All posts filed under Practice

We Can Be Buddhas

Excellent Ted Talk by Robert Thurman about the ego and that our misperception that what we are is inside our skin.  Short, sweet, interesting and inspiring!

Yoga for Happy Holidays

The “holiday season” can be rough—-maybe your holidays are all about “too much”: you eat too much, drink too much, spend too much, cry too much.  Maybe, you find yourself in old patterns and behavior dynamics with friends and family that leave you feeling helpless, confused and angry.  Perhaps you just love the holidays so much that you dread the end of the season and find yourself on January 2nd wondering how it all went by so fast?  The stress of having perfect holiday events, experiences, presents——-it can all just be horrible or fabulous and you either dread it or look forward to it all year or maybe a bit of both.  Rather than try to drown your holiday response in cocktails, onion dip or peppermint bark, and credit card debt why not be proactive?  Let Sharon prescribe an individual mantra (repeated phrase) and mudra (hand pose) that you can use when you need some emergency holiday support!

Sharon is offering special 45-minute Holiday Mantra SKYPE sessions.

In each session, we will start by identifying the thing that concerns you the most about the holidays.  Then, I will offer you:

  1. A mantra/phrase that you can repeat to yourself in times of stress
  2. A mudra/hand pose that you can use to center yourself through the season
  3. A suggested scent that you can use for aromatherapy and meditation to clear your mind and center yourself

I will send you an e-mail after your SKYPE session to confirm your mantra/phrase and remind you of your mudra/hand pose.  Your Holiday Mantra e-mail will also contain a discount code of 25% off essential oil and aromatherapy products that will be suggested during your session.

Schedule at your convenience by phone (412) 855-5692 or by sending an e-mail with up to three days and times that you are available to:  Each session is $35 with payments through PayPal.


Pregnancy and Beyond

Please check out our Matrika Prenatal Website for all our fertility, pregnancy and postpartum classes, workshops and services.

Sign-up for our pregnancy and/or postnatal e-mail newsletter!

Matrika Prenatal Yoga & Exercise Class Schedule

All prenatal yoga classes are offered on an ongoing basis and you can start at any time.


6:00 to 7:00 pm Prenatal Yoga & Exercise at YOGA MATRIKA
Pay online and enroll HERE.

7:00-8:00 pm Seated Meditation at YOGA MATRIKA (2nd & 4th Thursdays)
[Note: this is not specifically a pregnancy class, but meditation is a safe and relaxing practice for women during pregnancy. A great class to share with a friend, partner or husband during your pregnancy!]
Pay online and enroll HERE.

9:30 to 10:30 am
Prenatal Yoga & Exercise at YOGA MATRIKA
Pay online and enroll HERE.


Benefits of Yoga and Meditation During Pregnancy


  • Gentle movements improve posture so that you carry baby correctly and prevent backache
  • Improved circulation mean less varicose veins, hemorrhoids and fluid retention
  • Relieve fatigue
  • Alleviate minor discomforts such as heartburn, pain in hip joints and ribs, muscle cramps and headaches
  • Strengthen the body and learn poses that you can use during labor for comfort
  • Learn pelvic floor exercises and other techniques for strengthening your body for birth
  • Stay toned and fit during pregnancy. Fit moms recover faster from birthing.


  • Balance mood and learn to center body and mind
  • Connect deeply with your baby before they are born


  • Meet other expectant mothers
  • Be a part of a supportive community
  • Have fun!


  • Take the time to be quiet during this pregnancy
  • Access your own strength
  • Become aware of your fears and learn to work with yourself, your baby and your care providers with confidence
  • Know yourself and be better equipped to communicate your needs and desires to your birth partner, care providers and family
  • Create a sacred and special time to relax, hope and dream

What to Expect in a Matrika Prenatal Class

We do not expect prenatal yoga students to have any experience with yoga. Our prenatal yoga classes are appropriate for women in all weeks of pregnancy. Although each instructor has their own style and may provide a different emphasis or tone to their class, all classes include some stretching and breathing exercises, some asana (yoga poses) that will tone and strengthen the body and relaxation. There is no wrong way to do yoga and the more often you practice, the more familiar you will become with the poses. As you become more familiar with the poses and exercises, then you can turn your focus inward. Although some poses may be challenging and you will feel the stretches as you create greater flexibility in your body, you should never feel pain in a yoga class. This is true in any yoga class and not just prenatal yoga! If you are ever uncomfortable or have questions, your instructor can help you modify a pose or answer any questions that you might have. Our classes are intimate and non-competitive so you can receive personalized attention from well-trained instructors.

Our classes are not just gentle yoga classes modified for pregnancy. Our prenatal programs are designed specifically for pregnancy and we use yoga to prepare for birth and for being a mother. Labor, birth and mothering a newborn are not easy tasks. The focus, strength and awareness that you learn in prenatal yoga classes will give you the skills you need to meet these tasks with confidence. We support one another and the entire Matrika community is here for you now and after you have your baby.

Thank you to Red Lotus Photography for the beautiful photographs of Matrika Mammas. Check here for deals on fabulous pregnancy and newborn professional photos just for Matrika students.

CLICK on BANNER to shop for cloth diapers and great products for baby! New customers use code NEW2HBC and get 10% off their first order of $30 or more. Free shipping!

Matrika Mom & Baby Yoga Class Schedule

11:00 to noon Little Om Play Group
Adults with infant 9-months to toddler 2-years
Class starts SEPTEMBER 10, 2012. Class is ongoing and you can start at any time

10:45 to 11:30 am Mom & Baby Yoga/Infant
Mothers or female care givers (this is a women only class) with infants from 4 weeks to one year.
Class starts SEPTEMBER 5, 2012. Class is ongoing and you can start any time

10:30 to 11:45 am Mom and Baby Yoga/Infant
Class is ongoing and you can start any time

Already have a class package? Register Online HERE.

Matrika Mom & Baby Yoga Class Tuition

Your first class at Yoga Matrika is $5

Single Mom & Baby Class $10
[Valid for 12-months from date of purchase]

7-Class Package $70
[Valid for ALL classes at Yoga Matrika for 12-months from date of purchase]


Mom & Baby Yoga

This is a yoga class for moms to share with infants up to one year of age. Toddlers and older children are welcome, but the yoga activities will focus on yoga for babies (gentle stretches, songs and playful movements). Yoga for moms is postnatal appropriate and we will always offer modifications for moms who have had surgical birth or need a more gentle practice for any reason. This is a breastfeeding supportive environment and we support all mothers, no matter how you choose to feed your baby, in feeding baby on demand.

Toddler Om

This is a class for moms and babies between 9-months (active crawling, cruising and early walking) and approximately 18-months. The yoga poses for baby are more active and there is less time and attention given to yoga for mom. Classes are 30-minutes and are a beautiful activity for moms and pre-toddlers and young toddlers to share. We schedule the class back to back with Mom and Baby yoga so you can catch up with all the other Matrika Mammas and babes in between classes. Moms, if you are looking for a class with more yoga for you, we highly recommend finding a way to take an adult yoga class on your own. If you need a recommendation for where to start, just give Sharon a call (412) 855-5692 or ask Rachel during class.

What to wear? What to bring?

You should wear comfortable clothing that you can move and stretch in. We practice in bare feet. You will want to bring everything you need to feed baby, diapers, a receiving blanket and any toys or snacks that you need to keep older babies and toddlers happy and comfortable. For your own comfort, please bring a yoga mat and a water bottle. You should bring a towel and burp cloths to pick up spills and thrills.

Mom & Baby Yoga Benefits

  • Increased strength, energy and endurance for mom
  • Recover physically & emotionally from pregnancy and childbirth
  • Stabilize strength in pelvic floor and abdominals
  • Learn yoga techniques to calm and delight baby
  • Bond with your baby and share an activity that brings you both increased health and happiness
  • Network with other new moms and share ideas, resources and support. Make new friends too!
  • Reduce anxiety, stress and some of the aches and pains of motherhood: sore shoulders, back and neck especially
  • Learn ways to cope when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted

Doing Yoga Together:
Preparations and Expectations

You love yoga and now you want to make it a part of your child’s life too. We are delighted that this is the case and we have a few things to keep in mind that will help you and your child enjoy the experience.

Keep an Open Mind

We find that it takes a couple of visits to the studio for children (ok, it’s actually true for adults too!) to understand what the activity is and what is expected of them. You might find that your child acts bored or is not interested in doing yoga. The way that babies and children enjoy yoga classes may be different from the way that you enjoy them. What we know is that, over time, sharing yoga together with your child creates beautiful memories and is time that you will cherish forever.

Prepare for Class

As much as possible, make sure that you and baby have had a snack and are wearing comfortable clothing. Try to leave enough time to get the studio so that there isn’t a lot of stress before class. Bring your little ones favorite toy or comfort item and some snacks as appropriate. Bring a receiving blanket for newborns and pre-crawling infants and a change of clothing and more diapering supplies than you think you need. For young children, after the first class, make sure that you talk with them about it and start talking about it again a few days before class—–remind them of the teacher’s name, another child’s name or some feature of class that they remember (a story, a sound or ritual).

Enjoy the Moment

When we release our expectations, we can enjoy whatever is happening. This is yoga! Yoga together is very different from adult yoga, but it allows us to stay fit and take time to meet our own needs as adults while sharing something that is very important to us with our children. Sometimes it goes as planned and sometimes it is a bit of a disaster, but know that you and your child are never judged at Yoga Matrika. There isn’t one of us who haven’t had a child tantrum during a Mom & Baby class or who didn’t have a baby who cried through an entire class——we welcome you and your little one, even if you are having “one of those days.”

CLICK on BANNER to shop for cloth diapers and great products for baby! New customers use code NEW2HBC and get 10% off their first order of $30 or more. Free shipping!

For everyone who has requested my class play lists for relaxing music for home yoga practice, resting, labor and just to enjoy, here is the mix that I played in class this past Tuesday (listed by artist, album, and song name):

Wah!, The Best of Wah!, Gayatri(Luscious Chill Mix)

Deva Premal, Embrace, Om Namo Bhagavate

David Newman, Love, Peace Chant, Ganesh Gayatri/Rising Sun

Deva Premal and Miten, Satsang-a Meditation in Song and Sil…, Sunrise

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Most Relaxing Classical Music…, The Planets: Venus

Yo-Yo Ma, The Silk Road Ensemble, Silk Road Journeys…, Sacred Cloud Music

Yo-Yo Ma, The Silk Road Ensemble, Silk Road Journeys…, Distant Green Valley

Jean Marie Hays, Deep Relaxation, Music to Relax

Meditation in Pittsburgh

So….Bhante Pema is traveling in Asia and we are missing the Monday night meditation classes at Yoga Matrika.  Please note that Bhante Pema’s fall meditation class series is filling fast and not only is there a $40 discount when you register for the series before July 1st, 2012, but registering for the series now is the only way to guarantee yourself a space in this amazing class series.  Yoga Matrika offers intimate meditation classes with Bhante Pema for $175 (early bird registration before 7/1/12 makes tuition just $135) for the 12-week series.  There is no other meditation class in Pittsburgh like these.  The environment is calm and supportive and the small-group class series allows you to receive personal attention and build your skills over time.

If you need some guidance and inspiration for your practice this summer, why not try an online course?  An online course in meditation will allow you to enjoy the sun, go out and play, and study and practice meditation at your convenience.  It’s hard to come inside and focus when all you really want to do is run through the sprinkler, garden and enjoy time outdoors with your friends, family and loved ones.  So rise early and study or take some time for yourself in the evening when the day of play is done.  This online meditation course is 12-weeks, just like our class series—-so you’ll be all set and ready for class when September 10th comes.  While it may seem now that the summer lies before you as a great expanse, you know that fall will be here in the blink of an eye. 

Just in case you are curious about some of the benefits of meditation, please check out the amazing benefits of meditation here.  Do you ever feel like a victim of your genes?  Read here about how meditation can change genetic expression

Posted by Sharon Fennimore Rudyk, owner and director of programs at Yoga Matrika, a boutique yoga center in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA 15217.  Small group classes, private sessions, teacher training programs, workshops for all levels and more!

All this Graduation Energy

Has all this graduation energy got you feeling, well, OLD? 

Flexibility is youth—-strong, long and lean muscles and bodies in alignment radiate youth.  It’s not to be found in a bottle, tube or powder…….practice yoga daily for a month and you will find yourself looking younger and feeling younger the following month.  Not only that, but without denying yourself one May night ice cream cone, your clothing will fit better.

All yoga classes at Yoga Matrika are now $10 each for the whole summer.  Want to test my flexibility is youth hypothesis?  Try unlimited yoga for 25-days for $40 and try to prove me wrong.  I’m not, but go ahead and try—it will make you feel better.

See you soon at Yoga Matrika!

Yoga Studies with Sharon

Yoga Studies with Sharon

Sharon Fennimore Rudyk, MA, E-RYT, R-PYT

Please send an e-mail to Sharon at: if you have any questions, wish to discuss the program or need information before you sign up. You can also call Sharon at 412-855-5692.

This 6-month Yoga Studies program (September 10, 2012 through March 2013) is $1,200. Tuition is paid in monthly $100 payments for 12-months starting with the date of registration. Tuition is non-refundable and non-transferable and payments must be made regardless of your actual participation in scheduled classes and workshops.

Register Here
This is an intimate program with a maximum of ten participants for each cohort. The program starts in September of each year, but you are encouraged to register and save your space as soon as you decide to make a commitment to the 6-month program of yoga studies. Register by signing a program contract HERE.

6-Month Yoga Studies Program Tuition Includes


Up to two-classes per week with Sharon Rudyk. Options include:
Tuesday night 5:45 to 7:00 pm
Saturday morning: 9:00 to 10:15 am


One two-hour special topics class per month with Sharon Rudyk per month. Each month, Sharon will offer at least two options, one evening and one weekend for a special topics workshop. Topics include: yoga philosophy, energy, pranayama, different yoga traditions, asana alignment and practice techniques and more. All the juicy stuff you don’t have time to explore in drop-in classes! One per month is included in your tuition, but you can always sign-up for more and pay for them a la carte.

Curriculum for the Yoga Studies Program

In 6-months of Yoga Studies with Sharon, you can expect to learn:

  • Learn Sanskrit names, alignment principles, cues and variations and modifications for 30-basic asanas
  • Read and discuss Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
  • Learn about the central channel, movement of prana and the chakra energy centers
  • Explore the anatomy of breath and learn basic breath awareness, uijayi pranayama, kapalabhati, nine cleansing breaths and nadi shodhana
  • Use energetic awareness and breath in asana practice
  • Explore the relationship of the mind, skeletal system, organs and endocrine system in asana
  • Learn about Chinese meridian energy theory and Yin Yoga practices
  • Learn about therapeutic applications of yoga and yoga for seniors, yoga during pregnancy and to support common student complaints (hips, back, knees and shoulders)
  • Learn about Mantras, Chanting and the use of Sanskrit in yoga
  • Choose a kriya and mantra meditation to practice for 40-days
  • Explore your own practice, limitations and strengths with personalized direction and support
  • Learn common obstacles to home practice and examine different ways to overcome obstacles and make your yoga a part of every day
  • Learn how to make adjustments and modify asana so you can continue your practice through your life

Tuition Details

The Yoga Studies program requires a contract of agreement for 12-payments of $100 that will be automatically charged to your credit card once per month. You are obligated to maintain these payments regardless of your actual class attendance or participation in workshops and training sessions. There are no refunds for any reason and this program tuition is not transferable.

Yoga Studies for Teacher Training

If you wish to complete this program as a teacher training program, then you must complete, in addition to the Yoga Studies course:

  • 18-hours of anatomy training workshops with Mark Chandlee Taylor (Embodied Anatomy for Yoga Instructors I,II, III)
  • a minimum of three additional workshops of your choice at Yoga Matrika
  • take a total of 50 classes (25 must be with Sharon and 25 can be completed anywhere upon Sharon’s approval). The classes that are included in the Yoga Studies program count towards this total. Any other classes that you wish to take must be paid for separately.
  • complete a teaching skills/practicum training weekend (will be scheduled for March 2013)
  • complete an online course that includes significant writing assignments that require reading, observing and practice teaching (available in September 2012). This online course will cost $100.
  • teach a minimum of one practice class that is open to the public and observed by Sharon
  • a minimum of two private sessions with Sharon ($60 each)
We are a Registered Yoga School (RYS®) with Yoga Alliance and graduates of our 200-hour Teacher Training Program are eligible to register with Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT®).

Readings Syllabus for Yoga Matrika’s Yoga Studies Course

A suggested reading list will be posted in July 2012 for the September 2012 cohort. Please note that if you are taking this Yoga Studies course for teacher training, you will be required to complete the readings and writing assignments as outlined in the online course.

A Little Guidance Please

Guided relaxtion recordings are a wonderful way to incorporate meditation into your daily life at your convenience.  You can listen during your lunch hour on headphones and take your relaxtion with you on the go—–airports, hotels…..just not for in the car while you are driving!  These meditations will bring you all the benefits of meditation and you can enjoy the convenience of being able to practice anywhere at any time.