Nirodhaḥ Yoga Blog
What brought you to yoga?
I was first introduced to yoga when I was 4 and watched Inhale with Steve Ross with my dad on the Oxygen channel. I practiced yoga frequently as a kid and then infrequently as I got a bit older and became more dedicated to competitive sports. My time was filled with school and basketball, track, soccer, etc. practices. In 2014 I moved to Chicago for college and that’s where I met my yoga teacher, Suddha Weixler, who has run The Chicago Yoga Center since 1984, he was also teaching yoga for credit at my university, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Suddha has since retired from teaching at the school). After taking Suddha’s yoga course at the school a few times, I decided to become a teacher as well, and embarked on my yoga teacher training course with Suddha at the Chicago Yoga Center. I have been teaching ever since!
What is your approach to teaching?
Through movement and breathing I am interested in teaching how to deepen the awareness of the mind and the body and discovering the profound peace in silence and stillness, and enter the space beyond your ideas to discover your true authentic happiest self.
I’m interested in creating unique and fun Hatha Yoga sequences to create an enjoyable and fun yoga flow.
Why do you choose to teach at 5KY?
I choose to teach at Five Keys because of the studio's beautiful energy and community. The space is calming and grounding and I love teaching and practicing yoga here. Erin and Rita have cultivated a truly magical yoga studio and I feel so fortunate and humbled to be a part of Five Keys. They care about the little things, like fresh flowers every week, the best kind of people.
What makes your soul sing?
Besides practicing and teaching yoga, my soul sings when I’m painting, gardening, playing basketball, skiing, surfing (most adventure sports), and cuddling with my sweet cat, Prince.
You can find MJ at 5KY teaching Dynamic Intermediate Yoga on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30 PM and Advanced Techniques on Sundays at 1:15 PM (starting Nov. 5th).
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
- Nelson Mandela
Last month, I wrote more broadly on the seven major Chakras, including how they are related to anatomy and physiology, and their emotional aspects. This month, I’ll delve into one Chakra in particular, which so neatly aligns with February’s celebration of love. The Anahata Chakra, or heart Chakra is the fourth and therefore, central Chakra of the central nervous system.
Swami Satchidananda actually recommended that when working on the Chakras, we focus only on the higher Chakras (from the Anahata up to the seventh, which is called the Sahasrara). The lower Chakras will figure themselves out if we focus on the higher ones.
The reason for this suggestion is that the lower Chakras are related to the movement of energy downward (apana), which when focused on has the tendency to lower our own energy. Focusing on the higher Chakras has the tendency to raise energy.
This Chakra has a special place for me. As I mentioned last month (and in other places on this blog), before I began going deeper into yogic philosophy, I was centered entirely in my head. My own teacher, Sonia Sumar, has a very heart-centered approach, which has opened me up to my entire body.
Sonia often mentions that the heart is the very first organ formed in utero, even before the brain. And that perhaps this is a message about where to lead our lives from. That’s not to say that the head is unimportant but that the heart should lead the head and not the other way around.
So in service of the heart, I offer you this primer on the Anahata Chakra.
Just some thoughts about yoga as I go...
FIVE KEYS YOGA
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Five Keys is fantastic! The studio is lovely and soothing, and the teachers are very caring and attentive.
I've ... probably been to 25 different yoga studios. This is one of the most welcoming, calming spaces with very talented instructors.
I love this yoga studio. It's a great balance of a good workout and relaxation and feels like a real community.
An ideal studio for someone new to yoga.