“Why Sadness is Unprofessional… And Why That’s Total Bullshit.” Some Good Advice from David Romanelli

Yoga teacher and author of the best selling book Happy is the New Healthy, David Romanelli recently wrote a post that was too good not to share.  You can find more of these touching and inspiring real life stories shared by Dave from his own experiences of traveling the world and meeting all kinds of different people on his website.


Indigenous people believe that your medicine is not something you take but something you give, your great offering that makes your world better.

Last week I had the amazing experience of sitting with 1000 years of wisdom in 60 very special minutes. 

I had lunch with a group of ladies who met in college…in the 1940’s. They joined the same sorority, and have continued to meet every month…for the past 70 years. Now they are in their 90’s. 11 people in their 90s is equal to about 1000 years of life experience.

These ladies have been there for each as they got married, raised families, became empty nesters, celebrated grandchildren, became widows, got old, and now some are on breathing machines and in wheelchairs. And through it all, they have stuck together.

The immense wisdom in this room was different. It wasn’t a wisdom based on accolades and resumes and fame. It was a wisdom based on reality.

Each of these ladies had amazing stories of success and love. And each of them had tragic stories of loss and pain. Maybe it was just me, but I perceived happiness and sadness sitting side by side at this lunch.

In our modern culture, there is rarely a seat at the table for sadness. It’s something we endure in private, maybe on the couch of a psychologist, or in some bursting out of tears in your yoga class.

Psychology researcher Joseph Forgas found that people in a sad mood had better judgement and memory, were more motivated, and more generous than the happier control group. Periodic feelings of sadness widen our circle of concern.

Now look. I wrote a book called Happy is the New Healthy. I’m all about happiness and I’m not saying it’s any fun to mope around and drag people down with you. But funny stories and pretty pictures of sunsets can only get you so far.

The more I have listened to the elders, the more I realize the pure and lasting happiness can only come from finding the courage to share your sadness and in turn, inspire others to share theirs.

These ladies went through some terribly hard times, but they went through them TOGETHER.

There’s a lady named Deena Metzger who talks about how In the old days, the Chiefs, Medicine people, Shamans, and Elders called Councils. They looked for solutions to their problems by aligning themselves with the ancestors, the natural world and their wisdom traditions.

Sitting around the table with these elder ladies, I felt a sense of what these “Councils” must have been like.

Everyone at the table took a turn sharing what’s been happening in their life. And everyone else listened.

It is that giving and taking, going around the circle, face to face, heart to heart, that struck me as something missing from my world.

So let me ask you…

What have you been stuffing away, deep inside, that seems impossible to address because it would be impolite or unprofessional or just cause a mess that nobody wants to clean up?

Instead, we see our shrink and take our pills and do our yoga and keep it stuffed away.

Remember, your medicine is not something you take but something you give.

What a unique gift…to give your sadness, and give another permission and space… to give theirs.”

Teacher Feature: Erin Zastrow

Meet our latest Yoga For All Beings Teacher Feature, Erin Zastrow!

Learn a few fun facts about Erin in her own words below: 

– I stumbled on yoga 6 years ago when I bought a Groupon to a studio so I could take a belly dancing class with a friend.

– I am mom to an 8 month old baby boy, and a very needy husky.

– I grew up riding horses, and was on the equestrian team in college.

– I have been a speech pathologist for 10 years.  

– I believe I could survive on coffee, donuts and cheese, they are my 3 favorite foods!


Catch Erin’s classes at Yoga For All Beings on Saturdays at 4pm and you can also find her a subbing for many other yoga classes on the schedule.

Read on about Erin Zastrow in her biography below.

Erin’s journey into yoga began in 2011 as a gentle form of exercise following a knee injury. After exploring various styles, she grew to love the vinyasa practice. The physical healing that occurred had her hooked. In later classes and trainings she really began to explore the yoking of body, mind and spirit and made the decision to enroll in teacher training so she could share her love for the practice with others.  She completed her RYT at Zen Yoga Garage, followed by an apprenticeship with Margo Kellison-Lightburn.  Erin’s classes encourage self exploration, focus on breath work and alignment based flow.

Teacher Feature: Kim Manning

Meet out latest Yoga For All Beings Teacher Feature, Kim Manning!  Learn a few fun facts about Kim in her own words below. 532922_1491745961106413_3165589499097439955_n

  • Manatees are my absolute favorite animal because they are so calm, gentle and kind. I’ve adopted three!
  • In high school and college I wanted to pursue a career in music journalism or radio broadcasting, interning at music magazines and radio stations. When I realized I didn’t like to write objectively about new music, I decided discovering and collecting music would just be a personal hobby. My favorite artists today include Murder by Death, Incubus, LCD Soundsystem and Run the Jewels.
  • Last year was the first time I had ever been to a national park (Olympic National Park– which is soo beautiful!), and it’s now my ultimate goal to visit every national park in the country.
  • I am addicted to coffee. Beyond the caffeine, I just LOVE the taste and I love trying new blends. My current Chicago favorite is Dark Matter.


Kim teaches at Yoga For All Beings:

Tuesdays  12-1pm  All Levels Vinyasa

Wednesdays  8-9am  Rise & Shine Vinyasa

Thursdays  4:30-5:30pm  All Levels Vinyasa (changes to 4:45-5:45pm starting Dec 8th)

Read Kim’s full biography:

Like most, Kim came to yoga for its physical benefits. Having tried a few asanas at home as 14718626_1797640403850299_5570490732178967479_nrecommended by a friend, she felt soreness in muscles she didn’t know existed. During her senior year of college at Columbia in Chicago, she took an Intro to Yoga course and fell madly in love with the depth of the practice. On a whim after leaving an exhausting job, she began her 200-hour teacher training and never looked back.
While the physical benefits are still a major component of what keeps her coming to her mat, the chance to connect, unwind and constantly learn are just as motivating. Kim aims to keep her classes light-hearted, challenging and relaxing. She hopes to help her students build confidence while building muscle, sweat a little bit and leave classes feeling refreshed and well-connected.

Fall into Autumn with Grace and Ease


          The 2016 fall equinox took place on Thursday, September 22 and while it’s been a gentle yfab-lobby-flowertransition into the cooler season so far, the end of summer reminds us that life is full of change.  From long days full of sunlight and warmth to darker, chillier mornings and earlier sunsets, the inevitable change from summer to fall can be one that we tend to resist.  Although autumn is generally a welcomed season and one that brings along with it a slew of joyfulness (pretty leaves, chunky sweaters, fall boots, pumpkin everything, Halloween and warm beverages just to name a few), we might still catch ourselves clinging to summer’s past.   Consciously opening up to the seasonal changes ahead can allow us to open up to any other changes that might also be occurring in our lives externally or even shifts that may be occuring deep within us, internally.

The excess of light energy
from summer is becoming balanced with the dark energy of autumn and we, too can wind down to match the rhythm of the changing seasons.  Not only do we experience impermanence in mother nature, but impermanence is also the nature of the human condition.  Because change is the only constant, it would serve us best to remain unattached to the things we love even when it feels so natural to cling to them.  The transition from summer to fall is a special opportunity for us to tune in to the changes that might be happening deep within us in addition to the more obvious changes that are taking place around us.

Five Questions for Fantastic Yoga Teachers

From Yoga Chicago Magazine’s Five Questions for Fantastic Yoga Teachers, read on about Danielle Dickinson, owner of Yoga For All Beings in Chicago, IL.

1. Describe your teaching style in five words. Strong. Gentle. Thoughtful. Permissive. Balanced.  DanielleDickinson-Lake Mich Twist

2. How has yoga changed your life?Yoga saved my life. It has offered me a way to change my negative patterns and live a healthier and happier life.

3. What is the philosophy you try to instill in your students? I try to encourage students to be gentle with themselves. I encourage them to accept the challenges of yoga and of life head on, with a sense of ease and with a strong but gentle approach. When we can maintain peace in the most chaotic moments, that’s when the yoga practice really comes in handy.

4. What was one of your most profound moments in teaching? Unscrunched faces. Unclenched jaws. Relaxed shoulders. Unclutched guts. Unsqueezed fists. Seeing students let go, release or be gentle with themselves. It’s so easy to be hard or to stay hardened. It’s a lot more difficult to maintain softness in hard circumstances or to easy up when life is gripping tight. This sense of softness is something I find profound and inspiring, especially when I see if from a student that is fighting hard to maintain that sense of ease.

5. What do you see influencing or affecting yoga teachers and students in the next five years? It seems like the veil is being lifted from the confusion surrounding what yoga is or isn’t. The wider the practice spreads and the more attainable it becomes, the less we have of the notions that yoga is something reserved for a limited demographic. Yoga is becoming more down to earth, relatable, adaptable, and accessible to all kinds of folks, due in part to the educated and mindful yoga teachers. More accessible yoga means more yoga, in general. And more yoga, to me, means more peace in the world.

Teacher Feature: Sarah Sandusky

This month’s Yoga For All Beings teacher feature is Sarah Sandusky.  Learn a little more about Sarah in her own words below: Sarah S + dog

1. I am a huge fitness fanatic! I’ve been a runner since 2001 and have run five marathons. I love doing boot camp workouts and also weight training. I obtained my personal training certification in 2014. My latest fitness endeavor is taking Krav Maga classes!

2. Ever since I was five, I wanted to play flute. I was lucky enough to start playing when I was nine. I majored in flute performance in college. In addition to flute, I also play piano. I sometimes play flute during savasana in my classes.
3. I absolutely love ice cream and will eat it even when it’s freezing cold outside. My favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip.
4. I am a huge animal lover, especially dogs. I have run numerous races to raise money for PAWS, an organization that helps homeless pets. While I don’t have my own dog, my parents own a corgi, Maizy, whom I absolutely adore!
Sarah teaches at Yoga For All Beings on Sundays at 11:30am (Core Yoga).
Sarah’s bio:
Sarah S Tree-001
Sarah grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended Lawrence University in Appleton, WI and majored in flute performance and German. She then attended law school at the University of Illinois. Sarah has been an avid runner since 2001. She has completed five marathons, including three Chicago marathons, and multiple half marathons. Sarah initially sought out yoga as a source of counterbalance to her running. She found, however, that yoga is way more than just stretching. Yoga has provided her a path to find peace and balance not only for her physical body, but her mind as well. She completed her yoga teacher training in June 2013. In addition to yoga and running, Sarah loves all aspects of fitness, including strength training and conditioning. She holds a personal trainer certification from the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Teacher Feature: Jessica Noble

Meet Yoga For All Beings teacher, Jessica Noble!  Learn a little more about Jessica in her own words with these fun facts:



1. I’m a high school English teacher by day and yoga teacher by night (and Saturday mornings 😉). I absolutely love teaching–whether it involves a mat or a book! My students were required to complete a midyear survey and one question asked them to describe their teacher’s teaching style. One student responded: “Heavily influenced by yoga.” I can’t deny that. I try to bring mindfulness into my classroom as much as possible with breathing exercises and guided free-writing. Additionally, I sponsor the yoga club where I guide staff and students through their practices.

2. I have an unquenchable thirst for adventure and exploration. Whenever I’m given the opportunity to experience a new place or a new culture, I seize it. My next excursion will be this June in Southeast Asia.

3. I’m absolutely obsessed with coconut oil. I’m actually oil pulling as I write this while standing in tree pose in my kitchen. From hair masks, to coffee “creamer,” to cleaning a bike chain–I’m convinced that there’s no problem coconut oil can’t solve.

4. I love music–especially live. I’m definitely looking forward to Lollapalooza and Pitchfork this summer. Follow me on Spotify: Jess No Bull


Jessica teaches at Yoga For All Beings

Tuesdays at 5:45pm (75 min Level 1-2 Vinyasa) 

Wednesdays at 7:15pm (75 min All Levels Candlelight Vinyasa)

Saturdays at 8:30am (60 min All Levels Vinyasa)


A little more about Jessica Noble…

Jessica was introduced to yoga in high school and fell in love with the vinyasa practice as it created a source of strength and balance in her life. Since she was a kid, she knew that her passion wasJN small dancer pic teaching which led to her career as an English teacher at York High School in Elmhurst. In 2014, after spending her summer abroad in Europe, she was determined to fuse her passion for teaching and yoga as she completed her 200-hour YTT through LifePower Yoga with Brenda Temme at LifeTime Fitness in Orland Park, IL. Upon the completion of her training, she brought yoga to the students and staff at York and taught classes at a fitness center in the suburbs. As a new resident of Chicago, she is excited to expand the sphere of her yoga practice and provide a space for all levels of yogis to connect their breath and movement in order to open their hearts and cultivate mindfulness.

Teacher Feature: Kris Relucio

Meet Yoga For All Beings teacher, Kris Relucio!  Read a little bit about Kris in her own words below:

“I was born with defects in my lower extremities. As you can imagine, yoga has taught me so much about body awareness and the importance of alignment. Patience, acceptance, love, and peace with myself and my practice has been crucial to my growth as a person on and off the mat. Every time I get on my mat, I’m discovering something new about my body such as, what muscles do I need to strengthen or lengthen? My yearn to learn about alignment and anatomy not only helps my teaching in the ways of keeping the body safe (I want to keep practicing asana when I’m 75) but it also unravels a deep understanding of my unique body and self.

Over the past 13 years, I’ve built an IT career based solely through on-the-job training/experience (I graduated with a B.A. in US History). With that said, I’m in the midst of creating a yoga app …aaand that’s all i can really say about that without divulging too much info! If the app succeeds, it could be a dream come true!

I love the arts, in general-music, food, photography, cinema, etc. I’ll be taking a wheel ceramics course through the Chicago park district in a few weeks. There is so much to explore and discover in Chicago – one of my favorite things!”

Kris teaches at Yoga For All Beings:

Wednesdays @ 12pm  All Level Vinyasa

Thursdays @ 5:45pm  Level 2 Vinyasa

Sundays @ 8am  Level 1 Vinyasa

More about Kris Relucio…

Kris Relucio loves the physical challenge of yoga as much as the spiritual and meditative aspect.  She has grown tremendously in these areas through practicing; Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presether main goal is to share her knowledge and help others do this as well.  She believes a lot of how the physical/spiritual aspect of yoga is handled also reflects how personal and emotional challenges are handled off the mat.  The most rewarding part is knowing that she’s reached someone on both levels, especially the spiritual realm, which can be a life-changing experience.  Setting up students for success, listening to their physical, emotional + spiritual needs and wants will help them develop their practices.  A true believer in self-growth, Kris is constantly finding ways to become a better teacher so she can pass it on to her students.  Kris’ style is down-to-earth and mindful vinyasa yoga with a strong emphasis in alignment and anatomy.  Her style is indirectly inspired by ashtanga and Iyengar yoga, and she also loves yin + restorative yoga.

An Interview with LocalVore

Five Questions with Yoga For All Beings

On the third floor of an unassuming building in West Town, you’ll suddenly find yourself in a place full of natural light, exposed brick walls, soothing herbal tea, and yoga mats. Yoga For All Beings is an independent yoga studio that welcomes students at any point in their yoga journey to take a class, have some tea, and maybe find a little enlightenment. Owner Danielle Dickinson shared a little more about it with us.

1. What’s your favorite thing about owning your own studio?

Helping others is the best part about owning my own yoga studio. The benefits someone might reap buddah sage legih kunkelfrom the yoga practice are endless, and I continue to be amazed by the progress I see in students with dedicated practice over time. I’ve seen students get stronger and do things they didn’t think they could. I’ve also seen students be humbled by things they thought were easy, but turned out to be quite hard. I’ve seen students break down (emotional release is so brave and healthy), and I’ve also seen students break through… stereotypes, old habits, and negative mindsets. I’ve seen students heal their bodies with careful and attentive practice, and I’ve seen students mend broken hearts with the self-love and compassion that yoga begs of us. I’ve had students literally tell me that my yoga studio (but really it’s just the yoga!) has saved their life. Each time a student shares their heart-felt gratitude for the practice and what it’s done for them, I am encouraged to continue the challenging path of being a yoga studio owner in the city of Chicago… because I know that this business is doing so much good for the people.

2. How did it feel the first time you did a handstand?

Really scary! I’ve always loved the feeling of going upside down, and so the idea of being inverted was not an intimidating one. But getting my body up into handstand gracefully and staying there for more than a half second definitely took some time. The scary part came when I stopped practicing at the wall (not so scary when you have some sturdy dry wall behind you) and started practicing it in the middle of the room (no inanimate object to catch you if you fall out). But the first time I did a handstand in the middle of the room, even though it was probably only for a split second, felt really exhilarating. More importantly and even more satisfying than finally making progress in a difficult pose is when I’m able to do a challenging pose, like handstand, while still maintaining a calm mindset, a steady breath, and an ego that remains in check. Because ultimately, yoga, for me, is not about the physical feats but about the mental peace.

3. Share an unexpected way in which yoga has changed your life.

The first time I connected with yoga on a deeper level was in 2005. Dealing with depression and beet-fq-yoga-for-all-beings-localvore-today-3anger for the majority of my life, I found myself in a downward spiral of darkness and yoga found me at the bottom of this lonely hole. Over the years, yoga has shed light on how I can live my life to keep myself out of this darkness. Initially, yoga was all about getting me to that peaceful state. I went to yoga to feel better mentally, but to my surprise, it also made me feel better physically. Any time my mental state is a mess, it will inevitably show up in my body as some sort of pain or tension. So, practicing yoga not only got my mind right but made my body feel better as well. The community aspect of yoga was also a highlight for me. Even though yoga is a very private, personal and individual practice, doing it in a community setting is so powerful and inspiring. In yoga, it’s all about positive vibes and letting go of anything that doesn’t serve us. Although we show up to our mats for different reasons, we are also there for the same collective reason: to feel better. Just being in a room full of yogis gets the positive energy swirling. For me, yoga is like going to therapy, church, and the gym all in one. And, the way I see it, yoga saved my life.

4. What’s the one thing you want students to take away from class?

There are so many different reasons one might practice yoga: stress release, flexibility, strength, mental clarity, physical injury, addiction, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, grief, and trauma. And so, when I look around the room in class, I’m aware that there are not only a variety of unique bodies in the room (with their own capabilities, limitations and needs) but there are also a variety of intentions in the room as each person brings their own special purpose to the practice. So, while there is so much one could derive from the yoga practice, ultimately I want students to take away exactly what they needed from the practice that day.

5. Smoothies? French fries? What keeps you fueled for yoga?

When it comes to food, I don’t like to discriminate and I’m not too picky. I love smoothies and I love D Wild Thing YFABFrench fries! But as far as being optimally fueled for yoga goes, my best bet (for energy and feeling good) is usually whole, organic foods.

Keep up with all things Localvore in Chicago on The Daily Beet.

Routine vs. Wonder

“Yoga practice is like life. Each circumstance in which we find ourselves is like aDSC01851 pose. Some poses are hard to hold, others are pleasant. It is how we hold the pose that determines whether or not we will suffer or grow, and whether or not we will listen to the drama of the ego or the wisdom of the spirit.” Darren Main

In our asana practice, just as in life, we are guided through a sequence of poses that range from familiar and “easy” to novel and “difficult” or even sometimes “impossible” (at least in the moment). It may not seem obvious at first, but everywhere along this spectrum we encounter both challenge and possibility.

In an “easy” pose like bharmanasana (table pose), we risk being too casual, of dropping our experience down to the level of routine.   Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said “routine is resistance to wonder.” It denies our connection to bliss and the Divine, and instead fetters us to suffering. Here we are on hands and knees. When can we move, to do something? Hands anywhere, anyway, knees assymetrically arranged, feet forgotten somewhere back behind us, our gaze and mind shifting forward or wandering elsewhere to something shinier and seemingly more significant. Our body squirms and fidgets independent of the rhythm of breath. Rolf Gates often reminds us that the pose is just what we are doing, Yoga is a particular way of being in the pose. How can we use a simple pose like this to express Yoga?  Each pose can be approached in three parts – our breath, our gaze or drishti, and of course the physical form.  The physical form begins in our foundation – wherever our body meets and draws energy from the earth. In bharmanasana we need to establish and stay connected to a slow, deep and steady breath; to set our gaze down and forward; and be mindful as we carefully organize hands, knees and feet and then spine. If we do all these things skillfully, attentive to whatever arises with a gentle inward smile, we experience a union with all that is sacred and miraculous in the present moment.

At the other end of the spectrum, we may be led towards an asana or through a transition that is beyond our current ability, for many possible reasons.   Sometimes we grimace or resist, give it a chagrined effort, or even launch ourselves heedlessly with excessive effort and insufficient skill. Maybe we look around, compare ourselves to others and feel separated from a universe conspiring against us. We are self-critical regarding our failure or outwardly critical of our circumstances. We long to get away from this moment (aversion, dvesa) to another moment (craving, raga) that will be better. However, if instead we are immersed in our breath practice, set our gaze until our face can be soft, our heart tranquil, and then start working the physical form from the foundation – what a different experience! We set our body on the earth carefully and work from there physically and energetically until we find a balanced expression of the asana.

Whether or not we contort ourselves or levitate, our pose is perfect for NOW. The pose might be bharmanasana (table) or bakasana (crane). The pose might be standing in line at the grocery store or being with a loved one in the midst of trauma. Yoga is how we want to be, regardless of what we do. We let go of the drama of the ego, and bask in the wisdom of the spirit. In this way we connect to what is sacred, recognize the omnipresent miracle and fill ourselves with wonder!