Tips for Personal Peace from Catherine Ashton of Younique Yoga of NWI

I first met Catherine Ashton when she spoke at a Healthy Living  workshop called Healthy U" in Merrillville Indiana.  I shared this experience (and my Fashionista faux paux) thanks to Project Runway's Nick Verreos who gave a talk on women and fashion here.  

The other workshops I was interested in (Sugar Detox, Simplify & Organize Your Life & Home) all had the same speaker:  Catherine Ashton of Sacred Spaces Interiors.  I only got to attend two of her sessions but I was hooked.  I still have the card she handed out with simple steps listed on it hanging by my desk.  I wanted more of her and so we began a lazy series of phone tag and email efforts and thus, this a post two years in the ENJOY!

Catherine Ashton is a therapist in training but is a practicing artist for the past 28 years.  Her passion for Yoga, health & wellness moved her from a hospital administration job to seeing clients & teaching yoga.  Catherine wanted more a creative path, she wanted less, and she wanted to simplify her life.

When I caught up with Catherine again last year for this interview, she is teaching yoga in Chicago full time and it has blossomed as a business for her. She still does private practice with women offering hypo therapy and yoga psychology.

I wanted more of what I saw in the workshop, so I asked her some questions and these are my favorite thoughts from that conversation.

"We can be blessed and happy at the same time."

1) Gratitude is a powerful way of being in the world.  When we are grateful, the whole world changes.    It is hard to be unforgiving and hateful if we are grateful.

2) The other piece of this is we tend to look for external kinds of things to make us ,job title, the car...but once we get those things we are still not happy and we cannot figure out why.  Money is an exchange in the world.  When we are connected to ourselves and other people we do feel that happiness, that sense of peace and belonging we all want.

Catherine runs a yoga studio and yoga teacher training program called Younique Yoga (  They now offer classes for HOT YOGA in Valparaiso!  She is the  founder & director of teacher  training which serves NW Indiana through the south side of Chicago.

Catherine said "Yoga is not restricted to posture or poses, that is only 1/8 of it.  Yoga philosophy is much bigger than that...identifying most things that are important to us.  Identify what is important and letting go of the rest. Yoga is a way of thinking vs. a way of being."

I asked Catherine what brought her into yoga and she said, "I was pregnant and living in California  and started a prenatal yoga class almost 29 years ago."  She said her yoga teacher training focuses on
trauma sensitive issues for womenand healing through yoga practice.

How can a person bring yoga into their life without taking a class?

Attend once a week.  Most people are too distracted at home to do yoga.   Physically doing yoga  is the gateway through the body.    We are not going to challenge ourselves as much as someone else could in a class.  Yoga helps us be stronger,  flexible and more balanced.  It makes our spirit more flexible and balanced too.

I asked Catherine about the Pilates craze, or the PIYO class I tried recently that uses Pilates and Yoga together.  She said Pilates is based on yoga, it was an offshoot, but is predominately fitness based and doesn't focus on the mind body and spirit.  There are different kinds of yoga that are releasing and gentle and then there are others that work you as hard as a Pilates class.

She also said yoga in a studio is different than yoga in a gym.  Both the environment and the focus are different.

A few parting thoughts on living a better life:

  • UNPLUG DAILY for quiet time, prayer, meditation  This is 5-10 minutes of quiet--whatever you want to call--it; sitting in stillness with no sounds,  no distractions.

  • WRITE DOWN YOUR GRATITUDE.  Every day list ten to twenty things for which you are grateful.  It really does change your perspective.

  • PRACTICE YOGA. We were made to move and we have to move.

I hope you are able to check this out, meet Catherine and let me know how YOU were affected for the better.  

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P.S. My apologies  to Catherine as our meeting, the interview and and at long last this post have allowed much time to elapse.  Forgive any possible errors.

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