Face Behind The Desk: Caity O'Hagan

What do you do when not the friendly face behind the desk?
When I’m not behind the desk or on my mat at CCY, I can usually be found in the Somerville or Cambridge area looking for a great vibe, place to eat or cup of coffee!11665409_10204780706697724_2652216865095549598_n

Where are you from and what brought you to Boston?
I am a New Englander through and through. I grew up just north of Boston, and moved into the city to attend Nursing school. I fell in love with the city life, and never left!

Fun fact about you?
I am about to become the very proud pet-momma to a 3 lb Chihuahua named Taco … if you’d like to get me excited, ask if you can see his picture.

Latest Yoga breakthrough?
Handstand!! Well, I haven’t exactly had a “breakthrough” but I’m certain that I will soon. Practicing this pose daily, and honing my ability to utilize uddiyana bandha has made a world of difference. I am closer than I have ever been to achieving this inversion and I think that’s worth celebrating!

Insiders tip?
Always check out our News Letter! There are so many wonderful special classes, workshops, and deals going on each month that are advertised in our News Letter. It is the key to staying on top of all the CCY happenings!

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the desk?
Hands down, the best part of my position behind the desk is being a part of the CCY community. All of the students, teachers and staff at this studio make my job so enjoyable; I truly love coming into work each morning!  

The Good Goods

The first installment of The Good Goods has arrived!

earth-14353458We hope to use this section of our blog to create awareness about a topic we feel very passionately about: Mother Earth. Many buy into the misconception that they, as individuals, cannot single-handedly improve our world by going green. Unfortunately, this is the thought process that keeps us stagnant; that does not allow fair trade and sustainable companies to take off; and does not foster awareness in our society. As inhabitants of this planet that we lovingly call home, we have the responsibility to protect and serve its best interests. After all, we are borrowing this earth from our children and all of the future generations that follow them! 

We are not suggesting that going green is easy. If it was, our planet would be flourishing, social injustice would be a theory rather than a reality, and love would always prevail. Alas, going green is not that simple. It is hard, challenging work. But, as with all of life, it is usually those things that challenge us that create the most positive changes within us. Just as the wheel was not invented overnight, we do not expect that anyone become an insta-Green Queen or King This is a process, but the sooner we all begin this labor of love, the sooner we will see the fruits of our efforts. Here, we hope to inform, inspire, and demonstrate just how rad going green can be!

In this first installment, our feature brand is:

Soul Flower
is your wardrobe one-stop-shop. Whether you’re a tie-dye fanatic or a mandala enthusiast, Soul Flower has the shirt, pant, short, skirt, headband … well, pretty much anything for you. And the fun doesn’t stop there. We love Soul Flower because they support Mother Earth in a variety of ways: recycled and reused materials, made in the USA, fair trade—Soul Flower does it all. Needless to say, all clothing items are eco-friendly, and many contain organic cotton, recycled fibers, hemp, and bamboo.

You'll find us wearing all of our favorite items from Soul Flower on a regular basis. We can’t getunnamed-1 enough of our favorite Soul Flower accessory, their super soft headbands—each with a different color or mandala. We quickly became fans of their organic men’s and women’s T-shirts with inspiring words and prints, and we imagine you’ll love them too! For the little yogis, Soul Flower has an awesome line just for babies, including some very witty onesies and T-shirts.
All in all, we love this planet, and we love having Soul Flower on our eco-friendly green team! 


Yogi of the Month: Judy Waligunda

Judith Waligunda Basilico

retired physician, internist

Fun fact?
I’ve been the medical director of HealthCare Nepal for the past 16 years.

Favorite yoga pose?
savasana.  I love the feeling at the end of the class to completely relax and just be.

When not on your matt, where can you be found? 
…exploring life

How long have you been practicing and what’s your latest yoga breakthrough? 
I started practicing yoga in September, 2015.  I signed up for your introductory offer, 30 days for $30.  We were having a new roof put on our house that month and I needed to get away from the noise.  I felt relaxed as soon as I walked up to the desk and began to experience the calm, peaceful atmosphere at CCY. I think I went 26 times in 30 days! It was clearly something I needed, and was really working for me. so, I signed up and have been attending regular classes, sampling the wonderful variety of classes you offer.  My latest break through is to be able to do more vinyasa classes every week, feel improvement in my strength and balance. I enjoy the pacing of the classes and the gentle support of the teachers. Yin yoga is still my favorite.

How has yoga impacted my life? 
I’m happier.  I have fewer body aches which I had thought would be with me forever due to aging and sports related injuries in the past.  I am sleeping better. Laughing more. I wish I had seriously taken up yoga twenty or forty years ago.

Feach-a Teach-a: Gerry Samson

gerryWhere are you from and how long have you been in Boston?
I'm originally from Concord, New Hampshire. Concord was the only place I lived until I moved away for college. After I graduated, I wanted to pursue a job and degree in social work, which Boston has a great environment for. I was fortunate to make that happen and have been in the area for the last four years. 

What was your first yoga class like?
My first yoga class was while I was training with my crew (rowing) team. Winter training gets monotonous so we had an alternate workout with a student who MIGHT have been a yoga teacher though I'm not sure. It was one of the most painful things I'd ever done and hated it from start to finish. 

What’s your favorite pose to teach?
One of my favorite poses to share is bound side angle (Baddha Utthita Parsvakonasana), as well as bird of paradise (Svarga Dvijasana); I teach them together. Bird of paradise was the first complicated pose (for me) that I felt like I was truly able to do after a bit of practice and persistence. 

As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?
Tree pose (Vrksasana). I hate tree with all my might. My tree looks no different than when I first started my practice and I only do the pose when I'm taking class; I try and fake a smile usually. 

Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?
Yoga helped me discover an interest in bodywork so much of my time is devoted to Massage Therapy school right now.

What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?
Cirrus by Bonobo

Face Behind the Desk: Gabby Jockers

gabby_copyWhat do you do when not the friendly face behind the desk?
Besides doing yoga at CCY? Probably thinking about or planning my next travels, I have serious wanderlust and love to explore the world we live in.

Where are you from and what brought you to Boston?
I grew up in sunny Florida and moved to Boston for college. Yes, I moved up to this snowy place on purpose. I love having 4 seasons and in Florida you don't get anything close to the gorgeous Fall we have up here.

Fun fact about you?
I'm working on a yoga-themed, body positive coloring book with my sister, an artist. I'm not actually an artist but I really like to draw people!

Latest Yoga breakthrough?
The latest stride I've made in my yoga practice is being able to accept when I need to rest or modify instead of pushing myself to do everything in a fast or challenging vinyasa class. Doing everything is fun and rewarding, but recovering quickly from injury is even better. I have the rest of my life to do fun yoga stuff. That was a big mental shift for me.

Insiders tip?
Keep an eye on the workshops that come to the studio, some of them are really incredible! The Restful & Reiki workshop happens nearly every month and every time it ends I wish it could continue for another 2 hours. I'm also a huge fan of Matt Giordano, who will be back this summer, and Lara Heimann, who I'm crossing my fingers will be back for the third year in a row.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the desk?
Being part of the wonderful CCY community and meeting wonderful people in other work studies, teachers, and students.

Yogi of the Month: Ellen Siever

Ellen Siever​

Retired. Before that, ​I started out as a programmer and ended up as an editor and author of computer books.

Fun fact about you?
I've recently become addicted to Instagram​.

Favorite yoga pose?
Kumbhakasana (Plank), because it's one I can actually do.

When not on your mat, where can you be found?
Wandering around Brookline and Boston looking for photos.​

How long have you been practicing and what's your latest yoga breakthrough?
I've been practicing about a year and a half. My latest breakthrough is to be able to get into pigeon pose (eka pada rajakapotasana 1 prep).​

How has yoga impacted your life?
I started doing yoga for flexibility and balance, and it's definitely helping with both. It's also made me much more conscious of my breathing and how I can use my breath to stay calmer, more relaxed and more focused.

Feach-a Teach-a: Emily Peterson

crowWhere are you from and how long have you been in Boston?
I am from Westlake Village California - I've been in Boston for going on 11 years.

What was your first yoga class like?
I started yoga at home with videotapes - I did it that way for a long time. My first class was a mess. It was hot yoga - I wasn't prepared at all. I was sweating all over the place, sliding all over the place and fell and knocked over my friend. I almost didn't go back :)

What’s your favorite pose to teach?
My favorite pose to teach is bananasana as it's arguably my favorite to do. Helps so much with my chronic back pain.

As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?
Sirsasana (headstand).  

Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?
If it's at all nice out, when I'm off the mat I am at Jamaica Pond. Come visit!!!

What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?
I don't play music in yin class.

What is sassy reiki? 
Sassy reiki is me dancing around the studio waving my arms sending everyone energy :) Basically it's me being a goofball :)

Face Behind the Desk: Lindsay Roth

12063661_10100182782215292_8231030159433520645_nWhat do you do when not the friendly face behind the desk?
When I'm not working at CCY, I'm working as a fundraiser for Boston University. I oversee student and recent graduate philanthropy, so, those pesky students who call you to ask you to donate? Yeah, I'm overseeing about 100 of them. I apparently don't have enough BU in my day, so I'm also studying to receive my MS in Advertising, and am very excited to graduate in December.

Where are you from and what brought you to Boston?
I'm originally from the part of New York that's "upstate" to anyone below the Bronx and "downstate" to everyone else. The Hudson Valley was a beautiful place to grow up and return to post-college, but I wanted to live in a more manageable city. After some job hunting, I landed in Boston 2.5 years ago and am very glad I did.

Fun fact about you?
I've fallen victim to the adult coloring craze and I'm not the least bit sorry about it!

Latest Yoga breakthrough?
I was recently diagnosed with PTSD and as a result, my practice has transformed. I've built a strong home practice and my traditional vinyasa sun salutations have been traded for supportive restorative postures to aid in my recovery. The breakthrough is realizing that yoga can support me through many different phases of life in ways that I never really imagined possible.

Insiders tip?
I think this is more of a request: Please refer to Tati as "tater Tot" - I'm dying to make this nickname catch on!

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the desk?
This is the best job I've ever had. Tati and David are wonderful to work for, and my experience working at CCY has led to some of the most valued friendships I've made. Being part of this community is hands down the best perk of the job.

The Physiology of Yoga

Yoga: Releasing Keys to Unlock Youth 
Aging: Along with breathing and other basic life functions, it’s the one process that unites us all. From the moment of birth, our bodies are continuously changing, whether we’re maturing through childhood and puberty, or a gradually slowing down in our later years of life. Each year, billions of dollars are dedicated to researching the mechanisms of aging and how to reverse or slow the process. As aging can take many different routes, defining the process can be difficult. In general, aging is associated with the symptom of a decline in optimum functioning of physiological processes … but the causes can vary.

yoga agingLifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction, regular and positive social interaction, diet, and intellectual curiosity are just a few of the many routes we can take to improve our health. While these are all important, possibly one of the most profound ways we can alter our well being is through exercise. It’s no secret that incorporating regular exercise into your routine can alter your health in countless positive ways. By maintaining an active lifestyle, we can slow the process of “aging,” make our daily lives more easeful and enjoyable, and delay the onset of certain chronic illnesses. While all types of exercise offer unique benefits, a regular yoga practice (including asana, pranayama, and meditation) simultaneously targets many of our bodily systems. In the next series of posts, we will discuss a few of the many positive changes yoga can ignite to help slow aging-related factors.

One of the more heavily studied realms of biology related to aging is the endocrine system, which regulates our body’s hormones or chemical messengers. You can picture hormones as small floating keys, which travel through the bloodstream until they reach their target “lock” (receptor) on different tissues. Once a hormone binds to its lock, it can alter the behavior and function of our cells, tissues, and organs. While there is a body of research describing the many different ways yoga can affect several of our hormones, we will focus on just a few in this post.Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 9.46.33 AM

Before diving into the specific hormones, a basic knowledge of how the endocrine system works it useful. Intricately tied to the brain and nervous system, the endocrine system houses it’s control center deep within the skull in the form of the hypothalamus, the master connector of the nervous and endocrine systems. While the hypothalamus has several functions, one is to release the local, primary hormones that travel a short distance to activate a subsequent organ to release a secondary hormone. While this first, primary hormone release might seem superfluous, the body utilizes this two-part hormonal activation to maintain tight control over hormones that have profound systemic impacts. It kind of works like online banking login security does, when we’re required to provide two types of confirmation before we can access our accounts. The body utilizes a similar type of tight accounting to maintain proper hormone levels and avoid imbalances.

hypothalamus.pituitaryOnce a primary hormone is released from the hypothalamus, it travels through a portal blood system to the anterior pituitary gland, a pea-sized gland that rests in a bony, protective region of the skull called the cella turcica. Depending on which “lock” on the pituitary gland is activated, a secondary hormone is either inhibited or released directly into the bloodstream to be transported to all of the tissues in the body. Together, this intelligent system of keys and locks maintains control over many of our body’s functions. 

Research has demonstrated that yoga can impact this accounting system, specifically the release of human growth hormone (HGH). Aptly named, this hormone is responsible for controlling growth, metabolism, and repair of almost all tissues of the body. Unfortunately, as we age the locks and keys controlling HGH release grow rusty, resulting in steady decline of its levels throughout the body. This decline dampens natural repair processes and contributes to the degradation of our bodily tissues. Now for some good news: incorporating yogic practices such as asana, pranayama(discussed in a previous post), and meditation can help increase HGH levels in the bloodstream, allowing the locks on tissues to be turned back on. Once these locks are activated, a cellular cascade is initiated, which results in repair of damaged tissue and positive growth.

Bringing this back to the mat, incorporating even a short yoga practice into your daily routine provides a tuneup for your endocrine system. With this fresh polish, growth hormones are released into the bloodstream, re-activating locks in tissues throughout the body, which in turn invigorate the repair and growth of our tissues. In upcoming posts, we will discuss additional locks that yoga opens, as well as several other physiological factors that contribute to longevity. While there are several routes to chose from to help maintain our vitality, yoga appears to affect a wide variety of systems to help us age with ease and grace. 

For more information on the author, Jessica Pate, or to access her other articles, visit the Physiology of Yoga site or check out the Facebook page.

Yogi of the Month: Marguerite Brackley

ccy picName? 
Meg Brackley

I am a physician and currently I consult for medical device companies.

Fun fact about you?
I may be one of Tatyana's first students. I followed her from the Corey Hill dog park (had a messy yoga session there once due to poor mat placement that required me ditching my mat) to CCY.

Favorite yoga pose?
Pigeon- (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) in a love-hate kind of way.

When not on your mat, where can you be found?
With my kids at the Driscoll playground or browsing at Brookline Booksmith. When the weather is a bit warmer, I will be at the beach.

How long have you been practicing and what's your latest yoga breakthrough?
I have been practicing about 3 years. Breakthrough- first head stand of my life (with some help from Tatyana).

How has yoga impacted your life?
Yoga has helped me be more focused and calm. It has also helped me to be brave and try new things that I never thought I could do.

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