Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston? I am a Portland, Maine native, but moved to Boston after college 8 years ago and have been here ever since!
What was your first yoga class like? My first yoga experience was a Bikram class. I was taking class for "a workout" and wasn't familiar with any of the other important benefits of yoga. I left feeling so calm, yet strong and clear-headed, it made me want to keep coming back for more. I eventually found other forms of yoga that I enjoyed even more, and that complemented my running - such as a gentle vinyasa flow, restorative and yin yoga.
What’s your favorite pose to teach? Many of my students are new to yoga - and thus, yoga poses, which I love! I've been enjoying teaching Sun Salutation A's and slowly working up to a chaturanga in it. I find that once new practitioners have this strong base and know the flow, they feel more confident and can build on their practice!
As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe? I am a runner, and I teach Yoga for Athletes, and as runners and athletes, we tend to be less flexible, specifically in the hips and hamstrings. This makes me cringe at intense poses like Frog Pose and Hand to Big Toe Pose! My solution, both for myself and as a teacher to athletes: lots and lots of props!
Where can we find you when you’re off your mat? Leading running classes at Heartbreak Hill Running Company's treadmill studio, out along the Charles River Esplanade on my own run, or at Wellness in Motion Boston, my husband's sport chiropractic office downtown!
What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now? Love Will Find A Way by Michael Franti & Spearhead. I love anything and everything by him and just saw him play Tuesday night in Portland!
Summer is a time to simplify. Here in Boston, we get to shed our 9-month, 10-step process for getting dressed (underwear, socks, yoga clothes, yoga shirt, sweater, scarf, coat, hat, mittens, boots/shoes) for less layers, less process, and less effort. Off the mat, the world can actually see more than the six to twelve inches of legging peaking out below our coats and above our boots!
As we emerge from our winter clothing-cocoons, yoga classes follow suit, and we can find ourselves outside at the Rose Garden Park (schedule available HERE) exploring sun salutations in the actual sun!
With all the powerful, inner work we do for ourselves on (and off) our mats, I have one question: What are you going to wear to celebrate? Yes, celebrate! For me, clothing is an outward sign of appreciation and celebration of my own presence in the world and the work I am doing in my life to make it a better one. I wouldn’t wear sweats to a wedding, so it has never made sense to me to be careless with what I wear to the most spectacular party I could ever be invited to: another day of living!
CCY asks this same question (What are our yogis going to wear?) at the change of each season as well, and the answer appears on the wall behind the front desk: feel good, do good.
The staff thoughtfully chooses comfortable, versatile, and fun pieces you can add to your existing yoga collection or provides the opportunity for you to choose an entirely new outfit from basics to handmade bracelets and malas.
A few points to consider before you buy:
All CCY brands are:
made with non-toxic dyes, which are great for yogis to sweat in and kind to the environment
manufactured in North America with fair wages and ethical and eco-friendly manufacturing practices
available to you so you can vote with you dollar to support businesses that treat their employees and the environment right!
Some quick tips for make your wardrobe a more sustainable, ethical, and colorful place:
Set a timer for 30 minutes and take a hard look at your yoga clothes. Keep only what you LOVE. Donate to charity or give away to fellow yogis and friends anything you have worn only three times or less in the past six months.
Hints: Without a clean-out-time-limit, I can get lost in the process and it can lead to an entire closet clean-out and likely keep me from getting on my mat (or somewhere else). I clean out one category of clothes at a time: only dresses, only jeans, only shirts. This provides ease of focus, saves time and energy, and simplifies a potentially daunting process. If you aren’t sure, make a pile for those pieces. Set them out of sight for a week and see if you find yourself looking for them. If not, let them go. Remember this: new energy can only come in when you release old energy and make space for it, same with clothes!
Make a list of what’s missing in your yoga wardrobe. Seriously, make an actual list. Keep it in your bag and set the intention to find those pieces.
Hints: Decide on a budget. If you can only invest in one major piece, I vote for leggings. For me, if my leggings are well fitted and comfortable (they cover more body surface than anything else) whatever I’ve got on top is secondary. It is also easy to make them look like a completely different outfit by changing-up your top.
Check out CCY First! Hints: Ask the staff for suggestions. We are here to help! Show us your list and allow us to guide you. Make suggestions to us! If there is something you would love to see, let us know! Try stuff on; as with any clothing, different brands fit every body differently and sizes are just a place to start. Ask for an honest opinion if you are not sure. If you were ever going to get an honest opinion about anything, it would at a yoga studio, especially CCY, so don’t be shy to ask! Be adventurous! If you see something and say, “I could never wear that!” Then prove it by trying it on. From my experience, those are exactly the pieces I want to wear and I just need to step out of my comfort zone to do it!
If you want to stretch your yoga dollars, my three favorite places for inexpensive yoga tops, coverups, and tees (and where I can do my part to reuse clothes!) are: The online thrift store: www.thredup.com The Goodwill on Melnea Cass Blvd. in Boston The Goodwill on Commonwealth Ave., near BU Agganis Arena (Goodwill is a great spot to donate as well!)
Before you purchase any clothing item, ask yourself these questions: Will I wear this multiple times? Do feel empowered and joyful in these pieces? Can I move freely and comfortably and not be distracted by the fit? If you answer “no” to any of these, try on something else!
What I'm loving:
Inner Fire’s I'MPERFECT tank pairs perfectly with Hard Tail drop-crotch pants (just the right amount of slouchy, just the right amount of fit!). As a profound yogi and friend put it recently: “I'm recovering from perfectionism."
Are you more water or fire? Leggings by the OM Collection and paired with our brand new Hard Tail tops in breezy summer knits.
Nothing says summer quite like super soft tie-dye and a breezy crop top, both Hard Tail.
Namaste and simplify away! Elizabeth Heller
[P.S. - I'm planning my first official Shopping Safari around Boston: it is complimentary and open to the first 4 people who reply! I will take you hunting for beautiful bargains and we will track down tips and tricks for foraging through jungles of thrift store clothes with speed and success. Join me on Saturday July 1st, at 10am – Noon! Safari hats optional. Spirit of adventure required! email@example.com]
Fun fact? I have very loud OM -- let's say it's deep!
Favorite yoga pose? I love back bending poses, so I'd say Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana).
When not on your mat, where can you be found? Running, walking or wondering around the city, trying food here and there. Spending time with friends.
How long have you been practicing and what's your latest yoga breakthrough? I took my first yoga class in 2010 and practiced on-and-off for a few years, but since I moved to Boston in January 2014 and started practicing at CCY I practice as much as I can, almost everyday. My latest yoga breakthrough was to accomplish Eight-Angle Pose (Astavakrasana), being able to do arm balancing poses or inversions has been proof that even when I thought I would never be able to do it I was wrong; I'm stronger than I think, physically and emotionally!
How has yoga impacted your life? In all the ways possible, I have to say that since I started to practice more often I've noticed changes in the way I see things. But it wasn't until I took my yoga teacher training (which I think everybody should take, not to be a teacher only, but to know yourself better) when I decided not to be a victim anymore and be responsible for the way I react to the situations I experience, to accept myself as I am, and to understand that it's not easy but is a daily practice that's worth doing. I notice that what I project to the world is what I get back in my life. A friend said "you are in love with yoga" and I said "how can I not be?". It has brought magic into my life!
What do you do when not the friendly face behind the desk? I just graduated from grad school receiving my MA from Emerson College in Theatre Education. So, recently I was just working on finishing my thesis. However, now I am working on searching for a high school teaching job in Theatre. I have fulfilled many roles in theatre productions and projects such as: playwright, instructor/teacher, director, actor, facilitator, devisor, photographer, stage manager etc. I also love being outside, traveling, photography, crafting, reading, Netflix, immersing myself in live theatre, and snuggling with my cat.
Where are you from and what brought you to Boston? I am originally from Ephrata, Pennsylvania, a small town located in Lancaster County, between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. I came to Boston in the fall after I graduated from undergrad to take the year off and nanny my cousin's twin daughters. I then applied to grad school during this time and started at Emerson the following year.
Fun fact about you? I am an INFP, which is the rarest of of the Myers-Brigg personality types.
Latest Yoga breakthrough? Applying my breathing to life outside of the studio when I find myself in anxious moments.
Insiders tip? Never say you can't. Something you may think you would never be able to do may come to you with ease a year or two down the line. Also--always remember it's not a Yoga perfect, it's a Yoga practice.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the desk?Meeting all the different kinds of people who come to CCY. Everyone has a story and why they come to Yoga. I love learning more about the students. I also love working with my fellow work study students. Some of them have become some of my closest friends. There are times I am unable to make it to class because of scheduling and life getting in the way, but I always love coming in for my shift because this studio is like home to me and everyone who works here feels like family.
Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston?
I am originally from NYC, but spent the last few years splitting my time between Ludlow, VT and Westport, Connecticut. I have been in Boston full time since March.
What was your first yoga class like?
My first yoga class was at a gym in midtown Manhattan during my lunch hour 16 years ago. The class time just happened to fit in my schedule that day. Using my breath in union with my movement came naturally to me as my workouts were mostly boxing and martial arts based at that time. I left intrigued but not in love. My passion for yoga developed slowly over years. It became a part of me when I found myself able to turn to my practice during a very difficult time of my life, not as a method of escape, but as an incredibly powerful way to connect to my Self.
What’s your favorite pose to teach?
As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?
Bound Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (bound revolved side angle).
Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?
In the winter I am skiing. When it’s raining, there’s no place like home with my dog. I spend an incredible amount of time on the sidelines of soccer and lacrosse games cheering on my boys.
What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?
I absolutely love music and my tastes change constantly. Right now I’m obsessed with moving to Concrete Buildings and Trees by Clay.
Emily Peterson is back from a life changing trip to Kenya. Read on to learn about her experience, from Reiki and baby elephants to future plans.
Where were you and what were you doing there? I was in Naivasha, Kenya doing phase 1 of a TIMBo training. We were working with Widows of the Rona Foundation who will eventually learn how to be facilitators of this program and will run their own groups.
What was the greatest challenge teaching in Kenya vs. Boston? The greatest challenge was probably the language barrier. We needed to use translators so sometimes there was a delay in impact and understanding. That being said, in this program we teach and practice how to hold a compassionate space for each other in silence at times so words don’t always matter.
What was your favorite moment of this trip? Oh boy, I had so many favorite moments!!! One of them was the first morning of the training when we arrived at the YMCA where it was being held. I was pretty nervous, I think we all were, but the widows came out of the dining hall singing and smiling. They had such joy on their faces and they just surrounded and enveloped us – took our hands and we all started dancing. It was such an incredible welcome and cut through all the trepidation and worry. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. So much love.
Another favorite moment was when an orphaned baby elephant wrapped his trunk around my arm while I was giving him Reiki. As a lover of elephants, this was a defining moment in my life.
Is there a memory that you will treasure forever? We also went into Mathare, the slums as they are referred to in Kenya, where the first Kenyan TIMBo group ran last year. We met the women who participated in the program, shared tea and community. They took us to show us their community and houses and we did TIMBo yoga in the street with about 100 children. There was a lot of singing and dancing and again, so much joy. I love to dance, so to be able to dance and high five all these children was such an incredible gift. It was such a lesson for me about being in the present moment and getting away from my own stories and perceptions.
What impact do you hope the TIMBo program will have on the community you just visited? When women lose their husbands in Kenya they lose all of their rights and suffer all sorts of horrendous violations and traumas. First and foremost, I hope the widows with whom we worked will find some healing, which I think they did. Also they will recognize their incredible strength and resiliency as they practice these tools and access more self-compassion which will lead to personal impowerment and changes in their lives and the lives of their families and communities. When they finish the training and are able to run their own programs, they will have even more of an impact.
What impact did the community have on you? Wow, I mean I learned so much. A huge lesson for me in being present to what is in front of me and connecting in the moment and not being afraid to show up without letting my fears dictate how I interact with people. It was also a reminder of how nothing is just one thing…. That there can be trauma and grief and heartache, but also song and dancing and rejoicing. Not only that they can co-exist, but how crucial it is to continue to celebrate life even though we struggle and how that celebration can actually help us heal. They epitomize the verse in the Bible that says “there is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh… a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
Having been a TIMBo participant how has it positively affected your life? It has helped me so much with my sense of self worth. It has taught me how to use my traumas as my asset – everything I have gone through I can now use to support other people in their healing process. Before I just used to feel shame about all of it. It has helped me learn how to breathe through difficult moments and re-wire my nervous system so I have less PTSD, anxiety and depression. It has helped me in my relationships and in my work. I could go on. In short, I use the principles and tools all day every day and it has changed my life. I might even say it has given me back my life. I think I am now living the life I was meant to live. It is a gift and I am so grateful to be able to share it with others.
Where is the next place you hope to bring TIMBo? We will go back to Kenya which is exciting. We are talking about Cambodia and Nepal, as we’ve been contacted by a few organizations that would like us to come. I also very much hope it spreads in the United States and that we begin to run the program with men. We need it, everywhere.
What do you do when not the friendly face behind the desk?
I'm either sweating it out on the mat, galavanting around the city taking photos, or enjoying amazing food at a cool place with some awesome people.
Where are you from and what brought you to Boston?
I’m a California boy through and through. I came to the Boston for college in hopes that I would end up like one of those east coast boys you read about in classic novels.
Fun fact about you?
Potatoes are my weakness. So are puppies.
Latest Yoga breakthrough? Engaging the foot! I come from a dance background where the focus is foot agility, but being able to utilize the different parts of the foot while on the mat creates a greater connection for me from the bottom of my foot to the top of my head.
You can do anything for a few breaths.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the desk?
It's a three-way tie between creating relationships with yogis in the community, taking class with truly inspirational instructors, and playing with Barbies.
Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston? I was born and raised in Carlsbad, CA, a small beachy town in San Diego. I switched coasts and moved to NYC in 2011 to attend grad school. After graduating, I moved to Boston in summer of 2013!
What was your first yoga class like? I was at home in San Diego when I decided to drag my brother to a yoga studio by the beach. I said to myself, "I'm an athlete, how hard can it be?" Well it was hard. I left thinking, "My uncoordinated younger brother is better at yoga than I am. This isn't for me." It took 3 1/2 years for me to get back on a mat. I took a class at CCY and discovered my yoga practice for the first time. The rest is history!
What’s your favorite pose to teach? I love arm balances and inversions, any pose where you have to trust yourself wholeheartedly. I teach my students that these shapes are not about the final pose. Rather, they are about how you breath, focus, and feel along the way. When we let go of expectations and embrace the feeling within a pose, we create a shape that feels good in our body. We give ourselves space to discover what a pose is supposed to feel like rather than what it is supposed to look like. Breathe first, feel the shape, the rest will follow.
As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe? HA! Easy pick...Upavistha Konasana and Hanumanasana. When I was 5 years old, my ballet teacher propped me up against a wall and forced me into a side split. I still cry when i think about that split.
Where can we find you when you’re off your mat? Off the mat, I'm a Registered Dietitian and have my own nutrition practice, Backbeet Nutrition. I also teach indoor cycling classes at The Handle Bar. When I'm not talking nutrition or making people sweat, I'm usually eating, researching music, napping, drinking coffee, creating playlists, and catching up on episodes of The Bachelor......I know, I know.
What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now? My favorite song right now on my yoga playlist is "Breathing Underwater" by Emeli Sande. FEELS.
While each morning that we wake can be an impetus for change and growth, there is something special about a whole new year. Let’s take this new day, month, and year by storm and truly commit to our beliefs. We choose the way we want to live. Here are some ideas about how to live in tune with our earth:
Shop Local! Here are some of our favorite locally grown, sustainably made, and ethically conscious businesses in our own community!
Brookline Grown A local food store located in the heart of Coolidge Corner, selling everything from Green Line Growers greens to Clear Flour bread and 4A Roasters coffee beans. Everything in the store is made in Massachusetts, and mostly within a 10-mile radius!
Brookline Winter Farmers’ Market Stay warm and enjoy the local wonders of the Brookline Farmers Market indoors! Check out the winter market at the Arcade Building in Coolidge Corner each Sunday 11A – 3PM Nov – April!
Leaf Boutique Providing the Brookline community with beautiful vintage jewelry and ethical clothing for over 20 years. This shop is filled with one-of-a-kind finds that will make your closet shine.
Wild Goose Chase This Brookline boutique has been introducing American-made, finely crafted items to the community since 1977.
Good news! No need to spend in order to make an impact-- here are some great ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle in your everyday life:
Do you have any pairs of socks that are out of commission due to a small hole or two? Rather than throwing them out and purchasing new pairs, consider mending a stitch or two in those socks and giving them new life. Five minutes of stitching time and your feet are back in business!
Coffee and tea lovers alike can make their morning cup sustainable with a reusable tumbler. The CCY management staff can’t get enough of our YETIs. These super durable and perfectly sized mugs have become our best commuting companions!
There are such easy ways to make an impact. Sometimes it is the culminations of our small actions which nourish the earth and inspire others to do the same. When you go shopping, bring a reusable bag. (It’s hard to remember and organize, but take a mindfulness moment to reflect on the trees that birthed our paper bags.)
Try two wheels instead of four. Not only do your lungs get some devotion and exercise, but you can arrive at your destination knowing you aided the planet in our collective journey to healing, growth, and forward momentum. Biking, rollerblading, or scootering (!) is an adventure in empowerment and fun. Go outside and embrace the wind on your cheeks. Feel the hug of the earth.