Posts Tagged ‘Yoga’

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

An article about the neurological aspects of yoga and how we can use yoga to train our minds to react less to physical stress caught my eye today.  Alex Korb, Ph.D. wrote a great post “Yoga: Changing the Brain’s Stressful Habits” in his blog, Prefrontal Nudity. His main premise is that yoga is designed to stress our bodies and make us uncomfortable, not calm us. However, the idea is that WHILE you are stressing your body, moving into different yoga poses, you actively seek to breath deeply, focus on the present and basically fight your body’s innate stress response. You literally train yourself to be calm in the face of physical stress and discomfort.

A yoga class.

A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been a yoga practitioner for many years and I find that the regular practice of yoga is a great way to learn how to be “in the moment” in your own body.  The point of yoga is not to show how flexible we are or to improve our range of motion (although that can be a nice side effect). The point is to give our bodies wonderful movement and train our minds to calm down and focus on what is going on in our bodies in the here and now.

My favorite teachers are the only that give helpful directions for where to focus our minds as we move our bodies. Following the instructions of these teachers has made me far more aware not only of my body, but of how I can make subtle adjustments in my posture, my movements to achieve a deeper stretch, a more balanced pose.  When in downward dog pose, I had an instructor tell us to focus on widening our fingers, putting more weight on our palms, trying to move the skin of our shoulders backward, lengthening our spines and moving our heels toward the back of the room. Like a crazy game of Twister, trying to maintain all these directives without falling over takes a lot of mental concentration and physical stamina. And while I am trying to do all these things, the usual “chatter” in my mind is quieted because I can’t think of anything but my body while I am trying to perform all these tasks! Meanwhile, I get more fit, my body feels great and I have an inner sense of calm I can draw from when life gets hectic!

Here is a nice example of an instructor giving multiple directives to focus on when going into Dogward Dog pose.

Do you practice yoga? Have you ever tried it? What benefits do you get from yoga? If you practice yoga, what are the most helpful things your yoga teachers can do to help you calm your mind?

Who is Alex Korb, Ph.D?

Alex Kolb Ph'D.

Alex Korb Ph.D.

Dr Korb is a postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at UCLA. He earned a BS in neuroscience from Brown University in 2002, and his Ph.D. at UCLA in 2010.  He is a consultant with BrainSonix Inc., a company developing therapeutic focused ultrasound neuromodulation for treatment of mental and neurological disorders.  His other research interests include using measurements of brain activity in depressed patients to predict antidepressant treatment response.  Outside of the lab he coaches the UCLA women’s ultimate frisbee team, where he uses his knowledge of brain and behavior to unlock their peak performance.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

As part of my ongoing effort to let people know about the Wellness Club team at Whole Foods Market in Lincoln Park, I spoke with Heather Sulic, Wellness Club Team Leader and massage aficionado! I’ve been working with Heather closely these past few months and I must say, she really knows not only how to implement a good nutrition program, but also how to run a fun and active Wellness Club! Meet Heather and read more about her take on the Wellness Club and what is offered there.

Heather Sulic, Wellness Club Team Leader

1. Why did Whole Foods decide to open the Wellness Club at the Lincoln Park store?

We are piloting a Wellness Club in 5 stores throughout the U.S.  Lincoln Park was chosen because it’s a cutting edge store with a great space and loyal customer base.

2. Aside from nutrition classes, what other programs does the WC offer?

Our program offers everything you need for optimal wellness. In addition to nutrition, we educate members on lifestyle change and the psychology of eating habits.  Chef Katie will also teach you how to cook great-tasting healthy dishes. We also offer services to get you active and help you to slow down, whichever you need!  Each day we offer multiple fitness and yoga classes.  We also have massage on site–great for stress relief and pain management.  All of the classes are included in the membership and massage is offered at a discount for members, only $65 for one hour! And, members receive a 10% discount on about 4000 items throughout the store.
3. Can I take classes and get massages at the WC if I am not a WC member?

Yes, most of our services are available a la carte. Yoga classes are$15 a class for non-members, for example, and  massages for non-Wellness Club members are $80/hour.

5. Does the Wellness Club have a changing room?

Students can change their clothing to fitness gear in the men’s and women’s restrooms. For massages, clients can change in the massage room when the massage therapist steps out of the room before and after the massage.

6. I sweat a lot when I exercise. Does the Wellness Club have showers?

We don’t have showers or a locker room.  Our fitness classes are designed for increasing functional fitness-moving through a complete range of motion, building strength, working on core and stability.  We don’t offer cardio classes.  We do have a wide variety of fitness clubs in our local network though.  These businesses are offering discounts and free services for our members who’d like to get some sweating in too!

7. Where do I put my shoes, winter coat and stuff during yoga class at the WC?

Yes, we have cubbies for your shoes and a coat rack.

8. Do you have childcare at the Wellness Club? Some moms like to take fitness classes and get massages but have a toddler/baby etc.

We don’t have childcare services.  However, we will be featuring many classes that you can participate in with your child.  Cooking with Kids classes and Kids Movement classes will be starting soon.  And Kids Science Labs and Fantasy Kingdom, two kid friendly businesses nearby, would love to see your kids while you make use of our Wellness Club services.

9.  Is the WC program vegan?

The Wellness Club program is Plant Strong meaning we advocate eating predominantly whole or minimally processed plant foods.  However, we do have some meat and seafood items that are included in the discount program.

10. How do I get the 10% discount card? Is it free?

Membership includes unlimited classes (yes, yoga too!), discounts on massage onsite and discounts from local businesses in addition to the discount at Whole Foods Market.  For a limited time only memberships are available for a $1 start-up fee and only $49/month!

11. What could I expect from you as a coach to help me incorporate healthier eating into my current diet? How about fitness?

I’m really focused on finding out where you’re at now and what your goals are.  My job is to give you manageable steps to help you move from point A to point B with lots of stops along the way to celebrate successes.  When it comes to fitness, I’m passionate about explaining the “why” behind what you’re doing.  If you’re going to put the effort in, it makes sense to be getting the most bang for your buck.  Too often people spend a lot of time and energy at the gym and end up injured or discouraged because they don’t know how to work out properly. I want to help with that!

Who is Heather Sulic, Wellness Club Team Leader?

Heather has a degree in Secondary Education and has been teaching in various capacities throughout the 12 years that she has worked with Whole Foods Market.  She spent many years in Store Leadership and as a Human Resources Coordinator.  Heather is a Certified Personal Trainer and also holds a certification in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell University.  Whether it’s one-on-one or in a classroom setting, Heather’s coaching focuses on thorough education and her goal is to help individuals excel in their healthy lifestyles.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Where can you get unlimited yoga and fitness classes Chicago for $49 a month and $1 down? (Discount applies until November, 2011. Then the initial processing fee goes up.)

The Lincoln Park Wellness Club at the Whole Foods Market in Lincoln Park!

Whole Foods Market Wellness Club Yoga Room Equipment Awaits You In Lincoln Park

And how many yoga studios in Chicago also offer:

• Free cooking  and nutrition classes?

• A 10% discount on over 4000 items in the grocery store?

Last time I checked, none. And yes, I am a Wellness Club member. And happy to say I have already gotten discounts on my groceries, had several discounted massages and I am a  yoga  fan!

Stop by the Wellness Club at the Lincoln park Whole Foods Market at

1550 N. Kingsbury, Chicago, IL 60642

on the Mezzanine (Balcony) over the in store restaurants. You may just run into me there!

For more info, click here to go to the Wellness Club webpage.

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Starting September 5, 2011, Working Well Massage is offering table massages in the new Wellness Club! And from Sept 5 to October 5 we have a special offer for our table massage clients. We are offering a free yoga class voucher to all our clients that book a one hour table massage! Yoga classes are held in the Wellness Club’s yoga room.

To book your next relaxing, therapeutic massage with Working Well Massage, call the Wellness Club 312-202-6444.

Working Well Massage Massages in the Wellness Club
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am- 8pm, Sat-Sun, 9am-7pm
Location: Whole Foods Market Wellness Club
Mezzanine level
1550 N. Kingsbury (between North Avenue and Division Street)
Chicago, Illinois 60642

Free parking available in the garage, enter on Kingsbury.


Wellness Club Members: $65/hr massage
Non-Wellness Club Members: $80/hr massage

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

As fall approaches, I hear winter calling as well. For me that means more indoors workouts and potentially more boredom in my workout routine, UNLESS, I use more Wii Fit. And as luck would have it, game designers are still creating new offerings for the Wii Fit. And while Wii Fit may not have a Tai Chi module ready for us, there is a new combination Yoga and Pilates program coming out for Wii Fit. According to Wii Fit Yoga blog here, there is a plan for a new Wii Fit module to incorporate both Yoga and Pilates exercises. It is being developed by a UK based developer and is slated for release on September 28, 2010.

According to the UK version on Amazon,  this Wii Fit module includes:

  • 117 exercises and 3 Real Personal Trainers
  • A comprehensive Yoga & Pilates training program with relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Customizable goals for a unique experience
  • Videos with different framing and fully localized audio commentary.

Pre-order your own copy of the Wii Fit New U module via this link: New U Fitness First Yoga and Pilates

Check out some of the sample screens below!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

First came Ratemyprofessor for students to rate college professors.. Then there was Yelp for consumers to rate just about everything. Now there are  a number of websites offering reviews on all kinds of things. One of the latest review websites to catch my eye is the new Rate my yoga.

On this new website, you can rate your yoga teacher, rate your yoga studio or look up a variety of products offered such as yoga videos and props.

Listings for studios and teachers that want to promote themselves are on the site are FREE. (Don’t you love Free in this day and age.) And the cost to write a review: your time and effort only.

So, if you are looking for a yoga studio, or are a yoga teacher or studio owner that wants to get yourself listed, check out Rate my yoga.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for about  20 years now. I’ve been appreciating art since my brother drew his first crayon drawing and my mom hung it on the fridge. With great delight I found out today that one woman is now mixing art and yoga–just a block from my office! After 22 years in the art gallery business Melanee Cooper Gallery will be transforming its space into a yoga studio at the same location. The new yoga studio, Yoga House, will offer free yoga during Art Chicago for gallerists and artists.

From Gallery Owner to Yoga Teacher

Photo: Brendan Lester

Melanee Cooper received her BA from the University of Michigan in 1984. Opening her first gallery at the age of twenty-six, she has exhibited and represented hundreds of contemporary artists, which contribute to her experience and fascination with the surface, texture and process of the artwork. After twenty years in the art business working with collectors, art professionals and artists, the gallery’s focus is to educate and provide outstanding personal client service. According to an article about Yoga House in Time Out Chicago, Melanee received her teachers training certification in yoga at the Nosara Yoga institute in Costa Rica.

Her new yoga studio offers classes in hatha yoga, vinyasa flow yoga and restorative yoga. And artwork will still be features on the walls of the studio!


First class with YOGA HOUSE – complimentary

class: $17.00

class packages:
5x – $65 (one free class)
10x – $140 (two free classes)
20x – $285 (three free classes)

Lunchtime yoga – one hour – $12.00

Class packages are non-refundable.

Class schedule here.

Yoga House's New Home!

Melanee Cooper / Yoga House

740 N. Franklin (60654)
Tel 312-202-9305


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