, ,

Be Free 30

Welcome to 2017! We are so excited about our new 30 day whole health program created by your very own YS teachers. Check out the info below for all of the details, what you will gain, what you will learn and how you will FEEL!



Be Fit


What Are People Saying?

“A few years ago, Renee worked with me on mindfulness and meditation. Before her coaching, I couldn’t go more than a minute without assuming my meditation timer had broken. She helped me figure out ways to just sit and BE. I can’t recommend Renee enough.” – Christopher

“Angela has the gift of drawing out of you what you need to be better. A better person, a better, more understood version of yourself! From that place, all of a sudden everything is possible.” – Sarah

Meet The Be Free Creators


Renee – Chief Zen Master

Renee first discovered Yoga in 2004 at Verizon where she worked in Marketing. She found YogaSport where she started the 40 Days to a Personal revolution in January of 2007. Renee was attracted to the YogaSport due to the athletic nature of the Baptiste practice. She has studied and taught the mental practices of concentration and meditation to YogaSport and within the Dallas community since 2012. She did the 200 Yoga Teacher training in spring of 2015. She is passionate about helping and inspiring others. She currently works as Director of Loyalty Marketing at La Quinta Inns and Suites.

Random Fun Fact: Renee hiked the Inca Trail in Peru.





Angela – Life Coach Extraordinaire

Angela started her career in marketing and advertising. After getting laid off at her job, she became a full time personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She eventually made her way to yoga, opened up YS in 2004, and is still here today on 4140 Lemmon Ave! In the past year, she has grown her life coaching interests by making her signature life coaching program, Spark, a 5 week online program.  She just launched her Spark podcast too! Check it all out.

Random Fun Fact: My childhood nickname is Nikki.

, , ,

Holiday Challenge: Practicing Self-Care

The holiday season is upon us – start preparing your body and mind for the craziness of over-eating and mall madness shopping!

Research shows that the best way to defend ourselves from burnout and fatigue is strategic self-care – every day activities and commitments that allow you to relax, rest, and restore your body, mind, and soul. Your yoga and meditation practice, along with thoughtful healthy nutrition, is a key component of quality self-care.

Think of it as putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Just imagine: With each Holiday Challenge sticker added, you fend off holiday stress, mall madness, and soon, those chilly December doldrums. All the while, you become stronger and more compassionate for family, friends, and loved ones.

Don’t leave yourself unarmed! Visit the studio for a toasty warm practice and an extra dose of strength and serenity to carry you through the holiday season.

See ya on the mat!

Team Spotlight : Monika Shepherd


Nickname: None, outside of a couple goofy family nicknames which I won’t repeat for fear they’d “catch on”.

Hometown: My dad served in the army when I was little so this answer has always required a bit of explanation. I was born in Germany but I typically claim Farmington, NM as home since that’s where I spent most of my school days.

Day Job: Photographer

140726_Monika_Shepherd_How long have you have been practicing at YS? Since late June 2014.

What days/times do you work at YS? Wednesday and Thursday from 7-9pm.

Family/Pets: I don’t have any family in Texas but luckily I love to travel. I do have two sibling cats… most days they act surprisingly human.

Furthest city traveled to: Osaka, Japan (my little brother and his family lived there for 9 years)

Spill – What’s your guilty pleasure? Chocolate-Covered Gummi Bears

Favorite ice cream flavor: Cookies-and-Cream I suppose. That said, I’d rather have Chocolate-Covered Gummi Bears.

Favorite book: When I have time to read my choice of reading material is strangely diverse. It’s usually decided by a “hey, have you read…” suggestion by someone I admire. A couple specifics you ask? An all-time favorite… Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. A recent and surprising read… The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.

Who inspires you the most and why? My parents. I love my mom for her self discipline, selflessness, and her ability to organize anything. She has a beautifully subtle way of teaching me life’s lessons – simply by example. My dad is a brilliant complement. I admire his keen awareness of others and their needs, his ability to see the good in every situation, and his adventurous spirit. Did I say adventurous? I think I meant daredevil.Monika_and_Mom

When did you start practicing yoga and why? My first “consistent practice” was in 2011 but only lasted a few months. It was a small community class in a home studio and I was in need of refuge from work/life stress so it was a great fit. When the instructor moved out-of-state it was tough to imagine finding a new yoga home with the same feel so my newly found practice slipped away from me. That is, until I found Yogasport.

Why do you still practice yoga? To calm my mind and find strength.

What is one thing we don’t know about you that would surprise us?
I’m often perceived as quiet and cautious but don’t let it fool you, I love adventure too. I’ve been surfing, skydiving, bungee jumping, and hang gliding.

Holiday Templates

Member Spotlight : Rick del Monte

FullSizeRender Name: Rick del Monte

Nickname: Rick

Day Job: I am an architect and the Chief Design Officer at Beck, an architecture and construction firm.

How long have you have been practicing at YS? I have just reached my third anniversary.

What is your favorite YS workshop or class? I do all three 6:00am classes. I enjoy starting the morning off with yoga, and I avoid missing classes because of work commitments. Kelly, Morgan, and Jenny do a great job of packing a full workout into an hour. We just need to get a few more people to join in.

Name one thing you consider yourself to be very good at: I think I’m pretty good at several things, but there is only one thing I’m good enough at that people are willing to pay money to have me do, and that is to design buildings. I love doing it and I am glad I can make a living at it.

What’s the number one yoga pose you just love to practice? Side angle is probably my favorite. It looks dramatic and I love the feeling of balance.

Who inspires you the most and why? That would be Betsy, my wife. Always positive and generous. Being around her has made a better person out of me, and she has passed her qualities on to our three kids.  IMG_2091

Why did you start practicing yoga? Shannon Sharkey, a former Yoga Sport instructor started teaching a class for our company. One night a week for ten weeks, and I did not miss a class. After going through all the initial pain to get in shape I did not want to give it up and followed her to Yoga Sport.

Why do you still practice? For two reasons: the fitness and the mental aspect. I have been running for more than 30 years and my knees can only take a couple of days a week, so I have substituted yoga for the other days as a healthier way to stay in shape. The second part is the mental training. I am high strung and yoga has calmed me down and even helped to lower my blood pressure.

What do you just love about YogaSport? The studio is physically demanding but in an encouraging and positive way. Angela has done a great job of selecting instructors who are very consistent in their attitude but each with a unique style. I am fairly shy, but have gotten to know a lot of very nice people.

Spill – What’s your guilty pleasure? I love samurai movies, particularly Zaitoichi the blind Samurai. There are 24 movies in the series and I have seen about 18. Of course Seven Samurai is the greatest film ever made.

Rick Del Monte 1What’s the best dish you can cook? I am not much of a cook, but I can make a mean Cacia and Pepe.

What is one thing we don’t know about you that would surprise us? I am a car nut, love driving cars on the track and have been a driving instructor for the Porsche and BMW clubs for the last 8 years.

Mac or PC? Mac  IMG_2095

Member Spotlight: Randy Paggi

DSCN0114 Name: Randy Paggi

 Nickname: I don’t really have a nickname but some people call me RP at work.

 Day job: My day job is a FedEx driver.

 How long have you have been practicing at YS?  I’ve been practicing at YogaSport for about  3 and half years.

 What is your favorite YS workshop or class?  My favorite class is the Tuesday night class at 5:00.

Name one thing you consider yourself to be very good at: This is kinda weird, but I am good at cleaning and being organized.

What’s the number one yoga pose you just love to practice?  My number one pose is tree, it’s this feeling I get trying to stay balanced and breathe.

Who inspires you the most and why? The animals I see at Dog and Kitty City inspire me the most because when they come to the shelter, either from the kill shelter or from of the street, they still have this unconditional love. That just blows my mind away to think how lucky we have it. I can’t forget the staff either – they are our heroes.    IMG_4383

Why did you start practicing yoga? I started practicing yoga because of my physical job at FedEx. I want to make sure I can perform my job at my best. I also realized this is helping me take a different approach as I get older in life.

Why do you still practice?  The thing I like about coming to YogaSport are the faces…..

Spill – What’s your guilty pleasure?  My guilty pleasure… there are a few but the one that stands out are Reeses Peanut Butter Cups , dam those commercials, lol!

What’s the best dish you can cook? I don’t really have a favorite dish, but one that stands out is a chicken dish with white wine, lemon, and capers. Yummy!

What is one thing we don’t know about you that would surprise us? I think I am a shy guy.

Mac or PC? Mac baby.



4 Reasons All Athletes Need Yoga


Molly Cain

It’s no secret around the studio that I’m a bit of a meathead and fitness junkie. I’ve been competing in all kinds of athletic events for years, I love a good challenge and my body often pays for that. In fact, after several years pushing myself hard with three triathlons, seven half marathons and near daily Camp Gladiator workouts, an old injury found its way back to me in 2013. (Yes, even five foot tall girls get basketball injuries!)

The day I found out I needed knee surgery to correct the issue, I hopped on the Google machine and sought out an alternative workout to tide me over. Because of course I couldn’t stand the idea of being still for any amount of time.

First, I learned the term yoga was way too loose, because there are many different types of yoga (a frustrating discovery for a complete newbie). After researching, I found one that was commonly referred to as “athlete’s yoga.” It was called Baptiste Yoga, and everything I read sounded perfect for me.

That’s when I stumbled onto YogaSport, the only Baptiste-certified studio in Dallas.

Despite the description, I still held onto the stereotype that yoga was for wimps. That they spent all their time bending around, flipping their legs over their heads, stretching and just generally getting zen. In my mind, it was a good temporary fix for an injury – then I’d quit when my knee was functioning again.

It’s been almost two years since then. And I’m so deeply in love with yoga (and the physical and mental benefits that come with it) that I’m now also an instructor, having recently graduated from YogaSport Yoga School under the great Angela Wagner. I’m also an assistant at the studio, helping students get the most out of their workouts when they come in to practice.

So, why have I stuck with it? Why do I swear by it? Because I’m an athlete.

Here are four reasons why you, as an athlete, should try it too.

Get the kinks out. A lot of athletes suffer from one-dimensionality. Many people find what they like then they stick to it, like running, lifting, or wasting your life away on the elliptical (please don’t do that). Yoga, however, works your full body, especially Baptiste Yoga. You’ll most certainly get a workout (up to 800 calories burned in one class, in fact), but in the process you’ll become more flexible. Your tired hammies, sore shoulders or tweaked back are no match for the healthy combination of a warm room and poses that seem to know exactly where you ache. You’ll walk away ready for your next event.

Get breathy. If you practice a couple times a week, you will literally become a master at breath in a matter of months. No really, I’m serious. And I invite you to tell me which athletic event would NOT benefit from that. Runners, run farther. Meatheads, lift heavier. Camp Gladiators, take your cross-functional fitness to the next level. All because of your breath. It’s the first thing you learn when you come to our studio. The ujayi breath not only warms your body and your muscles, it ignites something within you and you will twist more, balance better, pull off handstands and maybe even lift a car off of someone. You never know.

Get stronger. Do you know what a chatarunga is? The other day I think we did 90 billion in class (I’m exaggerating just a bit). If you come to our studio, you’ll know it immediately. It’s a low push-up, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. It’s the pose just before coming to Upward Facing Dog. A chatarunga is tough, but it’s a gift to your arms. I dare you to attend class regularly and not have sculpted, strong triceps and a stronger core from just that one single pose. And who doesn’t want killer triceps and a stronger core? Yep, thought so.

And good news, there are 52 other poses in Baptiste yoga, so wrap your mind and future sexy body around that!

Get your head straight. So I’ve hailed the physical benefits of Baptiste yoga, but what really makes this practice special is what it does for you mentally. While potent in the strength department, this particular type of yoga will tackle your head like nothing else can. That is, if you’re open to it. Baron Baptiste designed this practice to empower you with greater focus, mediation skills and active self-inquiry. And there’s not an athlete alive that won’t benefit from harnessing that kind of internal power. Yoga requires discipline and builds wisdom, by pushing you into challenging poses and encouraging you to talk yourself into staying there. Or heck, just trying it.

Truly, it was hard to come up with a list of four benefits to Baptiste Yoga. It’s made me a better, more winning, athlete. It’s changed me emotionally. And it’s given me a space to push myself without ever feeling the need to compete. What a gift.


Molly has been practicing at YogaSport for almost two years. After studying under Angela Wagner, she now teaches corporate yoga classes and assists at the Studio. By day, she’s an entrepreneur and regularly contributes a leadership column on Forbes. 

Member Spotlight : Juan "Mario" Perez-Lomeli

me_parivrtta_utkatasanaName: Juan Mario Perez-Lomeli
Nickname: Mook (Mookie) Has something to do with playing a lot of street basketball and the movie “Do the Right Thing.”

Day Job: Network Engineer at Nippon Telegraph and Telephone of America.

How long have you have been practicing at YS? I’m not sure, but it’s close to 2 years. Been my home studio since the first time I tried it out.

What is your favorite YS workshop or class? Art of assisting is a ton of fun. It’s a great way to get out of your shell and meet interesting people.

Name one thing you consider yourself to be very good at: Dealing with chaotic situations and emergencies. I’d trade that in for being better at planning and preparing, though.

What’s the number one yoga pose you just love to practice? Tolasana (scale pose) float through to chatarunga dandasana is probably my favorite right now but half pigeon is a close second.

Who inspires you the most and why? Mom, without a doubt. She’s a miracle worker and has accomplished so much considering where she came from and all of the obstacles that she’s overcome. I routinely witnessed her change lives and bring hope to undocumented Mexican Nationals dealing with impossible scenarios and dire circumstances.

Why did you start practicing yoga? A pretty girl had a little something to do with that. 2nd date kind of thing. Thanks to her I have a yoga practice and 3 super cats. IMAG0067

Why do you still practice? Each class is a mental and physical challenge as well as an opportunity to grow and get in touch with self. I truly believe it is a bridge to being in touch with my inner being; a way to dissolve the cultural filters that define who it is that I think I am.

What do you just love about YogaSport? It’s a community of great energy and positivity.  All of the instructors bring a unique touch and perspective that make every class arduous yet fresh and fun.

Spill – What’s your guilty pleasure? Oh man. Hmm… Hard to choose one but I’ll go with fantasy football since draft day is approaching. It’s one day every year where my oldest and dearest friends and I all gather to act like children. Christmas day for us, really.

What’s the best dish you can cook? Steak chimichurri or almond crusted chicken strips. The cast iron skillet does all of the work for me, otherwise I have trouble boiling water.

What is one thing we don’t know about you that would surprise us? Played MC Hammer in my ninth grade musical in, of all places, Salt Lake City, UT.

Mac or PC? Linux.



That'll Do Pig, That'll Do

By YS Instructor, Christopher Roberson

One day, when I was a kid, my father asked me if I wanted to know the difference between a dog and a pig.

“When a dog gets shocked by an electric fence, he will never go near a hot wire again. But pigs…pigs will test the fence everyday. If the electric fence goes down, you end up spending the afternoon trying to herd them back onto the farm.” Pigs, it seems, push boundaries on a regular basis; whereas, dogs have a tendency to “learn their lesson” the first time around.

Starting out as children, we learn valuable lessons from our mistakes. Eat before swimming, and you’ll get cramps. Touch a hot stove, and you’ll get burned. Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”

I’ve worked with a lot of beginner yogis, and at some point certain poses create fear and discomfort. Stories are created in our minds that talk us in and out of toying with new places. “If I lift both feet in Crow, I’ll surely fall flat on my face,” is a very real acknowledgment of uncertainty, and I have heard it many times. I will let you in on a secret: falling on your face from 18 inches off the ground won’t kill you. Falling down isn’t even indicative of failure; it’s a sign of perseverance, assuming you get back up again.

We can’t possibly know our limits until we test them. Up to that point, it’s not a limit; it’s the idea of a limit. In order to be the best person you can be, push your comfort zone continuously and see what happens.

Comfort and complacency is our mind telling us we are safe. But instead of being safe, what we really are is immobile. We are safely locked behind the fence, living day to day in the same place, and closing ourselves off to growth because we don’t want to get shocked.

In her book Improv Wisdom, Patricia Ryan Madson dispenses a variety of improvisational maxims that coincide with real world challenges. In “Don’t Prepare,” she states that confidence follows success. Her context for this statement is primarily in regards to stage fright, but its application extends onto our yoga mats and into the world around us. The joy of success can’t ever happen if we don’t try to push past our fear of failure.

By letting go of tangible fears of anxiety and failure, we create the opportunity to learn something about ourselves. Real success doesn’t happen when we are afraid to try, and playing it safe doesn’t foster confidence.

I challenge you to explore the places you typically avoid. I’m not arguing that we all go out and touch hot stoves, or eat Chipotle before swimming laps, but there is always room to explore perceived restrictions and boundaries.

Explore your limitations and see what happens. If a pig can do it, so can you.

Meet The Heat 2013


  • Friday, June 21st – August 29th
  • YS Members – FREE!
  • Non-members – $250 [includes 70-day yoga pass]



Let’s MEET THE HEAT together on our mats this summer!

Celebrate summer with our 70-Day Challenge. Choose your commitment goal and start the summer off right with sweat, fun and power yoga!

Challengers will be listed on our MEET THE HEAT chart and given a sticker for each class attended at YS. The more classes you attend, the more rewards you can win! Each day of the week during the 70-day challenge will offer a different theme to deepen your practice, a goodie to perk up your week, or prizes like Yogitoes, practice gear, YS VIP status, and a free month of yoga! Check our Facebook page often for challenge updates, surprises and prizes.

MAT-DOWN REWARDS: On top of the benefits of a regular practice, challengers will be rewarded for packing their summer full of yoga!

  • 25 practices = YS goodie bag
  • 35 practices = YS headband
  • 50 practices = 25% off September membership

DAILY THEMES AND REWARDS: Come each day of the week for a different challenge perk.

  • Mondays, Thursdays & Sundays: Win It!
    Drop your name in the Front Desk Fishbowl each time you practice on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays during the challenge. The more you practice, the more chances to win! We will give away a different prize each week and announce the winners every Friday on our Facebook page and in the studio!
  • Tuesday: Twisted Tuesdays
    Added core and detoxifying twists.
  • Wednesday: Double-Down Wednesdays
    Earn TWO stars for each practice
  • Friday: Friendly Friday
    Bring a friend to class with you and they practice for FREE!
  • Saturday: Pretox Saturdays
    Get ready for the weekend with an electrolyte-infused treat after class.


Sign up at the front desk, online or email Cassandra at with your goal number.

*Only in-studio practices count for this challenge



(Dis)comfort Zone by Jenny Hansen

Jenny Hansen shares her experience of Teacher Training in the Spring/Summer of 2013 in a series entitled The Mirrored Mat: Reflections on Life and Yoga.

It’s mid-morning on a Friday in May, and I’m sitting at my desk at the office, slowly gearing myself up for a yoga-centric weekend: 22 hours of it, to be precise. Another Teacher Training weekend at YogaSport is on the schedule, beginning with this afternoon’s 5:30pm Hour of Power, and concluding at 6pm on Sunday. Hours and hours of sweat, strength, thought and emotion lie before me, and it will be a tough run – one that will leave me feeling like I didn’t get a weekend come Monday morning. One that will result in a large pile of sweat-soaked laundry and dirty Tupperware. One that I will complain about to my boyfriend, likely more than once. And one that will leave me incredibly fulfilled, stronger, and profoundly grateful.

Yep, despite all the so-called “drawbacks” of sacrificing my precious weekend to the rigors of Teacher Training, I am downright glad to be doing it, and in all honesty, kicking it at the yoga studio will do more for me than my typical weekend routine, which involves lots of sleep, junk food and TV…and quite often, very little yoga.

But truth be told, there is part of me that would rather spend my weekend, sloth-like, holed up in my apartment with back-episodes of Breaking Bad and binge-worthy amounts of sugary-salty vittles vs. growing spiritually, physically, emotionally with a powerful group of like-minded people. I would rather lay low than reach high: This is what I know, this is what I’ve done – for years – and it has become my default setting. This is my comfort zone.

Comfort zone: I have a love-hate relationship with the phrase. It denotes a preference for stagnation, a refusal to experience life in favor of the familiar, and for me, the familiar is frequently unkind. Sure, comfort zones can keep us safe and secure until we’re ready to grow, ready to take that next step forward, but in my case, my comfort zones (yes, zones) are a big road block to freedom, life, and happiness. And slowly but surely, they’re holding me back, and in some cases, hurting me. Comfort zones are easy, never say no, always put out, and are almost always accessible. But at what price?

Teacher Training has always been “something I was going to do one day,” but year after year, that something stayed on the back burner. I would tell Angela and others in the studio that I was going to do it “this year,” that the time had finally come….and then the time would go. Something would come up, it wouldn’t be the right time, the money wasn’t there, etc., etc. But the crux of the matter was that I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone and try something new – something that I knew I would enjoy and where I would flourish. It was simply easier to push it off, yet again, and go back to life on my couch. Teacher Training will always come around again, right? No need to rush these things. Now where’s my remote?

A creature of habit, I am. And change does not come easily for me. Yet, when I stop to consider all the times in my life when I have summoned the courage to take that first step, to try, when I was willing to be willing…the results were truly amazing, and frequently pivotal moments in my life. Taking my first step with a running group. Turning in my resignation at an unfulfilling job. Walking in to my first 12-step meeting. Online dating. Showing up for a free beginners’ class at YogaSport. All of these events, and many more, have done more for me as a person than ANY amount of TV, sleep, and junk food ever will. Had I not been willing to step out of my comfort zone, I would never have experienced a spectacular starlit-tapestry of a sky while doing a nighttime trail run in the Texas Hill Country. I would not be employed at an amazing company surrounded by wonderful people. I would not be living a sober life in recovery. I would not have met my best friend and boyfriend who I love dearly. I would never have discovered a truly special yoga practice, nurtured and loved by a precious community in a growing studio. And I would never be in the position I’m in right now: on the cusp of a Teacher Training weekend, with much sweat, fatigue and joy ahead of me.

These things have not been easy for me: what if I look stupid when I run? (I really thought this). What if I can’t find another job? What if yogis are weird? What if it’s hard? I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time asking myself the “what ifs” and deciding that the unknowns were a good enough reason to stay within my comfort zone. But that only works for so long, and ultimately, I bottom out. I become miserable, withdrawn, depressed, and fall further into myself. Experience has taught me that I can either continue to sink, or learn to swim, and these life events have increased my buoyancy tenfold.

I’ve tripped over my own two feet and looked stupid when I’ve run, I’ve romanticized addictive behavior, I’ve been to plenty of interviews where I did not get the job, I went on some doozy first dates, and lord knows I’ve run into plenty of weird yogis. And YES, it’s ALL been hard. But I’ve also stayed the course, and increased my happiness and understanding of the world more than I could’ve dreamed. It is scary, it is the great unknown, it is not a sure thing…but stepping out of my comfort zone is a raw, vulnerable act that shows me who I am and what I am capable of, and I cannot think of a more pure, personal experience. It has enhanced my existence, my relationships, my spirituality more than anything else I’ve done, and I cannot imagine my life without this path.

It’s progress, not perfection, and believe you me, I have comfort zones that are alive and well. But I also have awareness, and willingness to entertain the idea that the unknown doesn’t have to be a bad thing. That it might, in fact, be a good thing.

As for today, when quitting time rolls around, I will not begin preparations for a night in, complete with junk TV and junk food. Instead, I will be on my mat, likely silently cursing the instructor as s/he orders an extra set of abs, sweating my ass off, hair disheveled, my face beet red with exertion and heat, perhaps looking stupid, but loving every damn minute of it. I will share openly with my fellow teachers-in-training, I will listen to their wisdom and their strength, and I will relish the experience. We will spend the weekend together, growing edges, growing ourselves, laughing, crying, living. My couch will be empty, but I – my heart, my soul, my life – will be full.