Students of STUDIO B - Teddi and Suzy

The best part about yoga at STUDIO B is the COMMUNITY. In our Students of STUDIO B series, we highlight some of the people who make STUDIO B such a special place to practice yoga and learn a little more about what they're up to, off of the mat.

This month we are highlighting Teddi Sakellarides and Suzy Biever-Grodzinski who were both recently accepted into the same PhD program at Temple University!

Teddi Sakellarides

SB: Tell us a little about yourself and your career

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TS: I have worked as a part-time faculty member at Lebanon Valley College (LVC) for the last four years. I am hired by the English and Sociology departments, teaching courses such as American Literature, Gender & Literature, Intro to Gender Studies, and Race & The Intersections of Identity. My own writing and research concentrates primarily on twentieth and twenty-first century African American women's novels, with a particular interest in the Gothic and slave narrative. In the classroom, my goal is to use language and narrative as a means to explore issues of gender and race, and to help students recognize the way that "texts" (in their many forms) can open up ongoing conversations across the humanities and social sciences. Lebanon Valley College has truly been the perfect place for me to ork; the liberal arts model of education allows me to teach classes in multiple departments and pursue my passion for interdisciplinary research, and the small class size grants me the opportunity to really connect with students and facilitate the kind of open and honest discussions I believe are ssential o learning. I know that each and every hour in the LVC classroom has made me a better thinker and teacher, and I will forever be grateful to LVC for the opportunity to discover and do what I lov. It has well prepared me for my next professional step: in the fall, I will move onto Temple University, where I will be a full-time PhD student and Teaching Assistant in the English department!

SB: When did you start practicing yoga at STUDIO B? What brought you to yoga initially and what keeps you coming back?

TS: I began practicing yoga at Studio B the very first week it opened! I visited my first Yoga studio in 2011. I was skeptical at first, but after the first class was blown away by how good I felt--not simply physically, but mentally as well. Yoga ensures I stay strong and flexible, but I return year after year for that great psychological reward. It is an hour of my day where my mind is most at rest.

SB What is your favorite part about yoga at STUDIO B specifically?

I love many things about Studio B (the engaging teachers and kind community certainly), but the location has to be my favorite part! It is so amazing to have a heated yoga studio in my own work 'backyard.'

Suzy Biever-Grodzinski

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SB: Tell us a little about yourself and your career

SBG: I currently teach 8th, 10th, and 12th grades English grammar and literature at Lebanon Catholic School as well as writing at HACC's Lebanon Campus. However, my ultimate goal some day is to teach at the college level full-time! To help me reach that goal and to grow my own knowledge of literature, I applied to various PhD programs and was accepted to Temple's program. I plan on studying various female authors from the Renaissance and Restoration periods of British Literature, analyzing how these female authors respond to being marginalized and constrained by societal expectations and restrictions.

SB: When did you start practicing yoga at STUDIO B? What brought you to yoga initially and what keeps you coming back?

Oh my! I've lost track! Four years ago? Five? I had done yoga on DVDs on my own every now and then before finding Studio B. Primarily I wanted to learn the "right" way to accomplish yoga poses, rather than just teaching myself. I wanted proper instruction. I also wanted a way to de-stress from work and cope with anxiety while pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I didn't know that Studio B was heated yoga when I first started and had no clue what "power" yoga was. During my first class I thought, "What did I get myself into?" But then I was hooked. Hooked on advancing from pose to pose, to learning more about myself, and to meeting new people and learning their own perspectives and styles of practicing yoga.

SB: What is your favorite part about yoga at STUDIO B specifically?

The community! I love how everyone knows each other and pushes one another while still providing support! It's such a wonderful and positive atmosphere! Also, I've made friendships that have extended beyond the studio. Some of my fellow yogis and I will hang out outside of the studio as well!

yoga on chocolate....by studio b

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” — Steve Jobs

To My Friends and Students:

I am excited to share with you that our STUDIO B POWER YOGA (SBPY) family is growing. On February 12, 2018, I will officially step in as the new owner of Yoga on Chocolate (YOC) in Hershey, PA and the SBPY and YOC families will become one. This not only marks an exciting time for the local community, but also a full circle of personal growth for me. Yoga on Chocolate is where I took my very first yoga class and where I began to fall in love with the practice. I have always considered the studio my “yoga home” and I am so humbled by the opportunity to return to it.

I founded STUDIO B POWER YOGA in 2014 with the mission to share yoga as a tool for transformation. My intent was not only to nurture physical transformation, but also emotional, psychological, and spiritual change as well—the very kind of dynamic transformation we might say occurs from the “inside out.” Going forward, this mission remains unchanged. I want to assure all students that STUDIO B and YOC will remain the very same yoga studios that you have grown to love—both in programming and philosophy. They will simply offer you more opportunities to learn and grow alongside one another. You can expect more classes, class times, teachers, workshops, teacher trainings, and of course, even more locations to expand your practice.

As members of STUDIO B and YOC, you will have access to all three studios, whether you are on a class pass or an unlimited membership. While our primary course offerings will still focus on heated power vinyasa flow, we will also offer B3 (advanced vinyasa yoga), yin, gentle, senior, and kids yoga classes in addition to our very popular Beginner Series and Project Y.E.S. programs, which will be held at all three locations.

This new venture is bittersweet, as my dear friend and partner-in-teacher-training Patrick O'Connell moves out of Hershey, where he has lived for 40 years, and relocates to Pittsburgh. I would like to extend a personal note of gratitude to Pat for the amazing opportunity to work and grow alongside him over these past few years. He is a mentor so many—including myself—and has graciously shared the depths of yoga with our surrounding community. It is my hope to teach others what Pat has taught me, and to do it with the utmost integrity and authenticity.

I am excited to share more of what I have been working on for the year ahead. The possibilities are endless and we have only just begun. Stay tuned!

With Love,

Brittany

 

 

Checking in From Bulgaria......

Megan Lough, STUDIO B TT graduate and teacher, is currently in Bulgaria on a Fulbright Scholarship teaching English, and yoga! Below she shares some thoughts on how yoga is helping her stay present and grounded while she is so far away from home. You can catch Megan when she's in town over the holidays for two classes before she heads back to finish out the school year:  B3 - Saturday December 23rd @ 9:15am in Annville & Vinyasa Flow - Tuesday December 26th @ 5:30pm in Annville. We are so proud of you, Megan!

From Megan:

A year and a half ago, I was sitting in the lobby of Studio B during a 50-hour teacher training. Brittany was leading us through some intention setting and we were discussing the power of attraction. We were told to think big and imagine what a perfect day would be ten years from now. Then we broke down our ten-year dream into specific things we want to accomplish and what we want our lives to look like and feel like. I wrote down that I wanted to be doing some sort of international education and I wanted to mentor young girls. I wanted to feel both grounded and a sense of adventure. Well, here I am, a year and a half later sitting in a communist style flat in a town in Northwest Bulgaria writing this blog post.

 

I am exactly where I want to be and fulfilling a dream of mine - but just because this is exactly what I want to be doing, doesn’t make it easy. In fact, this is the most difficult thing I have ever done. Every day I miss home, and sometimes I’m filled with self-doubt, anxiety, and fear. But then I remember to breathe. I remember not to run from these feelings. Now more than ever, the tools I’ve gained from yoga and teacher trainings are so important to me. Yoga has taught me the importance of being self-aware and staying in the moment. This experience of mine is only temporary, and I don’t want to wish it away when times get tough. I want to feel how this experience is changing me and making me a better person.

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One of the most difficult things for me is feeling grounded and present during this experience. I know that I’m only here for ten months, and sometimes I get overwhelmed with the thought of my next step, of coming home and being with my friends and loved ones again. But I tell myself to take one day at a time. I allow myself to imagine my next step, but not get so occupied by the future that I forget to value the things that are right in front of me. I live in a beautiful town right in the middle of the mountains. Everyday I see hundreds of Bulgarian students that are (mostly) excited to see me. I get to learn about an incredibly rich culture and hear stories from locals. I get to try new foods, see new places, and I get to help students practice their English and reach their dreams.

 

One of my favorite things about my time here in Bulgaria is starting a yoga club at the school I’m teaching for.  Twice a week I meet with about ten high school aged girls. I walk them through about 40 minutes of a fun vinyasa flow, we break down different poses, we listen to music, we occasionally stop and have a quick dance party in between sequences, and we breathe and meditate. At the end of every class, I have each student silently think of one positive thing about themselves, and then we seal that with a cleansing breathe together. Last week, I accidently skipped over this part, and my students quickly reminded me and asked if we could go back and have this moment. There’s also something pretty amazing about seeing these girls sit in total peace for a few moments. I am constantly reminded that yoga really is for everybody - no matter what language you speak, what country you come from, or how old you are.

 

In a few short weeks, I’ll be coming home for Christmas. I am so excited to take a few yoga classes, be back at the studio, and see my family and friends and to stay present and in the moment. And then I’ll be back in Bulgaria doing the same thing here.

How To: Side Crow + Variations and Transitions

The focus pose for our current installment of B3 is Side Crow. Learn how to get into this pose and about it's many variations and transition possiblities.

The side crow is an arm balance that requires deep twist and total body engagement. This pose can be accessed from many different postures making it a fun transition pose. While it can be a challenging pose for many, there are a number of ways to prep for side crow. As with most other arm balances, alignment and technique play a larger role than strength, so if you think you aren't "strong" enough for this pose, think again.

Tips for Getting into Side Crow

  • Spread your fingers wide and engage through your hands, especially the mounds of the knuckles and the pads of the fingertips.
  • Don't let your shoulders dip lower than your elbows (think: chatarunga arms!)
  • Keep your core engaged and distribute your weight evenly throughout your whole body instead of dumbing into your wrists/arms.
  • When you are first learning this pose, start by lifting one foot off of the mat at a time, but avoid hopping/using momentum
  • Practice deepening your twists in poses like twisting crescent lunge and mountain climber prep (from 3 point, bringing your knee to your opposite elbow)

Video Tutorial: How to side crow

With the above tips in mind, check out this video for prepping for and getting into side crow.

 

 

 

 

Why This POse? Dead Bug Exercise

Welcome to or first edition of Why This Pose where we take a deeper look at the weird stuff we do in yoga.

Today we are talking about the Dead Bug. If you've taken a class with me lately, you've definitely experienced this exercise. 

Introduced to me by the fellas over at Strength Faction, this exercise has quickly become my favorite core exercise for my clients and myself.

what are the Benefits of the Dead Bug?

Glad you asked! The primary goal of the dead bug is to strengthen the core and improve anterior core stability all while minimizing pressure on the low back. This movement is also a great drill for realizing and correcting excessive anterior pelvic tilt. Performing this exercise on the floor not only provides stability, but feedback that you can take with you into other core movements and, well, life. 

Tips for Doing the Dead Bug Exercise Correctly

The benefits of the Dead Bug sound great, don't they? Who doesn't want stronger abs, better posture, and improved mobility? The trick is, you only get these benefits by performing the move correctly. Below are some of my tips for doing that:

  • Press your low back into the floor so hard that if you tried to shove your hand under your back, you couldn't! (not sure? try it!) If you can't perform this movement without lifting your low back off of the mat, perform the beginner version until you can.
  • Move slowly! There is no reward for rushing through this exercise. Rushing only leads to loss of control which negates the benefits. Take your time!
  • Use proper breathing techniques
    • From the starting position, take a full inhale through your nose
    • Exhale forcefully through your nose (think ujjayi breath) as you perform the movement on both sides
    • As you exhale, focus on expanding sideways and into the floor. Remember, low back down!
  • Don't let your knees move past your hips. Keep them in line.

How to do the dead bug exercise

Beginner

  • Lie on your back with your arms extended towards the ceiling 
  • Bend your hips and knees to a 90-degree angle, shins parallel to the floor
  • Take a deep breath in.
  • As you exhale, tighten your abs and press your lower back into the floor.
  • Take another deep breath in.
  • As you exhale, slowly extend your left leg straight out and tap your foot on the floor.
  • Keep your abs tight and don't let your lower back lift off the mat (aka don't arch).
  • Slowly return your leg to the starting position, without letting the knees move past the hips
  • Repeat with your opposite leg. Continue alternating.

Intermediate

  • Lie on your back with your arms extended towards the ceiling 
  • Bend your hips and knees to a 90-degree angle, shins parallel to the floor
  • Take a deep breath in.
  • As you exhale, tighten your abs and press your lower back into the floor.
  • Take another deep breath in.
  • As you exhale, slowly extend your left leg in front of you and your right arm overhead.
  • Keep your abs tight and don't let your lower back arch.
  • Slowly return your arm and leg to the starting position, without letting the knees move past the hips.
  • Repeat with your opposite arm and leg. 
  • Repeat 3-5 times on both sides.

Advanced

Oh you fancy, huh? If you want to take your dead bug to the next level, then add some light weights (2-5lbs in each hand). This will help increase resistance which will in turn increase the intensity. Remember, the most important part is that you resist arching your back.

Check out my video tutorial to see it in action!

 

 

 

B3 August-September. What is B3?

Happy August Everyone! Have you heard? A new B3 sequence and playlist launched yesterday and we are excited to start sharing it with you all. Keep reading to learn more about what B3 is and what you can expect from the newest launch.

What is B3?

B3 is a system of yoga that will eventually involve 3 tiers of classes, B1, B2 and B3. We launched B3 (the class) back in June and are still working on B1 and B2. For now, lets talk about B3 (the class).

B3 is an advanced vinyasa flow, but don't let the word, "advanced" scare you. While this class gives you the opportunity to explore more advanced asanas, we always encourage you to honor your body and your "edge" by modifying and resting as needed.

A New System of Yoga

This class is different from others in that it is set to music and incorporates more creative sequencing. You can expect the same sequence & playlist for 6-8 weeks before we switch things up. Each sequence has a focus pose and theme, adding purpose and structure to your class. It also includes 2 opportunities for "yogi play time" where you can work on any pose you'd like (Yes, that includes Child's Pose : ) Our goal is to create an intentional and consistent experience balanced with possibility and exploration.

Collaboration Is Key

We really want this new class to become a collaborative effort. Give us your feedback! What would you like to see more of? less of? Are there certain songs you'd like us to incorporate? Leave out? What about a focus pose recommendation? Your input is important so please feel free to share!

An Interactive Learning Experience

B3 is intended to become an interactive learning experience for both the student and the teacher. Every new launch will be accompanied by blog posts, tutorial videos and discussions about why we are doing what we are doing and how to do those things safely and with integrity. 

A Fun Workout

Did we mention B3 is fun?  It's fun, fast-paced and a really great workout. 

B3 August - September

Our latest B3 launch is all about the twists! Twisting always feels better/more accessible during the hotter months when the body is already warm, so we are riding out that wave for sure! As summer winds down, twisting also provides an opportunity to get rid of what's no longer serving us so that we can make space for the new season ahead. We will talk about this theme more over the next few weeks.

With a class focused on twisting, it's no surprise that our focus pose is Side Crow, a pose that requires a deep twist to access. Stay tuned for a blog post and tutorial video explaining the variations and progressions of side crow.

Regarding the playlist, we understand everyone's musical tastes are different, so we've got a little bit of everything. This month's playlist features Tina Turner, Post Malone, Miranda Lambert and Kaleo, just to name a few. You can check out the full playlist on Apple Music Here

Speaking of music, is there another platform you'd like to see this on? Let us know..

That's all for now, but stay tuned throughout the month as we share more information about B3 and other happenings around the community here on the blog. As always, feel free to contact us with questions and feedback. 

Students of STUDIO B - Karen Beall, KRB Ceramics

At STUDIO B, our students are some of the coolest people around. Their professions, stories and backgrounds have inspired us to start a new series, Students of STUDIO B. Each month we will highlight a member of our community who is up to really cool things.

We are kicking off the series with Karen Beall owner of krb ceramics.

 Karen and student in class "Wine Coolers"

Karen and student in class "Wine Coolers"

SB: Tell us a little about yourself and your business:

KB: I am an artist and my artwork incorporates sculptural forms derived from small, often overlooked species from the natural world. Much like a scientist, I collect and study fungi and plants to serve as sources of inspiration. At times my artwork also comments on environmental themes. I recently set up a ceramics studio in my home and after years of teaching at Lebanon Valley College I've started to teach children and adults in my own studio. I offer weekly Saturday classes for children and project-based classes for children, teens, and adults. My website--krbceramics.com--features my ceramic artwork and provides information about the classes. I also have a website--karenrichbeall.com--that features all of my artwork.

 Children in Saturday morning class

Children in Saturday morning class

SB: When did you start practicing yoga at STUDIO B and what was your goal when you started? 

KB: I started practicing yoga at STUDIO B in Fall 2016 because I wanted to work towards becoming more peaceful, focused, relaxed and flexible.

SB: What is your favorite part about yoga at STUDIO B?

KB: My favorite part of Studio B is the getting to know yoga community and the teachers...and the location!

 Karen’s artwork “Nature’s Recyclers”

Karen’s artwork “Nature’s Recyclers”

Karen, Thank you for participating and for being a part of the community at STUDIO B!!

P.S. You can find some of Karen's work at our Annville studio!