberating. I am also keenly aware that strength and alignment are important so that we stay safe.I like to add some fun music and humor into my classes to balance out the hard work we do on our mats.The teachers who have influenced me the most are Pam Udell,  Lourdes Paredes and Deb Wineman.  I am grateful to have learned from each of them but especially Pam who lead me on this yoga journey and stayed by my side as I leaned to teach offering honest feed back and encouragement.  

What was one of the funniest or most humbling moments you’ve had while teaching a class? I was teaching a class with gum in my mouth (big no-no) and when I went into down dog and began to explain something, my gum fell out of my mouth onto my mat.There was no hiding that!!! I have never taught with gum in my mouth again!

What is your favorite non yoga activity? I love walking (either with my giant dog or without her). I love being outside in almost any weather. I also love spending time in my vegetable garden all summer long.  

Biggest Indulgence? Trader Joes dark chocolate covered caramels, Dairy Queen Blizzards, truffle fries from anywhere and a great cheeseburger!!  I’m not sure if tequila is an indulgence or a necessity……

Source of inspiration? Nature, small children, dogs playing, great music, my parents, my warrior friends and family battling illness, and my own family (my husband Gregg and kids Zach, Sara and Julia)

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Proudest moment? My proudest moments as a yoga teacher has been making a few students cry.I know, that doesn’t sound right but I’ve had a few students experience a rush of emotion in my class (it wasn’t forearm plank that made them cry) and felt safe enough to be able to let go and release their feelings.That breath/body connection is miraculous!

Most repeated intention? To be kind to myself so that I can be kind to others.

Coffee or tea? Both! Coffee in the am. Green tea all afternoon.

Join Stephie Wednesday Evenings 5:15-6:15 PM for Level 2 Vinyasa Flow

Reach Student Stephanie Nora White Lists her Top 10 Reasons for Practicing Yoga



I came to yoga about 15 years ago, and wish I had started 15 years before that.  I’ve practiced in cities far and wide.  Yet, I am always struck by the abundance of truly gifted teachers on The North Shore and at ReachYoga in particular.  We are lucky indeed.  Here are the top ten reasons I practice.

1. It’s warm. – Will never go to an air-conditioned gym again.  Ever.

2. It’s musical.  – Samba, an 80s remix, Krishna Das, Buena Vista Social Club. Have expanded my musical horizons without even trying.

3. It’s inspirational. I get some of my best ideas in downward-facing dog.  Seriously.

4. It’s childlike. Where else can you roll around on the floor making animal shapes?

5. It’s freedom. Our bodies moving in space. Cool.

6. It’s chemical. It churns up the joy-producing kind.

7. It’s historical. Love that it’s not fitness du jour, but part of a 2,000-year tradition.  Way cool.

8. It’s spiritual. My yoga intention always reminds me of a higher power and gratitude for my loved ones.

9. It’s community. I’ve met amazing individuals who’ve become cherished friends.

10. It’s humbling and motivating all at once.  It always leaves me humbled that my body still brings it every time I hit the mat and amazed by what happens in those 75, warm minutes. I’m a believer.

SNW

 

Get to Know Reach Instructor Lisa Silverman



Name: Lisa Silverman
Birthplace: Born in Pennsylvania but raised in New York.
Current Hometown: Live in Glencoe.
Family/Pets: Husband, 2 daughters, 2 labradoodles and a cockatiel
Life Passion: I just want everyone to feel loved, healthy, strong, be kind and to never want more than you need.
Favorite Place to Travel: I like to travel and explore new places.  Everywhere I have been has offered a new experience.  
Hobbies: Anything artsy, tennis and golf.
Name 1 moment that completely changed your life: My husband’s career moved us to Illinois 8 years ago.  We knew no one and had never been in the midwest.  I used to say I could live anywhere, but this change put me to the test.  We have since developed an amazing community of friends and have a beautiful life in our adopted city.  
When did you start practicing yoga & why: I started going once a week about 11 years ago for flexibility.  Then about 4 years ago I hurt my ankle and was limited to yoga for exercise.  Practicing daily gave me a deeper understanding of the practice and I became hooked.  It centers me.
Favorite Pose: My favorite pose will truly depend on the day and my state of mind.  I love childs pose first thing in the morning to turn inward and find my breathe, half moon when I feel strong and grounded and twists just feel good.  
Favorite Mantra: Be true to yourself.  Never worry about what other people think.
Best Advice Ever Given: Before you confront someone, think about what you are looking to get out of it.  (That being said, I am not a confrontational person)
Best Advice to Give: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
Check out Lisa’s new class Saturdays 11:00-12:00pm Vinyasa Flow Level 1-2

This is Yoga. Meet Jim Fisch.



This handsome man needs no introduction, but he does deserve a standing ovation. Practicing at Reach regularly for the past 4 years, this always “happy to be here”, 85 years young man really is something pretty spectacular. When he’s on the mat beside you, he reminds you why we are all there, and what yoga in this community is all about. Let me allow him to share for himself. 

 

When I walked into Healing Power Yoga in Highland Park accompanied by a former student I had supervised for the past year doing psychotherapy, she introduced me to Lourdes Paredes, a master teacher and prominent figure in yoga circles. Lourdes greeted me warmly and asked about my prior yoga experience. When I said this was my first practice ever, she gave me a strange look, which I soon came to understand. My student was an experienced yoga practitioner who came to our sessions straight from her yoga practice with Lourdes. She had often suggested I try yoga, which I politely declined…it was too slow, too spiritual, too weird. When our supervision ended she gave me a gift of a yoga mat, so how could I refuse? So, at age 71, I unrolled my mat and prepared to follow instructions. Turns out, this was a master class, and everyone there was a yoga instructor or in training to become one. My student had thought I might be bored by a beginner class, which is probably true, but had neglected to advise me regarding wardrobe and not eating before class, so I arrived in heavy sweats after a full breakfast. I watched, tried to imitate what others were doing, and after a few downward facing dogs I could feel my breakfast starting to return. With the heat building up and the nausea, I came close to throwing up and passing out. Somehow I survived, and when I returned the next week wearing proper yoga clothes and an empty stomach, I really enjoyed it. There was something both peaceful and challenging, the group connection was wonderful, and I’ve kept coming back twice weekly for 14 years.

Having discovered the joys and benefits of yoga it was natural to share it with my family. Now all five kids, their spouses and ten of the grandchildren are practicing yogis, with Noa, the oldest grandchild , now a certified instructor. One of life’s great joys is bringing kids and grandkids to Reach to share the practice with those terrific teachers, and there have been times when seven Fisches are on their mats side by side. I’m glad I took it up when I did, and now the strength, flexibility and balance yoga provides is therapeutic for this aging body.

Just This. Just Now. Cheri Weber.



I met Cheri Weber years ago just as we were both finding our niche in the suburban yoga teaching industry. We shared emails and texts and moments after classes discussing what it’s like to be part of this teaching community and how to put ourselves “out there”.  Cheri began teaching at Reach Monday evenings a few years back, which is not my ideal time to practice, so I hadn’t been to her class in some time. She recently subbed for a 6am (now, THIS is my hour!) , and I was so blown away by her knowledge, pace, guidance and sequence that she inspired me to challenge my habitual practice of same classes, same teachers, same postures (which is not a bad thing, just routine) and seek out some “new”.  After reading below about Cheri, I challenge YOU to check out her Monday evening class at the studio…I have no doubt she will inspire you too! 

How did you get into practicing yoga?

Very begrudgingly. 2 close friends who regularly practiced yoga kept telling me I should go, I would like it. I avoided going, thinking it was a waste of time and a wimpy workout. I loved running marathons, triathalons, doing interval classes, and intense work outs; the harder the better. In the meantime, we went on a girls trip to climb Mt Whitney, 14,500 ft high, and we’re planning to do this in an up and down 8-16 hour period. I trained hard until the day we left: spin classes, sprinting hills and running the beach. I thought for sure I would be on the 8-10 hour end of that time. I never summited. My altitude sickness was so bad that descending was my only option. Out of the 14 of us that went, only 4 people summited with out issue. They were my 2 yogi friends, another friend who was a big yoga advocate, and a yoga teacher. This was humbling, and made me think yoga had something going on and I should check it out. I went to a few classes with them and signed up for a retreat with them that Jessica Sandstrom and Jenny Kaufman were leading and became hooked. I found the zone which I normally got in running, yet so much more. Things started to piece together from so many areas of my life.

What made you want to teach?

I was a personal trainer and in the midst of a year long health coaching program when I found out Jenny Kaufman and Sharyn Galindo were leading a teacher training. I thought it would be a perfect holistic approach to my wellness interest. I just wanted to share my passion and hopefully help others to find the ah-ha moments I have found in yoga.

What would you consider your yoga style and who were a few teachers that influenced you the most?

I don’t think there is a teacher I’ve taken a class or workshop from that didn’t influence me. A yoga class is like a kids birthday party with a goodie bag. You always get something to take with you. That being said Jenny and Sharyn’s incredible depth of knowledge and experience in the teacher training greatly influenced me as well as the classes of Jessica Sandstrom, Missy Hebson, Laura Merlo, Deb Wineman, Sara Strother and Claire Mark. It’s great to hear different cues and styles that resonate with me at different points. I love to learn from webinars of some well-known teachers nationally as well.

Overall my style is strength and alignment based, but I love spending time building the pose slowly to activate ancillary muscles to create imprints in the mind of what the pose feels like for when we connect the poses in a flow. Creating space and length with the breath is really important to me.

Why do you love teaching at Reach?
It’s just such happy energy to walk into whether I am teaching or taking. Sometimes teaching on Monday night seems like added chaos before I arrive, but after the class I’m always happy and zen myself. The Reach community is supportive, friendly and really connected to each other. I love that Reach is always looking to grow with new ideas and offers many options for everyone.

What was one of the funniest or most humbling moments you’ve had while teaching a class?
I cued a class to meet up in Down Dog ( or so I thought) I really said Child’s Pose. After letting them linger in Child’s pose for a minute, assuming that was what they needed, I repeated myself again, only once again unknowingly saying Child’s pose. I started to question my sequence and wondered it was too hard or the room too hot and after the 3rd time of saying it wrong and no one moving, I realized what I had been saying and literally laughed out loud. Nice to know everyone really does listen to you.

What is your favorite non-yoga activity?
Family and friends doing anything outdoors is my trifecta. I love anything in the mountains.

Favorite mantra? Just this. Just now

Guilty Pleasure? A great margarita with lots of fresh lime

Proudest Moment? I organized a series of yoga sessions for Chicago Public Schools with Urban Initiatives, (a non-profit that provides coaching and mentoring youth soccer programs for under privileged areas within CPS). The first time I showed up they had me in the gym with 75+ kids ages 1st -4th grade. I wondered how the heck they thought I would get any group this size and this age to listen and follow for 20 minutes, but I figured something was better than nothing for them. Their non stop chatter and wiggles turned into fun with the poses, and they actually sat silently to breathe and meditate for 2 minutes followed by a 3 minute savasana where they didn’t move a muscle. On the way to the car, several of the kids saw me and thanked me for the yoga. I don’t know if proud is the word, but sheer excitement to be a part of something that can make a difference.

Coffee or Tea? I always wanted to like coffee but just never could so Tea for sure.

Find Cheri at Reach Monday Evenings 6:30-7:45 All Level Vinyasa Flow. 

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