1301 Lafayette Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

10329 Illinois Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46814

Phone: 260-627-YOGA (9642)


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Student Feature-Kathleen Byerley-Yoga On and Off the Mat.

Although Kathleen had practiced on an off for years, her yoga journey may have began back in 1999 with her diagnosis of cancer and surgery. The practice of yoga has helped her stay centered and calm in the midst of challenging times, such as metastatic cancer in 2005 and then again in 2013, both with complete remission. 

Kathleen found her way to PranaYoga back in January 2010, just for Leah (Walker) IIse's class each week. She had been taking private yoga instruction from her, and Lea strongly suggested that Kathleen explore the pranayoga community. Until then, Kathleen had taken various yoga classes, but says she was unaware of the holistic approach to yoga, until she began classes at Pranayoga. When Kathleen began yoga 101 with Dani she knew she didn't want it to end, so she continued her studies in our 200 hour teacher training program, which she completed March of 2011. 

Kathleen enjoys the Yoga for Cancer Classes hosted by the Pranayoga Foundation on Fridays at Pranayoga Institute at 11am, and Mondays at Northeast Indiana Cancer Services at 5pm. Kathleen has experienced these classes as being very beneficial to her journey and explains, " I know that my physical body goes with the flow of various discomforts much more easily by participating in these classes.  The real asset to me is the quieting of my mind that I sense." She also loves the group involvement of these classes, and says they are a celebration of the "real principle of yoga; Union." Occasionally,  when her schedule conflicts with the yoga for cancer classes, she attends one of our pranayoga's chair or restorative classes.

At times our path is full of obstacles, and our ability to move through them and around them is a skill that can be learned on the mat and applied to life when the foundation seams shaky.  Kathleen was most challenged to live in the present when she had a torn retina with five surgeries between 2011-2012. She came to realize that it was no longer safe to drive a car.  "That certainly gives ways for new communication to open, and new contentment," she says.

Kathleen's husband Wayne supports her by driving her to classes, which she is very appreciative of. She says her desire is to attend many more yoga classes and seminars, as she did during the teacher's training, however "life goes a lot slower now," she says with a warm content smile.

We are always searching for the perfect pose both on and off the mat. Kathleen says her medical challenges have allowed a constant exploration of her favorite pose, an opportunity to always listen and flow with life's seasons. She finds the restorative and relaxation postures the most beneficial and healing, and recently found an appreciation for the improvement she felt in tree pose(vrksasana-pictured below)

 "I could sense much more stability since my perception and balance with the eye journey is constantly challenged. This gives me such a sense of joy to know that the "inner me" can grow even if the physical has changed."-  

Celebrating Tree Pose

Kathleen reflect back to her 200 hour teacher training, and Dani speaking about "Yoga Off the Mat." along with recommending several books on the topic.

 " I never realized at that time, how much that would come into my life.  I will work with Dani at Pranayoga in many ways to allow the opportunity of yoga to be given to many people in all ways that I can. Yoga can give you what you need, when you need it, if you learn to quiet and listen to the inner self.  The secret to learn is to be very gentle with yourself, sometimes going to the edge; but never causing pain.  If that edge is crossed, again, it is a learning situation to connect more with one's own body. If someone felt compelled to begin yoga, I would say to quiet yourself and sense from where this drive seems to come, and then "GO FOR IT!!!"  Start with the beginning classes and progress slowly.  Yoga is more than physical.  It is mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual, if you want it to be."

Article by Dani McGuire
Photos By Ashley Le Tourneau Photography

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Inspiration Corner- Student Feature Missy Reiff

We love this Yogini and Mother of 7-who just finished her first FULL marathon. Give her a big congratulations, and maybe a little shoulder rub next time you see her at the yoga school!

How does she do it!? We wanted to know!

Missy started her yoga practice about 5 years ago, after the birth of her 7th child. She wanted to try something different and effectively get her body back from carrying all those babies. She started for the physical benefits, but quickly found that the time spent practicing yoga helped her in other ways. 

The gift of time, important for a woman with 7 children and tons of ambition.
Missy says that her yoga classes have blessed her with time.  Quiet time for herself. Time to meditate on Christian scriptures. Time to send love to other people. And, time for her to slow down and appreciate who she is, and what she is capable of.

The benefits have been both mental and physical. Due to Missy's regular yoga practice, she claims to be physically stronger and leaner than before yoga.  "I could never run very far without aching and popping joints", she says, and after several years of having a regular yoga practice, Missy ran her first full 26.2 mile marathon!!

Family Missy's family is a huge support for her and her yoga practice has been a great support through the peace it has allowed her to share as a compassionate person, wife, and mom.

"I like to spend time on my mat thinking of someone who needs my thoughts and prayers, someone who is going through a physical ailment or an emotional event. This way, I can make my yoga time not just about me."

We asked Missy about her favorite posture and style of yoga, although we know this is always changing and hard to pick just one!

"I love trikonosana(pictured below-the triangle pose). It just feels great to be in this posture. This posture has me building strength and finding calm at the same time. I can feel the stretching and strengthening throughout my entire legs and hips. I love how my back, chest, and shoulders feel so open and strong. Its just a great peaceful pose, there's a lot going on throughout your entire body.  

I love Prana Flow Vinyasa. I find the flow of the class to be very rhythmical in nature, as well as challenging for my physical body. The flow of that class really speaks to my body and the way it wants to move and flow.  I also love Power Yoga classes. That class pushes me physically in a way that satisfies my athletic drive. I love the physical challenges, and quite frankly enjoy the muscular burn i get from holding postures.

 I recommend yoga to everyone I talk to. Seriously, i think my family and friends hear about yoga from me all the time. The 2 questions i get most often are: How do you juggle all those children? and How do you stay fit after having so many children and raising them?
My answer to both of those questions is yoga! Yoga gives me the energy to keep up with the demands of my family,and the psychological recharge time needed to raise my children. And, well, yoga keeps me fit too. It has been a great compliment to weightlifting and running.

Yoga has made me a better wife, mom, runner, weightlifter, etc....   I can't say enough positive things about it. I would love to be able to pass what i have received through yoga along to others, and that is why I began the teacher training program."

We asked Missy what she would say to someone who felt compelled to begin yoga! 

"I would say, "You will not regret it. You will learn to appreciate where your body is at right now, while at the same time improving your health.

 I just love taking classes at Prana. The people (instructors and students) are fantastic, its a wonderful community. There are great opportunities for learning as well, with all the great workshops and trainings that are offered."

Thank you for sharing- Missy, You are a HUGE inspiration to us! 

Photos by: Ashley LeTourneu Photography

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pilgrimage to India By Kim Stanley

When people find out I went to India, the next question I am most often asked is, “Why?” For a long time, the only answer I had was “I don’t know”.  I mean, I talk a good game when teaching about letting ‘our decisions come from love and not from fear’ but off my mat, fear usually keeps me far away from foreign lands supposedly fraught femicide, rampant malaria and squat toilets. Yet something about this trip seemed right. Martin Luther King Jr. said that he had traveled to other countries as a tourist but when he came to India, it was as a pilgrim. Something about this journey just felt right; almost familiar.  There was no goal, no agenda, no group, no tour. It just unfolded perfectly.
If I try to find words to convey this to people I fall short of describing how absolutely incredible it is that I went to a place where most women still wear sari’s. Tens of thousands of years have passed and the traditional dress is still thriving. Think about it, in the United States our clothing barely resembles anything worn a mere 200 years ago.  
How do you describe to someone the shade of weathered teal that brightens humble cinder block homes making them seem almost lush against the dusty orange earth?
How does someone explain the vibrant cloths used to make Rajasthani women’s head coverings or the look of genuine welcome in their rugged deeply tanned grins and toothy smiles?  
Can I ever find the adjectives to describe the festooned pilgrims that filled Rishikesh after walking hundreds of miles on foot to gather water from the grey brown Ganges and return it to their village shrine?
There is no way I could I possibly do verbal justice to the experience of practicing laughing yoga and becoming  utterly  hysterically with one good friend and 20 complete strangers all  laying on the cool marble floor of an Ashram basement while monsoon rains pounded away at the jungle outside.
 Will I ever communicate what an honor it was to be able to practice yoga with the most lovely 82 year old man who honed his gift directly through his guru BKS Iyengar? 
And how can I make clear the simple joy of kirtan surrounded by the luxe of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib and what it was like to receive the humble langar served to me on a dented thali that had fed and comforted millions before me.

Fortunately, I get to revisit all of these little scenes over and over in my mind. When I have a moment to reflect, maybe a brief second in savasana or when a word or smell fires up a memory,  I get to experience it all over again.  I do not have enough of a command of written language to tell you everything that I saw and felt and smelled and heard. All I can do is to encourage you to see it yourself.  India may not be the place where you become a pilgrim, but I believe that place does exist somewhere for everyone. Don’t let fear create the border of your pilgrimage. If you are questioning travel, trust your gut and go!  If you feel you need a reason, an answer to “why”, look to Mr. Twain who said it most eloquently; “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”   

After 11 years as a student, Kim finds the most beautiful thing about yoga is its adaptability to everyone.  No matter your age, physical ability or state of mind, you can take a class and find peace every single time; it is the only sure thing in this life.  Kim completed her 200 hour teaching certification from Pranayoga School of Yoga and Holistic health in 2013, and looks forward to continuing to learn about this amazing 5,000 year-old practice.  She has a B.S. in Organizational Leadership and lives in Fort Wayne with her husband and two children. Learn more about Kim HereTeaching: Yin Yoga, Hot Yoga, All Levels Yoga

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Salutations to Students of the Month Mark & Lori Bower

All of our students are family and stand out to us for the battles they have overcome in their bodies, minds, and habitual lives, we just have to give a big shout out to you because you INSPIRE us with an unmatched dedication and passion for learning the art and science of yoga.

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence." -- Helen Keller

Salutations to Students of the Month Mark and Lori Bower!

When did you first start yoga and what inspired you to come to your first
Mark- I started yoga in 2012 at a local YMCA.  I wanted to start an exercise I could do for the rest of my life and not cause me to end up in the hands of an orthopedic surgeon at an early age.

Lori- My interest in yoga began over 15 years ago.  My hobby was exercise at the time and I found yoga to be a refreshing experience compared to the gym and organized exercise classes that I would attend. 

How do you feel now that you are coming to regular yoga classes?  How is this different than how you felt before you began coming?
 Mark- I feel great.  I'm excited to fold and twist farther.  The difference from how I felt before is something I can't yet explain as to what drives me to practice yoga vs. the routine of the gym.
Lori- Now that I am able to practice yoga regularly I feel that yoga has changed my perspective on what exercise should look like.  Yoga is truly a practice not an exercise as I once thought.  The beautiful thing about yoga is that I don't have to have a destination.  Yoga is open ended and the mat is a place where I can be free physically and mentally. 

What yoga posture is your favorite and why?
Yes we LOVE the extended Side Angle too! (Utthitha Parsvakonasana) -will be featured on Tuesday DIY #HowtoYoga Featured on our PranaYoga Facebook Page

Mark- My favorite pose is extended side angle.  Twisting and revolving and opening the chest just feels good. 

Lori- My favorite yoga posture is side angle pose because it offers strength, an awesome side body stretch with a twist, and a wonderful feeling of openness. 

Would you recommend yoga class to someone else?  What would you say?
 Mark- Yes.  I would say give yoga a chance and you will notice the benefits.
Lori- Yes I have recommended yoga to others.  I say it's not exercise it's better!

In what ways does yoga add to your life?
Mark- Yoga adds stress prevention and relief.  Yoga adds to my life with a holistic approach with ongoing benefits.  It helps me make better food choices.
Lori- Yoga reminds me to breathe and stay in the moment which soothes my chattering, swirling mind.  Yoga just feels good!

What would you say to someone who felt compelled to begin yoga?
Mark- Be careful, you might enjoy it and become addicted. 
"Be Careful, you might enjoy it and become addicted"
Lori- I would say come to yoga without your "to-do list" and your expectations for what you think the experience should be or look like.  I would also say let go of your expectations for your ability.  Just come, breathe and enjoy the experience.  The mat is your own personal island with all the amenities you desire and even though other islands are near, there are none that can compare to your own. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Mark- Thank you Pranayoga for all the classes and teacher choices.  I feel like it's helpful to not get burned out.  I also should add the workshops are great. 

Lori- I appreciate Pranayoga for its variety of classes and teachers.  It's great to experience the different personalities and events that Pranayoga offers.  I appreciate Pranayoga for its focus on wellness and keeping yoga true to its nature, not exercise, but a practice. 

 "The mat is your own personal island with all the amenities you desire and even though other islands are near, there are none that can compare to your own. "-Lori Bower

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yin or Lose

I always feel little a bit like a Jehovah’s Witness on an atheist’s doorstep when I start to share my passion for Yin yoga.  My sermons about how Yin can save us from joint replacement, keep the qi (chi, prana, energy, whatever you want to call it) flowing through the meridian system and finally bring us to a balanced practice, are often met with cordial opposition. Outside, I see smiles and nods but inside they really just want me to give them pamphlet and get lost.

What is Yin?
Yang [sounds like gong] classes are most common in the United States and seem to satisfy our western obsession with visible results.  Those results are obtained through movement and repetition. Muscles are contracted during our yang practice to protect our joints. In turn, those larger muscles are lengthened and strengthened. Yin work is focused on getting less visible, but equally important results. Let’s use your car as an example. You take it to the car wash, maybe vacuum the seats once in a while and get any major dents or scratches repaired right away. But, you also spend the time and money to get the oil changed, have the occasional tune up and keep the washer fluid filled. Yin is just like that tune up, lube job, and cleanser. When we take the time to keep our joints and fascia (connective tissue) healthy, they are able to keep doing what they were designed to do for a much longer time. 
The biggest difference between Yin and Yang is time. According to Yin Yoga mac daddy Paul Grilley, in Yin Yoga, Principles & Practice, “the power of yin yoga is time, not effort.”  Poses are held for about 5 to 6 minutes, each with a slow transition period in between. Keep in mind these are supported postures; no crow pose for 6 minutes… The plan here is to apply a gentle ‘stress’ to ligaments and tendons. These types of tissues do not respond well to quick, abrupt movement which is why we work so hard to find proper alignment and muscle contraction in Yang class to protect them. To use an analogy from Mr. Grilley, Yin is kind of like braces for the body. We don’t wiggle our teeth back and forth really fast to get them to move into place. We use orthodontia to apply a slow, gentle ‘stress’ to safely move this type of tissue.

Kinda sounds like restorative…
Yin is a different practice than restorative yoga. While prop use is encouraged in both and there is a mutual focus on meditation, restorative is about, well, restoration.  Yin on the other hand is all about the stretch. And the meditation part is not-for-nothing; there is a science to how and why it works.
Meditative tools are used in Yin to try to get the parasympathetic nervous system on board. When we are worrying about something that happened earlier in the day or something that might happen later, our face, jaw and backside clench in.  We stay in ‘fight or flight’ mode and never get to ‘rest and digest’ (Bernie Clark, The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga). This is the same reason all yoga teachers are always going on about the present moment. When we stop fast forwarding and stop rewinding, we stop the over release of cortisol.  Reducing this nasty stuff can be so good for you as it has been linked to depression, insomnia and heart disease.

Mantra is another great way to move out of the sympathetic nervous system. I recently attended a Sarah Powers workshop and she introduced the most simple and effective mantra I have ever used, “What is going on now?” Just by asking yourself this question, you force your toddler of a thinking brain to find an activity to keep busy with.  See if you can get though 2 or even 3 self questions of “What is going on now” without letting your mind wander.

Why do I need it?
We want to avoid stress on the joints in yang because we are moving, flowing, and sometimes even jumping. This can cause the very ‘plastic’ tissues that make up the joints to become damaged.  Tendons and ligaments do not normally stretch more than 4 to 10 percent because they are made up predominately of collagen. (Bernie Clark)  Yin postures are specifically designed to safely move, apply pressure and introduce fluid to the joints.
Yang poses also require large muscle groups (think elastic) to contract. In yin, these muscles are relaxed so that the tendons and the ligaments can be stretched (think plastic). When muscles are contracted the joint is immobilized. Try flexing a finger and then try to stretch the joint or knuckle by pressing on that finger with the other hand.  We resist by contracting more and the joint does not get any stretch. When you relax your finger and don’t contract the muscles, notice how the joint is now feeling the gentle stress from the pressure of your other hand. This is yin in action.

This action also allows fluid to enter those areas. Without a direct blood source, we need the pressure and release in the joint to move synovial fluid, blood and other lubricants to these areas.  Without that action the tissue literally dries out, shrinks and gradually loses mobility. Additionally, as we age, the individual fibers of these tissues become more intertwined and create pockets for toxins to become trapped. The pressure and release of yin can work to flush out these areas and move trapped particles along and out through our waste systems. 

Yin will also benefit your yang practice. Still trying to get the old foot over the shoulder for compass pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana)? Adding a regular yin practice will get you that extra flexibility you need to move the hip in this extreme manner. I am not saying it will happen tomorrow, but it will get closer than it is now. You will notice an increased range of motion in all of your yang postures and maybe even find yourself craving a little more time in the deep stretches at the end of a heated or flow class.

When can I get some?
Prana offers several yin classes. There are two full yin practices and a combination yin and vinyassa class. Monday Yin is southwest and Wednesday yin is downtown. 

Check the schedule for details.

We are all short on time and often, we can rationalize skipping this type of practice to get to what we deem to be results. But when we do this, we are leaving important areas of the body to atrophy and shrink. We can justify getting to the studio to sweat and stretch our muscles, but we let our joints dry up like a tired old kitchen sponge. Find the union in your yoga, the yin to your yang and a balanced body with these classes. Treat yourself like a Porsche instead of a Pinto and take care for what you can and cannot see.

About the Author: PranaYoga Teacher Kim Stanley, RYT200.                    After 11 years as a student, Kim finds the most beautiful thing about yoga is its adaptability to everyone.  No matter your age, physical ability or state of mind, you can take a class and find peace every single time; it is the only sure thing in this life.  Kim completed her 200 hour teaching certification from Pranayoga School of Yoga and Holistic health in 2013, and looks forward to continuing to learn about this amazing 5,000 year-old practice.  She has a B.S. in Organizational Leadership and lives in Fort Wayne with her husband and two children. 

Teaching: Yin Yoga, Hot Yoga, All Levels Yoga

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Stick Your Paddle In by Dave Romanelli(Master Guest Teacher January 17-18)

My meditation space has a stack of my favorite books including Wayne Dyer’s interpretation of the Tao Te Ching, Lawrence Kushner’s Honey from the Rock, Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, some Frankincense oil (soothes the soul), and sage from Sedona, Arizona (clears the energy). But the centerpiece of my meditation space is a giant statue of Shiva. 

A Hindu God who is often depicted dancing, Shiva embodies rhythm and harmony,  the constant flow of life and death, endings and beginnings. Shiva’s energy infuses you with the vitality to deal with life's volatility.  With his energy, you can rise up on challenging days, snap back from bad days, and take advantage of good days. 

Vitality is fuel for the soul.  

And here’s the thing. Vitality cannot be acquired or bought, learned or inherited. Vitality is generated by uttering a simple word:


As Rick Hanson writes in Just One Thing, “...the script is always changing, and saying ‘yes’ keeps you in the flow, pulls for creativity, and makes it more fun. Try saying ‘no’ out loud or in your mind. How’s that feel? Then say ‘yes.’ Which feels better, opens your heart more, and draws you into the world?” 

Whether you are out of shape, reeling from an injury, burdened by work, or crushed by love, the tendency is to turn away, to avoid change, to let the unruly brain make unhealthy decisions.   

Turn around, dig deep, and say YES!


The summer of 2008, I went with my brother on a trip to Alaska. 

Halfway down the river on a white water rafting trip, the guide tells us, “Ok this is the end of the trip for most of you. The rest of the river is Class 5 which means very advanced. Great meeting you today.”

The guide assumed we were a bunch of fancy pants yuppies from LA and we wouldn’t continue.

He was right.

I was gathering my stuff to exit the raft...

...when my brother says, “We're doing this!"

And we proceeded, in 33 degree water, with very specific instructions on what to do when we fell out of the raft. They went so far as making us jump in the river, in full body wet suits, to feel what it would be like to fall in.

Mind you, the river was lined with bears searching for salmon, not to mention class 5 super intense rapids.

The guide gave us one piece of advice before starting.

If you cower in the raft, you’re going to get sucked in. So engage, dig your paddle deep into the rapids.  That’s how you’re going to stay in the raft.

My brother looked at me as if to say, “We didn’t come to Alaska to pet each other and hold hands.” Which was exactly what I wanted to do: look at some mountains, smell the fresh air, maybe catch a fish or two.  But bears? Freezing water? Rapids? I needed to be held.

We pushed off and down we went. I dug my paddle into those rapids harder than a vegan nun holds her Bible at a sleezy Vegas steak joint.

And yes, it was quite possibly the most exhilarating adventure of my lifetime.  Partly because I moved through my fear, but mostly because of how I moved through it...fully engaged.
The rapids hit hard and bit hard. In a moment when I normally would have taken cover, instead I dug in deep. Each intense stroke of the paddle into the freezing water was yet another way of saying that life-affirming word...

So stick your paddle in! Whatever you are facing right now, embrace it fully.

As much as we hope for eternal serenity and utterly peaceful living, the universe is volatile and it will challenge you in love, health, business and faith.

What is currently stirring you up? A move to a new home or city? Changing jobs or maybe having a hard time finding one?
What are you fearing? Maybe it’s a big presentation, or job security? An upcoming social event, or love gone bad?
In what way do you feel overwhelmed? Too much work, unceasing financial burdens, overbearing responsibilities at home?
We all have something we are going through each and every day.  
We can shy away and hide, hoping we don’t get sucked in. Or we stick our paddle in!
As the guide screamed to us with the freezing water rushing into our eyes, “ROW, ROW, ROW!”
About Yeah Dave:
Dave Romanelli fuses ancient wellness practices with modern passions like exotic chocolate, jazz, fine wine, and gourmet food. His collaborations with chocolatiers, jazz artists, chefs, and sommeliers spread "the art of wellness" beyond the gym or yoga studio and into everyday life. Dave's work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Food + Wine, Newsweek, and The New York Times; and his debut book, Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment, reached #1 on the Amazon Self-Help Bestseller List. Dave's new book launches in Fall 2014 from Skyhorse Publishing. You can check out his workshops on GaiamTV as well as his show Yeah Dave! on uLive.