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A Note from Tracy:

Fabulous February to you!  If for no other reason than we made it through January!  February for me always brings up the awareness of Valentines Day.  When I was younger, I mocked Valentine’s Day as a sappy fake holiday created by Hallmark to make those of us without romantic partners miserable. And while I no longer subscribe to that notion, there’s still a part of me that thinks we’ve got it all wrong when celebrating this “holiday”.  I see the store shelves load up with sugary confections in pink and red.  I see helium balloons and stuffed animals everywhere.  Jewelry commercials start to show in abundance on TV.  And there’s a certain guilt attached if you ARE in a romantic relationship and forget to get the obligatory card.  Doghouse for sure!

Like with any holiday though, it’s a matter of perspective.  The holiday is what I choose it to be, just like every other day of my life.  So, I choose to focus on the underlying vibrational current of the day, LOVE!  Yes, when you whittle down all the commercialism, it’s about love.  And what grander thing to celebrate than that?

Love comes in all forms. There’s the love of a parent or a child, filled with deep gratitude, appreciation and honor. There’s romantic love with the recognition that our partners bring out the best in us and us in them.  There’s the love we share with our friends, knowing that there’s nothing in this world too big or too small to share with them, and they will, out of love for us, help celebrate our joys or soothe our sorrows.  There’s the love we share with our devoted pets…. literally for most of us a compassionate, always understanding, never questioning part of our family. The list goes on and on.  The love of nature, or sports, or dancing, or food, or wine, or reptiles, or….you get the point. Love is everywhere….and that’s indeed something to be celebrated!

Perhaps the most underrated form of love is self-love.  Now I know, every time I bring this up I can just feel your eyebrows raise and you shift in your seat.  Why is it that talking about self-love is so very uncomfortable?  Do we confuse it with self-satisfaction, or being egotistical?  Do we confuse self-love with being selfish?  Is self-esteem just another word for not caring about others?  NO!!!!!!!! Stop the insanity!  The truth is that until we learn to fully love ourselves, there is no way to really love others.  We can fake it, sure, but to really express love in its purest form, it has to come FROM a place of love. If it’s coming from us and we don’t feel loving towards ourselves, then what we are sending out falls short as well.  However, filling ourselves with self-love allows us to share it in its truest form, without conditions, without holding back, without feeling depleted, without fear.

So, what exactly IS self-love?  It is not simply a state of feeling good, although that can be a part of it. But more in depth, it is an appreciation for oneself through all the dynamics of life.  It’s acting in ways that support and nourish our growth, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  It’s being compassionate with ourselves in the face of our shortcomings, and putting out the effort to fill our intentions.  It’s not relying on others, or on situations to make us feel complete, but rather taking actions ourselves to fulfill our needs.  It’s standing by ourselves with a neutral and forgiving eye, for the ups, downs, and in betweens that life brings.  It’s taking care of ourselves enough to bolster our supplies of love, so that we can share it freely with others.  Now none of that sounds so bad, right?

Are you loving yourself enough?  If not, why not use Valentine’s Day as a reminder!  Send yourself a Valentine….even if it’s just a mental one.  What loving message would you say to yourself?    Don’t be shy, nobody will know but you…

Namaste……and with love,


Loving-Kindness Meditation

The original name of this practice is mettabhavana, which comes from the Pali language. Metta means ‘love’ (in a non-romantic sense), friendliness, or kindness: hence ‘loving-kindness’ for short. It is an emotion, something you feel in your heart. Bhavana means development or cultivation. The commonest form of the practice is in five stages, each of which should last about five minutes for a beginner.

1. In the first stage, you feel metta for yourself. You start by becoming aware of yourself, and focusing on feelings of peace, calm, and tranquility. Then you let these grow in to feelings of strength and confidence, and then develop into love within your heart. You can use an image, like golden light flooding your body, or a phrase such as ‘may I be well and happy’, which you can repeat to yourself. These are ways of stimulating the feeling of metta for yourself.

2. In the second stage think of a good friend. Bring them to mind as vividly as you can, and think of their good qualities. Feel your connection with your friend, and your liking for them, and encourage these to grow by repeating ‘may they be well; may they be happy’ quietly to yourself. You can also use an image, such as shining light from your heart into theirs. You can use these techniques - a phrase or an image - in the next two stages as well.

3. Then think of someone you do not particularly like or dislike. Your feelings are ‘neutral’. This may be someone you do not know well but see around. You reflect on their humanity, and include them in your feelings of metta.

4. Then think of someone you actually dislike - an enemy. Trying not to get caught up in any feelings of hatred, you think of them positively and send your metta to them as well.

5. In the final stage, first of all you think of all four people together - yourself, the friend, the neutral person, and the enemy. Then extend your feelings further - to everyone around you, to everyone in your neighborhood; in your town, your country, and so on throughout the world. Have a sense of waves of loving-kindness spreading from your heart to everyone, to all beings everywhere.

Then gradually relax out of meditation, and bring the practice to an end.

Restorative Sling Workshop

Wednesday, February 19th, 7:30-8:30 p.m. 

Enjoy the sensation of suspension and deep restorative poses all in one, in a low hanging sling.
Feel the gentle sway of your suspended body while releasing the deep tensions that being earth bound brings. No aerial experience needed, this is a perfect way to experience aerial yoga for the first time.
A truly unique and soothing workshop, you will leave feeling like you are floating on a cloud. 

Minimum: 5 Maximum: 10. Sign up online or at the studio.

Sign Up Here

Student Spotlight: Rachel Galant

What brought you to Yoga?  
When I was in college, living in the dorms, I saw a flyer up that there would be free yoga classes offered at the dance school next door. I was intrigued and went for it. I really enjoyed it and it was like nothing I had ever done. That was in 1999 or 2000. I didn't come back to it again until I started my career working in Chicago... I found a gym that had a nice variety of yoga classes and never looked back. I remember the Tuesday night class kicking my butt. I thought, "I'm never coming back." I went back the very next week, again and again. I loved the challenge and I was hooked. I have been to several different classes and gyms, but once I found Tracy at Galter in 2005, I was never satisfied with anyone else.

How long have you been practicing, and how often do you practice?     
​20 years. When I first started doing yoga in Chicago (the gym was called The SweatShop), it was religiously 2x per week. Currently, I am religious about one time a week and feel lucky when I get to a 2nd class (having 2 kids can get in the way sometimes). I fantasize about my future 2+ times per week.

What’s your favorite pose and how does it make you feel?   
Parsvottanasana (one legged forward bend). I find this simple pose to be extremely challenging since my hips are so tight and I can't reach the ground. I cannot do this pose without 2 blocks, one under each hand. I am thankful for the blocks that help me to stretch as deeply as I can in the pose while getting a wonderful stretch. I also love the yoga squat pose with hands in prayer as a great hip opener. I remember Tracy saying it was a great pose for birthing, which is how my 2nd son was born!
What’s the best thing you’ve gotten from Yoga? 
​It feeds my soul. It has been such an amazing mind and body nourishment for me over the years. It has brought emotion out of me, it has centered me, it has put my body in amazing positions that both challenge me and make me feel amazing. I have also enjoyed the community at Yoga Experience, which really deepened after attending my first retreat with Tracy in Costa Rica. It really was one of the best things I have ever done. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a yogi and how it has been a steady constant for the last half of my life. When I miss a class, I feel like things are really out of whack. 

What pose challenges you, but you’d love to accomplish? 
​Any balance pose. They challenge my mind and body. It is hard to shut off the "can't" in my brain. When I get any air time, I have a rush of amazement and accomplishment. I would also love to stand tall with my leg straight up and out... my leg is always bent in this pose.

We are in a time of overwhelming amounts of information about Hemp, CBD, and Marijuana.  Do you know what the difference is and what it’s all about?  Former Yoga Experience scholarship student Charlie is here to answer all your questions and more.  Join us for an informal Hemp Chat and see what all the buzz is about (pun intended).  You can sign up online or just show up.  Charlie and his business partner and fellow Yogi Perry will help demystify it all.  Products will be available for purchase if you wish. 

Hemp Chat

Learn About Hemp Extract (CBD)
For wellness - sleep - stress - anxiety - pain - inflammation

Saturday 2/29 @ 12:30pm
Yoga Experience
4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Suite 302B

Sign up online at
or walk-ins welcome
*products available for purchase*

-Cannabis, Hemp and Marijuana
-The Endocannabinoid System & Entourage Effect
-Hemp extract, CBD, Cannabinoids and Terpenes
-Applications, Products, and Dosing
-Key considerations when selecting

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