June Instructor Spotlight: Carla Ferrara

An engineer-turned-health connoisseur, Carla Ferrara now splits her time between personal training, teaching yoga and working as a functional nutritionist. While she dealt with her own health problems, she was inspired to learn about the human body and help people who are chronically ill. She’s loved yoga since she gave it a try about 20 years ago so she proceeded to complete her training then joined the Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios team.

Carla

“Yoga gives you a whole different perspective and so much more information about your own body, and then you start seeing it in other people’s bodies.”

Carla’s favorite poses to teach in class change based on those who join, as well as in her own yoga practice. She likes designing sequences for specific purposes depending on her health needs at the time. Yoga has helped Carla stay active throughout health issues while remaining as healthy as possible.

“People assume yoga is just great for stretching -- which is still good -- but it’s much more than that.”

One time, Carla had everyone in a class write down an intention or word so she could choose a yoga pose that matched each student’s personality and intention. She used these poses to create a custom sequence for the class. And as a rower, Carla wanted a series of poses that targeted improving her technique and strength on the water. She worked on creating a yoga sequence for herself that she ultimately taught a group of fellow rowers.

“People started bringing yoga principals to yoga and biking but rowing is more complex, and yoga can help with technique in so many ways. It actually helped me get back to rowing when I was fully healthy again.”


So what inspires Carla as a yoga instructor?
“It’s the feeling of being comfortable enough while teaching to key in on the class and adjust the plan as needed, on the spot. That takes a lot of practice, and you have to be confident in what you’re doing. Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you thought it’d work out, and that’s okay. I guess I really try to get people to not think about looking a certain way or being a certain way but instead find their own expression of the pose.”

Meet Carla and the rest of the CNY Studios instructors at our yoga studio in Merrimack, NH, today!

Christine Hayes
Easy Snack Recipe: Energy Bites
energy bites
  • 1 cup oatmeal 
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew)
  • 1/2 cup flax seed 
  • 1/3 cup honey (or agave)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes

Mix all ingredients in a bowl together. You will really have to use your hands to make sure the PB and honey mix well into the other ingredients. Throw in the fridge for 30 minutes then roll into small balls!

Christine Hayes
Desk yoga routine for days when you can't make it to class
shona vertue

When you need a boost of energy during the workday, a quick yoga sequence at your desk could be the perfect pick-me-up. Shona Vertue, David Beckham's yoga teacher, shared her eight-step "desk yoga sequence" on her blog to help you make it through those long days.

Join our yoga classes near Nashua, NH, to fully stretch your body out and let go of your daily stress. Check out our Merrimack, NH, yoga studio schedule to find a time that works for you!

Christine Hayes
Nonprofit uses yoga to help people with PTSD

If you've practiced yoga for a while, you know that yoga can really help you get through the unexpected stressors that life throws your way. When you've had a bad day at work, an argument with a loved one or just aren't feeling yourself, letting the stress go on the mat is the perfect way to find your center.

This concept applies to much more than the daily worries and problems that keep you from feeling your best; yoga can help people heal from traumatic events too. SELF Magazine wrote about Bilyana Simonoski's journey with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how yoga helped her reconnect with herself -- physically and mentally.

"'I got set up with an amazing therapist who encouraged me to practice self-care, so in addition to meditation and journaling, I started doing yoga videos on YouTube,'” Bilyana told SELF.

tough as milk

Bilyana decided that women in shelters and other people who have been through intense traumas could truly benefit from access to free yoga classes. That's why she started a nonprofit called Tough As Milk. Read more about this amazing organization here!

Work through the little things -- or big things -- that weigh you down at our yoga studio in Merrimack, NH. People looking for Merrimack, NH, yoga classes will love our peaceful studio atmosphere, calming instructors and productive flows. 

Christine Hayes
Get back pain relief with easy yoga poses

If you deal with chronic back pain, you know that it can difficult to get relief. Your spine is always moving and it's affected by everything you do, even just sleeping and breathing. Instead of just taking ibuprofen or simply putting up with the pain, you should try to stretch your back out and relieve the stress on your spine with yoga. Yoga Journal spoke with Alison West, an expert on yoga therapy, about using certain types of yoga to alleviate back pain. West suggests five poses to try including a child's pose variation and a seated back extension.

When you visit our yoga studio in Merrimack, NH, you can explore even more ways to find pain relief in yoga and meditation! 

child's pose
Christine Hayes
May Instructor Interview: Ann Marie Devi
ann marie

Ann Marie Devi is a New Hampshire native, but she spent nearly 20 years raising her family in Indiana. Now that she’s back in the Granite State, she’s bringing the power of yoga to Merrimack. Ann Marie previously earned a Master’s Degree in Complementary Alternative Medicine, which she paired with yoga teacher training. As a result, she’s knowledgeable about holistic healing in a way that will elevate your yoga experience at our Merrimack yoga studio.

When she’s not spending time with her kids or grandkids, Ann Marie likes to get outside. She finds peace in being outdoors, whether she’s hiking in the White Mountains or kayaking in a nearby lake.


Q. How did you get involved in yoga?
A. I started meditating when I was about 19 and that was sprinkled in and out of my life. It was really because of stress -- raising kids and working a full-time job -- that I decided to start. I decided to take a regular asana class and fell in love. I remember thinking how my first teacher was so calm and found myself wondering how she does that. I thought I could never be like that.

You might think we’re just stretching you out, but yoga is about breath, body and mind. It’s about teaching people to be in the moment. And with time, people take that off the mat and start to feel it in life. Then, you feel like you have to go back to the mat and learn more. You’ll realize you’re kind of addicted and you don’t know why.

Q. What’s your favorite type of yoga class to teach?
A. I don’t think I have a favorite because it depends who I’m teaching. No matter what class I’m teaching, I like to sequence with a purpose. So whether the postures are related to a reading or a yoga topic or specific muscles that I might bring up, I like to integrate that into the class. I just like to plan classes with purpose. It doesn’t matter if it’s vinyasa or yin class -- whatever kind of class it is, I like to develop it with a lot of thought.

I have a personal trainer certification, so I like to work on muscle-related things, focus and really become aware.  I like to draw body awareness, too, not just breath. People don’t even realize they’re using parts of their body and spine at points, so I integrate that knowledge as much as I can in classes.

 

When Ann Marie practices yoga, her daily stress melts away -- and that inner peace is what she tries to impart on her students. “Even when I’m having a bad day personally, I sit on the mat and boom: I’m in the teaching space and I’m in the Zen space.”

For more details about Ann Marie’s journey, check out the instructor page on our website. Join one of Ann Marie’s classes at Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios in Merrimack, NH, today!

 

Christine Hayes
Delicious & healthy blueberry oat muffins

Try out this easy, healthy and tasty blueberry oat muffin recipe for a quick breakfast or snack!

Ingredients:

IMG_0226.JPG
  • 2 cups of oats - I ground them into flour with a food processor!
  • 5 tbs nut butter if your choice!
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond milk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • Handful of blueberries 
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • Optional: stevia to sweeten about 1/3 cup but could leave as is the blueberries make it sweet enough!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl then pour mixture into lined muffin pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Christine Hayes
10 yoga poses for all ages & fitness levels

"These 10 poses and practices might just be the best tools yoga has to offer for a healthy and vibrant life, with huge benefits for body and mind."

Have you ever hesitated to sign up for a yoga class because you think you're too old? We don't believe in that school of thought at Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios. One of our favorite things about yoga is that it can be adapted to fit all ages and skill levels. That's why we offer a range of yoga classes in Merrimack, NH, including beginner yoga classes and all levels vinyasa yoga.

group downward dog

Yoga Journal put a list of yoga poses together that are perfect for people of all ages and fitness levels. From downward-facing dog to cobra, you can explore these poses at CNY Studios.

Looking for a New Hampshire yoga studio or barre classes near Nashua? Check out our schedule and come to one of our yoga, barre or pilates classes in Merrimack soon!

 

Christine Hayes
Could foam rolling be what your workout is missing?
yoga stretch

"Aside from smoothing out and hydrating fascia, improving circulation, boosting lymphatic drainage, "lubricating" the joints, reducing inflammation and increasing flexibility, the roller can also be used as the basis for a total body workout that is the perfect complement to whatever other exercise you like to do, or can be a workout in its own right."

If you don't foam roll before or after you exercise, you are seriously missing out. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or you're joining a yoga class for beginners, you can discover physical and mental benefits of foam rolling.

Luckily, Mindbodygreen.com put a foam-rolling guide together to explain everything you need to know. Check out the article here to learn about why you should foam roll from a physiological perspective and how to choose a foam roller. Plus, you'll find a handful of foam rolling exercises that you can incorporate into your workouts.

It's easy to find foam rollers in the fitness section of stores and online for less than $20, so bring a foam roller to your next yoga class at CNY Studios or roll out when you get home after class to give your body the stretch it deserves! Our Merrimack, NH, yoga classes are available for all levels, so don't hesitate to try out our new Merrimack yoga studio!

Christine Hayes
Yoga can help kids deal with anxiety at school

When people introduce yoga into their lives, they discover a whole range of benefits. One of the best parts about yoga and its perks is that there's no discrimination. Across every gender and age, people can find advantages to practicing yoga and participating in daily meditation.

Results from a recent study at Tulane University show that adding yoga to the school day can help kids better manage stress and overall quality of life. In the study, some third-grade students with anxiety completed an eight-week yoga and mindfulness intervention while others were treated with counseling and more traditional social work activities. After 10 classroom yoga sessions before school in the morning, students showed higher quality of life scores. You can find more details from Forbes!

At a time when the most developmentally important learning opportunities are being stripped away in U.S. schools—recess time, art and music, and hands-on learning—and stress levels are rising, the study points to an effective way for schools to help kids deal with it all.
— Forbes

Our yoga studio in Merrimack, NH, offers yoga classes for everyone! Whether you're interested in yoga classes for beginnings in NH or a yoga studio with barre classes, Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios is right for. Stop by today!

Christine Hayes
Let go of tension and stress with cow face pose

Before you spend another day sitting in front of a computer with your shoulders hunched or dealing with chronic aches and pains, try out this yoga pose. Mindbodygreen explains how to loosen up your hips and shoulders with a cow face pose to discover a range of benefits.  

Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios in Merrimack, NH, is the perfect place to stretch out and relax your muscles. Come to CNY Studios for a beginner yoga class or to deepen your practice at another one of our New Hampshire yoga classes.

cow face pose
Loosening your hips can also help to alleviate chronic back and knee pain, improve circulation, and, in general, strengthen posture.
— Mindbodygreen
Christine Hayes
Can yoga help with chronic pain?
downward dog

If you've been dealing with aches and pains or seasonal depression has been getting the best of you, doing yoga can help you feel better. 

When you practice yoga, you can get the exercise your body needs without putting as much strain on it as you would with other types of workouts. According to Prevention.com, yoga can also help you reduce stress and strengthen your immune system. Get more yoga in your life to lift your spirits and experience less pain throughout the day!

"More and more, research suggests that yoga can play a role in relieving chronic pain. Among people with lower back issues, for instance, those who practiced yoga for six months reported significantly less disability, pain, and depression compared to patients who only underwent standard treatment.

Other studies have shown that yoga is effective for fibromyalgia pain. Meanwhile, the practice has been shown to ease joint pain and improve functioning in those with arthritis. One study even suggests that yoga could be helpful for headaches."

Read more of the article here!

Christine Hayes
Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios Joins Merrimack Fitness Community

Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios --  a brand-new yoga, pilates and barre studio -- recently opened in Merrimack, NH, providing New Hampshire residents with a new place to exercise and unwind. Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios is based in Merrimack’s Residences at Daniel Webster Hotel, making it an easy drive for yoga fans and aspiring yogis from Nashua, Manchester and beyond.

“I’m excited to bring more fitness options to the Merrimack area,” said Lyndsey Morash, owner of Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios. “There’s a growing wellness community near the new studio, and I’m looking forward to being part of that transformation.”

The newly renovated studio boasts hardwood floors, a ballet barre and ambient lighting to provide students with the preeminent environment to begin or deepen their practice. Experienced instructors are ready to impart their knowledge about yoga, stretching, meditation and more at this hidden-gem studio.

Classes at Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios are first-come, first-served, so it’s best to pre-register for your class of choice. Class offerings include beginner yoga, slow flow for strength, vinyasa yoga for all levels, barre, mat pilates and meditation. There are also prenatal yoga, yin and restorative yoga classes available. All classes are limited to 15 students to ensure everyone has the personalized attention they deserve.

cny studios

You can buy a monthly unlimited membership, a class package or each class individually. We can also accommodate private classes for those who want one-on-one guidance. Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios has the lowest yoga class rates around, and we offer discounts for students, hotel guests, U.S. Military personnel and more. Currently, we only accept payment by credit card. For a limited time only, we’re running a New Member Promotion: $30 for 30 days unlimited membership for first-time students only.

Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios is part of Chasing Nirvana Yoga, a company that provides on-site yoga and meditation classes in corporate offices and luxury buildings. Chasing Nirvana Yoga also offers yoga mat rental and corporate retreats. Start or continue your yoga practice at Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios, located at 246 Daniel Webster Highway in Merrimack, NH.

Christine Hayes
March Instructor Interview: Kristen Lamarre


Teaching has always come naturally to Kristen Lamarre, studio manager and yoga instructor at Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios.

kristen lamarre

Before she started training yogis on the mat, Kristen worked with students in a high school science lab. She realized she found more joy in her mostly self-taught yoga practice and determined it was time for a career change. That’s when this Massachusetts native traveled to Pavones Yoga Center in Pavones, Costa Rica to complete multidimensional yoga teacher training. She had fallen in love with the Central American country on a previous vacation and decided it was the perfect setting for taking yoga to the next level in 2015.

These days, you can catch Kristen in our Merrimack, New Hampshire yoga studio. When she’s not doing yoga, Kristen likes to hike and hang with her dog Koby.* She also teaches intro to paddling lessons and stand-up paddle board (SUP) yoga.

 


Q. How did you really get into yoga?
A. Teaching high school was my first big girl job, and I realized when I graduated from college that I wasn’t as active as I used to be. I went to school in the mountains so I was always hiking and skiing. But when I moved home and it was winter while I was teaching, I decided to move all the furniture in the living room teach myself sun salutations in my living room. I used YouTube videos, went to some classes and then decided to do yoga teacher training.

 

Q. What’s your favorite type of yoga class to teach?
A. I really like teaching a powerful Vinyasa to a large group of people where everyone is moving and breathing in unison, and we’re all in sync. It’s an amazing experience to lead a big group of people through yoga. And then I love teaching Yin, the very relaxed, meditative and slow yoga. All the poses are done on the ground and you use props like blocks and blankets so the body gets comfortable. You’re supprted so you can relax and soft. Think of it as your body lengthening and reaching instead of pulling.

 

Q. What are some of your goals for CNY Studios?
A. My goals are for the studio to keep growing and for us to keep getting people in. Merrimack doesn't have a wealth of yoga options available yet. Another goal is to get people to try yoga who don’t think they’re flexible enough to enjoy it or may not traditionally think of themselves as someone who would do yoga.

 

Visit Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios to take a class with Kristen Lamarre. Our yoga classes in Merrimack, NH, are perfect for beginners and experienced yogis alike.

 

Christine Hayes
The healing power of yoga: an ex-Olympian's story
serenity

Former Olympic athlete Erin Beck had an injury in her teens that led to isolation and depression. After struggling for years, she found solace in yoga.

"I want to share my story in hopes that it can inspire and help others who may be experiencing mental health setbacks—to let them know that they are not alone and that there is hope."

Read more from mindbodygreen about how this ex-Olympic skier discovered how to heal through yoga. If you need to heal -- mentally, emotionally or spiritually -- take a class at our yoga studio in Merrimack, NH. Contact Chasing Nirvana Yoga Studios to sign up today!

Christine Hayes
The health of your body and mind are inextricably linked
fitness lady

Forbes reports on a new study that increases the evidence that exercise is helpful in keeping your brain healthy as you age. 

"What we do have are solid indications that we should think of exercise and brain health in a similar way to exercise and heart health. Some of the same benefits exercise provides the heart—like improved blood flow and lower inflammation—also benefit the brain. 

Read more from Forbes here, then contact our Merrimack, NH, yoga studio to start making exercise a part of your daily routine!

Christine Hayes