Tim Kelleher is an amazing yoga teacher! I came here the other day while visiting my family. I used to live near JP centre, and then moved to Chicago a couple years ago. Why do all the great places open in JP just right after I move out of state? Anyway, went to Tim’s all-levels class on Friday morning. It’s been a while since I’ve had an invigorating, clarity cultivating practice. (I can’t seem to find the right yoga studio near me in Chicago.) Tim is especially good at getting students of all levels into poses that are perceived to be more difficult in a way that sort of sneaks up on you. So before you realize you’re headed toward an arm balance... oops, there you are! From the start of the class, Tim had us doing a lot of twisting poses (not my favorites). And I could tell he was having us work up to something. Even though I don’t really like twisting poses, I liked that he didn’t have us on auto-pilot doing sun salutations for the first 15-20 minutes. Switching it up really got me curious and engaged from the start. About 2/3 of the way through class, he had eka pada koundiyanasana (look it up) sneak up on us. I’ve practiced for 7+ years, and occasionally I can get into this pose, but I’ve often been stopped short by automatic feelings of fear. Before I knew where we were going, I was in the pose. AWESOME! I wish I could transport JP Centre Yoga and Tim to my neighborhood in Chicago. I’m hungry to get my yoga on again!
I liked Tim a lot. I had been going to Joanna Benevides’ class at lunch regularly, and saw that Tim was teaching one day. After some recog work, I learned that Tim was trained, in part, by Lynn Begier of Back Bay Yoga. That was enough of a sell for me. I was surprised at the amount of intensity Tim could build in an hour. I don’t usually sweat much. I consider myself more of a mist-er. But, man oh man, three-quarters into that class I was WET (with sweat, you perv). The flow was not complicated, but hard, which I really enjoyed. The class stripped yoga down to its basic poses, while still challenging students with the sequence. Plus, Tim was extremely likable throughout the class, offering both suggestions and sincere praise. I’ll definitely be back!
Tim is a fabulous man who leads an intense and serious, cerebral class. To begin, Tim explained what he viewed a higher level practice to be - a greater emphasis on the specificity of sensation, a honed focus on correct alignment, and a deeper internal awareness. He added that the class should not only be about working towards impressive and fancy poses (which we certainly did) but also about cultivating a mentality that would permeate through all our yoga practices. Regarding the class itself, Tim walked us through a series of poses that culminated to working inversions at the wall. At each of the poses, he took time to talk about alignment, point out specific actions of the body, offer powerful imagery, make some adjustments on students, and do a little demonstrating. It was definitely more to take in than in your average vinyasa class. It was a lot to chew on and a little overwhelming at times, but with Tim’s colorful personality and guidance, I found it a pleasant challenge to process all the information and settle. The music he played was soft and pleasant, and helped to keep the feel of the class light.
To be honest, I wasn’t in the best of moods heading into this class. I’d been on the fence all day about going to yoga (couch and kettle korn just seemed like a more favorable option!) and I’m always unsure of what to expect in intermediate/advanced classes. While I know yoga isn’t *supposed* to be competitive, I can’t help but worry, “will I be the worst in class? What if I fall into someone? What if I fall on my face?” Tim’s class washed away my insecurities, and I left feeling SO HAPPY to have chosen yoga over junk food! Tim: That’s a happy man. Tim was freaking glowing when he walked in. Upon further stalking appropriately conducted research, I came to find out that he recently became a dad! That must be why! Hooray! Tats. After propositioning Noa with matching tattoos, I’m now always checking out fellow instructors’ tats. Tim had an interesting one kind of in the shape of a cross, except made up of various puzzle pieces. Pregnant? Injured? Asked about both; jokingly clarified that being pregnant is not equivalent to an injury. Encouraging. Tim was genuinely encouraging in just the right amount, constantly describing students as “beautiful” and “amazing.” Adjustments: Tim worked the room throughout class and provided really great adjustments. Even little things like stepping his feet on the pads of mine provided a grounded, calming feeling in low cobra. The Class: Ashtanga is what got Tim hooked on yoga, so it’s no surprise that much of the class was ash-inspired. It has been a while since I’ve taken an Ashtanga class, reminding me how much I enjoy the style. I must seek out more Ashtanga classes! Tim, thank you for the lovely reminder! Front Room. AKA the smaller, awkward-ish room on the street-side of BBY. I wasn’t initally thrilled that we’d be practicing in this room, but it was actually awesome! The students were split in two and we practiced facing one another, which created really unique energy in the class. Students: Mix of ladies and dudes who all who knew what the heck they were doing. OMMMMM: Started and ended class with 3 oms. Breathing: Deep breathing, focusing on our root lock (AKA the pelvic floor and perineum) and neck lock. This was tough, not only because of what we were being asked to do, but my sick 14-year old sense of humor had to keep reminding myself THIS IS AN INTERMEDIATE CLASS AND THEY TALK ABOUT PELVIC FLOORS AND BUTTS AND I CANNOT BURST OUT LAUGHING THAT IS INAPPROPRIATE. Exact details of this breathing can be seen in these lovely videos by Yogi Bhajan. Core Work: Lying on our backs with eagle legs, we lifted shoulders off the ground and pushed our legs away from us, immediately causing my abs to tremble. Held this 30 seconds on each side. Eagle Arms: Eagle, again! Last week, a lot of teachers were emphasizing Eagle Pose (you know, July 4th —> America —> Bald Eagle) but Tim was still ALL ABOUT the Eagle, not only full on EP, but Eagle Arms in revolved chair, eagle arms in warrior 3 and eagle arms high lunge, and more. Eagleicious flow. Sun As: A series of 5 with heavy emphasis on breathing and moving as a group. Binds: Lots of ‘em, including bound side angle and marichyasana. He referenced David Regelin, who says something like “fingers are good, but wrists are better.” FLEXY. AGAIN. MIND OUT OF GUTTER PLZ. Handstands: Or at least attempts at getting some air by jumping our legs in the air like a frog. Arm Balances: Alright, this is when class went Barnum and Bailey. I cannot do this portion of class justice due to my lack of yoga vocabulary. Sorry Tim. But seriously, this rocked, and was tough as sh*t. Forget about just one arm balance, how about one transitioned into another into another? Then we had a chat about how to better do them. All I know is that I could only do portions of these, but learned the success of these poses relies on A) Ditching the fear of falling on your face, 2) straight up strength and 3) focusing on your root lock. Headstand: One long, lengthy headstand taken in the center of the room or on the wall. Bow Pose: Three tries at boat pose, where Tim encouraged us to grab our ankles instead of our feet, and even try to crossing arms. This cross armed situation, not easy. Music: Light, lovely instrumental background music. Let’s get personal. Generally, babies give me panic attacks, BUT Tim briefly talking about the new addition to his family was really freaking sweet. I also liked how he made this relevant to yoga; he talked about how having a newborn has taught him a lot about anatomy and relaxation. Babies’ bodies are super relaxed (that is, after they are fed and napped); over the years, emotional and physical injuries can take a serious toll on your body. I then started to envy the baby and his constant state of relaxation... that is, until Tim reminded me that they can’t hold their heads up nor can they walk, both qualities that are important to my life. Conclusion: Loved. This. Class. Loved the community feel and great energy. Loved the emphasis on Ashtanga. Loved the challenging arm balances and the lighthearted approach. Thanks Tim! Look forward to coming back very soon.
I have this group of people that I’ve always wanted to be friends with. They include Samuel Jackson, Amy Poehler, Alex Baldwin’s 30 Rock character Jack Donaghy and Wilfred. Tim Kelleher is now a part of this group. Tim is not only a wonderfully charismatic, thoughtful teacher, but a great story teller. Tim starts off his class with what has happened in his day and weaves his personal reflection into our practice, without it sounding like some fitspirational quote you’ve seen shared on Facebook. Tim makes his students “want to go to there.” Tim began his class with asking how we were and how we were coping with the cold weather. He told us how he and his baby boy went for a walk in the South End. It was cold out, but the baby was wrapped in his little blanket, so he thought everything was fine. That was until he rolled his stroller up to some South End moms and their babies were wrapped in these luxe super puffy blankets. Immediately he compared himself to the Super South End Moms and thought he was being a bad parent. Surely his son must be freezing to death! He immediately went to the local boutique baby shop and bought the $180 puffy blanket. Tim repeated himself in case we thought we misheard and said, “yes, $180 on a baby blanket.” Throughout our class Tim went back to how he should have never compared himself to the other moms. It’s about what and how YOU are doing in life. And like life, your practice should not be compared to what someone else is doing on the mat next to yours. If I could have fist bumped Tim without looking like a sweaty, deranged Liz Lemon on a night-cheese bender, I would have. The flow itself was quite good at warming us up. It started off with some side stretch lunges, to Namaskar A, to twisting lunges. Tim was constantly walking around class, making sure that those who need an adjustment in alignment gets it. (Side note: When Tim walks by he always smells like fresh laundry. He has a baby, and he never ever smells anything other like laundry detergent. How does he do it?! I don’t even have a child and most of the time I smell like burritos. Or peanut butter.) If Tim had a catch phrase, it would be “Listen.” It’s hard not to automatically “predict” where the flow is going to go when you’ve taken many yoga classes. Tim loves to mix it up and to prevent the grumpy yogis ie me, from going into what we think is the next thing, by saying, “Listen” before throwing something creative at us. I love it. Thank you, TK. Before cooling down Tim always offers a peak pose. What was especially cute this time was when he again touched on how we shouldn’t compare ourselves with others, and then said “but now we’re all going to do an arm balance. Awesome!” This really just sums up how Tim is with his students and why I keep coming back. TK is the start to my “yoga week” after having the weekend off. My muscles are tight and I (usually) have “the case of the Mondays.” But Tim always makes me smile, and sometimes makes me go a little fan-girly when I’m there. (Who doesn’t want a case of the Squees?) He is what makes my Mondays end great.