Namaste. Most people recognize the word as a respectful greeting chanted at the end of a yoga class. When Lisa Menard Schmahl says the word passionately to her students, you know she means it.
Lisa started practicing yoga years ago after a long battle with anxiety and depression. Astounded by the effect that yoga had on her body and mind, she began living a healthier, holistic lifestyle. She replaced smoking with meditation and after ten years of self-study, decided to honor her practice and her teachers by training to become a yoga instructor.
Lisa teaches and practices yoga at a variety of locations around the Chicago area, including Lakewview Athletic Club, Evolve Fitness, The Yoga Boutique and P.S. Chicago. Her belief that the best yoga instructors are also the most authentic is apparent in all of her classes, where she loves to laugh, have fun and interact with her students.”When I teach a yoga class I want my students to see that there really is beauty within each breath,” Lisa said. “Even in our most messed up moments, we are all perfect.”
For novice yogis, Lisa cultivates an environment where students can ask questions, fall down and laugh at themselves. Though there are dozens of yoga formats, Lisa primarily teaches Yoga Flow, Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga, which is a mixture of pranayama (breath work), asana (yoga poses) and strong core work.
Though her practices are traditional, Lisa will customize each of her classes to fulfill specific student’s needs. Lisa has a remedy for just about every ache and pain in the body – after going to her class for a few weeks, my strained leg muscle started to feel miraculously better thanks to her helpful tips and personalized stretches.
“Life is hard,” Lisa said. “I want students to learn tools to help them stay strong and centered in the challenging times, to help them always feel connected to source and honor their gifts.”
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