Gentle Yoga: coming soon!

WESTFORD Gentle Yoga Series:

Experience harmony and balance through this mindful practice designed to reduce stress, release tension and promote relaxation. A Series is a great way to commit to your practice.  We’ll work to slowly build the poses over 5 weeks.  Emphasis on self-awareness, breath, and honoring the body. No Yoga experience is required. Ideal for beginners, and/or those with injuries.

Starts April 1, Mondays 11-12 in the Westford Studio

 

Gentle Yoga 5-Week Series
w/ Deirdre McWade @ RCY Westford
Mondays @ 11am – 12pm
Session 1: April 1, 8, 22, 29, May 6 (Make-up Date May 13)
REGISTER }
Session 2:
 May 13, 20, 27, Jun 3, 10, (Make-up Date June 17)
REGISTER }
Pre-Registration $75

 

 

Kids Yoga: Starts Jan 27

WESTFORD SUNDAYS: Kids & Tween Yoga: slight change in time this session:

littleyogis
Yogi’s John and Shawn get their OM on

Ages 4 – 7 • Sundays @ 3:30 – 4:15pm
Ages 8 – 12 • Sundays @ 4:30 – 5:30pm

SESSION 3 (5 week series) 
Jan. 27, Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24
(w/ make-up day March 3*)
REGISTER }

5 Week Series: $75 (only way to reserve a spot in the whole series)
Drop-In Per Class: $18 (if space is available)

Children will:

  • Engage their senses and learn how to be fully present in the moment
  • Practice activities that encourage self-regulation, energy, focus, calm or self-empowerment
  • Develop strength, balance, flexibility and mind body awareness
  • Learn to regroup, restore and relax

WESTFORD LOCATION:
The Mill Works
22 Town Farm Road • Westford, MA 01886
info@YogaWestfordMA.com

 

My Journey to the Mat

Like many other Yogis and Yoga teachers I’ve met, chronic pain was what first brought me to my mat.  In my early 20’s I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I had pain everywhere, from my neck to my feet.  A friend suggested going to Baron Baptiste’s Power Yoga studio in Cambridge.  So, I fought rush hour traffic to make the 5:45 class and I was hooked, from the first class.  I bought the t-shirt, book, and the DVD:,’Journey into Power’.  Oh, and a Krishna Das CD.

The heat and the poses unlocked tension, relieved pain, and the sequence offered a full body workout. To my achy bones, it felt like I was the Tinman who found the oilcan. The challenges of the backbends and the arm balances nurtured my competitive streak.  Although, in all honesty, I did not yet appreciate the quiet of Savasana.  That was almost 20 years ago, and there are days I still practice that DVD, which now lives as a video on my iPhone.  It’s a sequence I never get tired of, and always find comfort in, like my Mother’s Shepard’s Pie.

I’ve tried other types of Yoga, like Bikram, Ashtanga, Yoga with weights, even Yoga on a Paddleboard.  I draw the line with goats. And then, life aligned itself in a way that gave me the opportunity to become a teacher at Revolution Community Yoga in Acton and Westford.

I’ve been practicing under the guidance of Revolution Community Yoga teachers for quite a while now (no goats there…yet) and trained with Cindy to become a teacher.  It’s been here, at our studio, that my practice has been truly nurtured.  I was introduced to meditation, and Restorative Yoga, which brings calm and balance to my life off the mat.  I now use Savasana to ground myself to the present moment, and I sneak in a little gratitude practice in that final side lying child’s pose, every time😊

I continue to seek Power and a good Vinyasa flow, it’s my shepard’s pie after all.  Patanjali (OG Yogi) offered the perspective, that we achieve yoga by identifying and removing the kleshas (affliction or suffering) in our systems.  For me, that used to mean a sweaty Vinyasa flow to get my joints moving in all directions, but I know that on the days that doesn’t show up for me, a slow flow or a restorative class gets the job done too, if the intention is there.  Clearing the Kleshas of my mind and being able to find comfort while being still is a greater challenge than Crow, Wheel and Pigeon all Vinyasa’d together!

So, maybe you are considering taking a yoga class for the first time, because of your aches and pains, to relieve stress, or to kick your Kleshas to the curb.  Or you want to tone up, lose weight, gain strength, find a sacred space, I don’t think the motivation that brings you to the mat matters.  What matters is:  you are opening yourself up to the possibility of change.  And maybe you’ll get hooked.  And buy the t-shirt.

Namaste!

Journey to Restorative Yoga

Does the idea of laying around supported by blankets and pillows for 60-75 minutes sound heavenly, like ahhhhhhh, or create an instant tightening of the jaw and that catch of anxiety in the belly?  Either way, Restorative Yoga may be just what you need.

In teacher training, Restorative Yoga was one of the final segments taught.  In my experience, lying down in Yoga was something that happened at the end, not for the whole hour!  The kind of Yoga that I sought out was usually preceded by hot, power or sculpt so that when you reach Savasana at the end of class, you feel like you really earned it.  So, how did I go from that mindset to embracing and even teaching a weekly restorative class?

My teacher Cindy is fantastic, seriously, if they gave Yogi’s PhD’s she’d have two.  She trained with Bo Forbes, so we learned Bo’s postures and practice philosophy.  Bo is a yoga therapist superstar who believes yoga therapy it to be a more effective intervention than talk therapy in the treatment of anxiety and low-level depression. If you’re interested in the science, check it out: Interactive Journal of Yoga Therapy Article

So, I was curious, but by first restorative practice didn’t go well.   I couldn’t relax, no posture was comfortable, and my thoughts were negative and judgmental, I felt like I wasn’t ‘doing it right’.  When I told my fellow teachers, ‘I just don’t get Restorative’, without judgement, they would say: ‘that must mean you really need it.’  My lovely friend even left a copy Relax and Renew on my doorstep.  So, determined to crack the relaxation code, I re-read my notes, did some light Bo Forbes cyber stalking, read my book cover to cover, and started to practice.

I also kept seeing this National Institute of Health study: Lose Weight with Restorative Yoga

It wasn’t so much the weight loss that triggered my curiosity, rather the reason for it.  By consciously relaxing, and observing the relaxation response, the participants in the study likely reduced their cortisol levels, and that lead to not only weight loss, but subcutaneous fat loss.  Sounds like a mind body connection, right?

The postures lower cortisol levels by moving the nervous system from fight or flight to rest and restore. And we are in fight or flight a lot. However, if you can move yourself to rest and restore, the vital functions of your body, like circulation, digestion, hormone and immune system regulation kick in.  It takes about 20 minutes for that transition to occur, hence the longer holds for restorative postures.  The practice is cumulative, so, the more often you practice the postures, the quicker you can settle into rest and restore.  So, it wasn’t that I wasn’t doing it right, I wasn’t doing it enough, I didn’t have enough practice.

Because, here’s the thing, you must give it some time.  When you first settle into the posture, your body relaxes, your breath slows down, you feel supported and grounded with your props, and then, suddenly, the committee upstairs starts to chatter.  You start to ruminate, worry, rehearse conversations, re-run the reel of your mother in laws/bosses/spouse’s greatest hits.  It starts to get really busy up there, think Disney Pixar’s: Inside Out.

Now, I practice the postures regularly, and I see the benefits.  I set myself up when my house gets quiet at night, after 9pm.  I always anticipated doing a posture or two,  but end up going from one posture to the next and before I know it, an hour has passed.  I find I sleep much better.   When I practice, I noticed a gripping, or tensing in my left hip, I breath into the gripping to release the hold, and when I notice the same gripping while sitting at my desk, or driving, I breath and consciously release the tension there.  It really helps!  So, better sleep and less hip pain, I’d call that a productive use of an hour after all!

So, give it a try!  If you would like a guided practice, I teach Sunday nights in Westford at the Revolution Community Yoga location in Millworks.   See you on the mat😊

Prop ThiefNamaste!

Deirdre

Welcome to my Website!

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A little about me:

I discovered Yoga at Baptiste’s Power Yoga institute almost 20 years ago…yikes!  I went to find relief for joint pain, and discovered not only relief from pain, reduced inflammation and greater range of motion, but also increased energy and better mood!  My practice has evolved since then, and I’ve discovered meditation and found joy in slowing down and being more conscious and mindful.

As a teacher, I try to meet a student where they’re at, build a well-balanced, whole body sequence and sprinkle a little mindfulness too!

Off the mat, I love spending time with friends and family, and getting outside to explore beautiful New England and beyond.