Connecting to the Changeless

by Erin Ipjian

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Yoga helps us to see beyond our unease because it continually points us towards the place within that is unchanging. Nailing a perfect pose won’t change your life. But here is what might - a continual return to a practice guided by curiosity, exploration, and humility. If we’re paying attention along the way, we just might find ourselves remembering - we are whole, complete, and perfect as is. And, that never changes.

So, here’s to exploring and connecting on the mat. We can’t wait to see you in class this week, Evolution yogis!

Evolution Class Schedule

Refining your Practice

by Erin Ipjian

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There’s a funny thing we do in yoga: we spend years learning and refining the poses, attentive to the smallest of details, like the grounding of the outer seam of the foot or the reach through the ring finger. And, yet, we learn that the pose is not the point. So then, what is the point?


Maybe it’s this: maybe all the physical refinements make this practice what it is - a moving meditation. Maybe there is some value to learning how to be attentive to the details of the pose while still dispersing our awareness throughout the entire body, aware of ourselves as a full, integrated whole. Maybe this skill can even translate off the mat - this capacity to attend to the required minutiae of everyday life without losing ourselves in the process. Maybe that is how the practice helps us remain connected to our broader purpose.

So, then, perhaps the details really do matter, even if they ultimately aren’t the point.

Happy International Day of Yoga!

by Erin Ipjian

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People have been moving, breathing, sitting in stillness, and observing - in other words, practicing yoga - for thousands of years. On today, the International Day of Yoga, here are the top 4 lessons that we continue to learn from our daily practice and aim to share at Evolution:

1. You are not your body. Move your body, challenge it, explore, but please don’t ever forget - you are not your body. Don’t use this practice to sculpt, flatten, or reshape. Use it as a celebration of the incredible gift you have been given. Move as a way to root out dysfunction when possible, to build resilience, and to fully embody the precious container through which you experience this life. Your body is a gift. Treat it accordingly.

2. You are not your mind. This lesson is trickier than #1. Here’s why. Your mind is the lens through which you view and interpret the world. It will misperceive, misunderstand, and compare. It is capable of incredible creativity and innovation. It is also capable of overriding the truth and fueling destruction, as history constantly reminds us. Don’t believe everything you think. In fact, examine everything you think. Hold it up to the light of discernment. Spend time in silence, notice how your mind moves and the unconscious patterns it continually returns to.

3. Know that you are connected to everyone and everything around you. In short, their pain is your pain. Their joy is your joy. Life is not about getting ahead. It’s about fully connecting to who you are, for real, at your core, and sharing that with the world and everyone around you. Be vulnerable and honest and seek connection with those who do the same.

4. Keep practicing. It’s really easy to not make time for #1 and #2. We all get busy. It’s also really easy to forget #3. This practice only works if we continually return to it. You are never done learning. You are never done practicing. You are never done evolving. There is always a greater understanding to uncover.

Happy International Day of Yoga, dear yogis. See you on the mat.

Evolution Yoga

Yoga & Movement

by Erin Ipjian

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Much of modern yoga practice centers on movement. Attentive movement focuses our mind, soothes our nervous system, and is vital to living well. It’s the perfect entry point to the practice of yoga.

But, here’s the thing - ultimately yoga is not about movement. It’s not about sticking the pose. The pose is a tool, not a goal.

I think of yoga asana as a method of recalibrating the body and reigniting our awareness so that we can more effectively sit still with ourselves. The real beauty of this practice is that it provides us with a method to quiet the incessant chatter in our minds. It guides us towards the vast openness that lies underneath. That is what I hope to share with my students. And it is what keeps me coming back to this practice day after day.

Yoga for Clarity

by Erin Ipjian

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All of the techniques of yoga - movement, breath, meditation - are really designed with one goal in mind: to free ourselves from the ways in which we fail to see clearly.
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The om symbol itself is a beautiful and succinct visual representation of our states of consciousness and the veil that obscures our perception.
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The premise is something like this: many of us live in illusion, misunderstanding who we are, misidentifying ourselves with the little “I.” We think too small. We unconsciously move through the world from a place of separateness, filtering each moment through a mind jumbled with old ways of thinking picked up along the course of our lives.

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Yoga, on the other hand, gives us the tools to break free, to see ourselves and those around us for who we truly are without judgment, and to move forward in our lives with newfound clarity. All that is required is our dedication to the practice. See you on the mat, Evolution yogis. ❤️

Letting Go

by Erin Ipjian

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One of our responsibilities as yogis is to continually scan the stories and mental patterns (samskaras) that shape the lens through which we perceive the world. .
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Unless we live in a cave, it’s nearly impossible to move through life without picking up a collection of viewpoints and conditioning. By adulthood, our lens of perception (citta), can become quite muddied. Some of us spend our entire lives never examining these patterns, only making them stronger by continually revisiting them.
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Yoga, on the other hand, challenges us to disrupt our patterns, to discern whether our mental loops are true or useful, and to let go of the ones that do not serve us.
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And though it may seem easier to not do the work, the benefit of remaining dedicated to our practice is huge. Over time, we begin to shed our samskaras. We become more adept at meeting the world with greater clarity, authenticity, and openness. This is where life starts to get really good. We begin to effortlessly create and express what we were meant to share with the world. We become steady and sure of ourselves. We get out of our own way. We fulfill our dharma. .
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This is what drives us to return, again and again, to our mats. Thank you, as always, for doing the work and choosing to practice with us, Evolution yogis. We’ll see you in class.

Finding Balance

by Erin Ipjian

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Each time we come to the mat, yoga invites us to engage in an exploration of opposing forces. A well-crafted practice will draw us to center - the place where we are neither too far in one direction or the other. One of yoga's most commonly explored pairings is that of steady, persistent effort (abhyasa) on the one hand, and non-attachment to the end-result (vairagya) on the other. 

Steady, persistent effort, without the pairing of non-attachment, sends us into an endless cycle of seeking more and more, where nothing is ever enough. Complete non-attachment, devoid of effort, on the other hand, leads to inertia. Finding the balance between these two is challenging to say the least, and that's exactly why yoga is a lifelong endeavor.

So, here's to endeavoring to strike the perfect balance -- coming back to the mat, again and again, engaging in this beautiful practice, softening into acceptance, and noticing how the balance plays out beyond the mat.

Intentions for the New Year

by Erin Ipjian

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Happy New Year, yogis! It’s that time of year when so many of us set out to approach our lives anew and set the elusive new year’s resolution.

This year, how about approaching 2019 with yoga’s version of the new year’s resolution - an Intention.

Resolutions involve control, sheer will-power, and often fail. Just as force does not work well in asana practice, this rigidity in the mind often fails to deliver effective change in our lives.

Yoga practice, on the other hand, invites us to get quiet and listen deeply on the mat, on the meditation cushion, and throughout our lives so that we can begin to notice the impact of our habits and align with those daily practices that serve us and those around us best. Setting your intention for the year ahead (or for a shorter period of time) from this place of awareness is an effective tool from our yoga practice to guide us along the course of life.

This weekend, we invite you to join us for Debbie W’s New Year Restorative Yoga, in which you will enjoy an extended restorative practice, intention setting for the new year, and optional reiki.

Between weekly classes and upcoming special events, we have lots of opportunities to stay connected to your intention in 2019. Check out evolutionyogaglenview.com for our full schedule. Looking forward to practicing with you in 2019, Evolution yogis!

Yoga for Connection

by Erin Ipjian

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We are entering the holiday season, a time of celebrating and connecting with those around us. Although yoga may, at first glance, appear to be a way of escaping the stressors of our lives (and there are more of those this time of year!), it is truly a practice of connection, both within ourselves and, much like the intention of the holidays, with each other.

At its most fundamental level, yoga guides us to identify less with what separates us and see more clearly what connects us. We express that sentiment at the end of class with a “namaste,” and we strive to carry it with us, seeing and appreciating the world and people around us throughout the holiday season and beyond.

In addition to our weekly yoga class schedule, we have loads of special events and workshops, suitable for all levels of practitioners and yoga teachers coming up this winter. Check it out at evolutionyogaglenview.com. Thanks for connecting with us on your mat this holiday season!

Yoga & the Holidays

by Erin Ipjian

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The holidays are drawing near, and I’m going out on a limb here guessing I’m not the only one experiencing a palpable increase in the chatter of the mind. Longer to-do lists, hopes of fulfilling expectations around the holidays, and the complications of family relationships are just the kind of fuel the monkey mind loves.

Thankfully, we have yoga. As the outside world becomes more frenetic, we find our time on the mat to be even more precious. With patience and curiosity, we mine the body and mind, shining a light on the habits, thoughts, and patterns that unconsciously shape the way we move, think, speak, and act in the world. And we empower ourselves with a greater awareness that allows us to do better. With this clarity, yoga begins to expand beyond the four corners of our mat, to the holiday dinner table, and into the rest of our lives.

So, here’s to a holiday season grounded in greater awareness, understanding, and compassion. If you’d like to practice with me, you can find me at my weekly yoga offerings @evolutionyogaglenview .

Tuesday’s 9:30-10:45am mixed levels
Thursday’s 9:30-10:45am mixed levels
Sunday’s 12:00-1:00pm intro to yoga/gentle

Thanksgiving morning, my Thursday 9:30am class will be a donation class benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Sign up online or join us in the studio. Use your class package, membership, or drop in and we’ll donate the proceeds. 

Spotlight on Yin Yoga

by Chuck Frenkel, E-RYT & Yin Yoga Teacher

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Yin yoga is a yoga practice of mostly seated asana shapes while being in a relaxed state. But yin yoga is so much more than that, as it encompasses the yogic aspects of breathing, meditation, working with our energies/emotions, body awareness, and how we relate to our thoughts. Yin helps us to (re-)connect with ourselves and creates the environment and opportunity in which to do so. We learn how to use our breath and our bodies to better connect with each moment. We learn and practice techniques that help us to observe and relate to our thoughts rather than just react to them. A regular yin yoga practice also helps us to enjoy a better balance in our lives as we (re-)learn how to relax and just “be,” taking some time for ourselves to restore and replenish. -Chuck Frenkel, E-RYT & yin yoga teacher

Practice yin yoga at Evolution:

Monday’s 7:00-8:30pm yin with Chuck
Thursday’s 6:45-8:15pm yin with Polly


Advancing your Yoga Practice

by Erin Ipjian

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Ever think about what it means to advance in your yoga practice? Yoga is an embodied practice and with time practicing intelligently on the mat, we light up awareness in areas of the body, allowing us to move in ways not possible before. Over time, we might find ourselves moving more deeply into a posture or even balancing on our hands.
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Ultimately, however, the poses are intended to serve as a vehicle for creating a greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us. And while movement is an important component of a well-rounded yoga practice, so is the ability to slow down and turn more directly towards the heart of what this practice is all about.
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This Sunday, join Polly at Moving into Stillness: Mindfulness in Moving, Standing, & Seated Meditation. This special class will be an exploration of developing mindfulness on all levels - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Move through gentle yoga poses as a moving meditation, explore what it is to stand in your own two feet, and cultivate spatial awareness within and without. Practice will culminate with a seated meditation. The only prerequisite is an open mind.
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Sign up to reserve your spot at evolutionyogaglenview.com.