Yogi of the Month: Judy Waligunda

judyName?
Judith Waligunda Basilico

Occupation?  
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

IMG_9179.ellenpic.forCCYName?
Ellen Siever​

Occupation?
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

Occupation?
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.




Feach-a Teach-a: Tara Jackson


image1-2

Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston?
I'm from Dorchester, Massachusetts, one of the cities that make up Boston.

What was your first yoga class like?
It was at a gym on Newbury St. I was very excited because I really wanted to do a split and I knew yoga would get me there. I left that class feeling different than any other class is taken before. It was that experience that got me hooked.

What’s your favorite pose to teach?
Currently I don't have one.

As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?
Navasana (Boat Pose)! But I'm working on having a better relationship with it.

Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?
Either on a plane or at a restaurant.

What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?
 "You Make Me Feel so Young" by Curtis Stigers

Face Behind the Desk: Jahnavi Bhangley

11990584_10103476562238210_9217202736285431467_nWhat do you do when not the friendly face behind the desk?
I work full-time as a producer for an advertising agency in Boston. 

Where are you from and what brought you to Boston?
I am originally from Marlboro, New Jersey. I moved up to Boston in 2006 for my undergraduate work at Boston University. I loved Boston so much that I stuck around! My first serious yoga class was a Forrest Yoga class with Rachel Bairstow in 2009. I have practiced with her ever since. 

Fun fact about you? 
Aside from yoga, I'm really passionate about martial arts, and have studied kung fu, muay thai and am currently learning brazilian jiu jitsu. Yoga has been a huge help in making sure I'm strong and healthy in all of these activities. 

Latest Yoga breakthrough? 
I recently took a trip to India and met and studied with a yoga/varma therapist in Bangalore in the effort to help heal chronic injuries. The trip provided profound insight about my physical body, my internal constitution, and the true nature of my heart and mind. I learned how to properly breathe and gained the knowledge and tools to help relieve tension both in my body and mind.

Insiders tip?
If you're working with ANY sort of injury, pain, or if you're just having an off day (mentally or physically), I recommend sharing your experience with your yoga teacher. The teachers at CCY are some of the most receptive and knowledgeable yoga practitioners I have had the pleasure and honor to work with.  They will be able to provide you the tools and knowledge you need for your own body and personal experience. You'll be able to take your practice to the next level, in the healthiest, safest way possible.  

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the desk?
The thing I love most about being behind the desk at CCY is the sense of community that the studio provides. I love getting to know all the students coming in for class, helping new members learn more about CCY and everything it has to offer, and the warmth the CCY staff and work-studies provide. 

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