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Mudras

Mudras: The what and why…

by Kelley V
I have become very inspired by the practice of mudras. A mudra is a gesture or position of the body, eyes, or hands. It is a seal or a symbol that depicts a certain state of being or consciousness, or that leads one into that specific state. I specifically practice mudras of the hands. By placing our fingers & hands into certain gentle positions, we can engage & influence our bodies & minds. Mudras can be done with deep breathing, as a meditation to invite in or let go of something in our lives, or to simply activate a certain organ or place in our bodies that needs extra care.

One of my favorite & most effective mudras is called Kubera Mudra, which is dedicated to the god of wealth. With each hand, place the tips of the thumb, index & middle fingers together. The ring & pinky fingers tuck into the middle of the hand. Your three most powerful fingers are now joining forces. This mudra can be used when you are looking for something very specific… information, a new place to live, a destination. Kubera Mudra also gives inner tranquility, confidence, & serenity. It is done to put force behind future plans. What goals do you want to reach & what wishes do you want to fulfill?

The practice is easy. In your mind, create a positive & present tense sentence that formulates your future goal or wish. Really visualize it in all of it’s colors & shapes & feel it in your heart as if it were truly already a reality. Then, place your hands into the mudra & repeat this sentence to yourself three times. Be very specific, concise, & genuine while practicing this.

It matters not how long you do this mudra, but the genuine effort & intensity that you put into it. You don’t have to sit with it for a half an hour chanting your sentence 108 times. You can do it twice a day over the course of a week or two. Again, the key is the clarity & intensity you put into the practice. This is a powerful mudra & I’m telling you it works.

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TEACHER FEATURE: Kelley Voegelin

What brought you to yoga?
Fate. I wasn’t even looking for yoga nor did I know much about it when I found it. I had been living down in Argentina & was feeling very far from home, lost, & heavy hearted. One day somewhere in my inner fog I felt a very strong need to look up yoga in Buenos Aires. I didn’t see a flyer or speak to anyone about it; it was an instantaneous inspiration. Later that week I was taking private Iyengar lessons from a dear teacher & never looked back.

In what way has yoga had an effect on your life? and what drew you to teach?
The health benefits of a regular yoga practice are many & obvious & have effected my body, right on down to cellular level. I am so well cared for through my practice. But, the greatest effect yoga has had on me is that it has given me a spiritual practice. I look forward to my own quiet time to meditate, breathe well, study my mind, set intentions, & feel aligned within myself internally.

I was drawn to teach yoga because I reached a point where I craved to be immersed in yoga for the better part of my day & my “day job/ career at the time” was majorly getting in the way of that :) I had been a teacher of many other things in the past… preschool, art, English. To then become a teacher of something that I am utterly passionate about & continuously inspired by seemed only necessary & natural.

favorite posture?
Pigeon pose. It allows me to literally ground myself way down on my mat, get very quiet, fold in with my forehead supported & eyes closed. When I first started doing yoga, pigeon was so intense for me that it’d make me feel nauseous & I couldn’t wait to come out & now I never skip it; I always end up there.

What has been your biggest challenge or surprise in yoga?
Stilling the mind. It’s easy to be mired in the past & then in a split second begin to worry about the future. Staying fully aware of right now & not being so easily mentally tugged here & there is by far the most challenging aspect of yoga. I continue to study & be humbled by our powerful minds.

what do you love about breathing room?
I love the warmth of the community. The teachers, the students, & the space are welcoming, genuine & down to earth. It immediately felt like the right place to be.

what inspires you?
Creating a practice that brings me (and my students) into a state of overall well being & balance. The shifting of the seasons & the cycle of the moon, as well as meditations, mantras & mudras always provide great inspiration & support.

favorite playlist?
I have a favorite playlist that begins with gentle piano tracks complimented by uplifting string instruments. It moves into a some tracks by instrumental ambient musicians who provide gentle yet repetitive beats, & it ends with a meandering slow cello track.

What advice would you give yourself if you could time travel back to your first time on the mat?
Keep doing this because it’s going to forever change your life.

how do you fill your time outside of teaching? What is something that we might not know about you?
I make abstract pieces of art on any kind of paper, with any kind of crayon, marker, watercolor, found object collaged in & then I sprinkle into the composition sacred & geometric shapes & patterns, flowers, fractals, fairies. I also really love plants & gardens. Watching my plants form bright green new growth & expand into bigger pots is extremely satisfying… I could spend hours repotting, watering, pruning, tending to a garden of any size or shape.

do you have a personal mantra?

I am happy, I am healthy, I am abundant, I am loved

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student
Eight things I want to tell you when you come to my class

Eight things I want to tell you when you come to my class:

1. Thank goodness you are here!!! Seriously, I am SO thankful you came. Every time I drive to the

studio before I teach a class, I pray people actually show up, and I am still so shocked and excited

when they do.

2. I take my role as the teacher seriously, but I really want us to have some fun! I love it when you

want to try new things, and we can laugh and fall over and get back up. Life is hard and stressful

and this is our time to play around and get in touch with our bodies and not worry about all that

other stuff. I laugh at myself a lot when I teach, and I like it when you laugh too.

3. It’s ok if you touch your neighbor. I promise they don’t bite.

4. Please use your props. Have you ever walked into a class and recognize some other teachers

taking the class alongside you? If so, have you ever noticed they have literally every prop available

next to them: blocks, a strap, a blanket, a bolster; and they use them! Props don’t mean you are

“bad” at yoga, they are there to support you and take your practice to a deeper level in a safe way.

5. One that same note, please use modifications. I hate to break it to you, but nobody cares what

you’re doing… and that is actually awesome!! But seriously, everyone else is (hopefully) so

immersed in their own practice, they aren’t concerned that you put your knees down or take

child’s pose. So please, listen to your body.

6. I think you would find great benefit in taking off your socks. Perhaps you are self-conscious of

your feet, but again – no one cares (see #5). I want you to feel the connection to your mat and the

Earth, and I think it would help you stop slipping in Warrior II.

7. Sometimes I screw up. Sometimes I lose my place, or I forget what we just did, or where we are

going, or what side we are on. Sometimes I screw up so bad I have to put you all in child’s pose

and pull myself together. Standing up in front of that room can be really scary sometimes, and

sometimes I’m having an “off” day, or the class just isn’t flowing right. Thank you for coming back

and giving me another chance, even if I was a hot mess that one time.

8. You are teaching me, too. The way your body reacts to my cues, the way your energy shifts as we

move through the practice, your feedback after class. These things are so vital to my growth as a

teacher. Thank you for your teachings.

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Meet a Yogi- Holly Martzial

Have you had a chance to join Holly’s phenomenal Flow for All class on Sunday at 6pm? or maybe you have had the sweet opportunity to be in her relaxing Restorative class Wednesday at 7:30pm? If not don’t miss out! Her classes are filling up fast and you will be happy you went!

Holly Martzial

Holly Martzial

 

Read here to get to know Holly, one of our dedicated and compassionate teacher here at the Breathing Room.

  • What brought you to yoga?

I have always been an active and adventurous person, and I love to try new things, so it was just a matter

of time before I tried my first yoga class. I remember I was in college and this little old lady who owned a

local studio came to our campus fitness center to teach a class. My best friend and I decided to go try it

out. We were the only two in the class and we had the best time, so many giggles. I can’t remember any of

the poses we did, but I remember learning Ujjayi breathing.

It wasn’t until I moved to Colorado after college that I started to really get into yoga. I thought it would be

helpful with my snowboarding, turns out it was SO much more!

  • In what way has yoga had an effect on your life? and what drew you to teach?

Yoga has affected my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. The most profound impact that yoga has had

on my life is that it keeps me grounded. I am the true definition of a wanderluster: I want to travel

everywhere, live in ten different places at once, I have 100 different career paths I want to take, you get my

drift… Yoga has taught me how to be present. It has taught me to be grateful for the here and the now. It

has taught me to sit still. It has taught me that when things are challenging, rather than run away on to

the next, stay, breathe, and learn. This has been a monumental shift for me.

When I moved back to Boston from Colorado, yoga was the only thing keeping me together. It was such a

culture shock moving from the majestic Rocky Mountains and wide open spaces of Colorado to the busy,

traffic heavy, fast paced city life. It was then that I began to feel drawn to teaching. I wanted to spend all

my time in the yoga studio, I wanted to know everything about it. I wanted every person I encountered on

the subway, in line at the coffee shop, beeping their horns in traffic, to be touched by the benefits of yoga.

I wanted to spread that feeling of calm, grounded-ness and peace to those around me. I believe that this

practice of mindfulness can have such a huge impact on our society, I want everyone to have access to

these teachings.

  • favorite posture?

My favorite posture is half moon pose (Ardha Chandrasana). I have loved this pose for so long – it makes

me feel balanced, open, strong and free. Your grounded and flying at the same time. I have also heard it

called ‘star pose’ which I just love. The imagery of shining bright like a star in this pose is just so fitting to

the way it makes me feel.

  • What has been your biggest challenge or surprise in yoga?

I think my biggest challenge in yoga is not comparing myself to others. It is hard not to get caught up in

the Instagram photos of that super fit, tan and gorgeous yogi in some crazy arm balance in front of a

perfect sunset. It’s almost impossible not to feel jealous of the famous teachers who sell out classes of

hundreds in cities all over the world… DREAM LIFE!! But that’s just it, that’s not my life, that’s not my

journey. THIS is my journey, so I gotta keep my eyes on the road and keep putting one foot in front of the

other.

  • what do you love about breathing room?

The community! First of all, the community of teachers here is incredible. I feel so lucky to be a part of

such an inspiring, strong, caring group of leaders. Beyond that, I cannot say enough about the amazing

tribe of people who come to share in yoga at the Breathing Room. I love how there is so much diversity

among our students – different backgrounds, different stories, all shapes, all sizes, all ages, all levels. At

the Breathing Room we are not defined by our differences. There is no such thing as competition here. We

come together through our love for this practice. No matter how we got here, or why, when we are moving

and breathing together in this sacred space – we are connected. We are all one.

  • what inspires you?

SO many things! My community of teachers inspire me every time I step on my mat for one of their

classes. My family and friends inspire me by always being so supportive of my journey. Travel inspires me,

you gain so much perspective from traveling. Music inspires me, books inspire me, spending time in

nature inspires me. Really, inspiration can be found everywhere if you open yourself to it.

  • favorite playlist?

Ohhh I love this question – music is such an integral part of my practice. Thievery Corporation has a great

beat that is awesome in a challenging vinayasa flow class. Nahko and Medicine for the People is another

favorite – the best lyrics. Right now I have Trevor Hall’s new album on repeat, KALA, so good.

  • What advice would you give yourself if you could time travel back to your first time on the mat?

Don’t run out of the room!! Seriously, this happened. It wasn’t my very first class, but it was definitely

early on, back in Vail. Reflecting back on it now I remember feeling very frustrated, challenged,

aggravated. Not at all how I feel when I practice now. At the time, I couldn’t handle it. I rolled up my mat

and marched out of the room, right in the middle of class! Luckily I found my way back, and managed to

stick with it. It is very interesting when you meet your ego on the mat. Working through that process is

one of the most challenging things you can do, but staying with it, meeting yourself where you are at, is so

vital to growth and release.

  • how do you fill your time outside of teaching? What is something that we might not know about you? 

I am a professional planner! I have always been a planner; I really love a good plan. I am

super organized and I like to have things to look forward to, so it makes sense. I spent many years as a

wedding and event planner, but I got pretty burnt out on that so now I just help friends with their special

events. I now work full time in the tourism industry for a non-profit destination marketing organization. I

market Southern Maine to out-of-state meeting and event planners, and I try to encourage them to bring

conference, groups and events to Maine. This is really important for the Maine economy.

I am also currently working with a travel company to plan a yoga and adventure retreat in Costa Rica in

November. I love to travel and I do it any chance I can get. This opportunity is so amazing because I get to

combine travel and yoga! Two of my favorite things.

  • do you have a personal mantra?

I have a few. “Do You.” is one. I love this because it’s so empowering – do what YOU want to do, and don’t

worry about what everyone else thinks.

“Dreams don’t work unless you do.” Another mantra I live by. I feel so lucky to have passion, dreams,

goals and motivation to work for them. Nobody is going to hand you your dream life, you have to do the

work.

Lastly, “No worries.” I try to live by this, but it’s really tough for me. Sometimes I become really consumed

by anxiety and worry, and I can be really hard on myself. My husband always says this to me, “No worries,

babe!” And he’s right, worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen. Put your energy

somewhere else.

 

You can follow Holly @  http://www.hollymartzialyoga.com/ or on her facebook page, www.facebook.com/HollyMartzialYoga

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Student Feature: Barbara Thomson

Student Feature: Barbara Thomson

 

1.  What how long have you been practicing yoga and what originally brought you to yoga?

I only started doing yoga when I was 61 after several years of being encouraged to try it by a Friend of mine who is now a yoga teacher.  As with many folks, I was busy with my family and my career and I already exercised, so why did I need yoga.
And finally in the year following the deaths of my husband’s mom and my dad, I decided I needed something just for me and I went to my first yoga class.  And now 14 years later I still feel like a beginner most of the time and I love yoga more each year!  One of my few regrets in life is that I didn’t start doing yoga sooner!

 

2.  What keeps you coming back?

I keep coming back because there is so much to learn not only about asanas and breathing, but just about my own body. And since I am definitely in the elder category, I also appreciate the ways yoga keeps me aware of my body and its strengths and limitations.

 

3.  What is your favorite asana and why?

I think my favorite asana changes depending on whose class I am in at any moment.  But if forced to choose, I especially enjoy triangle pose and forward fold because I learn about and appreciate my body each time I do those poses.

 

4.  What brought you to the Breathing Room and what do you love most about The Breathing Room?

I came to Breathing Room because my World Gym yoga teacher, Heather raved about BR after taking teacher training here.  She left BR shortly after I started taking classes here almost 2years ago.  I stay despite the fact that I drive from North Deering to BR because I LOVE the teachers, their wisdom, dedication and teaching styles.  I can truly say I leave every class with energy and mindfulness and a little more understanding of the depth and breadth of yoga.

 

5.  What do you bring off your mat from your practice? How does yoga contribute to your daily life?

Yoga brings a lot to my daily life in which I enjoy retirement with my darling husband and our kids and grandchildren.  A super special retirement gift is our seven year old granddaughter whom our daughter adopted from India more than five years ago.  I truly believe I bring more to my relationships as a grandmother, mother, wife, volunteer, friend, and substitute teacher because I practice yoga.  On the other hand, I have to say that 14 years into practicing yoga, I still struggle with down dog.  Oh well.

 

6.  Favorite Book, Favorite Place to Visit and anything else you would like to add so the community can get to know your better?

Even though Elizabeth Bennett never did yoga, Pride and Prejudice is probably still my favorite book.  My husband and I love and visit Acadia National Park yearly where I love to hike, bike, and eat at our favorite restaurant, Mâché Bistro.

 

 

7.   Favorite quote or mantra that inspires you?

My favorite mantra changes regularly too as I am a veracious reader.  But often I come back to the Serenity Prayer and its emphasis on serenity, courage and wisdom.

Thanks to all who make the Breathing Room a special place!

Student Feature

Student Feature

Trauma Informed Mind Body (TIMBo) program:: yogaHOPE is coming to the Breathing Room

Trauma Informed Mind Body (TIMBo) program:: yogaHOPE 

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” Brené Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection

Read what this one participant has to say about her experience in the TIMBo program:

A woman in a Boston-area drug treatment center recently recounted the details of a harrowing court date to yogaHOPE founder, Suzanne Jones. A mother of three and a recovering crack addict, the woman had been racked with anxiety, wondering how she could hold herself together during the hearing that would determine whether she would regain custody of her children. But as a participant in yogaHOPE’s pilot Trauma Informed Mind-Body (TIMBo) program, she was newly armed with techniques for dealing with difficult emotions. “When I was in court,” she told Jones, “my stepmom kept attacking me, and I just kept breathing. I told myself, ‘Just breathe, just breathe.’” – read more HERE

yogaHOPE is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing rehabilitative trauma-informed mind-body programming to women across the globe. yogaHOPE strives to lead women toward empowerment and recovery by cultivating mindfulness through yoga, meditation and non-judgmental self-inquiry. Already, hundreds of women have experienced the benefits of yogaHope’s Trauma Informed Mind Body (TIMBo) program, and are starting to heal themselves through personal empowerment.

The TIMBo program is the foundation of yogaHOPE’s work. TIMBo was developed specifically for women who have experienced trauma, chronic trauma, addiction and/or abuse. The program offers participants the tools to address the psycho-social, emotional, and physiological root causes of trauma and stress, and enables them to start the healing process and to improve their natural emotional regulation. The program is empirically based, trauma-informed, and gender-responsive, and utilizes the strengths of female survivors of trauma. Using mindfulness techniques that have proven effective in addressing emotional regulation and distress tolerance, TIMBo is simple, accessible and on the cutting-edge of trauma care.

Since the first TIMBo training in January 2012, we have witnessed profound healing and empowerment in diverse groups of women including social workers, Haitian community members, teachers, women in prison, stay-at-home mothers. It is though a recognition of common experience that women realize the potential for positive change, and by tapping into their roles as nurturers and caregivers they create transformation in their own lives and in their communities.

Watch this powerful video:

https://youtu.be/Hug6iCR23BQ

 

Create {change}

We believe that women are the change makers in society. We believe that oppressed, disenfranchised, underserved and traumatized women have the potential to be healed, empowered and serve as leaders and teachers within their communities. We believe that these women can change the world.

 

Join trained Facilitators: Katherine LaCasse, Kiersten Mulcahy, and Lauren Burkhart

 

Transformational Intervention for Mind and Body. TIMBo is a 16 week program that combines discussion yoga and meditation to help women cope with stress and find balance.

 

YogaHOPE is a nonprofit educational and service organization dedicated to addressing acute and long-term trauma through rehabilitative mind-body programming and training for women across the globe.

 

Specifically through the implementation of the research-based Trauma Informed Mind Body (TIMBo) program, yogaHOPE is empowering women to become change agents and healers for their own communities by using easy-to-learn mindfulness techniques that have been proven effective in increasing emotional regulation and self compassion while decreasing the symptoms of depression, anxiety and traumatic stress (PTSD).

 

YogaHope designed the TIMBo program specifically for the purpose of supporting mental health needs in environments where trauma experts and mental health services are severely lacking. Empowering women everywhere to take effective action in both their own well-being and the well-being of other women.

 

The TIMBo program operates in a structured curriculum of 16 facilitated small group sessions that provide participants with tools to address the patterns and symptoms that ignite relapse and entrapment within the cycle of stress and trauma. TIMBo is simple, accessible, measurable and scalable, in addition to being at the cutting edge of mental and behavioral health interventions.

 

In the past four years, yogaHOPE’s TIMBo program has touched the lives of more than a thousand women throughout the United States and internationally. It has yielded very positive results after the Haiti earthquake and the Boston bombing, as well as in women’s prisons in Massachusetts and general women populations everywhere. See HERE

https://vimeo.com/114175607

for a short documentary on a local yoga teacher and TIMBo facilitator who found healing and empowerment through TIMBo.

 

The TIMBo program addresses three primary objectives:

 

  • 1. The first and most concrete objective of this program is to give women simple, effective and accessible tools to utilize as active coping strategies for self-regulation. These tools can be used anywhere, anytime and take just minutes to utilize.
  • 2. The second objective is to help women gain awareness of their bodies and their body sensations. Emotional traumatic memory becomes lodged in the body and is triggered in an endless feedback loop that becomes chronic and debilitating in many.
  • 3. The third and long-term objective is to help women renegotiate their self-belief through awareness of their inner experience, and begin the process of transformation.

 

yogaHOPE, is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing rehabilitative trauma-informed mind- body programming to women across the globe. yogaHOPE strives to lead women toward empowerment and recovery by cultivating mindfulness through yoga, meditation, and non- judgmental self-inquiry.

 

NEW START DATE:: NOV 20th

This program meets every friday 7:30-9pm starting Nov 20th for 16 weeks

This events investment $250

payment plans available – inquire at info@breathingroomme.com

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Feeling Deeply & Letting Go – Guest Post by Diana Duane

** Enjoy this honest, real, raw guest post by BR 200-hr Teacher Training Graduate Diana Duane. Diana also subs at BR from time to time – like this incredible post, her classes are a gift. **

On feeling deeply, and letting go.

I have a wild imagination. I can make-believe like a boss. I have unbelievably vivid and exciting (and sometimes terrifying) dreams. I laugh and cry and love and grieve the hardest. I’ve come to love these qualities, to be myself, but it hasn’t been easy.

My whole life has been spent planting my feet and bracing myself, as if the sky would crush me flat if I wasn’t actively resisting it. To put it simply: I have always felt overwhelmed. What is the G-D meaning of it all?!?! Why is there pain, violence, and on the opposite side, beauty and happiness? How can I feel this much joy without exploding? How can I go on with this sadness?

As a small child, I would get lost for hours at a time, wandering the woods, listening to the wind through the trees. Observing, meditating, feeling. Feeling so much, taking it ALL in, and holding on to everything. The good and the bad. As time went by, so did a series of traumas and struggles. Everyone has their sh*t, right? Except I wasn’t letting it go. How could I? My traumas were mine, my experiences and feelings, who would I be without them? I’m a feeler!

It happened when I was in my late twenties, and had started to experience the symptoms of my autoimmune disease. One of my best friends had just died in a tragic accident. I felt like crap. There was an event that I “needed” to wear heels at, and I kept falling over, unable to orient myself or balance. I couldn’t breathe well, and was winded and injured after a flight of stairs. My shoulders ached from holding them up so high in defensiveness. I was in pain, and I didn’t like or want it anymore. I couldn’t keep holding on to everything! That was it, the catalyst I needed, the diving board. I got online and started to search for yoga videos on YouTube, somehow knowing that it was what I needed. Luckily, my yogi friends were helpful and supportive.

It didn’t happen overnight. It’s still happening. The first forward fold gave me vertigo so bad I ended up on the floor. The first downward facing dog had me sweating and in tears. A twisting lunge? Impossible.

But it wasn’t. A little practice at home and at the studio (okay, a few years), and things started to….. It’s hard to explain, things just didn’t affect me so much. The crap started to slough away. The anger started to dissolve, and I began to forgive (even now, my inner critic is rolling her eyes at that, I’ll have to meditate on it later).

All cliches aside, It’s amazing, and it works. I step onto my mat, and the overwhelming world blurs, becomes background. And opportunities begin to present themselves. Opportunities to be in my body, to be honest with myself. To breathe into whatever’s on my mind, and release it on the exhale. To be allowed to feel my huge spectrum of emotions but not to dwell on them.

There have been losses that I’ve experienced since I began this journey, and having yoga as a coping tool has saved my ass from the asylum, I’m sure! I have found myself sobbing in savasana, being held in a pose by someone, or just by their words, and feeling like I finally had permission to let something/someone go. Last fall, I found myself in Warrior 2 in a workshop, on a bad, bad day. I was a hot mess. But I got to my mat, and the kind, patient, lovely assistant to the teacher lightly touched the space between my shoulder blades and whispered “it’s not your responsibility”. Let me tell ya, I sobbed like a baby but I dropped those shoulders down and they’ve been looser ever since.

Letting go displays your wounds, makes you vulnerable. It’s not for sissies. To heal your heart, you must be incredibly strong, and you have to want it. To show yourself crying and hurt is much more difficult than showing a snarl and throwing a punch. But, damn. It’s so freaking cool to get rid of baggage, live in your body rather than trying to escape it all the time. To find new abilities, explore my balance, feel the ground beneath my feet or hands or back. To breathe deeply, truly, until you can take a real breath that isn’t followed by a choking sob. Believe me, it’s something I work on daily. This (true) story has taken some time to get together, because I still have to work on my fear of vulnerability. But I do the work, I speak with sometimes painful honesty, so I can live my life like I did as a small child. Observing and feeling the bittersweet beauty of it all, no longer overwhelmed, and able to breathe.

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Oceanpoint Acupuncture And Herbal Medicine- Meet Gabe!

We are thrilled to announce that the Breathing Room has partnered up with

Oceanpoint Acupuncture And Herbal Medicine

We wanted to share with you~

About Gabe Schiff-Verre:

Gabe is a native to Maine and grew up in South Portland. He received his Masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2012 from The Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Denver, Colorado. This 4 year program consists of 1,280 hours of education and 795 hours of clinical practice. Gabe’s training covers therapies such as Moxibustion, Tui Na massage, Cupping, auricular therapy, E-Stim, herbal therapy and lifestyle and dietary recommendations. He was Board certified as an Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in June 2012 and is a registered and licensed acupuncturist in Maine. Memberships include the American Acupuncture Association, the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and the Maine Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

What Gabe has to say about why he does what he does:

I believe that in order to treat the disease we must first treat the individual as well as the root cause of their ailment. It is in this way their full health potential can be attained. This is why I devote as much time as possible listening to my patients’ needs and health goals they wish to achieve.
By using the ancient arts of Acupuncture, herbal medicine and other traditional Chinese modalities the mind body and spirit are balanced as one.

Gabe has similar views about health care as we do here at the Breathing Room! This month buy a 10 class pass and get 3 FREE acupuncture sessions! Buy 5 Class pass get 1 FREE session! The best thing is that you will be sooooo happy you did! Full Body health!

 

A widening recognition of the mind-body-spirit connection in western medicine has resulted in a growing interest in ancient
health practices such as yoga and acupuncture.
Dr.Herbert Benson,MD,Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard School of Medicine, reports in Timeless Healing that 60% to 90% of patient visits to a physician’s office are stress related and not easily treatable or even understood by allopathic medicine.
As recognition of the mind-body-spirit connection grows, consumers and healthcare providers are turning to alternative and complementary medical strategies to reduce stress, maintain health, and address health issues that seem to
be beyond the scope of western medicine (Strasen,1999).
Join us today in our goal to provide and create preventive medicine! By using holistic approaches to help heal and sustain health in your body and mind and spirit!
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Student Feature::Sylvie Thompson

::Student Feature::

 

Meet our dedicated student,

Sylvie Thompson

1.  What how long have you been practicing yoga and what originally brought you to yoga?
I have been practicing yoga for 15 years.  A friend who was getting her Kripalu training started a class.
 
2.  What keeps you coming back?
Yoga is very subtle in how it affects you.   I had just gone through a very difficult time in my life, and one day after several months of practicing yoga, I realized how much calmer I was in both body and mind.
 
3.  What is your favorite asana and why?
My favorite asana is “downward dog”.  It just feels sooooo good.
 
4.  What brought you to the Breathing Room and what do you love most about The Breathing Room?
I was excited when I saw a yoga studio was going in that space on Broadway as it is within walking distance of my home.  I had tried other places, but I just love the intimate space and especially the teachers at The Breathing Room.
 
5.  What do you bring off your mat from your practice? How does yoga contribute to your daily life?
Yoga brings a calmness to my life.
 
6.  Favorite Book, Favorite Place to Visit and anything else you would like to add so the community can get to know your better?
I read so much I cannot say there is one book that is my favorite. My favorite book as a kid was “Wuthering Heights”. I just read all the books by Mary Lawson and was disappointed when they ended. I love to visit our funky little camp on a quiet lake in St. Albans, ME. I have only lived here since July 2012 but I love living in Maine. It amazes me how friendly everyone is………….it is as though everyone practices yoga!
 
Mae
Teacher Feature: Mae Corwin
What brought you to yoga?
 
I would attribute my affinity for movement to my mother. A yoga teacher herself, she owned and operated 
a studio where we lived on Long Island. She had me in ashrams and on yoga retreats before I could even really make sense of it. Yoga has always been a part of my life!
 
what drew you to teach?
 
I used be a competitive gymnast and coached children’s gymnastics and dance. When I stopped competing, I sought out a more mindful way to challenge my mind/body. Yoga was a seamless transition.
 
favorite posture?
 
I think that the poses you like the least are the ones you should focus on the most. By that dogma, frog pose!
 
what are you most proud of?
 
My journey into motherhood has been the biggest and most valuable teacher in my life. I have tapped into powers as a woman that I never knew existed! Someone once told me, motherhood is like discovering a secret room in a house you’ve lived in all your life.
 
what do you love about breathing room?
 
The students! Upon entrance, it’s a room full of warm smiles and familiar faces, BR veterans helping out newbies… The Breathing Room is not just a studio, it’s a community!
 
what inspires you?
 
I like to stay fresh, I am always challenging my knowledge and seeking new inspiration. I try classes in various styles of yoga, attend trainings, and take part in various workshops.
 
favorite playlist?
 
Right now, it’s a soulful mashup of traditional music and chants and electronica… You can follow me on Spotify to see my playlists!
 
how do you fill your time outside of teaching?
 
Lately, my free time is spent hanging out with my awesome son! However, I make a point to do at least one good thing for myself a day, whether that is taking a walk, a yoga class, or a bubble bath!
 
do you have a personal mantra?
 
A mantra I used a lot throughout my pregnancy was “trust your body”. I think this still rings true for me, trusting the intuition of our bodies is such an essential part to a successful practice!
Liz Crawford
Teacher Feature: Liz Crawford

If you haven’t already met Liz, join her Sunday mornings!

what brought you to yoga?

I attended my very first yoga class at a fitness center when I was 14. At the time, I was trying to stay in shape during the off-season for track and was intrigued by the fitness class that didn’t require shoes or lights.  I also secretly wanted to be a famous dancer at the time, but wasn’t having my luck with my dance classes. Yoga gave me a way to “dance” without so many rules and critiquing! My more consistent practice began at the age of 17 when my family embarked on a crazy journey of living between 2 new locations: Greensboro, North Carolina & Shanghai. I yoga-hopped around Shanghai and during some dwell time in NC, I met Cheryl Andres, my “yoga momma.” I was lost and confused between high school and college and Cheryl’s studio & teachings allowed me dive deeper into yoga.

what drew you to teach?

The desire to simply share the joy and peace I was beginning to discover with yoga is what initially sparked the teaching flame within me. I started teaching while I pursued my degree in Health Promotion! As life has ebbed and flowed since then, I’ve noticed I never go more than a month or two without a yoga class finding me to teach it (after work between cubicles, in a basement, or of course at a yoga studio!) I’ve commented that when I’m not teaching yoga it feels like I’m keeping a secret!

favorite posture?

Tadasana! You can do it all day, everyday…  standing in line at the grocery store, ½ mile long airport security line, while cooking, in the shower, oh and during yoga class   mmm, uphearted rootedness.

what are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of trusting and believing in myself. We’re all a never-ending work in progress. This “work” tends to flow easier when we listen to our gut. I’m proud of myself for hanging on, even by a thread at times to trusting the knowing within.

what do you love about breathing room?

OMG, the PEOPLE! (teachers and students!) I moved to Maine for graduate school all the way from North Carolina in May and did not know a soul.  I woke up my 3rd morning here, freezing cold in what Maine calls “spring,” and decided to send myself to a morning yoga class, somewhere. I didn’t care where, I just needed a hit of yoga ASAP. I googled yoga, clicked on Breathing Room, saw Lily’s 9:30class listed and the rest is history. I’m constantly overwhelmed with gratitude that I somehow found Breathing Room my first week here! It’s become my feeling of “home” in Maine. Thank you thank you.

what inspires you?

The resiliency of the human’s body, mind and spirit to heal, adapt, improvise, overcome not give up hope keeps me pretty inspired .

favorite playlist?

Whew. My yoga playlists can range from silence to Krishna Das, to Madonna & Common. Generally though, I enjoy mixture of Wah!, Jai Uttal, Loreena McKennitt, instrumental Moby,  Thievery Corporation, Deva Premal (Gayatri Mantra!) and Aphex Twins.

how do you fill your time outside of teaching/yoga?

I’m in graduate school full-time at UNE (Portland) for Occupational Therapy. It’s a pretty intense program that consumes the majority of my time and energy while not yoga-ing.  I also enjoy running, hiking, staying in touch with friends and family who live all over the country and pondering ways to combine yoga, occupational therapy and public health.

do you have a personal mantra?

Yes! When I first began meditation practice during my RYT200 program, we were advised to pick from a large list of some suggested mantras. I immediately chose Om Shanti (aka, peace), because to me… it seemed to be the cure-all for what ails ya. I have found it to be a very useful tool for facilitating stillness and of course peace within.

susy feature
Teacher Feature: Susy Hawes

Susy has been a constant in our community since we opened in 2011, first as a student, and now as a teacher.  Her grounded, honest, light-hearted spirit is so refreshing to be around – and if you’ve taken one of her stellar classes recently, you already know this!  Susy’s leading a new class – YIN at 7:30am Fridays – in addition to her popular Yang/Yin on Thursdays at 7pm.  Join her for class soon – you’ll be so glad you did.

what brought you to yoga?

The first yoga classes I went to were at the local gym. They were often scheduled right after the boot camp class, which means the root was steamy and stinky when we came in. In high school, yoga was just another way to burn calories. I would sometimes skip out on savasana and sit in the car waiting for my mom. When I did stay, I remember the teacher’s voice as she broke the silence- “It’s time to awaken” she would always say. I hear her voice some days when I am teaching and drawing students back to the space at the end of savasana.

what drew you to teach?

It still feels like some higher power led me to yoga teaching training at Breathing Room. I have always dreaded speaking in front of groups of people and never imagined myself as a yoga teacher. In the simplest explanation, I teach to share what I love.

favorite posture? viparita karani, legs up the wall or hips on a bolster, legs to the sky. ahhh.

what are you most proud of?

I am proud of myself every time I stand in front of a group of yogis and teach. I still can’t quite figure out why I don’t break out in sweats! Teaching is often the highlight of my week. I leave energized and light.

what do you love about breathing room?

Breathing Room is the only yoga studio I have ever really called home. I love the noncompetitive nature, the teachers, the students and the intimate space. I love that we don’t show up to burn calories, but instead to breath and find strength, or find calm.

what inspires you?

I am inspired by the moms in my life who keep calm in the storm of motherhood. I am inspired by my best friend who always knows what to say. I am inspired by reading. In yoga, I am constantly inspired by other teachers in this community.

favorite playlist?

I love music and I’m pretty obsessed with spotify. right now, my favorite playlists on my spotify account are “new fav” (how creative!) and “the hot sh*t.” These include a very random assortment of music ranging from Flo Rida to Moby to an artist called Namaste.

how do you fill your time outside of teaching/yoga?

I work at a start up called Local Flames which keeps me spinning a lot these days (in a good way!). Snuggles and dog walks and time with family, friends and my partner fill up the rest of my heart (and my days).

do you have a personal mantra?

When I was at the Kripalu yoga center a few years ago Bhavani, one of the teachers, taught me the mantra Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.  To be honest, I don’t even know what it means anymore but I find myself repeating it often in order to reset and to find some inner peace, if even for just a moment.

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50% off this summer – for ALL

NEW students this summer receive a coupon for 50% off!  And, if you’re already a BR student, bring a NEW friend to class with you and you ALSO receive a 50% off coupon!  Join us as we introduce new students to the space you already know and love.  Here are the details:

- The coupon can not be used on the day received, but can be used on a future visit.  {Idea: New students can purchase a month of unlimited yoga for $40 (normally $120!!), and then use the coupon to purchase a SECOND month of unlimited yoga for $60, or a 10 class pass for $55!}

- The coupon expires 8/31, so be sure to use it this summer!

- The coupon cannot be combined with any other deal, offer or discount.

Join us for class this summer and share the yoga love!

jstp
teacher feature :: jacquelynn st. pierre

As many of you may already know, Jacquelynn will be leaving Portland and the Breathing Room community soon to move to Austin, TX!  Catch a class with her while you still can!  We wish her all the best. Feel free to stay connected and follow her adventures here: www.facebook.com/jacquelynnstpierreyoga

what brought you to yoga?

I’m not surprised that I’ve landed here. First, I was a dancer. While my fascination with movement evolved I became interested in this concept of spirituality and wanted to know what the heck it was all about. I’ve always been drawn to the things that seemed mysterious, out of reach, or unusual. I also began to experience chronic pain in my teens. All of these things lead me to “try yoga”. I am just one of the fortunate beings who found this practice; it serves the soul so deep. It heals me every day.

 

what drew you to teach?

I just had to share. It was never a question or a consideration. These practices have literally breathed life into the depths of my core when I had no idea how I could sip in more air. Yoga is profoundly powerful my hope is to be able to relay these teachings in a way that is accessible, fun, and personal. People are sometimes put off by the idea of spirituality, afraid it’s too “out there” or will clash with their belief system. I’m here to say yoga is whatever you want it to be. And that might change from day to day. I teach to create a safe space for exploration for individuals to find their own unique dance with the divine.

 

favorite posture?

Wait… isn’t everyone’s favorite posture savasana?! So… besides that.. today I really like standing marichyasana.

 

what are you most proud of?

When I woke up this morning, I took some time to connect with my breath.. which led me to the reminder of endless possibility that comes with a new day.

 

what do you love about breathing room?

Sangha. The students, the teachers, the cozy sacred space where we practice- the vibration we’ve created is all about community. That is really important to me.

 

what inspires you?

Passionate people. Art. Poetry. Good ol’ rock and roll. Feminism. The perfect combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Walking alone in a crowded new city. Digging deep. Radical self love.

 

favorite playlist?

I need 3 more pages to complete this answer……. If you’ve been to my class you know I dig my tunes. But here’s a few jams I’m loving lately: Otis Redding, Lykke Li, Audiopharmacy, Vitamin String Quartet, DJ Drez, Depeche Mode, Modest Mouse, Cocorosie, Beastie Boys, The Zombies, RJD2

 

how do you fill your time outside of teaching/yoga?

I study ayurveda, read everything, dream and plan for trips to unknown lands, hang with my french bulldog Syd, spend time with the people who I love and lift me up, go see live music, and make killer playlists for class ;)

 

do you have a personal mantra?

Begin again.

jstp2

 

br outside
News! Eco-Commuter Card = Free Class for You

We’re so excited to announce a new Eco-Commuter card at Breathing Room.  Here’s how it works:

1- Each time you walk, run, bike, bus, or carpool to the studio, you can get a punch on your punch card at the studio.

2- 5 punches = a free class for you!

This is better for the environment, better for your health and better for our neighborhood street parking.  As the weather warms up we hope you will embrace this new program!  The cards are at the front desk now to be picked up whenever you come to class.

Important Notes:
- the studio will NOT keep track of the cards,  this is the responsibility of the student.  Lost cards cannot be replaced.  The cards are business card sized, we recommend keeping them in a wallet or safe spot.
- cards cannot be combined.
- for now, this is an honor system.  Please practice “satya” – Sanskrit for truthfulness – when asking for a punch at the desk.

kahtlee
teacher feature :: kathleen goodwin

Meet our soon-to-graduate teacher-in-training, Kathleen Goodwin! In addition to a career in marketing and studying yoga, Kathleen is organizing an after-school yoga program for the children at South Portland High School, where she’ll teach the teenagers asana and mindfulness.  Wow!  Kathleen is funny, wicked smart, and so kind. We are so lucky to have Kathleen among us.

 

What brought you to yoga?
I started to explore yoga in my early 40’s.  I was lifting weights, running 20 miles a week and the CEO of a technology marketing company.  My trainer at that time, Roman Szpond introduced me to yoga, he had just opened Inner Strength his first yoga studio and I’ll be eternally grateful to him.  I loved that yoga slowed me down, that I could make it my own, and that it allowed me to truly explore who I was and to get more comfortable in my own skin.

 

What drew you to teach?
After a 20+-year career in corporate marketing and startups, I found myself emotionally exhausted and ready for a break though filled with anxiety about the next chapter of my life.   Yoga provided me the opportunity to respond creatively and practically to my life’s challenges on and off the mat.  My reasons for starting my teacher training is simple I want to pass onto others my Yoga experience and help them to understand that Yoga is a very personal journey. Being of service to others is an essential aspect of Yoga.

 

Favorite Posture
I love Pigeon because of the release that comes from working through the discomfort that sometime arises while I’m in the pose.  I read somewhere recently that people who like poses like Pigeon and Cobbler are better able to tolerate emotionally charged situations because our hips are often storehouses for unprocessed emotions and many people shy away from these poses because they’re uncomfortable with accessing hidden feelings they may have.  Pigeon has taught me to accepting of boundaries – physical, emotional and spiritual Doing so is healthy, and I can still benefit from the pose without overextending myself emotionally or physically.   I also love Forward Folds I find them to be a very quieting which makes it easy for me to listen to my inner thoughts.

 

What are you most proud of?
Really coming to terms with the imperfection of myself.  Teacher training which is a very intense personal and professional journey has helped me accomplish this. 

 

What do you love about breathing room?
There are just so many great things to say about the Breathing Room.  Finding the Breathing Room felt like “coming home” to me.  The atmosphere is tranquil inviting and comforting – a safe space without judgment or competition. The teachers respectful, caring and each is individual readily open to sharing their personal passion for Yoga.  Most of all I love the how my teachers have encouraged me to openly explore the physical, mental and spiritual journey of my practice.   Lastly, and most important every single teacher I’ve met at the Breathing Room knows their stuff …they are simply top notch.

 

What inspires you?
Sharing how Yoga has taught me to let go and feel comfortable in my own skin.  My passion is to bring that same experience of cultivating mindfulness and personal empowerment through Yoga to young children, teens and victims of trauma.

 

Favorite playlist?
This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in Teacher Training.  Selecting the right music to match the mood and pitch of a practice is not an easy task.  I’m working on my first playlist it includes music from Arvo Part, Susheela Raman, Radiohead, Bonobo, Bill Withers, Beat Pharmacy, Fat Freddy Drop, Cat Power and Shanti Shivani.

 

How do you fill your time outside of teaching/yoga?
I recently married and now have three sons ages 31, 29 and 27 – they’re all very different from each other so they keep on my toes.    I also keep myself active by serving as a marketing advisor to a local startup in Maine and a not-for-profit in the Boston area.

 

Do you have a personal mantra?
I am enough!

 

 

 

 

warriorII
guest post by lauren norster :: REIKI FAQ

As a Reiki Master and Teacher, I am often asked a lot of questions about the holistic healing modality of Reiki.  Here are a few of the most common questions and their answers:

::What exactly IS Reiki?

As a word, Reiki is translates to “universal life-force energy” or “spiritual energy.”

In Japanese, “rei” can be defined as “soul,” “spirit,” “wisdom,” “divine,” and “sacred.”

“Ki” has other forms that you may recognize such as “qi” or “chi,” and translates to “cosmic or universal energy.”

This energy is both within us and around us.

As a holistic healing system, Reiki channels this energy to someone or something in order to assist in the healing process.  Reiki is neither seen as a cure for conditions nor a religion, but rather as a natural form of support and healing.  Reiki is seen as holistic because it benefits the body, the emotions, the mind, and the spirit.

::What are the benefits of Reiki?

The most common feedback I get from clients who I work with both in person and with distance healing is that they feel more relaxed and refreshed.  I believe that
the release of stress and tension aids in the relief of many illnesses and issues.  Reiki also is used to increase energy, decrease pain, promote a better quality of sleep, assist in the body’s natural healing capacity, work with the energy flow of the subtle body, and empower the immune system.  Reiki benefits the client not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

::What sensations might I feel during a treatment?

With both in-person and distance treatments, a client receiving Reiki might feel sensations of warmth or heat, tingling, buzzing, or even experience small muscle spasms.  For some clients, these sensations are very prevalent, while others might not feel anything at all besides relaxation.  Also, many people fall asleep during their treatments.

::Who can learn Reiki?

I believe that anyone can learn Reiki.  Since it is not a religion and more of a spiritual practice, there is no doctrine that you must believe to learn Reiki.  I have taught Reiki to all ages, including children and teens.  While anyone can work with sensing their energy through observation and meditation, to learn Reiki, you can take a class with a Reiki Master Teacher.

::What is a Reiki Level 1 class like?

In level 1, students learn the history, benefits, and foundations of Reiki.  Each student then receives an attunement, which opens up the energy field and enables the student to become a conduit for the Reiki healing energy.  We spend the rest of the class practicing grounding techniques, self-healing, and using Reiki on others.  I personally teach Reiki in a manner that encourages each student to find their own “way” with healing — it’s a very intuitive healing art.

To learn more about Reiki and experience it for yourself, attend one of Lauren’s Reiki and Restorative Workshops, or learn Reiki in her Reiki Level 1 and 2 trainings this winter and spring!

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:: teacher feature :: Lauren Norster

We’re excited to feature our teacher, Lauren Noster! Lauren completed her 200hr training at Breathing Room, and is also a Reiki Master and Meditation teacher.  Lauren’s popular Healing Yoga: Restorative + Reiki is coming up at Breathing Room is coming up in March… and we strongly recommend registering in advance.  This workshop always sells out and receives high praise from attendees.

 

In addition, Lauren helps keep the gears of our studio turning as a studio manager.  We jokingly call her our “studio fairy” as she frequently comes over in the wee early morning hours to keep our studio beautiful and thriving.

 

We totally adore Lauren. Don’t you?? Her grounding, positive personality is a joy to be around and her teaching is stellar.

 

what brought you to yoga?

::I became interested in how the body can move when I started taking dance lessons at age four.  As a freshman in college, I was introduced to yoga in my modern dance class when my professor brought in a yoga teacher to teach us as a guest instructor.  Combining movement with breath was life-changing for me.

what drew you to teach?

::Teaching is my passion — I work with homeschooled students right now, and have taught in a variety of different educational settings.  I started teaching yoga to kids, and when I saw how much they were benefiting from the practice, I knew I had to bring the same lessons to adults.

favorite posture?

::Upavishta Konasana (Seated wide-leg forward fold)

what are you most proud of?

::I am most proud that I have somehow been able to make a career out of teaching what I love in a way that is true to me — whether it be yoga, Reiki, meditation, or working with home schoolers, I get to do something that makes me truly happy.

what do you love about breathing room?

::I feel such a strong connection with the Breathing Room — I feel honored to have been a part of the studio in various ways since the studio opened, and it feels like a second home.  The space is so warm and inviting — it’s like a breath of fresh air to walk into the BR

what inspires you?

::I am inspired by perhaps what can be called “circumstantial curiosity” — if I am dealing with a certain issue in my body or life, I want to know what I can do it help relieve it.  This brings me to research various yoga postures, pranayama, meditations, or mantras.  This broadens what I might bring to a class, workshop, or training.

favorite playlist?

::Recently I’ve been digging the “Happy” (by Pharrell Wiliams) station on Pandora

how do you fill your time outside of teaching/yoga?

::In addition to teaching yoga, Reiki, and homeschoolers, I am also an artist — I recently have been making pieces that explore the subtle body and meditation, but also focus on maps and anatomy.  I also love to workout and have been lifting weights and swinging kettlebells most mornings in addition to my yoga practice.

do you have a personal mantra?

::It might have come from a silly viral video, but “you can’t hug every cat” might be the personal mantra that I say to myself most outside of my meditation practice. Silly cat-lady video aside, for me it means that I can’t do or learn everything; I need to balance activity with downtime.

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January SALE :: $30 for 30 Days of UNLIMITED yoga!

Thinking of having a fresh start in 2014?  Step onto your mat and set fresh intentions in January.  We’re offering two sales in January to help you get started.

$30 for 30 Days of Unlimited Yoga – New Students only.  This special pass may be purchased IN the studio (at your first class) for the entire month of January.

Or, if you’re a BR student who needs to recommit to your practice, never fear!

$60 for a month unlimited (50% off!) – Purchase IN the studio OR ONLINE January 1 – 15th.

We are so happy to have you join us this month and always.  Namaste!

bogo
BOGO Sale Nov 29th – Dec 1st! 15 Classes for $110

Our popular sale is BACK!  Buy 10 Classes, get 5 free.  That’s 15 Classes for $110.  Get it ONLINE (click on “Gift Cards” on the top of our main page to get to our online store!) or in the studio day after Thanksgiving – Sunday after Thanksgiving. This is 15 Classes for the price of 10 – or $7.33/class.  WOW.

Limit 2 per customer.  If you have a prior pass, that’s ok!  Our system will use up this pass first because it expires first.  15 Pass expires in 90 days.