Featch-ah Teach-ah: Rachel Bairstow


Whether you're a Forrest junkie or  just like to hang out at the CCY front desk, chances are this month's featured teacher is a familiar face. Read on to learn a little bit more about CCY manager and instructor Rachel Bairstow and to discover the answer this one very important question: Which Journey song really floats her boat? 


1. Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston?


I’ve been in Boston since I was seven. I learned how to speak before that, so I don’t have the accent.


 2. What was your first yoga class like?


I took my very first yoga class when I was about five or six. I remember doing Camel Pose. That’s about it.


My first yoga class as an adult happened in my senior year of college, when some kind soul took it upon herself to teach a free yoga class to some stressed-out undergrads right before finals. I remember being in Dancer Pose (I guess I like backbending) and feeling a sense of calm and focus unlike anything I’d experienced since getting to college. I knew I wanted more of that.


3. What’s your favorite pose to teach?


I get a huge kick out of teaching inversions. The way someone’s eyes light up right after their first handstand makes my heart sing, and is absolutely priceless.


4. As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?


Nauli. I’ve been trying for years and I just can’t get the hang of it. It drives my perfectionist self crazy.


 5. Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?


Behind the desk at CCY. Otherwise, I keep pretty well hidden.


 6. What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?


In my Core Flow playlist, my favorite song is “Volcano” by Beck. I don’t usually play music during my Forrest classes, but when I do, you better believe it’s something by Journey. Don’t stop believin’!

March Yogi of the Month: Nancy Lew

IMG_0837_squarethumbMeet our March yogi of the month, Nancy Lew. We just love watching Nancy's glowing face come out of her classes and hearing about how her new yoga practice has transformed her life and her body in the few months since CCY has opened. Learn a little bit more about Nancy below—and, Nancy, stay tuned for your special gift on its way to you from Manduka very, very soon! 


1. Name?  

Nancy Lew


2. Occupation?

Healthcare Informaticist


3. Fun fact about you?

I have a knack for being able to squeeze into the tightest parallel parking spaces on the first try, which usually causes my passengers to freak out.


4. Favorite yoga pose?

Happy Baby is one of my favorites. It's so relaxing, simple, and pure.


5. When not on your mat, where can you be found?

In Brookline, where I live, hanging out with my pet Yorkie Coco and husband; FaceTiming my children; and assisting clients with their data issues.


6. How long have you been practicing and what's your latest yoga breakthrough?

I started yoga when CCY opened last September, so I've been practicing for about five months. I've recently been able to engage the muscles of the upper back more fully, which has helped many of the poses I've been struggling with.  I'm amazed at how I really didn't have conscious control of these muscles until my yoga practice woke them up.


7. How has yoga affected your life?

Yoga is making me not only physically stronger, but is also helping me to calm my mind, and be in the present.  Calming the mind and accepting without judging are key to being able to traverse life's journey.  I wish I had found yoga years ago, but better late
than never!


A big thanks to our friends at Manduka for sponsoring our CCY Manduka_Logo_HighResYogi of the Month program! 


Featch-ah Teach-ah: Laura Ahrens

IMG_0024_mediumthumbWe thought it would be fun to let the CCY community learn a little bit more about our teachers. First up is Laura Ahrens, Forrest junkie, lover of all things vegan, and a recent transplant to Boston. She’s sort of a jack-of-all-trades around the studio, teaching FUNdamentals, Vinyasa, Core Flow, and Gentle Yoga. In her spare time, Laura moonlights as the co-founder of Miakoda, a “tri-compassionate” (animal-, human-, and earth-friendly) fashion line she runs with her sister. 


1.  Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston?

I was born in Manhattan and lived on Long Island for the better part of my life. I spent a year in upstate New York and four years in Philadelphia. I moved to Boston in September. 


2.  What was your first yoga class like?

I don't specifically remember my first yoga class. I sometimes try to think back to it, but can't recall a single detail. I went to my first yoga class because my mother's friend opened a studio and my mom wanted to show her support and asked me to join. My mom had to convince me to go with her. I was reluctant—yoga didn't have a natural pull on me. I was always very spiritual, but didn't feel a very strong gravitation towards movement arts. After the first class I was immediately dedicated to the practice, and started practicing seriously with frequency, and delved into the physical and spiritual aspects.  


3.  What’s your favorite pose to teach?

I love to teach Forrest Yoga abdominals. They are simultaneously challenging and strengthening, therapeutic and opening. In general, these movements are transformational. They deepen the breath, reconnect us to our center, heal and harmonize the organs and the low back, and help us to move in a way that is integrated and balanced. They tend to be intense, but walking through intensity wakes us up and helps us to see and feel with more clarity. 


4.  As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?

Chin stand. 


5.  Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?

Most likely eating at the various amazing vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants around town, practicing at CCY, traveling, spending time with people I love, or at Pure Barre (which uses small isometric movements practiced at a ballet barre, thankfully with no dancing required). When the weather allows, I love to spend time outside and go for walks or go to the beach. 


6.  What’s either your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?

Most of the time I teach in silence! It helps me and the practitioners focus on what's most important: the breath. That said, occasionally it's fun to practice and teach to music. For a fun flow, I love “Get Free” by Major Lazer (featuring Amber of the Dirty Projectors). For more introspective or restorative practice, I love the entire album Fyris Swan by Solo Andata.