Meet Sally Lou



Name:

Sally Lou Loveman

Birthplace:

Philadelphia, PA

Current Hometown:

Northfield, IL

Nicknames:

With a name like Sally Lou I get a lot of nicknames!  Lou and Lou Lou are what my family and friends call me, but I answer to pretty much anything except Sally! When I meet someone new and they call me Sally Lou, I always say “Thanks for the Lou!”

Family/Pets: 

I have 2 daughters and 1 son. Marin is 26 and graduated from Vanderbilt University. She lives in New York City and works as a Marketing Specialist at NBC for the network’s integrative marketing team. She started as an NBC Page, and worked in production for the TODAY Show. She loves the business end of television.

Carly is 24 and graduated from Lafayette College, She chose the TV production route and works in Nashville as an Associate Producer for the talk show Pickler & Ben – hosted by Kellie Pickler and Ben Aaron.

Billy is 19 and a sophomore at Northwestern University where he studies film and theater. When he was 4-years-old he told me he wanted to be the guy who punches the buttons to make TV shows when he grows up. That’s called a Technical Director! Who speaks like that at 4? Billy Loveman! 

Billy wants to be a director now and loves being on a stage – whether he’s acting, singing or blocking a scene.  My kids all have a little piece of show business in their blood, which I assume comes from me since my husband Mitchell works in Commercial Real Estate!

After we lost our beloved 16-year-old Shih Tzu Tinker, we rescued a Yorkshire Terrier and named her Gracie Lou because grace is always welcome and we needed another Lou in the family! The kids weren’t ready to welcome a new dog yet, but I won the battle and Gracie Lou now rules our house.  She has a big personality and keeps us laughing and loving her.

Job or Life Passion:

I knew I wanted to work in television since I was 14-years-old. My mother invited me to the filming of The Mike Douglas Show, one of the first TV talk shows, which happened to be produced in my hometown of Philadelphia. As I sat in the studio audience, I spotted a girl on the set with a clipboard. I didn’t know what she did, but she was a woman (it was 1976), she was wearing a headset which made her automatically cool, she was holding a clipboard which made her official, and she looked really busy. I knew in that moment that whatever it was she was doing, I would do it one day too.

I loved being in a TV studio. I loved the smell of the studio, the sounds of the lights, the feel of the camaraderie of the crew, the taste of the excitement and seeing all the action. I quickly learned that when an environment sucks you in and pleases all 5 of your senses, to make a career out of it.  When I graduated from college. I applied for a TV job in Chicago and got it! I hadn’t traveled beyond the east coast, so Chicago was very much new territory for me. I moved here without knowing one person.

The same year I moved to Chicago, Oprah moved to Chicago to host AM Chicago. I met Oprah when she was a guest on a show at the PBS station where I worked. She complimented my blouse. I interviewed with her 2 years later when she took her show national and she complimented my suit. And when she hired me a year later, she complimented my work.

Working for Oprah was like getting a masters in living your best life, wellness, gratitude and spirituality. Every lesson I have ever learned from Oprah,  I incorporate into my daily life and work. My 20-plus years with Oprah allowed me to start my own business as a speaker, emcee and speaker coach. As the Audience Producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show, I entertained the audience before the show. With my business lovespeaks, I connect audiences to brands, just like I did for Oprah. And when I’m not working on my business, I consult for start-up talk shows with a studio audience, because I am happiest in that environment.

Favorite Place to Travel:

The Jersey Shore! There I said it. I love New Jersey and I especially love the Jersey Shore. Growing up in Philadelphia, we went to the Jersey Shore every summer so it’s home for me. At 10-years-old my dad gave me and my sisters Bruce Springsteen’s The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle album,  which made me love New Jersey even more. 

We take our kids every summer so they love it too. My sister has a home in Bay Head, NJ so we are lucky to be able to gather there for family vacations. I also love Maine and of course Europe! 

Hobbies:

I don’t really have many hobbies because I spend most of my time working. I guess working out is my main hobby.  I love yoga, of course, Shred 415, Pilates and running. I also meditate daily, which is my FAVORITE thing to do and what I look forward to most in my day. 

My husband and I spend Sunday mornings at church and some Friday nights at Shabbat Service. We travel constantly because our families all live on the east coast so you can most likely find us in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Philadelphia when we are not in Chicago. I also love Broadway musicals and spend as much time as I can in a theater seeing shows.

Just before Billy left for college, I had an opportunity to work in New York for The TODAY Show as a consultant.  I completely avoided my empty nest by leaving it first, which I highly recommend! 

I lived in Times Square and saw 12 Broadway shows in the 6 months I was there. I felt like a kid in a candy store! After a long day at work, if I had the energy, I would pick a show and go to the box office and get the cheapest ticket. 

Since the TODAY Show opportunity,  I have had more work in New York which gives me the high of being back in television and the opportunity to spend time with my family there. We call it “casual family plans” which never happens in Chicago since we are the only family members, on both sides, who live here.  My husband and I treat my work like an adventure and make it fun. So far, empty nesting has been a very busy time for me.

Name 1 moment that completely changed your life:

I really wanted to study in London my Junior year in college, but my dad thought it was too far away, so I went to Washington, DC instead, which is where I learned about the TV opportunity in Chicago.  If I had gone to London I would have never moved to  Chicago, which ultimately led me to work for Oprah. I would have also met my husband Mitchell in London because he was on the program I would have been on. My best friend from college, Andrea, was on Mitchell’s program and is the one who eventually introduced us when I moved to Chicago. 

Whenever my kids want to do things I’m not comfortable with, I remember London and realize that we can’t stop whatever journey our kids are on. It helps me manage my anxiety when I worry about them being out of my control!

One thing that would surprise most people about you:

My nursery school teacher Mrs. Thompson told my mother that I would never make a friend because I was so shy. Lesson learned – don’t let labels define you, let them inspire you!

When did you start practicing yoga & why:

When the Oprah Show ended I discovered the West Loop. We moved to Harpo Studios in 1989 and I think we were the only people in the West Loop, besides the meat packers. When the show ended in 2011, and I was able to actually walk outside the building, I discovered a thriving fabulous neighborhood. 

And in this neighborhood there was a yoga studio! I kept seeing a well-known yoga teacher, Margo Kellison, in the local grocery store at lunch time and I told her I wanted to practice with her. She became my teacher and I would sneak away from work to take privates with her. I never thought I would ever be good enough to actually take a class, but my dear friend and yoga teacher, Pam Miller told me “Yoga is about community.” I listened to Pam’s words, and because my business and life is all about community, I joined a class and understood immediately what Pam meant.

Around the same time I started practicing yoga, I was trained in Transcendental Meditation. Oprah gave her employees the gift of TM. Both practices have transformed my life in so many positive ways. I kind of think about my life as “pre-yoga and meditation” and “post yoga and meditation.” 

Favorite Pose:

Triangle. I feel my whole body adjust in this pose and it feel so good every time! It feels like I am new again when I am in triangle.

Favorite Mantra:

“To love another person is to see the face of God” – from Les Misérables. The beauty of God, Source, a higher power, or whatever you want to call it – is reflected in the people around us. All you have to do is look and there it is. 

Best Advice Ever Given:

To forgive. My parents always taught me to forgive and Oprah did too. Forgiveness is not about saying what someone did is ok, it’s about allowing yourself the freedom to move on. 

Best Advice to Give:

Do what you love. It’s the foundation of my life and business. When we use our talents in an environment we love, it never feels like work. My advice is don’t fight it! Own your talent, share your talent with the world and you will always be happy.

Favorite Song

September by Earth, Wind & Fire – since the 10th grade we sang it “Sally Lou remember” instead of “Say do you remember.” That’s my song!

Meet Rachel Garber



Rachel Garber is such a regular fixture at Reach yoga, we’d be genuinely surprised if you haven’t met her yet. She comes to her mat to create calmness in her busy day-to-day schedule, satiates her need for a well-balanced yet physically challenging practice, and also adopts her teachers mantras to share with her loved ones at home.  Whether you know her or not, read on for an enlightening peek into Rachel’s world.

 Q. How long have you been practicing yoga and how did you get into it?

I started practicing yoga in 2005 at Equinox in the city.  I was really into cardio classes (I LOVE a good step aerobics class) but decided to try something new.   After one yoga class with Allison English I could not believe how sore my core was, and was surprised how challenging it was.  I was hooked! I took 4 – 5 yoga classes a week all with the same instructor for about 5 years until I moved to Highland Park and had my daughter.  Then despite my love of yoga I was not able to find the same type of class I was used to (you get really set in your ways with one instructor) and found that getting a babysitter for 3 hours to take one class didn’t feel right for me.  So I pretty much stopped for 4 years and I always missed it.  As soon as my second daughter started preschool I knew it was time to get back into it.  I went to Pam Gross’s class at Reach and I really liked the laid back vibe, proximity to my house, and that it was not hot.  I started coming regularly and sure enough as my first teacher always said “your body remembers”.

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

I practice yoga because it makes me feel strong, gives me energy all day, and most of all, it just feels really good! Other exercise classes often leave me hurting and with a headache.  I love that there are always new things to try, new goals to reach and how different each class is.  I also love the message of yoga – I do try to take my yoga off the mat into my daily life (it doesn’t always work…but I try).  With two energetic, spirited daughters at home we take lots of big yoga breaths in our house.  I love repeating some of the end of class yoga quotes that really resonate with me when I get home as well.   My kids and I love this one from Lauri’s class years ago “If you have to choose between being right or being kind, always choose to be kind because then you will always be right”.  

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

I am a busy stay at home mom with two kids in full day school this year for the first time – Yay!  Besides the daily trips to the grocery, Target, the laundry, and all that other fun stuff,  I am the PTO president of Ravinia School.  On weekends you’ll find us bike riding to the botanic gardens or the beach when the weather is nice – or hanging with our cousins and having family movie nights at home.  

Q. What was your first job?

Besides babysitting and camp counselor type jobs – my first real job was at Baby Guess in Northbrook Court.  It is now where Galt Toys is next to Sephora which used to be Guess. I worked there for 3 years and it was very fun – although we never had customers so not sure how it lasted that long!

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

I think my favorite thing to cook is anything my kids want to make with me – especially if it’s related to a holiday or something they love.  For Rosh Hashannah this year my 8 year old and I made a round apple challah.  That was ambitious and time consuming but beyond delicious.  She has already told me we are making it every year and that makes me happy.  As for my favorite thing to eat – unfortunately it’s dessert.  

 Q. What was the last live performance you attended? How was it?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the family – it was excellent.

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

I love walking with friends and biking in the summer.  I also go to Orange Theory 1 – 2 times a week which I pretty much dread but it’s a great workout and I am always happy when its over!

 Q. What are you currently reading/watching/doing ? 

 I just downloaded The Kitchen House to read during jury duty but I was released after two hours so didn’t have a chance to get very into it yet – I will pick it up again soon!  

 Q. Coffee or tea? 

 Neither! I enjoy a vanilla latte a couple times a year however if I drink one (even in the morning) I’m up until 2 AM.  Plus it makes my arms and legs feel numb so I’m laughing thinking about what I’d be like if I ever drank coffee before yoga…it would not end well!

Let’s Chat With Steve Norehad



When he’s not out paddle boarding on Lake Michigan or driving his kids to and from the ice rink, Steve Norehad sneaks in a little time on his mat to round out his busy, but exceptional life. With 3 children, an avid Starbucks habit (anyone else see him there every morning around 5:30 for his first cup?) he makes his yoga practice a priority in his already physically enriched life.  Let’s see what Steve has to say…..

Q. How long have you been practicing yoga and how did you get into it?

Reach is the first place I’ve ever practiced yoga and I’ve been practicing since January of 2017. I ended up becoming a yoga lover after being invited to a class by another reach member – I’m pretty sure I was back the very next day, except this time for a basics class so I could get a good foundation! There was and still is SO much to learn and I find myself exhilarated by the continuous opportunities for growth that yoga offers.

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

Yoga is a great physical, spiritual and emotional release. As an “aging” athlete (is that PC enough?) I’ve found that yoga helps with strength, balance and conditioning of all those little muscles you don’t get from a standard gym workout. Even more important, the inward challenges of yoga are spiritual food and a source of energy. One of my teachers suggested that yoga is a great metaphor for life. It doesn’t always go the way you want, but almost always at the end of class there’s a break through even if you didn’t get a pose perfect… Like life, there is no perfect in yoga and always room for improvement and growth.

Q. How often do you typically practice yoga?

2x to 3x per week

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

I’m blessed to have 3 wonderful kids, Jack, Peter and Margot. We have a three-travel sport schedule plus violin so much of my time is devoted to driving, scheduling, cooking and cleaning. I love coaching hockey and have had the pleasure of coaching Margot 7 out of the last 8 years. Generally speaking my time revolves around Faith, Family and Friends. There is nothing more important.

Q. What was your first job?

Wilmette Bicycle and Sports Shop – 1981.

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

Hong Kong

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

Tough question. Pretty much everything. My grandmother, an Armenian lady from Smyrna (Izmir) Turkey used to say “Stevie, food is love”. So, in that way, I love to eat and I love to cook.  My favorite for a quick meal for me and the kids is Lake Superior White Fish covered with Mayonnaise and paprika. Broil for 11 minutes. The mayo caramelizes. Serve with Armenian rice pilaf with browned egg noodles (in butter) and broccoli or grilled Brussel sprouts. Very yummy, let me know if you want the recipe!

Q. What was the last live performance you attended? How was it?

David Byrne at the Chicago Auditorium. Best musical performance I’ve ever seen.

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

I love ice hockey, paddle boarding, working out at the beach, golf, tennis, disk golf pretty much anything that involves the outdoors and adventure.

Q. What are you currently reading/watching ? 

Presidential Leadership: Learning from United States Presidential Libraries and Museums by Dan Nielsen and Emily Sirkel. Fascinating perspective

Q. Coffee or tea?

Espresso

Musings From Her Mat~ Meet Marissa Girard



You for sure won’t see Marissa Girard at any early morning classes….  this self-proclaimed “night owl” loves to cook, travel, hike and snuggle with her family & beloved cat Remy when not on her mat. She always shows up to Reach with a glowing smile and hugs for all. Take a peek inside Marissa’s life on and off her yoga mat.

Q. How long have you been practicing yoga and how did you get into it?

Reach is the first place i’ve ever practiced yoga and I’ve been practicing since January of 2017. I ended up becoming a yoga lover after being invited to a class by another reach member – I’m pretty sure I was back the very next day, except this time for a basics class so i could get a good foundation! There was and still is SO much to learn and I find myself exhilarated by the continuous opportunities for growth that yoga offers.

Q. Why do you practice yoga?

I’m a person who is fairly turned off by formal exercise and gyms – but I am also a person who loves mental health and am always working towards greater mental clarity and peace. Yoga speaks to this part of me. It reminds me to try and fail, to succeed and be humble, to be kind to myself and to others, to be silly, and to listen to myself. All of this has contributed to a sense of greater joy and appreciation for life! That feeling makes practicing yoga one of the easiest and best decisions I make every day.

Q. What has helped you deepen your yoga practice?

Trying all different kinds of yoga has been really helpful for my practice. I got really into ashtanga last summer which was a great challenge and taught me an entirely new way of approaching yoga. Without a doubt, I always learn a new technique or cue from different classes and teachers, and I find that a basics class can be just as challenging as a level II.  I’m not into forcing myself to go to the hardest class, I’m into meeting myself wherever I am for that day and doing what I need – which sometimes means doing a few poses at home, or sometimes means hitting a class.

Q. How often do you practice?

When I’m in town, I try to practice 3 times a week. I am a night owl, so I love a middle of the day class!

Q. What do you do in addition to yoga?

I love taking walks, hiking, cooking, traveling, reading by a fire, and hanging out at home with my family. I’m also into home renovation/design and enjoy helping my husband, Kenton, with his real estate company. Most important, I am a full time mother to our amazing cat, remy.

Q. Next place you’re traveling?

We are off to Rome and Florence soon and I am salivating daily thinking about all the pizza I am going to eat! My current favorite city – paris – may have some competition.

Who’s On That Mat? Meet Janet Schiff



Janet Schiff has been practicing yoga at Reach since the beginning … so almost six years now. We thought other yoga students might enjoy learning a bit about Janet. When you next see her, ask about Banjo! 

I first was introduced to yoga through my daughter Melanie when she was 22 years old. I took a ride down to Moksha and had my first class. That was almost twenty years ago. I initially practiced Iyengar and Hatha  Yoga. After that, I also practiced Vinyasa.

Prior to practicing yoga, I did weights and the stairclimber religiously while working full time as an attorney and then a realtor, in addition to raising three children.

As the years pass, I find it more and more important that I practice yoga, for well being, strength and balance.  I try to go at least three times a week currently.

I still am working as a realtor with Coldwell Banker in Glencoe.  I enjoy my grandchildren long distance in Los Angeles, my family here, including my husband Pepper and my adoring pup Banjo who you see around town with me from time to time.

I am a longtime resident of Glencoe, over thirty-five years, and am very fortunate to have a studio with fine instructors at Reach Yoga.

I find different instructors focus on different things but have learned through them to know my own body, work at your own pace. It’s not a race. Colleen, Zoe and Deb W are just a few that have truly impressed me.

Namaste.

About Judy Lichtenstein of Good Karma Tees



Judy Lichtenstein’s Good Karma t-shirts have been featured at Reach Yoga on-and-off for almost six years. Check out current inventory–available for only a limited time, including during this weekend’s sidewalk sale.  

Q: When did you start designing your own clothing/ where did your passion for design begin?

My path in art and design started when I went to college. I was an illustration major in art school at Washington University in St. Louis. I loved fabric and did any of my projects that I could on fabric. That is where my path in art began. As it was, anything that I made in art school I could sell.

So after college, I went home to Pittsburgh, which is where I am from, and started my business. At the time, I was painting on fabric and doing soft sculpture. That is what was in, in the late 70’s. So while I was in Pittsburgh, I met another woman who was an artist kinda doing what I was doing. We made objects that we sold to stores and galleries. She took me to New York my first time to try to sell my work.

While on that trip trying to sell, I ended up getting a New York rep with a showroom who would represent me and my work. I was very lucky. That was the beginning of my business 40 years ago.

Q: What inspires you when creating designs for your clothes?

Healthy everyday lifestyle and happy memories are my greatest inspiration. Starting from waking up in the morning very early, seeing the sunrise is my everyday start. I get on the floor and do my yoga stretches every morning to start my day; then I feed and walk my dog.

Being outside in nature also inspires me. I see the possibilities for designs everywhere.

Q: What are some of your favorite t-shirt designs from your Good Karma Tees line?

I love the lotus, tranquility trees, happy buddha, Ganesh with border, the henna hand and chakra chart to name a few.

Q: How does yoga help your creativity?

Starting my everyday getting on the floor and doing my yoga stretches and poses energizes me so I can meet the day’s challenges.

Q: What advice would you give someone who is struggling to find creative inspiration?

To help someone who was trying to start a business in the artistic field making a product to sell, my advice to them would be: Pick a store or gallery where you think your work would fit in. Call up the store and ask who does the buying and make an appointment to show them your work.

There is a good amount of rejection that goes along with being an artist. It is hard to not take what people say about your work personal. I have been very lucky in my years of business to end up selling to many great places. When I was 23, Barney’s New York invited me to be in all of their stores and I sold to them for over 15 years.

What really did help me was the woman who did what I did, but made different products. She was older and really was a mentor. I never would have gone to New York on my own for the first time and hit the streets trying to sell my products. A mentor who is willing to give you advice  is really quite helpful.

Who’s On That Mat? Meet Eric Hochberg



We love Eric Hochberg! He’s a frequent and enthusiastic yoga student. Next time you see him, say hello … and maybe plan to hear his trio play.

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

I came to yoga twelve years ago to reverse my early 50’s middle-age slump. I found that not only did it increase my overall strength, balance and flexibility, it also improved my general well being and state of mind. And, I found all of these benefits to be of great value in my professional life as a musician.

Q. How often do you typically practice yoga?

I shoot for three to four sessions a week, depending on my schedule. I generally prefer a day of rest between sessions.

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

I am a professional jazz double bassist, and music is pretty much my life outside of family and yoga practice. These days I perform nightly with my trio at Catch 35 Chicago and do some teaching on the weekends. I’m also about to become a first-time grandpa, so I think a little more travel will be in my future!

Q. What was your first job?

Playing around the North Shore in one of my high school rock bands.

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

I’ve been fortunate to have visited many great cities in my musical travels, so that’s a tough question. Paris for food and culture, London for the National Gallery, and Rio de Janeiro for amazing music. NYC, of course, for great jazz!

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

I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and these days I like making pasta and various bean dishes, which, believe it or not, have become my breakfast staple.

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

The most notable recent performance I attended was Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s six-hour, three-play mashup with a live rock band (featuring one of my students). It was an incredible all day experience!

Q. Coffee or Tea?

Coffee in the morning, tea at night.

Meet Members Lisa & Jonathan Rosenfeld



In a fun twist, we decided to interview a couple of yogis who just happen to be married to one another.

Lisa and Jonathan Rosenfeld can often be seen practicing yoga at Reach, both separately and together. Reading their interviews (which they answered separately), it’s clear that they would be big winners on the newlywed game.

Thanks Jonathan and Lisa for being great yoga students, letting our community get to know you, and most of all for practicing at Reach!

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

Jonathan: I was originally drawn to yoga for the physical practice and stretching as a way to recover from other activities. But I have since learned it also helps me calm down and focus. It has sort of become addicting.

Lisa: I started practicing yoga for two reasons: to get some time to myself after the birth of my second child and to become more flexible (I could not touch my toes!). The reason I practice has evolved and now serves as time for myself, to listen to my breath, to stop and slow down, remain flexible as I age, and try to remain calm through the ups and the downs of life, marriage, children, etc. I believe in yoga and believe it helps me become a better version of myself.

Q. How often do you typically practice yoga?

Jonathan: Three times a week.

Lisa: I like to tell myself I practice all the time (off the mat). I try to take the breathing, gratefulness, and calmness into my life in as many ways possible. But, I am human and all I can do is try! I practice physical asana practice 5-6 days a week.

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

Jonathan: I am busy running a personal injury law firm and taking care of my family.

Lisa: I am a mom, wife, and friend. I help my husband with his law practice. I enjoy running and walking, alone and with friends. I like reading a good book. I volunteer at the kids school. I love to travel and see and experience new places.​

Q. What was your first job?

Jonathan: Lifeguard at Gilson Beach… it was awesome.

Lisa: My first job was at Misericordia in Chicago.

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

Jonathan: Sanibel Island, FL (but please … not too many people go)!

Lisa: Rome, Italy … so much history, easily walkable, amazing food, amazing language, amazing people.

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

Jonathan: I pretty much like pizza and salad, prepared well.

Lisa: I don’t cook. Jonathan does and does it well! I love his version of bibimbop, pizza, and eggplant milanese.

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

Jonathan: John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett – it was great, but too late, even leaving before it was half over was too late.

Lisa: We saw Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt acoustic! It was great, but we do not stay out late or up late, so we left after an hour and 15 minutes. Perfect for us!

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

Jonathan: I swim, run, bike… anything to avoid sitting still.

Lisa: Yes! I run daily and go to Shred415 once or twice a week.

Q. Coffee or tea?

Jonathan: Coffee. All forms and lots of it.

Lisa: Coffee for sure! Good coffee.

Meet Dana Weiss



Walking into your yoga studio can feel like coming home … especially if you know and enjoy seeing fellow yogis. Our 6am classes have become a special supportive community, thanks to yogis like Dana Weiss.

If you aren’t yet an early morning yogi and want to give it a try, look for Dana and say hello. Ask Dana how long she’s been a Reach Yoga member, or where her travels will next take her.

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

A friend advised me to try yoga during a stressful period in my life. In retrospect, the first class I attended was too advanced for a novice. I didn’t know what I was doing; but, I knew within 5 minutes that whatever I was doing, I loved! It simply felt amazing to stretch my limbs and be told that to breathe was enough. It was a revelatory experience right from the start.

As all yogis know, the benefits of a regular practice are numerous – physical, emotional, functional, etc. I’ll just say this – I’ve never left a class not feeling better in some way(s) than before the class. Most days, a feeling of joy envelops me at some point during the class like an embrace. The first time it happened, it reminded me of the feeling I had as a child in summer camp among my friends – carefree, active – with the sun shining down on me. Pretty great, right?

Q. How often do you typically practice yoga?

I practice 5-6 days a week, most often at 6am. Like many, I started practicing so early due to lack of time the rest of the day. Since then, I’ve found that the before-sunrise hours have a mystical quality unlike any other time of day, and am so grateful for this habit and for the uniquely inspirational, gentle, and kind guidance of each teacher at Reach. It takes special dedication to teach at 6am! I’m also grateful for our small community of 6am risers who add so much pleasure to my daily routine.

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

I’m fortunate to have a great husband, Steven, who loves to plan sports, concert, restaurant and travel fun. I get to ride his coattails to all sorts of amazing activities! Professionally, I work in the medical translation field for a large international company. Collaborating with translators and clinicians worldwide affords me the daily opportunity to connect with people across the globe. I am a perennial language learner and am constantly striving to improve my skills. My dream is to live in Italy (and other countries potentially) for 6 months to study the language enough to be proficient.

Q. What was your first job?

I was a cashier at Rexall Pharmacy in Skokie when I was 16.

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

I seem to be happiest in whichever city I find myself as each locale offers a unique culture, language, cuisine, and people to meet. There are always new things to discover everywhere! I recently found the energy and gentle civility of the denizens of Copenhagen to be extraordinary and would highly recommend a visit there.

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

I never tire of the freshest fish/seafood available, simply prepared with olive oil, salt and lemon juice, and preferably grilled and prepared by someone else! I also enjoy cooking all the “Old World” Jewish dishes of my mother and grandmother for my 4 sweet children. Old family recipes are never really old or outdated.

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

I had the privilege of attending a concert/lecture given by Peter Yarrow recently in which he spoke about his experiences during the Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Movement in the ‘60s, and related that to our struggles today. He also invited my daughter and me to join him onstage to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon,” which was a wondrous experience!

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

Unfortunately, the only other activity I do regularly is about 45 minutes of aerobic activity every morning (before yoga 😉) at the Winnetka Community House. I wish I could fit in other sports. I used to adore playing baseball!

Q. Coffee or tea?

I drink both every morning. I have a doppio macchiato before yoga and green tea with lemon when I get home. Coffee would be my preference if I could only choose one.

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!

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