Nirodhaḥ Yoga Blog
We value your feedback and appreciate your support. If you've been enjoying our classes, we encourage you to participate in our Fall review drive on the Momence app. Feeling extra motivated? Review us on Google, Yelp, Facebook and/or NextDoor too!
We'd greatly appreciate your support in helping our yoga studio thrive and grow. Your participation, whether through reviews, referrals, or simply spreading the word about our studio, plays a vital role in our success.
And don't forget to stop by on Halloween for some special treats as a way for us to say thanks for your support.
Thank you for taking a moment out of your day to leave a review at the links below!
GIVE US A REVIEW
Calling all Chicago yoga teachers!
Take your teaching skills to the next level with a two-day program on Asana Choreography led by master yoga teacher trainer, Renata Sumar Gaertner and co-owner of 5KY, Erin Haddock.
This comprehensive workshop covers all aspects of Asana Choreography. You'll learn the basics of planning sequences and linking asanas together, advanced asana techniques, and presentation and storytelling skills.
The weekend will culminate in a presentation of asana choreographies our participants have developed over the two days.
Day One of the workshop will cover the fundamentals of asana choreography, including what it is, how to plan your sequence, basic asanas, and how to link them together.
Day Two will focus on more advanced techniques such as storytelling skills, music selection, training more advanced postures, how pranayama and meditation are connected to your asana practice, and presentation skills. You will also be able to take part in a mock presentation and receive feedback from both your peers and instructors.
In addition to our workshop, we will have daily Hatha Yoga Practice following the Sonia Sumar Method - Yoga for all Abilities. This workshop is perfect for yoga teachers of all levels who are interested in learning more about asana choreography.
Sign up by September 30th and get 20% off!!
If you’ve ever felt intimidated to practice at a yoga studio, our Intro to Yoga Series is perfect for you! This is also a great series for those looking for a deeper foundational understanding of the practice of Yoga.
This will include not only yoga poses (asana) and breathing techniques (pranayama), but also the integral philosophy behind the practice. You’ll learn why and how yoga works as you develop your own personal practice that’s unique to you and your needs.
Whether you’re a total beginner, you’re returning to your practice after some time off, or just want to learn more about the broader practice of yoga, this class will help you along your journey.
After the 8-week course is over, you will understand how to practice and modify basic yoga poses, develop better control over your breathing, and learn how traditional yogic philosophy impacts our body and mind from a scientific but heart-centered approach.
Suitable for total beginners as well as anyone who has been dipping their toes into the practice but wants a more in-depth understanding of Yoga.
Registration is limited to just 10. Book your spot now!
We can't believe it but our little baby is six years old! 💕
When we opened our doors in 2017, nervous and uncertain if the neighborhood would embrace us, we never could have foretold the beautiful relationships we would forge with Roscoe Village, Lakeview and North Center (and other neighborhoods!) residents. We didn't understand how much meaning our job would have to us. How many people we would get to serve within our community - in our studio, outdoors, in schools and many other organizations... even *gasp* online!
It hasn't always been easy. In fact, many times it's been downright hard. Your peaceful faces at the end of the practice were what kept us going in the face of adversity. Here we are at the end of a very bizarre period of our collective lives, ready to move forward into the new. It seems, despite the fall weather, we're all ready for growth.
So for our 6th Anniversary Weekend, we're offering folks new to 5KY the chance to try out our all-access pass for only $1 for three days! See how good a regular yoga practice makes you feel in three days and grow into better health, a calmer mind and more self-confidence.
6th ANNIVERSARY ALL-ACCESS PASS
Terms & Conditions
Available for first time students of 5KY only.
Get three days of unlimited yoga for $1. The All-Access pass auto-renews at the end of three days at our discounted monthly all-access rate ($115). Cancel anytime.
TO OUR REGULAR STUDENTS: please book your spot in your favorite classes the week of September 15th before September 10th. We expect most classes to have a waitlist, so make sure to snag your place before the Open House pre-booking begins.
Also, please invite your friends to join us!
In the meantime, check out these throwback images from our opening weekend in 2017!
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.
- Rachel Carson
I think if yoga were a season, it would be spring. Both the arrival of spring and practicing yoga are regenerative. As more and more research emerges, there is good evidence that yoga and meditation have some anti-aging benefits, such as lowered inflammation, increased gray matter in the brain, and protection for our chromosomes.
Just like spring, this regeneration is not just physical. Yoga (and the arrival of spring) brings profound emotional - even spiritual - regeneration. How do we feel after a yoga class? Lighter, less encumbered by stress, and as if we are seeing everything with new eyes.
But one of the things that makes me saddest when talking to some yoga beginners is that they think it’s too late for yoga to have these positive effects on them. That could not be further from the truth. I’ve taught yoga to people of all ages, from 7 weeks old to 77 years old.
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.
Yoga is the path, and the chakras are the map.
- Anodea Judith
One of the best aspects of yogic philosophy for me is the integration of the head and the heart. Having spent so much of my early life “trapped in my head,” delving deeper into yoga both challenged me to get out of my head and into my body (or heart) and liberated me from experiencing the world in only one dimension.
By that I mean yoga is a pathway toward more heartfelt living but is grounded in real, physical experience. As westerners, we sometimes forget how much knowledge the western medical world has only learned relatively recently, has been passed down in eastern medicine for centuries.
It is always a big treat to talk shop with other eastern medicine practitioners, such as Chinese medicine, shiatsu, etc., because so many of the concepts overlap with the traditional Indian view of medicine and the body. I am always flabbergasted by how similar the energy channels in Chinese medicine are to their Ayurvedic representation.
Now, in western medicine, we are learning that there are subtle channels of communication in a living body that have been unobservable in cadavers. Only recently has western medicine started to realize the wisdom that comes from eastern traditions.
It is this way with the Chakras too. It would be understandable if a person thought that the Chakras were woo-woo. It’s true that some unscrupulous people pretend that simply placing the correct rock over the area of a chakra will act as a panacea. These people do eastern medicine a disservice by simplifying what should be the personal study of a lifetime to something you can pay someone else to unblock in a few hours.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
- Lao Tzu
The question "why meditate?" has been answered by many. From Scientific American (we have this issue available for you to read in our studio) to the National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health, scientific institutions are now recognizing the value of an established yoga and meditation practice.
Emerging research into a regular practice's benefits is now mainstream. Among the benefits suggested by this research are
On a personal level, "why meditate?" seems clearly answered to me as a decade-long, daily practitioner as well. Whereas at first, I dreaded sitting for meditation, I now crave it. It is the first thing I do in the morning and I rarely want to stop once I've started.
But how do you get to that point? Because I hear so many beginners telling me that meditation is not for them. That their mind is too busy or chaotic or uncontrollable for meditation to work. That they get bored
I am a part of all I have met.
- Lord Tennyson
Sometimes we think of yoga as a solitary activity. It is a way we can learn to tune in and connect with ourselves. This allows our body, breath, and mind to exist in better partnership.
Many yogic practices work to balance the partnered sympathetic and parasympathetic sides of our autonomic nervous system. In this way, we marry the dynamic and the peaceful.
However, yoga isn't for isolating ourselves from the rest of the world. Yoga is learning to condition ourselves so that we can be more compassionate and effective in whatever our dharma (life’s purpose) calls us to do.
As we learned from this pandemic, for many, yoga is a way to connect both with oneself and with like-minded people. This may be through their teacher or perhaps the community (sangha) they are involved in. A sangha lifts and strengthens all involved.
The trick is learning to live yogically with the needs of your sangha around you (and in a way, we are all part of our local, national, and worldwide sanghas). The Yamas and the Niyamas guide us to balance our own needs with the needs of those around us and the universe as a whole.
So partnership is actually a very important part of yoga. Because what I do has an effect on you and what you do has an effect on me, learning to live together is about as important as it gets! Especially now that we are confronting such divisiveness within our social bonds.
As we know, yoga is more than poses but has much to offer us in terms of how we relate to ourselves and the world around us. Together, we can create a much brighter future. I firmly believe that.
Since we also celebrate partnership through Valentine's Day, February is the perfect month to explore partnership within our yoga practice. Luckily, there are many yoga poses we can explore with a partner, whether that partner is familial, platonic, or romantic.
I invite you to try out this handy-dandy partner yoga sequence with your favorite yoga buddy. If you're looking for more, you and your buddy are welcome to join us on Valentine's Day for a special Partner Yoga class. Members get 50% off!
And now ask in your heart, “How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?”
Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is the fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
- Khalil Gibron
When we dive deep, our yoga practice teaches us how to be of service. Swami Satchidananda taught us that service-surrender (or non-attachment to the result of your service) is the way to live a peaceful, easeful, and useful life.
Act in a way that benefits someone, harms no one, and is performed without attachment to the result.
A tall order, for sure, but that is what yogic philosophy regards as a perfect act. So we are always returning to this idea when providing classes or finding ways to welcome you to the studio, even if that visit is virtual.
How can we be of service to you? This includes how all of our teachers serve our students and also how Rita and I serve our teachers.
What can we provide that will allow you to connect more deeply with your practice of yoga? Not just poses, but your outlook on the world and yourself as well.
In the last year or so, I have been exploring yogic philosophy on this blog as a way to make connections for myself about how my yoga sadhana (daily routine) and the way I conduct the rest of my life interact.
I have tried to be open about how my own life has been transformed through my sadhana. In being vulnerable, I hope to give courage to anyone who might be struggling with the vulnerabilities that we are learning to face this year (and realistically, all the time).
I am not attached to this goal because just by writing, I have helped give courage to myself. The act of writing is done for its own sake.
Rita and I have been brainstorming in the background for several months now, trying to figure out ways to serve you even better next year. This has been greatly helped by the addition of our fantastic social media manager, Lauren, who has lots of fun tricks up her sleeves.
And of course, our teachers just continue to take our ideas and run with them! It's so fantastic to see their perspectives, toolkits, and styles getting richer and more specific, as we all work on this common goal of serving our lovely students.
Next year, I plan to re-calibrate the focus of this blog onto the practice of yoga, rather than the philosophy. After all, as our beloved teacher, Sonia Sumar says, "too much theory intoxicates."
In yoga, we have to practice to learn. With our whole heart, consistently, and for a long time, if we want to be firmly grounded in it (Yoga Sutras, I.14). Luckily, to those of us who are eager, the attainment of yoga comes faster (Yoga Sutras, I.21).
So as we commit to new visions for 2021, let's hold our yoga sadhana as one of our highest priorities, whether that looks like classes in the studio, outdoors, live-streamed, pre-recorded, or self-led.
But if you are looking for extra special ways to commit to your practice, do we have some goodies for you! Rita will lead a special Chakra themed Restorative Yoga class in honor of the Winter Solstice. I am leading a pajama party yoga class on the morning of Christmas Eve, and we'll team up with Kim to provide our third annual Reflect & Restore Workshop on New Year’s Eve, which is the perfect time to release the last year, create a vision for the next, and be guided toward bliss by the restorative yoga poses and heavenly essential oils. I will also teach a four-week Yoga for Beginners class on Saturdays in January, just in case you know anyone with yoga resolutions.
Whatever your plans this holiday season, we hope that they are filled with the ease and flow of giving and receiving freely. And may your yoga practice become even more firmly grounded in 2021.
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.