Q&A: Rob Murray

Yoga Instructor Rob teaches at the Lake Zurich studio

Yoga Instructor Rob teaches at the Lake Zurich studio

How long have you been teaching yoga?  

I have been teaching yoga for about one year, since completing the teacher training with Kathy and receiving my RYT-200 registration.

Why did you become a yoga teacher? Who and/or what are your biggest influences?

I decided to register for the teacher training with the objective of establishing a solid foundation in the principles of yoga and to deepen my practice. I had been practicing for 10 years but was interested in better understanding alignment, practicing safely, and extending yoga beyond the mat. I had been a youth hockey coach for 10 years and really missed teaching, sharing, and learning alongside my players. When I finished the training program, Kathy really inspired me to take the next step and teach.

Who and/or what are your biggest influences?

As it relates to yoga, I have two: BKS Iyengar – I have practiced different forms of holistic health for over 20 years and one day picked up BKS Iyengar’s book “Yoga, The Path to Holistic Health.” I was absolutely amazed at the breadth of what yoga could provide in terms of healing and wellness. In addition, my dad has practiced and taught meditation for more than 40 years, and hearing the stories of how meditation influenced people’s lives has really touched me.

How has yoga helped you to be a better person?

First of all, I learned that yoga is much more than asana. We studied the Yamas and Niyamas in teacher training and they have become a guide for what I strive for: Non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-excess, non-possessiveness, purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender. One of the practical ways I try to apply these principles on a daily basis is focusing on how I can be of service instead of what I can receive. And when I fall short of these ideals, I realize that our beauty is in our imperfection and strive to better.

What is your personal mission statement as a yoga teacher?

To spread joy, happiness, and peace through the community practice of yoga.

What do you think constitutes an excellent yoga instructor?

Authenticity – being yourself, teaching what you know, being prepared yet flexible, and most importantly being kind.

What was your most challenging teaching experience?

The most challenging experience is still in front of me. I was asked to do a workshop at a studio I visited last summer on Long Island, Hamptons Healing Arts. I’m working on a theme, content, and music and feel a little intimidated as the guest teacher.

What do you recommend to the beginner student? To the seasoned student?

Be open to the experience and try not to have any expectations. And to the seasoned student: Share your gifts!

How do you take your yoga off the mat?

I try to be kind and giving. It’s one thing to be all Zen when inside the studio, but the real reflection of progress is how you treat others.

What is the one pose you are most proud of getting into?

Astavakrasana, or Eight Angle Pose. I first saw this pose in one of the many yoga books I have and thought it was completely beyond my physical abilities. When I stopped trying to muscle my way into the pose and used my breath and just relaxed, one day it just came.

What is your favorite time of day to practice yoga?

All times of day! In the morning I enjoy the peacefulness of yoga; in the afternoon, it’s a time restart and re-energize; and practicing in the evening provides an opportunity to leave the chaos of the day behind. I also love to do mini yoga’s throughout the day. Whether it’s a brief pranayama or a quick forward fold, taking a few seconds or minutes is so refreshing.

Where is the best place you have ever practiced yoga?

On the beach in Westhampton Beach, Long Island.

What is your favorite music to listen to while practicing yoga?

I curate different playlists for all my classes and try to match the music to the theme of the class. My playlists include classic rock, reggae, classical, kirtan, jam bands, and live Grateful Dead shows.

What else do you want students to know about you?

I enjoy teas from around the world (come to one of my Saturday classes – I brew tea for each class), all kinds of sports (hockey, golf, skiing, tennis, etc.), and love being at the beach. I have a passion for live music (nothing like Ravinia on a summer evening) and have attended well over 100 Grateful Dead Shows.

Why do you love teaching at Pulsation Yoga?

Jim and Kathy have built Pulsation into a real community. It is a safe and non-intimidating environment that is grounded in the principles of yoga. Many of the students and teachers I practice with have become true friends. A really cool example of the essence of Pulsation is one recent Saturday morning, when a student brought in fresh herbs and flowers from her garden and shared them with everyone at the studio (thanks Susie!).

Rob Murray teaches at the Pulsation Yoga studio in Lake Zurich. Check out the class schedule to attend his classes.

Lake Zurich Studio Grand Opening

 

Pulsation Yoga celebrated the grand opening of the Lake Zurich studio on Feb. 7 with a free yoga class, ribbon cutting, and party co-sponsored by Lululemon. The evening was a great success, and thank you to all who came out!

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Photo Credit: Katherine Okon

Our Weekend with Desiree Rumbaugh

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Desiree Rumbaugh recently spent a weekend at Pulsation Yoga, leading four workshops on hip openers, backbends, arm balances, and therapeutic poses for the neck and shoulders. Desiree is an internationally recognized yoga instructor, and it was wonderful to have her share her extensive knowledge and to help students strengthen their yoga practice. Check out some pictures from our weekend!

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Photo credit: Katherine Okon

Q&A: Linnea Kramer

 

How long have you been teaching yoga?  linnea

I have been teaching yoga for six months at Pulsation Yoga, after completing the training program with [Owner] Kathy.

Why did you become a yoga teacher? Who and/or what are your biggest influences?

When I started practicing yoga I fell absolutely in love with the community and the practice and I knew I wanted to be able to share that with others, and that’s why I became a yoga instructor. Kathy and Jim Simonik were and are a huge influence and inspiration for me; I would not have the practice I do today without them!

How has yoga helped you to be a better person?

Yoga has helped me and is continuing to help me become the best version of myself that I can possibly be. And I think the biggest way it does that is by making me be present and aware not only of myself but of everyone else around me. It really changes the way you look at the world.

What is your personal mission statement as a yoga teacher?

My personal statement/goal as a yoga teacher is to promote self-love. I want every person who comes to my class to leave feeling better, confident, and happy.

What do you think constitutes an excellent yoga instructor?

I think a genuine/authentic yoga teacher who is dedicated to his or her students is what makes an excellent yoga teacher. Every person has a unique style of teaching that they bring to a class, and I believe that as long as you are staying true to who you are, your authentic self, people will respond to that in a positive way.

What was your most challenging teaching experience?

My most challenging teaching experience was when I taught my first solo class. I had started out co-teaching, and it felt safe having someone else in the room with me. And while “going solo” was my most challenging teaching experience, it was also my most rewarding. My students once again proved to me how supportive, accepting, and loving the yoga community is and why I am so grateful to be a part of it!

What do you recommend to the beginner student? To the seasoned student?

To the beginner student, I say relax and have fun. Don’t be hard on yourself and remember that everyone started in that same place. Everyone is nervous and hides in the back row when they start out (myself included). If you fall over, giggle and get back up. Love yourself. And to the seasoned student, I say keep a beginner’s mind.

How do you take your yoga off the mat?

I take my yoga with me everywhere I go! I have learned to love myself on the mat during my practice, accepting myself for where I am in each pose. I need to be aware and present as I move through each asana, just like I need to do off the mat in every day situations.

What is the one pose you are most proud of getting into?

The pose I am most proud of getting into is forearm scorpion, or “Vrschikasana.” I worked so hard on gaining strength and flexibility and it was awesome seeing myself progress on the pose over the year it took to master it.

What is your favorite time of day to practice yoga?

I don’t actually have a favorite time of day to practice yoga. I love it whenever I can fit it in. Although I will say it feels great to do a few sun salutations first thing in the morning.

Where is the best place you have ever practiced yoga?

The best place I have ever practiced yoga would probably be on the rooftop of my old high school. It was so empowering!

What is your favorite music to listen to while practicing yoga?

I don’t have one specific genre that I listen to during yoga. In my classes, I play anything from Bob Marley to alt-J to Lana Del Rey. I think it depends on what theme the class is centered around, or if I am practicing at home, it depends what mood I am in.

What else do you want students to know about you?

I want my students to know that they can always ask me anything. Whether it’s about their practice, an asana, or really anything, I always want to be approachable.

Why do you love teaching at Pulsation Yoga?

I love teaching at Pulsation Yoga in particular because of the community they have created. I feel so lucky to be a part of it, and it is such a wonderful and supportive bunch of teachers and students.

 

Linnea Kramer teaches at the Pulsation Yoga studio in Arlington Heights. Check out the class schedule to attend her classes.

Q&A: Inara Kim

 

How long have you been teaching yoga?  inara

I started teaching in 1991.

Why did you become a yoga teacher? Who and/or what are your biggest influences?

I’ve studied with many master teachers over the years, but my biggest influences are the students that i meet in class!

How has yoga helped you to be a better person?

I hope that I am a more open, curious, and accepting person, but it’s hard to compare “before and after” yoga because I’ve been practicing a long time.

What is your personal mission statement as a yoga teacher?

Create spaciousness so students can explore, discover, and play.

What do you think constitutes an excellent yoga instructor?

I think it’s finding the right match of instructor and student. What one student thinks is excellent, another student might think is poor. A popular instructor might or might not be an excellent instructor. A teacher I might not think is excellent might be the best for my practice in that moment. I’m learning over time not to judge.

What was your most challenging teaching experience?

I had a bad case of laryngitis and had to do silent classes for a few days. I received the most amazing feedback–who knew???

What do you recommend to the beginner student? To the seasoned student?

For beginners: a five-minute practice counts as a practice! Don’t think that if you don’t do a full class it doesn’t count; 99.5% is getting to the mat. So practice, even for five minutes, on whatever days you can! If you don’t know what to practice, then each week take one new pose or technique you learned in class and practice that. At the end of the year, you’ll have a great repertoire of poses.

For continuing students: remember that yoga is powerful, and that if you are a regular practitioner your body and mind will change over time. This means what worked for you in the beginning might or might not be serving you now. Be open to new instructions, poses, techniques, and traditions. The more you practice, the more you change; make sure your yoga changes with you!

How do you take your yoga off the mat?

I attempt to be as present as I can throughout the day, savoring each moment. It’s still a work in progress!

What is the one pose you are most proud of getting into?

Headstand. It took me three years to get away from the wall, and now it is one of my favorite poses.

What is your favorite time of day to practice yoga?

My favorite time of day to practice is right before dinner, but if I don’t practice first thing in the morning my practice never happens, so early morning it is!

Where is the best place you have ever practiced yoga?

Next to the Seven Sacred Pools in Hana, Hawaii.

What is your favorite music to listen to while practicing yoga?

Depends what type of yoga I’m practicing. I have a special playlist when practicing Kripalu yoga, and silence for Ashtanga yoga. For other types of yoga, I tend to lean toward chants, my favorites by Jennifer Berezan. When I attend a class as a student, I’m up for anything.

What else do you want students to know about you?

Even though I stand up in front of others and teach yoga, I’m quite the introvert.

Why do you love teaching at Pulsation Yoga?

Kathy and Jim have created a vibrant, loving, connected community. That doesn’t happen everywhere. I feel very fortunate to be a small part of Pulsation.

Inara Kim teaches at the Pulsation Yoga studio in Lake Zurich. Check out the class schedule to attend her classes.

Learn Acupressure with Dr. Shaofen Ai

shaofenDr. Shaofen Ai is a chiropractor and licensed acupuncturist. On Jan. 17 from 1-3 p.m., she is leading a workshop at the Arlington Heights studio, where participants will learn the basics and techniques of acupressure, a self-healing method that applies finger pressure to specific areas on the body. The cost is $35; please call 847-989-7792 to register. Below is an exclusive interview with Dr. Ai. 

What is acupressure?

Acupressure is an ancient Chinese healing method. You apply manual pressure, usually with a finger, to specific points or areas of the body. Acupressure does not use needles (that is called acupuncture) to relieve the discomfort, to balance the energy flow in the body, and to enhance and maintain the well-being.

What are the benefits of acupressure?

It is easy to learn, effective, no side-effects, and cost-free.

How did you become interested in Acupressure?

I grew up in a traditional Chinese medicine family in China. I became a doctor in my native land. Later, I came to the U.S. and received a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. I combine Eastern and Western healing methods in helping others to heal. My journey of personal growth has deepened my understanding and appreciation to the profound truth and the beauty of simplicity that we all inherited with the innate gift of self-healing.

Can people perform acupressure on themselves?

Yes. It is a self-healing method, and can be performed on yourself or on others.

What can people expect during the workshop?

In this workshop, people will learn about the bio clock, or the body meridian clock, and how to utilize the body meridian clock to help and enhance your health and well-being. We also will review the acupuncture meridian system, which is the energy system that acupressure or acupuncture is based on.

This is a hands-on workshop. We will have demonstrations and practice time to locate and find the acupressure points on the body, and to correctly apply pressure on the points. There will be time for Q&A in workshop; It will come naturally with the energy flow.

Please wear comfortable clothes. Come to the workshop with the openness to expand your perception and perspective, to learn, and to experience the wonder of our innate gift of self-healing.

Q&A: Robbin Lockett

 

How long have you been teaching yoga?  

Seven years.

Why did you become a yoga teacher?robbinportrait

I became a yoga teacher because yoga made such a big impact on my life, helping me go through some of the biggest challenges of my life successfully. I wanted to share that with others. It seemed the most natural extension of my practice.

How has yoga helped you to be a better person?

Yoga has taught me to be empathic to a greater degree than I knew I was capable of. We each have our own struggles, and somehow it all gets evened out on the mat. We each find our own path to cure what is ailing us.

What is your personal mission statement as a yoga teacher?

To help others see their own bright possibilities in themselves. To know that through practice and work, they can attain changes in their body, mind, and life.

What do you think constitutes an excellent yoga instructor?

One who listens and watches. It is all about the student and what the student is telling the teacher through their practice. And about encouragement to be the better person that is inside them.

What was your most enlightening teaching experience?

I mostly teach beginners, and it is a humbling experience to see people of all shapes and sizes and ages take the challenge of beginning a yoga practice. Their hearts are so big when they walk into the room and are willing, at whatever age, to try to put their bodies into these weird poses. They are willing to open themselves up to a greater universe.

What do you recommend to the beginner student? To the seasoned student?

I recommend to return to the basics often. The foundations are the basis of a strong practice, whether it is learning how to place the feet or working on alignment. I also want to stress that it is important to “throw oneself into the void”—meaning push yourself to try things you don’t think you can do. But if you use your basic principles you can get closer to attaining the previously thought impossible.

How do you take your yoga off the mat?

I try to see the beauty in everyone. I try to understand their positions on issues that may be different from mine.

What is the one pose you are most proud of getting into?

Tittibhasana. It is one of my favorite poses and is very challenging for me. But I had shoulder surgery last year and I have not yet been able to do this pose yet. It is my goal and a benchmark for me.

What is your favorite time of day to practice yoga?

I prefer the morning time. I feel strongest then and the most energetic. Evening practice is something different for me. It is more of a collective time to assess the day and reconsider my options, which is not such a bad thing!

Where is the best place you have ever practiced yoga?

The best place I have practiced will always be with my friends, in a strong kula, like we have at Pulsation. That being said, I used to go to a very challenging practice with my old yoga teacher, Chad Satlow. He had the knowledge and the playfulness to get me into some of my most difficult poses.

What is your favorite music to listen to while practicing yoga?

I don’t necessarily practice or teach with music all the time.  Sometimes it is about finding your own rhythm.

What else do you want students to know about you?

I always want students to know that wherever they are at that day is just perfect! Each day is different and each day brings different challenges, both mentally or physically. I want them to practice listening to their heart.

Why do you love teaching at Pulsation Yoga?

We have a strong emphasis on the whole being, not just about exercise on the mat. We emphasize alignment and the basics, two things that are very important to me and my practice. And we have fun! Playfulness must be part of one’s yoga practice. I also enjoy the workshops that we offer. Having the opportunity to study with masters is very rare and Pulsation brings them to our doorsteps.

Robbin Lockett teaches at the Pulsation Yoga studio in Lake Zurich. Check out the class schedule to attend her classes.