The One, The Only, Bart Fox!



Have you seen that guy walking from Highland Park to Glencoe with a huge smile and a yoga mat strapped to his back? That’s Reach’s very own Bart Fox! There’s so much more than meets the eye with this guy….the best part?  His many nicknames & daily mantra. Read on for the goods!

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1. Nickname/s?

I’ve had 3 nicknames over the years. In high school some called me “Scoop” because I wrote for the school newspaper. My college friends added a French accent on the end of my name and called me Barte (bartay). Now the guys I work with call me Foxy.

2. Favorite book?

My favorite book is Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.  Some people raise an eyebrow when I mention that but I believe, while compromise is vital in many ways, the most pure vision comes from the individual.

3. Favorite Food?

I have too many favorite foods to list just one…  but if I have to list one I’d say sushi.  I think I could eat it every day.

4. Favorite place to visit?

My favorite place to visit is Wrigley Field… and Italy!

5. What was your first job?

One of my first jobs was as a cable puller and runner on ESPN golf tournaments.  I was newly out of college with a degree in journalism and due to the recession I couldn’t get hired by any networks / tv stations / production companies.  The only thing I could get hooked up with was ESPN when they came to Indianapolis for a golf tournament.  I arrived at 8am on Tuesday morning and a technician put a 500-foot coil of thick cable on my shoulder and told me to walk up the fairway and let the cable out as I walked.  At the end of 500 feet there was a guy with another 500-foot coil.  He connected the 2nd to the 1st, put the 2nd on my shoulder, and told me to keep walking.  Several of us set up the whole course with camera and audio cables, and did other manual labor.  I had no idea what this would lead to but apparently I was pretty good at laying cables so I was invited to the tournament the next week in Moline, Illinois.  I wound up driving around the country with a few other guys from tournament to tournament.  It was total manual labor, a lot of fun and made great connections.  I learned the technical side of sports TV by doing this.  I gradually got many breaks along the way and over many years weaved my way into producing the live broadcast of sports events on TV for ESPN, the Big Ten Network and other networks.  I always look back on those days as a cable puller and runner as an invaluable introduction.  And almost 30 years later I still see some of the same guys around the country that I met at that first tournament.  Over the years I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with some of the biggest announcers in sports television and hugely talented production folks.  A great ride…

A couple weeks ago a newspaper writer was embedded with our college football crew for a couple days as we prepared for the Michigan – Rutgers game.  If you’re interested here’s the link to his report.
https://www.nj.com/expo/sports/erry-2018/11/37c8995dbf36/behind-the-scenes-as-the-big-t.html

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6. Best advice ever given?

The best advice I was ever given was to just say thank you when given a compliment.  I tended to be self-deprecating and had a hard time taking a compliment.  A guy I worked for took me aside one day and said I’d be better served just saying thank you.  Great advice that I’ve tried to implement.

7. Best advice to give?

The best advice I give is to students that I speak with.  I tell them that it’s certainly ok to finish school without knowing how they’re going to conquer the world.  I find that kids are pressured to figure out their life’s journey by the end of college.  But the reality is that most people work in a field different from what they studied.  So why get narrowly focused and stressed out about it?

8. How do you bring the practice of yoga into your everyday life?

As a TV producer on live sports events (mainly college football and college basketball) it’s easy to see the benefits of yoga.  When we are live on the air the atmosphere floats from controlled mayhem to absolute mayhem.  I really love the highly intense environment and I’ve learned through yoga how to breathe through chaos. It provides a calming influence. Pam Gross uses an expression in her class that has helped put a name to a concept I’ve always used but never had a name for.  Pam says to “embrace the wobble – and make a pattern with it”.  The first time I heard her say that I instantly knew that’s what I do in my professional life.  The challenges of traveling the country to produce games on live TV are intense and “embracing the wobble” is essential.

One other way yoga helps…  many times when I fly home from a game I take the first flight of the day so I can get home in time for the 9:30am class at Reach.  When I have that really tired look it’s usually because I flew home in time to grab my mat and head to Reach.  Whereas the night before I was involved in a really intense work environment, when I get home and make it to Reach the calm is restored.  How’s that for the yin and yang?

 

9. Favorite Pose?

My favorite pose is triangle on my right side.  For some reason I feel like I’m able to rotate my right side through to the max without getting to the point where I’d fall.  Left side…  not so much…

10. Favorite mantra?

“Embrace the wobble” is my favorite mantra as I wrote above.  I use it in everything I do.

Meet Sweet Shawna Doran!



When I asked Shawna to be featured in our next blog post about our fabulous instructors, she was  understandably hesitant (not many people, I’m learning, like the spotlight). But I persisted because she is not only one of Reach Yoga’s teacher training graduates, but she’s someone that our yoga community should know about, she deserves to shine bright! As a data privacy attorney by day, yoga teacher and incredible wife & mom by night, Shawna makes everyone feel good by just warming us with her inner light…shine on Shawna, shine on!

Q. What’s your favorite pose?

Urdhva Dhanurasana (aka “Full Wheel”) – This pose is not a favorite because it is easy for me, but because it is now possible for me. Before I entered teacher training, I had a frozen shoulder for over a year. I also had limited mobility in my right wrist due to a prior injury. My shoulder couldn’t rotate sufficiently and my wrist lacked both the range of motion and strength to bring me into the pose. After years of practice,  I now have enough mobility to get into the pose without the need for additional props, which is fantastic because I find full wheel to be an amazing front-body opener that helps to counteract the posture of my day job (hunched over a computer).

Q. What are you reading?

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. Truth be told, I actually bought it first as an audio book and fell asleep while listening so I had to buy the actual book.  It’s a fascinating (and accessible) discussion of the importance of sleep and dreaming. I am currently on a mission to change the sleeping habits of my entire family of night owls (myself included).

Q. What are you eating/drinking?

Every fall, I begin drinking something called “fire water”. It’s a mixture of hot water, lemon juice (1/2 lemon squeezed), 1/4 teaspoon of ginger, turmeric and cinnamon, pinch of cayenne pepper, black pepper and Pink Himalayan salt and 1 tsp of coconut oil. I also like to add yogi berries and coconut flakes. It’s warming and nourishing.

Q. What are you watching?

I’m obsessed with HGTV and YouTube. Together, they have taught me how to skim coat plaster walls, install baseboards, and shoe molding–oh, and drywall- and how to paint like a pro. Who needs tape when you have a good brush and a steady hand for cutting in?

Q. Best advice ever given?

Teach what you know. I teach level 1 classes and have a passion for doing so because that’s where I started in my own practice and that’s where I return whenever things get too chaotic in mylife. I find comfort in the basics and I hope that my love for these postures is translated in my teaching.

Q. Best advice to give?

Stay on your own mat. This is so often easier said than done in life and in class. However, I have injured myself in class doing something that I knew was beyond my capability at that moment or have not backed off in basic postures when my body has given me fair warning. It takes self-discipline to be the person resting in child’s pose oblivious to the fact that the rest of the class is in a bound headstand or to actually move with your own breath (and at your own pace) rather than trying to meet the pace of the class, but I believe that more personal growth occurs in those moments of appropriate self-restraint than in moving through every posture in a class.

Second piece of advice recently given to my kid brother who asked if he should get a yoga block: get two yoga blocks.  You’ll be glad you did.

Q. How do you bring the practice of yoga into your everyday life?

I get anxious sitting at my desk, particularly when I am in the middle of drafting a legal document or preparing to negotiate a contract, and so I use breath work every single day to keep me calm.  It’s something that I’ve been able to share with my kids too which has been a joy because I feel like I’m giving them tools for their toolbox to help them deal with the increasingly complex challenges they face as they grow older.

Q. All-time favorite quote?

Excerpted from Boundin’ by Bud Luckey:  Now sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down,

When you find that you’re down, well just look around;

You still got a body, good legs and fine feet.

Get your head in the right place and hey, you’re complete!

Shawna Teaches Vinyasa Flow Level 1 Sundays 3-4pm

 

Inhale. Exhale. That’s All.



“It’s ok to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”

This is a mantra someone shared with me a short time ago and it arrived in my in-box at just the perfect time.  Owning a yoga studio was not on my life’s agenda. When I worked at Lululemon for a hot minute about 9 years ago, they asked me to write down my goals for the year, 5 years, 10 years, and hang them on a wall for all to see (for me to hold myself “accountable” they said).  I literally laughed out loud and told them I wasn’t ready to share that. Really though, I think it was because I hadn’t actually PLANNED for anything. I had been married for awhile, was toting around a baby on each hip and had just moved from city to suburbia after closing a couple businesses my husband and I each owned individually.  I had no idea what the future would hold.

I have now been practicing yoga for 10 years, teaching for 7 and have loved every single moment of my journey. I completed a few teacher training programs and have spent many hours since then on my mat as a student, learning something new each and every time. I have met a community of like-minded people, made friends with teachers near and far and have curated relationships that have enriched my life beyond words. And even though I’m wearing many hats these days as wife, mother, teacher and studio owner, I truly try to live my life one day at a time.

I feel so blessed to have been introduced to yoga when I was, and that it has really allowed me to shine.  I want you all to stay on this beautifully enlightened path with me,  let’s see where it takes us together!

My goal is to create a space at Reach where everyone feels as happy as I am to be there. I plan to share my love of all things yoga with whomever steps through our doors.  Let your love for whatever it is you do, be so pure and so big that its shifts the energy in the room.

Welcome. Join me.

Namaste, Laura

Considering Yoga Teacher Training at Reach?



Have you thought about taking a Yoga teacher training and poo-poo’d the idea because you figured you wouldn’t end up teaching anyway? Well, teacher training is meant for anyone who loves yoga,  anyone wants to enhance their practice, and anyone who desires to live a yogic lifestyle beyond their mat. Geena Zaslavsky, a dedicated Reach student and former student of our teacher training program tells you just why you should delve deeper.

Q.Why did you decide to take a 200-hour program in yoga? 

While practicing law for the past 25+ years, I always tried to maintain some sort of exercise regimen to stay in shape and manage stress. I love outdoor sports; biking, hiking, and was a triathlete before neck and knee surgeries sidelined that sport for me. I practiced yoga on and off for many years-tried various kinds and never really found a groove or a place that drew me in. Following my surgical rehab, I was anxious to resume my workouts, but concerned about re-injury, so took some semi-private yoga lessons with a friend, and the more I learned about the purpose of the yoga poses and how to do them correctly, the more I enjoyed it. Rather than something I just wanted to get done as part of my exercise routine, yoga became my favorite part of the day. It wasn’t a chore. . . it was something I looked forward to, and noticeably missed when I couldn’t fit it in my schedule. 

I started taking classes with Ramaa at Full-Bloomed Lotus in Wilmette, and noticed a seismic positive shift in my outlook, attitude and stress levels. I went on a weekend yoga retreat with my friend Deb Wineman (who teaches at Reach), and started to really appreciate the whole yoga culture as an open, accepting, supportive “no judgment” zone. That’s what really drew me in.

Q. What about the Reach Yoga program in particular was appealing? 

I love Deb Wineman (as a person and a yoga teacher), and she was in charge, so that made it an easy choice. I live in Glencoe, so Reach was a very convenient venue. I also thought it was a great schedule (Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons) and easy to make work. They were also very cool about helping you make up the work if you had to miss a class. I also really liked all the people in my class, so looked forward to seeing them twice a week as well as learning the material.

Q. What were a few key learnings you took away from the program? 

The class deepened and enhanced my yoga practice beyond anything I expected. I have a lawyer brain, so the spiritual aspect of yoga was always a little much for me. I never understood the whole chanting situation, and was pretty satisfied with a good hard Vinyasa flow class and nailing a crow pose. This class expanded my horizons so much, and really complimented my studies at Full-Bloomed Lotus. We learned about the interesting origins of the yoga asanas (poses) from Pam Gross, their purpose, and the correct way to do them. We studied anatomy with Jenny, who was amazing and really broke down the physicality of the poses, teaching us what they helped and when they were contraindicated. Paul taught us about energy, the Gunas and the more spiritual side of the practice, and Deb and Wendy taught us how to communicate our new knowledge in a way other people could understand.  My own practice did and continues to improve exponentially because of this training.

Q. What was your favorite aspect of the program? 

I loved learning so much about an area I knew almost nothing about when I started the class, and loved becoming part of an amazing community. Yoga people are just really cool. And kind. And interesting.

Q. Have you taught yoga? Did you expect to teach? Do you expect to teach in the future? 

I never went into this class expecting to teach. My established career choice (one I also love) and travel schedule would preclude a regular teaching commitment. That said, I did teach a few classes as part of the training program and shortly thereafter. I was anxious about my playlist and the likelihood of miscuing right and left, but overall channeled Deb and Wendy, who said not to think of it as “teaching,” but rather “sharing” your own practice, which was super helpful advice. My hope is that as my schedule lets up in the foreseeable future, I can integrate my yoga training into my life passions, and “share my practice” with people in underserved populations and communities.

Q. How has your yoga practice changed as a result of completing an immersive program? 

I am better at it, enjoy it more, understand it more, and am far better at integrating yoga principles into my life off the mat and outside the studio. I am also now able to practice yoga alone on the road when I travel, which I do often, so can consistently practice without the hassle of finding a yoga studio everywhere I go (though that can be fun too!) 

Q. What advice would you give to someone considering a program who isn’t sure they want to teach (or is sure they do not want to teach)? 

Do it!  You won’t regret it!

Some News (Change Is Good)



My dear Reach Yoga friends:

I am delighted to let you know that yoga teacher Laura Merlo and I have reached an agreement under which she will become the sole owner of Reach Yoga, effective December 18, 2018.

Leading Reach Yoga for the past 6+ years has been a pleasure and a privilege. I’ve learned so much and really become a different person, thanks to the opportunity to contribute to our yoga community. THANK YOU. At this point I am ready to move on to other pursuits, and the studio can benefit from some fresh energy and ideas.

Laura is the ideal person to take Reach Yoga to the next level of prosperity. In addition to her status as a truly beloved yoga teacher, Laura has experience as a business owner and designer. She has done great work on our yoga programming and merchandising. She is eager to take on the challenge of making Reach Yoga an ever-improving source of strength and serenity for our students, teachers, and staff.

What will change at Reach? I’ll let Laura speak to you directly about that, but I can tell you that Laura has enormous respect for Reach Yoga as it exists today. She will continue to value the students and teachers of Reach Yoga. Allison and Marika will continue to do the amazing work they do. The new ideas and strategies Laura offers will build on our strengths while improving and enhancing our community.

In the meantime, your membership is still valid; any classes you have paid for are still on file; teacher training will commence in January with Paul, Deb, and Sharyn leading the faculty; and the yoga class and event schedule remains as is for now (evolving each season as always).

Next steps? Laura and I have already begun to transition my responsibilities to her, and that work will continue over the next month or so. Beginning today, feel free to contact Laura for any questions or concerns that would normally come to me. (You are also welcome to reach out to me directly, of course!)

After December 18, don’t think you’re getting rid of me–Laura has graciously offered Bob and me ongoing yoga memberships at Reach, so you’ll see us in class. 🙂

Keep calm and yoga on! Namaste ~
xo, Dani
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