Ellie Howard recommends YAGD!

Ellie Howard

My name is Ellie Howard and I have been a member of the Yoga Association of Greater Detroit for over 40 years. The YAGD is an opportunity to be around like-minded people once a month to participate, as a student, in a class from another member-teacher. We have the opportunity to enhance our Yoga experience at our monthly meetings. This keeps our Yoga-teaching experience fresh. Why have I stayed with YAGD for over 40 years? It has never gotten old for me. Every month I learn something that I didn’t know before … another way of moving from one posture to another … another way of introducing one of the basic poses … another new member joins and freshens our atmosphere.

Every year I am impressed with excellent leadership of YAGD. Our Board Members are the President/VP/Recording Secretary, and Treasurer. Then we have the commitment of our Committee Chairpersons. Their dedication makes for an outstanding experience.

If there is any question in your mind about joining or not joining, ask yourself, “What are you looking for in your Yoga profession?” For over 40 years, my questions have been answered here – in YAGD.

Our Future and ZOOM

With the COVID 19 world we live in these days, it is quite apparent that our world of yoga has changed and is not likely to return to what it was prior to this major event. As such we, as an organization, will need to adapt. It is likely we will not have an on site meeting this year but we have quickly moved to ZOOM meetings that have been very successful. More people attend who would not, in the past have wanted to travel to our meeting site. It is easier for some members schedule and its a great opportunity to reconnect with our yoga community. We are monitoring the situation with respect to our annual yoga retreat and will be publishing an update on the near future.

Going forward, we will continue our monthly meetings per the schedule posted on the website, HOWEVER when and if we go back to on site meetings we will make those meetings available via ZOOM for those members who cannot attend in person. We may even combine our monthly Anatomy Study Group session with our monthly member meeting, as we did in this month.

We have also worked to enhance our monthly meetings in general to include some form of information to enhance our teaching skills or our understanding of some aspect of anatomy or yoga. Stay tuned…in many ways it is an exciting time of change.

Zoom Picnic Held on June 6th

We had our first ZOOM meeting for the org. to celebrate our annual picnic and enjoy reconnecting after this long stent of no meetings and no Spring Yoga Day. At first Lynn and I were worried it wouldn’t fly but we ended up with 17 people on line at once and had a great meeting. Many of our members are already teaching via Zoom so it went smoothly. Thanks to Mihir for hosting the meeting and to Sharon Holcomb for give everyone a little 10 minute course on Zooming.

While we missed all the great foods we usually share at this event, we could each have our own little beverage and food at hand while sitting on our decks or porches. It was great to see you all. We plan on having our next meeting monthly meeting on July 12th. Karen Lutz will host a 2 hour presentation on “The Energy Channels of Your Body” Check the website for more details shortly.

Yoga Space available in Novi,MI

We recently recieved the following request from Joseph Tegler regarding available space for yoga classes.

If you know anyone who is looking for space to rent in Novi, please share our message or contact info.  248-921-4493

We are excited to get back to teaching classes at our Taekwondo studio, once Michigan fitness facilities are allowed to open.

At one time, yoga classes were offered in our space. There is still a yoga sign on our window, and passers-by sometimes stop to inquire about yoga classes.

We do not currently offer yoga, but we would love to connect with an amazing yoga (or qi gong, pilates, or similar) teacher who is looking for space. If you are looking for space to rent — or if you know someone who is looking for space — please message me. To learn about us, see

The Vagus Nerve and the Neck: A Key to Health through Yoga — A Webinar with Doug Keller

Doug Keller sitting in lotus pose

Looking for something to add to your yoga tool bag?

Check out this webinar from Doug Keller on the Vagus Nerve as it relates to you teaching yoga: (it’s also good for 3 CE credits).  

Member Katherine Schaefer has brought Doug to Farmington several years in a row.  He is a  excellent teacher and has a talent for explaining the human body and its relationship to yoga. He offers great insight to yoga teachers all over the world.  He is one of my favorites!

– Char Vukonich, V.P. YAGD

A note regarding Founding Member, Karen Farkas’s husband

YAGD is sorry to hear John is now home in Home Hospice Care.  He doesn’t have much time left.

When we know the details about a Memorial Service…it will be in Northville, we will let everyone know. Karen sends blessings to all her students past and present.

Holiday Party Dec 7th,2019

Thanks to all who attended. From Left to right.
Lynn Cottrill,Debbie Kause,Jan Chekirda,Patti Nevin,Charles Baber,Doris Sheikh,Sherry Stone,Ed David,Laura Lerman,Jennie Kurth,Char Vukonich,Christine Walbridge

Holiday Meeting

Char’s Home welcomes you

Dear members,

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday 10:00a.m.-12:30 Thus far we have the following dishes from members attending:

Audrey is bringing Boba ghanoush

Debbie is bringing a gluten free appetizer

Jan Chaney is bringing Vegan black bean and sweet potato chili

Jan Chekirda is bringing a apple pie

Patti is bringing Trader Joe’s almonds covered in dark chocolate, sea salt & turbinado sugar.  And 2) Trader Joe’s mini meringues’ with peppermint.

Doris is bringing one of these:

1. Tomato Mince Pie                             2. Upside Down Pumpkin Pie                             3. Mixed Grain Salad

Lynn C is bringing tuna salad and crackers

Sherry S is bringing a salad

I think that is all I have heard from to date. I will try to keep this up to date if I hear anything further. I know there are a few more coming that I have yet to hear if they are bringing something.

It all sounds so yummy!!


December Meeting on the 7th

Hello fellow members. Just wanted to put a invite out there for all members of YAGD to attend our holiday gathering at my house in Farmington Hills on Dec. 7th. Arrive at 10, we’ll have a short meeting, hand out rewards, and then enjoy the wonderful dishes you bring to share with all. In the past we have had a gift exchange where by if you bring a gift…you take one home…No pressure, strictly on a volunteer basis. I think we have set a limit of $20 on the cost of the gift. This is our time to hand out awards to those members who have made extra effort to support our organization and say farewell to the outgoing board members. ( Of course, as you may know some of us just keep coming back..hahah). Looking forward to seeing you! Char

Betsy Bertolino

Founding Member;

News from Betsy Bertolino, who some of you may remember—she is one of our founding members and taught many of us before she and her husband, Carl moved to Florida, quite a few years ago.   We’ve just learned that Carl had a severe stroke, and died 6 days later, in December.  He was 94, and she is now 91.  They had planned to move to our upper peninsula, where one of their daughters and son-in-law live.  So with the help of her children and some good friends, Betsy is now back in Michigan.  She is “in a Senior Center on a small mountain overlooking the towns of Houghton and Hancock.  There is a river and lift bridge that connects the two towns and it is very beautiful and historic and scenic up here – I also look at ski slopes across the river!  …  I moved up in March, but it has taken me quite a while to really get here and be here – focused and grounded.  Susan and Brian are retired now & live in Baraga, a few miles away and I see them often.”  

“I feel so honored to be a Lifetime member of YAGD, and I am so happy that it is still thriving.  You and all the others who keep the organization going are doing a fantastic job.  Love & blessings to You and All.  Namaste’,   Betsy

Betsy’s new address will be posted in our soon to be updated member listing.