Issue 60 / July 2022

Changing States

Are you one of the many people feeling frozen in this moment of collective grief and overwhelm? As a species and as Americans, we are facing so many challenges all at once. It can be hard to remember how to feel hopeful or how to be helpful when there is so much suffering and violence.

We recently returned from a three-week trip to Europe to visit friends and family. Touring many monuments and ancient sites, I was reminded that humans have been engaged in experiments of collective violence, plagues, and rebuilding after violence and plagues, for many, many centuries.

This change of state- literally being away from our country- gave me some fresh perspective on the continued flux of humanity in every location on Earth. There is no optimal place on this planet- every region is challenged by the threats of war, climate change, economic instability and corrupt leaders.

Instead of focusing on changing location, which is mostly impractical for the majority of us, maybe we would be better served by changing our inner environs. The quickest way to do this is to physically do something different. Get up out of your chair and stretch. Run around the block. Turn off all your devices and have a good conversation face-to-face with a friend or a neighbor.

Sometimes when we are feeling the most overwhelmed and anxious, hearty cardiovascular exertion can helps us change states more effectively than just trying to calm ourselves down. This weekend, we are happy to welcome Sarah Tolan-Mee to the studio for an introduction to Mac-Talla, a creative combination of vigorous exercise and imaginative ritual.  If you like cardio exercise but wish it could be more meaningful, like yoga, this is just the thing for you.  Full details below.

It can be hard to remember what is helpful in times of great turmoil, whether personal or communal. But try to recall your capacity to change your state, just by moving your body. This is why our yoga community exists - so that you can join a group of people who want to change states, away from high-strung outrage and toward clear-seeing, relaxed alertness. You don't have to make it happen for yourself, all alone.  That's what we are here for!


This weekend

Mac-talla is a dynamic movement practice. Drawing from eclectic somatic traditions, each session incorporates mindfulness, visualization, and rigorous physical exercise. Mac-talla invites us into resonance across material, energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies. Aerobics meets ritual. Open to all levels of fitness and imagination. Expect to sweat.

Cost: $30, members save 15%, sliding scale gladly offered

More about Mac-talla

Mac-talla is a Scottish Gaelic word for echo, or reflected sound that returns to its first observer. The idea is that we are always in a resonant space, but that sometimes we experience fracture. This fracturing is a painful and unsustainable mode of being. Through breath, focus, and movement, Mac-talla invites us into awareness and integration. We reclaim the resonant, dynamic space that holds both actor and witness, vessel and spirit, intent and flower, givenness and transformation.

Your teacher

Sarah Tolan-Mee is a somatic practitioner and creator of Mac-talla. She guides creative artists, entrepreneurs, techies, humanists, Pulitzer Prize winners, and MacArthur geniuses in various awareness and movement modalities. She has conducted workshops locally and internationally for arts institutions, theaters, colleges, non-profits, teenagers in detention, and refugees seeking asylum. Her training includes Alexander Technique, Somatic Experiencing, Release Technique, Laban, Malian dance, Michael Chekhov Technique, and physical theater. She has a BA from Brown University and an MFA from The Juilliard School, where she worked extensively with Moni Yakim.

Fairly new classes

Coming in August

For your listening pleasure

I (Nick) appeared on J Brown's Yoga Talks podcast a few weeks ago.  We had a wide-ranging conversation about yoga, ritual and the evolution of yoga.  I managed to articulate some of my current thinking/questioning pretty well, and I'm happy with how it turned out.
Since 2005, Grateful Yoga has been supported by students who value a mindful practice in a peaceful, welcoming environment.  We educate our students with insights from the ancient practices of Hatha yoga, as well as the modern insights of yoga therapy, biomechanics and cognitive science.

Our highly-qualified teachers offer weekly group classes, specialized educational series, mentorship and training for new teachers and health professionals, private instruction, yoga nidra, and perinatal yoga.
We aim to become an inclusive center for deep yogic study and self-transformation. Students of all ages, religious beliefs and experience levels are welcome in our community.

We hope to be a lasting part of your journey toward health and joy.

Learn more, see our full schedule of weekly classes at

You can register for class in advance, or just show up!

1108 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201

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