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Member Spotlight – April Blackman

Name: April Blackman

Nickname: Prill

Day Job: Personal Fitness and Wellness Trainer

What is your favorite YS workshop or class? I always enjoy whatever class I take at YS!

What are you pretty darn good at? I’m artistic by nature so I love anything creative such as cooking, gardening or
decorating.

What’s the number one yoga pose you just love to practice? I just love Headstand closely followed by Shoulder Stand. They are both magical poses with healing qualities.

Why did you start practicing yoga? I started practicing when I moved to Dallas in 2001 at Yoga Power a Baptiste inspired studio. I had heard about the benefits of yoga and thought I’d just try it and see what the buzz was about. I had no idea it would have such a positive influence in my life.

Who inspires you the most and why? Many people have special qualities that I admire but, I’m most inspired by my two girls because they constantly challenge me to change, evolve and be a stronger version of myself.

What do you just love about YogaSport? There are many qualities I love about YS but a few things that come to mind are the wonderful instructors and the fabulous adjustments. Every teacher is prepared and really present when they step in the room.

What’s your guilty pleasure? I love a good nap!

Furthest city traveled: Holland, for my grandmother’s 90th birthday.

What is one thing we don’t know about you that would surprise us?
I’ve listened to a lot of great music over the years but my 70’s playlists are my fav!

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Leading You Gently Back to Yourself by Kate Geresy

 

Written by Former YS Assistant, Kate Geresy

Major life changes are usually marked as “before-said change” and “after-said change.” What it was like before I graduated, what it was like after I graduated. Life before I got married, life after I got married.

For me, there is life before YogaSport (YS) and life after YS.

You know those teenage years when you thought you knew it all? I had “those adult years.” I kept my head down, worked hard, was oft commented on how “mature” I am or told “that girl has her head on straight.” These aren’t bad characteristics, but as Goethe said, “by nature we have no defect that could not become a strength, no strength that could not become a defect.” My strengths, while wonderful for overall life functionality, were limitations for growth within. I had myself figured out. I was of the opinion that this girl (me) had gotten herself pretty far so you can take that life coaching to someone else who was in shambles because that girl ain’t me (said with all the Southern sass you can imagine).

What I wasn’t prepared for was to have my rump handed back to me through bending myself into funky poses and purchasing colorful leggings. I kid—but in all seriousness, I was not prepared for the depths of exploration that yoga, assisting and teacher training call upon. There is certainly much learnt from the basics of alignment and healthy movement, but what is being gifted from those around you and that rectangular piece of foam extends far beyond the basics. I was a resident workshop junkie at YS. This was not because I discovered I actually was a mess in need of dire coaching or because I was not good enough at yoga (can that even be possible?).

I kept attending workshop after workshop because the tools provided for self-inquiry were so plentiful and even more so because finding a community that genuinely encourages this pursuit of growth and betterment is so rare. You could say “the final step” is teacher training. I plunged in because I knew with such veracity that there was no other place I trusted with this education and I wanted to share how deeply I loved what I was learning from others and myself. I wanted to share what was possible with others and have the honor to experience even a portion of their journeys with them.

While it felt like the final step, in reality, it was only the beginning of the realm of possibilities available to me. There are pieces of my personality that long laid dormant until teacher training; there is so much integrity from that rawness. Life has changed all around me and through TT I learned we are always growing, we always begin again. The hope I have is that I greet each new beginning with more grace, humility and mindfulness than ever before.

I didn’t think it could happen twice from such an unsuspecting source but, alas, there is “life before teacher training,” and “life after teacher training.”

“Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Reset. Restart. Reboot. Fall Detox by Morgan

Written by Morgan Martindale

Hello Yogis,

MoSilly

It’s that time of year again, fall detox time.  Summer is such a care-free time where we eat lots of BBQ, drink margaritas and travel a lot.  The heavy foods we eat accumulate in our body and start to weigh us down both physically and mentally.

Many people often ask me, Why do I cleanse?  Here are my reasons.

  • Three words. Reset. Restart. Reboot.
  • I loooooooooove slowing down, to become aware of where I am in my day, my life, me relationship with myself, with food and with others.
  • I like starting over in all ways possible to better myself and what I want in my body and life.
  • I enjoy the discipline, to know that ‘I can do it’ & ‘I am worth it’.
  • We have one body, our temple to worship and praise. What we put inside should help us feel good on the inside and out.
  • We should nourish our body, mind to the the happiest and healthiest version of who you are, so it’s important to treat it right!

 
So you might be wondering, Do I need to cleanse? If you answer yes to any of these, then I highly recommend it!

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  • Do you feel bloated, congested, restless?
  • Have you gained unwanted pounds even though you might not be eating more food?
  • Are you tired and low in energy?
  • Do you feel cloudy or out of sorts?
  • Do you want to clear the cobwebs & dust from around your brain & body?

 
What are the benefits?

  • Eliminate stored wastes and for some this is weight loss
  • Improved vitality, energy levels, better sleep, glowing skin & bright eyes
  • Enhanced mental clarity
  • Improved circulation
  • Curbed cravings
  • Boosted immune system

 
Here’s the bottom line, it will help you turn your relationship with food, yourself & others into a healthier one. Remember, it’s only 10 days and you can do anything for 10 days. I invite you to join me in this challenge to take care of YOU!  I love doing it every fall with The YSC because we support each other through the process. Purchase the cleanse here for in studio pickup or purchase here to have it shipped to your door.

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Seeing Past The Stereotype

Written by YS Instructor, Jenny Mizutowicz
Take Jenny’s class on Friday at 5:30 pm.

I haven’t always wanted to be a yoga teacher. To be honest, before I started practicing yoga, I assumed yoga was for skinny vegetarians who were way more flexible than I’d ever be. I thought of yoga teachers as full-time instructors who could contort their bodies into pretzels and loved Kombucha. If this is what it took to be a yogi, I’d never fit in.

Despite my preconceptions, I came to YogaSport via a friend’s suggestion in 2009. I had been casually taking yoga classes for about a year in Austin, and I fell in love with the physical nature of the Baptiste practice. My body craved the workout and I returned several times a week for a powerful, sweaty flow. The more I practiced and got involved within the studio, the larger role yoga started playing in my life. I began to apply the anecdotes and metaphors the teachers talked about in class to my own life. I started to understand the connection between breathing through difficult postures in class and reacting to stressful situations in life. I wanted to stop complaining so much. I wanted to stop being judgmental. I wanted to accept myself and be confident. I loved this practice, and I wanted more of it.

About a year or so into my practice, I began considering teacher training with Angela at YogaSport. I knew I would enjoy teaching yoga, but insecurity was holding me back and making me believe I wasn’t cut out for it. My asana was far from perfect; I could barely get up in crow, much less headstand. I didn’t have the type of body the yogis on the cover of Yoga Journal rocked. I didn’t have a daily mediation practice (Daily? Let’s be honest, I had never meditated). I ate burgers and drank beer; surely yoga teachers wouldn’t be down with that. I wasn’t the stereotypical yoga teacher, and that made me believe I couldn’t be a yoga teacher at all.

Stereotypes are superficial beliefs formed upon an oversimplified idea, and they are oftentimes way wrong. Despite my acknowledgement of this, I had fallen into the trap of using generalizations to make sense of the world. I was allowing a silly stereotype to influence my decision and make me feel insecure.

I struggled with this belief for nearly two years until one day I hastily decided I was going to do it anyway. I apprehensively submitted my application for the Summer 2012 YogaSport Yoga School class, and before I knew it, I was sitting in a room with 11 other yogis, absolutely none of whom I would have considered a stereotypical yoga teacher.

My class consisted of people of different ages, genders and body types. Some had advanced yoga practices, and others were merely beginners. Some could tear up a Meat Lovers pizza, others preferred a veggie option. There was nothing stereotypical about this group of yogis; they were a diverse group of people with one thing in common: they loved yoga. As the summer progressed and I got to know Angela and my classmates, I discovered that the yoga teacher stereotype was a myth. You don’t have to be skinny, flexible or adhere to any particular lifestyle in order to share this practice with others. You just have to be yourself.

Three years after completing teacher training and teaching classes at YogaSport, I can now do headstand, but I’ll probably die before I master forearm stand. I’m not a Size 0 and never will be. I still enjoy burgers and imbibe a sensible amount of beer. I work a full-time government job during the day. I’m still me, but guess what? I’m now a yoga teacher, too.

Since completing teacher training in 2012, I am physically and mentally healthier than before. I am stronger and have a comprehensive understanding of how exercise affects my anatomy. I am more confident and comfortable in my own skin, and I’ve developed a heightened sense of awareness of my reactions and how to control them. Yoga has transformed me into a more present and mature adult, one that can now see past the shallowness of a stereotype.

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How I Became an Imagination Pusher

Written by YS Instructor, Shoshannah Frank

It is interesting how the road begins to twist and turn when you think you are headed on a straight path. My journey into teacher training began solely as a personal journey, I was on a quest for knowledge in my own personal practice and had no intention of ever teaching. I said the same thing when I took assistant training and by the time I signed up for teacher training in 2012, I had been on the floor as an assistant for three years.

You could say that I am a constant work in progress, well aren’t we all, and I have been in therapy the majority of my life. When I started teacher training I knew that I would be able to delve deeper into different aspects of yoga, but I had no idea that the most meaningful and extraordinary take away would be a greater sense of self. Years of negative self talk and feeling of inadequacy had left me broken in many ways. Teacher training provided me with tools to come face to face with those feelings when they begin to creep in, because they will, and discern what is truth and what is a lie I tell myself. For me the training was deep, it was scary, painful at times yet it was the best thing I ever did for myself. My therapist agrees. It is interesting how learning about yourself and being open to new discovery is actually an important part of being a good yoga teacher.

Learning to actually teach was challenging, frustrating at times, but exciting as well. Just like being open to self discovery, it was important for me to be open to feedback from our teachers and other trainees in order for me to grow and move past the self-criticism in my head. I was not great, I was actually pretty boring at first I found that learning to teach yoga does not come naturally to most. Learning to not take it personally and use it as something to work on was a great lesson outside of the studio as well.

One of my favorite take aways from the training is that even though we all seem so different on the outside, we actually have so much in common. We are all full of insecurities, we all have fears and goals, we all have lessons to learn and lesson to teach. You may not like everyone, but you can learn from everyone and every experience. I made some dear friends in my class; people I now celebrate the ups with and lean on in the downs.

I decided to teach because I just thought that it was the next thing to do. It scared the crap out of me and I genuinely do not like being on a stage. Eventually you learn teaching really is not about you. I continue to teach because I think I can provide an interesting point of view. I do not think linearly all the time, I often teach asana using color, shape, rap songs, or food. I am now a firm believer on how things feel as opposed to how things look. My imagination is the key to the deepest part of my practice and I want to enhance the use of imagination in my classes for those who get it and expose it to those who don’t. I was once told that using your imagination to connect your mind and your heart will allow your soul to shine. Who does not want that?! Not everyone is going to like me as a teacher or maybe even as a person but teacher training made me ok with that. Well, it finally sunk in over time. I leave you with something I wrote to the teachers of YS in October of 2013 about a year after I started teaching at YS…

Before I went to Level 1 Teacher Training with Baron Baptiste, people would ask me if I loved teaching yoga. I was hesitant to answer because the answer was “No” but I knew that was not the answer they wanted to hear. I would just reply, “I am still getting used to it.” When I went to level one people asked me why was I there. I had to think about that answer, other than give the quick answer of “I had paid for it moons ago.” Soon my response became “to see if teaching is something I really want to do or is something others want me to do.” Honestly when I got on the plane to go that was not even a developed thought. I did not leave Arizona with an answer.

If you had asked me that question this morning, about a year after I started teaching, I would probably still have to give a dodgy response. There was nothing special about my class tonight, it was not full and the energy was not overflowing. My practice, in my body, although beautifully taught by my dear Christopher Roberson, was not mind-blowing. But as I drove home tonight, I heard myself say “I love teaching yoga.” It was in my head but it was so loud I am sure you heard it.

I am sure that this feeling will ebb and flow just like all things in life and that’s ok, but there will never again be the FIRST time I said “I love teaching yoga!” As Baron would say I am **astonished** ( insert spirit fingers.) Thank you for being my support team on and off the mat.

Shannah Frank, Imagination Pusher
YSYS graduate 2012

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Introducing YS Flair

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We are so excited to announce another amazing program to honor you, our YS monthly members.  

Remember when…
Aqua Net was all the rage?
Parachute pants and sock rolls were fashion forward?
The closest thing to boy bands was Whitesnake and Guns N’ Roses?
Your jean jacket – filled with buttons (FLAIR!)- was your status symbol?

If you are too young to remember these things, then first puh-lease don’t let us know because it makes us feel old!  Trust us when we say, the 80’s was an especially unique decade. We are excited to embrace one of our favorite memories of living in the 1980’s. Why? Because we think some things should never go out of style. And because as adults, we don’t have many fun opportunities to get our well-earned gold stars!

How does this cool program work? You will earn a coveted YS flair button for each workshop and event you complete. Flaunt your hard earned flair on your yoga bag and be the coolest yogi around. If you haven’t already, pick up your member flair button at the front desk today.  Your future flair will be distributed at the end of each workshop. If you have questions, contact our fabulous manager nicole@yogasportdallas.com.

Team Spotlight : Monika Shepherd

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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

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Membership Policies

Welcome to The YS Family! We are so very excited that you have joined the studio as an official member. Please read on for a detailed description of your membership terms. Here’s to many sweaty, fun and inspiring practices together.

Membership Terms
  • For regular memberships, you must be a member for a minimum of four months.
  • Warrior Members much be a member for a minimum of twelve months.
  • There are never any sign up fees.

 

Membership Cancellation Policy
  • You must be a member for a minimum of four months before a cancellation request can be processed.
  • Warrior Members, you must be a member for a minimum of twelve months before a cancellation request can be processed.
  • To cancel, we require a 30 days written notice emailed to yogaadvisor@gmail.com.
  • Once you cancel, you will be billed one final payment and will have until the next billing cycle to enjoy your yoga practice at YogaSport.

 

Membership Freeze Policy
  • To freeze your YS membership, you must email a written request to yogaadvisor@gmail.com.
  • YS memberships may be frozen for a maximum of two months.
  • Frozen memberships will be billed $10 each month to maintain the YS membership for up to two months.
  • After two months, the autopay will return to the regular monthly membership fee.
  • You must request a freeze at least five days prior to the billing cycle you would like frozen. We cannot prorate freezes.
  • Freezes cannot not be applied to any prior payments.

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.

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