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I began my Pilates journey in 2000, on the recommendation of a physical therapist. In my case, it was hyper-mobility, a condition of being too flexible, which led to my injuries. Pilates showed me the importance of balancing flexibility and muscular strength and I became certified to teach in 2004. Since that time, I have observed hundreds of bodies over thousands of Pilates sessions. I am graduate of the Soma Institute of Clinical Massage Therapy in Chicago, and in 2013 I became certified in KMI Structural Integration (www.anatomytrains.com). My passion is working with physical therapists and chiropractors to coordinate exercise and massage regimens that help clients achieve sustained results. In my Pilates sessions, body and mind unite on a journey of self-discovery. Through focused observation of your body in motion, you will build postural strength and balance and experience a renewed enjoyment of vital movement both on the mat and in your every day life.
Marcy has lived in Hyde Park for over 30 years during which time she and her husband raised their four daughters, and she started her own garden consulting business. Marcy came to Pilates after an illness that greatly impacted her fitness and metabolism. She is certified in Pilates Mat and Equipment through Power Pilates and Bally’s Fitness. Marcy’s classes are based in the classical system, but include many other influences from her experiences in teaching and continuing education. She emphasizes proper positioning and accessing the correct muscles systems while achieving a flow through the classical sequence of exercises. Her goal is to bring the benefits of the Pilates system that restored her health and fitness to all of her clients.
I was born and raised in Hyde Park, a community where mind dominates body. My husband and I have raised three children here. I have been a freelance writer over the past 30 years and a yoga student for the past fifteen. I completed yoga teacher training at the Temple of Kriya in June, 2010. I discovered yoga, as so many do, after suffering an injury. It was the subtle parts of the practice that captivated me—“inhale, lift the sternum; exhale, soften the back.” The grosser parts—“inhale, lift the legs; exhale, place the feet on the floor over the head”—tended to repel me, and that has increased over the years because I’m aging at a faster pace than I am mastering yoga poses. The happiest yoga for me is slow and subtle, so that’s the yoga I teach. Slowing down the practice gives the body time to teach the mind. Usually we listen to our bodies only when they’re complaining, but when we do a little yoga, our bodies show us equipment we didn’t even know we had. Whether we are old, young, brittle, or callow we have treasures inside that, if we can activate them, will make us feel freer. Yoga activates our insides to give us a little breathing room. The teachers who have illuminated this principle for me are UnSoo Kim, Sue Rexford, Cynthia Latimer, and Mary Samano. Believing, as I do, that yoga is for everyone, I teach yoga from the bottom up, one pose at a time, often one piece of a pose at a time. In class we set up the foundation for a pose first, then we align the joints and stack the bones, and finally, we move into the pose. We hold the pose until our form or breath becomes compromised. Depending on the student, the poses can be held for one breath or ten or more breaths. This means we don't move quickly from one pose to another. While we hold the pose we explore what's going on inside the body, for instance, how the placement of the feet can release tension in the lower back or how the grounding of the shoulders frees the neck. The complexity of the body and the poses are a continuing source of information for all students. My goal for students is to enjoy the class while they're there; to be able to use what they have (body, mind, and breath); to ground and decompress through movement, breath, and rest. If a student should become more flexible, or stronger, after a few classes, that's icing on the cake.
I began my Tai Chi studies (Yang style) over 30 years ago with Master Hubert H. Lui at Columbia College in Chicago. Master Lui encouraged me to consider teaching and I remain forever grateful for his guidance. I continued seeking a deeper understanding of the health benefits of Tai Chi and this quest led me to experience the wisdom of many Tai Chi masters from Los Angeles to Taiwan to New York. Devoting the past 8 years in Chicago to instructing this meditative dance, I have seen the desirable difference a regular practice of Tai Chi has made in the lives of Senior Citizen’s as well as young people who find it both calming and invigorating. My teaching style emphasizes the health promoting principles of Tai Chi that work together to bring the body, mind and spirit into harmony. The combination of balance, coordinated breathing, gentle yet powerful circular movements and correct posture greatly benefit the cardiovascular, circulatory and respiratory systems to name a few. In addition to Tai Chi I am a certified Zumba instructor and plant based raw food coach. I believe in a holistic approach to life’s challenges and find Zumba exciting, fun and emotionally healing. What a joy! I give lectures, workshops and demonstrations on a variety of health related subjects.
I’m proud to say I’m one of the oldest yoga teachers I know, and as such I consider it my duty — my sadhana, to use a favorite Sanskrit word — to continue teaching myself and others how to keep yoga in our lives forever. Years of intense play: sports, dance, horseback riding, skiing and triathlons — not to mention parenting — have kept me fit, but life takes its toll no matter how hard you work at defying the aging process. My firm belief, however, is that if there is a fountain of youth, it’s yoga. I’ve taught for over a decade now, and have seen how yoga is truly limitless in its ability to keep us in compassionate touch with our body-mind-spirit selves. I did my initial training with Ana Forrest, then Daren Friesen, and many other master teachers including Shiva Rae, Tias Little, and Aadil Palkhivala. At this point my style is so eclectic I hesitate to label myself, but the closest would be vinyasa flow. Core strength, reverence for the breath, respecting one’s natural range of motion, and always seeking for the sense of flow are essential to my style. I love language and music, to which ends I incorporate chanting, Sanskrit and poetry into most classes. Being a psychotherapist as well, I value the addition of yoga to my healer’s toolkit, and try to foster a sense of community — the kula, or community of the heart. I credit my students, my patients, my husband and son with much of my inspiration. The rest comes from Yoga!
Ever since I can remember, I loved to dance. Growing up, I took ballet and jazz, loving every minute of it! As a teen, I took a great interest in Latin music and naturally dancing to the different styles followed. Teaching Zumba has allowed me to do something I LOVE and inspire people to keep moving and seek better health. However, my class is not just that- we bond, we become friends, we grow strong. After that, nothing seems impossible! Movement in Zumba inspires people to change more than just their diets. You might just find yourself liking a “workout”, or maybe that your attitude is just a little more positive.
Paul Baker is a longtime resident of Hyde Park. He has been part of the Chicago community of Samatha practitioners since its beginning in 2003. Paul is certified to teach by the teachers of the UK Samatha Trust, and assists in the organization and teaching of other Samatha practice events throughout the year in Hyde Park
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