Nirodhaḥ Yoga Blog
What brought you to yoga?
I became interested in yoga in college after seeing some friends of mine practicing crow pose on campus. It looked so cool and effortless! I still aspire to make crow pose look cool and effortless. It’s a journey!
What is your approach to teaching?
I want to teach yoga in an accessible way, through a trauma-sensitive lens. I want my students to feel safe and empowered to connect with their body through movement and breath. I hope to foster that connection in any class that I teach.
Why did you choose to teach at 5KY?
I found Five Keys Yoga when I was looking at yoga studios on the north side of Chicago. I was immediately drawn to the studio’s focus on folks with special needs. When I read “Yes, you can do yoga!” on the website, I knew I was home! That is exactly the message that I want to tell every person that I meet!
What makes your soul sing?
I love to be in nature. Feeling fresh air, listening to water as it moves, watching the light filter through the leaves of a tree - these simple things always leave me in awe of all creation. They help me feel connected to myself and to this earth, and they truly make my soul sing.
You can find Rachel at 5KY teaching Slow Flow Yoga on Tuesdays at 7:30 PM, Gentle Yoga on Thursdays at 5:45 PM and Candlelight Restorative Yoga on Fridays at 5:30 PM.
She also leads quarterly Intro to Yoga series on Saturdays at 3 PM.
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
If you want to learn yoga, you might start out (as I did) looking up yoga poses online, getting a book on yoga, or even attending a class for beginners. A few decades ago, it might have been difficult to find a yoga class nearby and so, whatever kind of class you found, well…that’s what you got.
These days, there are so many options, the problem is now one of overwhelm. “Which kind of yoga should I do?” “How should I start practicing yoga?” “What is the best kind of yoga for me?” are all questions that arise from beginners approaching our studio.
The truth is, do whatever kind of yoga makes you feel best and that you can do consistently. As I mentioned, I started practicing yoga with poses I found online and in books. Eventually, my curiosity brought me to classes. Finally, I met my guru, who has taught me what yoga is really about. The process unfolded naturally over time.
With kids of all ages returning to school, we are reminded of the importance of continual learning and education. One of the things we love most at 5KY is bringing yoga into schools. Although what the kids learn in their classrooms about math, literature, history, and science is essential, yoga brings an education on something slightly different.
Whereas our schools educate our children’s bodies and minds, yoga nurtures their hearts. This is why bringing yoga into the classroom is so important. Yoga for children is not a type of play but a true education. In the method we use, we are not simply teaching our kids cute animal poses or telling a story with yoga poses interspersed.
When taught correctly, this method of children’s yoga is a serious practice that can teach children how to calm themselves, regulate their emotions, and tune into the messages that their body, heart, and mind transmit. It works on all aspects of the child. Not just the physical or even mental aspects, but their spirit - their heart - as well.
We are starting to understand that it is not just the IQ that matters. There are multiple types of intelligence that we ought to be developing. Yoga works the mind and body, yes. But it disciplines the body to be calm and the mind to be silent, so that the heart can speak.
When we teach our kids emotional intelligence - empathy, compassion, wisdom - we prepare them to live in a world filled with other beings and all the joys and challenges inherent in that. This world, rich with the experiences of loving others, is what I want to prepare my child for.
But we have all been children before and retain (deeply buried as it may be) some of that childlike wonder and vulnerability. Yoga is a gift to that inner child, as it nurtures the emotional intelligence that this world so desperately needs.
So I’d like to give a different kind of primer on yoga. Not one like I sought out when I first began; full of flashy poses and not much substance. I’d like to suggest some tips for the beginner that I wish I would have received when I started practicing yoga. This is a primer for beginners on the heart of yoga.
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.