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! firstname.lastname@example.org]
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!