5 Tips for Newbies Attending Their First Yoga Class
New Yogi

So, you’ve looked into studios in your area, have watched videos and read blog posts, and maybe have even purchased a brand-new pair of yoga pants. You’re ready to begin your yoga journey! The problem is, you’ve never attended a yoga class, and you don’t know your chaturangas from your namastes.

Are you going to skip out? Of course not! You just need a support system to get your head in the game, and don’t worry. We’ve got your back! Here are 5 tips for newbies attending their first yoga class.

1. Wear comfortable clothes.

One of the best parts of yoga is that you’re encouraged to dress comfortably, which is a huge perk if you’ve spent the day in work clothes. Though there are many well-known brands out there, don’t feel like you need to dress in designer yoga clothes to get the full experience! Keep it simple. Wear stretchy pants or shorts (exercise attire is just fine!), and a comfortable shirt that is a bit fitted, since many yoga poses will have you bending at the waist. Most often, yoga is done barefoot, so don’t worry about footwear – but if you’re uncomfortable taking off your shoes in front of strangers, opt for socks with non-slip grips.

2. Bring a water bottle.

If you’re a beginner, yoga can be tricky, and you’ll likely find yourself sweating and out of breath at one point or another. Make sure to bring a water bottle to hydrate yourself if need be! However, try not to overdo it, because if you leave for a bathroom break, you’ll interrupt your flow and may distract other yogis in the room. After class is over, be sure to hydrate plenty. Your body will thank you for it after you exercise it in new ways!

3. Show up with an open mind.

Even if you’re skeptical, always try to show up to your first yoga class with an open mind. You never know what aspects of class you’ll like best! All yoga teachers have a different approach, and if you enjoy your time on the mat, you’ll want to practice with many different instructors to find the best fit for you. Don’t be afraid to try that tricky-looking pose, to modify poses to fit your needs, or to chant “OM” loudly with the group! You’ll never know what works for you unless you try it all!

4. Sit in the middle of the room.

One of the best tips for yoga newbies is to sit somewhere in the middle of the room during your first class. That way you’ll have other yogis in front, behind, and on all sides of you in case you need help understanding the way a pose is supposed to look. Most instructors will walk around the room and offer adjustments and assistance if need be, so don’t worry about sitting right up front. Give yourself plenty of room and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

5. Be kind to yourself.

Above all, be kind to yourself before, during, and after your first yoga class! It can be very intimidating signing up for something new, and you’ve already done a great job by expressing interest. Even the most disciplined yogi is never through with their yoga journey. Yoga is an ongoing practice, and you can’t fail because each person’s practice is their own. Continue showing up to class and you will thrive!

CNY Studios is a yoga, pilates, and barre studio located in Merrimack, NH offering a number of different classes for all levels. To learn more about CNY’s offerings and to join a class, visit www.cnystudios.com.

Sydnie Lopolito
Hey Yogis – Here’s a Breakdown of the Major Types of Yoga
CNY Studios Yoga Mats

Are you a new yogi who isn’t quite sure what the right yoga class is for you? Or maybe you’re a seasoned vet who’s looking to shake up your practice. Have no fear. One of the best parts about yoga is that it’s made up of so many different class types that there’s a fit for everyone. For instance, you’re probably familiar with hatha yoga, even if you’ve never heard it called by name.

“The Sanskrit term "hatha" is an umbrella term for all physical postures of yoga. In the West, hatha yoga simply refers to all the other styles of yoga (Ashtanga, Iyengar, etc.) that are grounded in a physical practice. The physical-based yoga is the most popular and has numerous styles. Hatha yoga classes are best for beginners since they are usually paced slower than other yoga styles. Hatha classes today are a classic approach to breathing and exercises. If you are brand-new to yoga, hatha yoga is a great entry point to the practice.” - MindBodyGreen

There’s also kundalini yoga, which is great for the more athletic yogi. Kundalini yoga is both spiritual and physical, and it’s all about releasing the “kundalini,” or latent female energy, trapped in your body in the lower spine. These classes are all about core work and breathing with fast-moving, intense poses. They can often also involve chanting, mantra, and meditation.

MindBodyGreen offers an excellent look at the major types of yoga in this article. The article discusses hatha and kundalini yoga, along with other types such as iyengar, ashtanga, vinyasa, bikram, and yin.

At CNY Studios, we offer a number of different classes for every level. Check out our schedule to get started!

Sydnie Lopolito
The Best 5 Yoga Poses to Do Right From Your Desk

* This post was originally shared by Chasing Nirvana Yoga, a service-based mind and body wellness company offering on-site yoga and wellness options. For more, visit them online at www.chasingnirvanayoga.com.

We’ve all been there. You’ve been sitting at your work desk for hours, ticking away at your to-do list, and all of a sudden you hit a wall. This could signal it’s time for a coffee break, but it could also point to something deeper. According to the American Institute of Stress, 26% of workers said they were often or very often burned out or stressed by their work. The same study reports that job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems. That wall you’re hitting might be from work-related stress, and it’s really bad for your overall health.

Practicing yoga can help you combat workplace stress, increase focus, increase productivity, and boost morale. Though not all offices currently have a wellness plan in place, such as offering on-site yoga classes to employees, you can get similar benefits from practicing yoga right from your work desk. And yes, you can do this all by yourself!

Here are the best 5 yoga poses to do right from your desk.

 

1. Wrist and Finger Stretches

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This is an easy, discrete practice that has huge benefits. If you’re typing all day, your wrists and fingers can get stiff and painful, and stretching them every two hours will help get the blood flowing. Extend your arms to your sides and make 5-10 circles inward and outward with your wrists. Then stretch your arms above your head and repeat. After this, spread your fingers and close your fists a few times to reduce tension.

 

2. Seated Crescent Moon Pose

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Image Credit: Yoga Destiny

Seated Crescent Moon is a good way to elongate your posture after sitting at your desk all day. It also helps with neck and shoulder discomfort, as your sides are not supported well while you’re hunched over a computer. Start by sitting tall in your chair and lift your arms above your head, stretching your fingers wide. Lean to the right, still facing straight, for a few breaths, then repeat on the other side.

 

3. Chair Pose

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Image Credit: Yoga Journal

You remember this one from your last yoga class, don’t you? If not, you’ll be mimicking the way your body looks as it sits in a chair, only you’ll hold your posture on your own without support. Push your chair back and stand up, bringing your feet about hip-width distance apart. Bend your knees. Sit your hips down and back as you would before sitting down in your desk chair. Balance your body weight on your heels. This will keep your pose strong. For additional balance, reach your arms up or bring them together at heart center. Breathe.

 

4. Forward Fold

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If your back is bothering you, this is the yoga pose for you. Stand up, reach all the way up to the sky, and slowly fold forward, keeping your legs straight and bringing your fingertips as close to the ground as possible. If you can’t reach, rest your hands on your shins or knees. Nod your head yes and shake it no to release tension in the back of your neck, and feel your hamstrings stretch. When you’re ready, slowly stand up, one vertebrate at a time.

5. Seated Backbend

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Image Credit: Health Magazine

Here’s one you don’t even need to leave your chair for! Sit tall in your chair and place your hands a couple inches behind your hips. Push deep into your chair and pull your shoulder blades down and back, lifting your chest and tucking in your stomach. Stretch and look up to the sky, remembering to breathe all the while.

After solidifying your individual yoga practice at your desk, see if you can bring a team of professionals into your office for on-site group yoga classes! Chasing Nirvana Yoga serves Boston Proper, Boston Metro West, New York City, Hartford, Providence, Austin, and Los Angeles and will work with your team to help you de-stress, get healthy, and move mindfully. Connect with us today to learn more!

Sydnie Lopolito
Yoga is Becoming a Staple of Global Health Care. Here’s Why
Yoga Global Health

Yoga has come a long way since its inception five to ten thousand years ago. Then, yoga was a spiritual practice. Now, yoga has modernized into endless iterations, from traditional all the way to fun weekend events with wine and hip-hop music. 

It’s even made its way into our standard health care offerings. Now that we’re, with the rare exception, past the times of mass infectious diseases, humans are lucky to live longer lives. Unfortunately, we’re now plagued with different ailments like depression, financial pressure, and anxiety. And that’s not even mentioning our diets. With the rise of junk food and processed goods, our bodies are changing, and we may be in the midst of a new health care crisis. That’s why many people are now turning to holistic practices such as yoga for a positive life impact.

“A diet of processed, sugar-laden food, a working environment that allows little time for relaxation or creative expression, lack of exercise, loneliness, intense financial pressure – these are all features of many people’s lives in the modern world, and they are having a profound impact on their health. Whether it’s the rise in depression and anxiety, or the fact that in 2015 84.1 million Americans aged 18 and older had prediabetes, it’s becoming clear that traditional medicine is struggling to tackle this modern health crisis. This is where yoga can (and does) have a positive impact.”

Studies have found that yoga has incredible health benefits, including decreasing stress, relieving anxiety, reducing inflammation, and improving heart health. In this changing world, yoga may just be the answer to fighting back against today’s health stressors. 

Check out this article from Daily Cup of Yoga for more on why yoga is a growing part of global health care. Still not convinced? Join us for a yoga class at CNY Studios in Merrimack, NH! We have a full schedule with all types of yoga catering to all levels of experience. Try them all and see what’s best for your personal health!

Sydnie Lopolito
Gen Z is Entering the Workplace – Here's What You Need to Know
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Gen Z. Noun. Definition: Individuals born in the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. Use it in a sentence? “Gen Z is officially entering the workplace.” Yikes!

With every new generation comes a new way of thinking. Gen Z-ers were born in the prime technology era and never lived without the internet. This makes connectivity a must. These digital thinkers are independent and entrepreneurial, and they are already changing the way offices look and feel.

Workplace leaders are getting creative in the office to attract Gen Z employees, and workplace change is happening at a lightning-fast pace. Many leaders are modeling their office spaces after college campuses, notorious for collaborative spaces that embrace conversation and overall wellness.

“When leaders can deliver work environments that support their teams’ best work, they can improve productivity and profitability. By looking at college campuses now, workplace leaders can be ready to give the next wave of fresh talent what it wants: a tech-driven, free-flowing environment. So why not give it a try? The next generation will thank you for it! — Work Design Magazine

Health benefits are an important amenity many workplace leaders are focusing on. College campuses in particular are designed to support students in fitness, mindfulness, and nutritional offerings, and to cater to more students, many campuses area adding mental health services like meditation and counseling.

“When Gen Z graduates from school to work, they will bring with them these fond collegiate memories of good health and wellness—and if one workplace can’t deliver it, many will move along until they find another that does. — Work Design Magazine

This article from Work Design Magazine is a great start for workplace leaders looking to learn from higher ed and craft office spaces that appeal to Gen Z employees. Interested in bringing corporate yoga to your office? Connect with Chasing Nirvana Yoga today! We offer custom plans to meet your needs and cater to all generations and skill levels.

Sydnie Lopolito
Get In Touch With Your Chakras at Work, Right From Your Desk
Chakras

Many yoga practitioners pay special attention to the body’s chakras, seven energy centers that serve different parts of the being. These energy centers are pockets of swirling energy that are align vertically down the center of an individual’s body, but sometimes, they can become unbalanced, causing health to suffer.

The seven chakras are:

1.     The Root Chakra, located at the base of the spine. This chakra is in charge of survival. It is often associated with the color red.

2.     The Sacral Chakra, located below the bellybutton. This chakra motivates you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is often associated with the color orange.

3.     The Solar Plexus Chakra, located in the center of the belly button and extending up to the breastbone. This chakra encourages your personal power and relates much to your career. It is often associated with the color yellow.

4.     The Heart Chakra, located at the heart center. This chakra hosts your love, compassion, and kindness. It is often associated with the color green.

5.     The Throat Chakra, located at the throat, helps with communication. It is often associated with the color blue.

6.     The 3rd Eye Chakra, located on the forehead, focuses on your intuition. It is often associated with the color indigo.

7.     The Crown Chakra, located at the top of the head. This chakra is pure light and consciousness. It is often associated with the colors violet and white.

Learn more about the chakras and what you might feel like when they’re healthy or unbalanced at Mindvalley.

Now that you know what the chakras are, it’s time to learn how you can get in touch with them in the office. 

ROOT

The most important thing you can do to get in touch with your Root Chakra at work is breathe! Take three or four deep breaths when you’re feeling stressed. Get up, stretch, and walk around. If your Root Chakra feels out of balance, take a small break and venture outside. Nature works wonders!

SACRAL

Are you still feeling pleasure and pride at your work? If you’re having an off day, try writing down three things that gave you pleasure at work recently. It could be a compliment from a client, a project you were particularly proud of, or simply the way you have your desk set up. Remind yourself to enjoy your work and be proud of what you’ve accomplished!

SOLAR PLEXUS

The Solar Plexus Chakra is one that can get especially out of balance at work since it is so driven by motivation and success. If you’re not feeling successful or if you’re in a rut, come up with a to-do list and prioritize. Once you check off a task, give yourself a pat on the back. Even small steps are one step closer to success! 

HEART

Feeling like your Heart Chakra is out of whack? Show your team members a little love! Stop by each of your coworkers desks and let them know why you appreciate working with them. If they seem to be struggling themselves, see what you can do to help. The Heart Chakra thrives when you share your love with others, so see what you can do to be a compassionate team member yourself! 

THROAT

The Throat Chakra is another big one that can become unbalanced in the office, particularly if you’re communicating with many different people over email, phone, or in person. As strange as it may sound, try humming if you’re feeling stuck! Humming activates the Throat Chakra and encourages positive movement. If that doesn’t work, try speaking to yourself the following intention: I intend to speak my truth clearly and confidently.

3RD EYE

If you’re feeling like everything is coming at you out of left field without warning, your 3rd Eye Chakra may be unbalanced. This is another chakra that benefits from taking a short walk outside to put your day in perspective. During this walk, turn inward. If you have time, consider meditating for 2-5 minutes. Remember to be kind to yourself – even the most enlightened individuals feel lost sometimes! The best thing to do to get in touch with your 3rd Eye Chakra is to stop, listen to what your body is telling you, and take breaks where needed.

CROWN

Many spiritual people find it difficult to connect with their Crown Chakra in a corporate environment. This doesn’t have to be so! You should always make time to connect with yourself on a spiritual level, be it through religion, yoga practice, or even just spending some time in your own head. If you’re feeling out of touch, schedule some time after work to attend a yoga class, shop at your favorite store, eat your guilty pleasure treat, or snuggle up in sweatpants in front of the TV! Then bring that energy into work the following day. You can even suggest your manager bring a yoga instructor on-site to work with your team for an hour. At Chasing Nirvana Yoga, we offer plenty of wellness options for the corporate and property manager landscapes!

If you’re feeling off, remember that it might be your chakras, and it is never, ever your fault as a person. Always be sure to make time to take care of yourself during the work day and beyond. You’ve worked hard … you deserve it!

Sydnie Lopolito
Mindfulness is Worth It, Even Though It’s a Difficult Practice
Mindfulness

As a yogi, you’re practicing mindfulness during every class, whether you know it or not. Mindfulness, the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something, is an incredible practice with incredible benefits. Just by being in the present moment, you’re reducing stress. In fact, some studies even say mindfulness not only reduces stress but also gently builds an inner strength so that future stressors have less impact on our happiness and physical well-being.

However, if you’re a mindfulness practitioner, you know it’s anything but easy. It can be frustrating to focus on the present moment, and it can cause many emotions to come to the surface, like sadness, anger, and guilt. Mindfulness encourages us to work through these emotions and move forward, ultimately allowing us to get one step closer to nirvana, or ultimate peace.

“Mindfulness can, at times, feel wildly unsatisfying, because it forces us to hold back from unleashing frustrations in ways that would be imminently relieving—(it feels good to get anger out of our system)—because we know we’ll feel worse if we say something we will later regret.

The practice of mindfulness creates the pause that allows us to intentionally choose how to act. We train ourselves to refrain from giving into our immediate, knee-jerk impulses.”

Here's a great read from Elephant Journal explaining why mindfulness is worth it, even when it feels totally unsatisfying. During your next class, I suggest asking your yoga teacher how to best practice mindfulness off the mat. This is why yoga is so amazing. It sends us home with the tools to bring peace into our daily life!

Join us at CNY Studios for a multitude of yoga and wellness classes for every level, from beginner to expert! We’d love to help you discover which yoga class is right for you. Check out our class descriptions here!

Sydnie Lopolito
Life Coming At You Fast? Try These 5 Practices to Cultivate Calm
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If your life is like mine, some days can be anything but calm. If you’re having trouble juggling all your appointments, work, hobbies, and even relaxation time, you’re not alone! Many people practice yoga to bring themselves back to the present moment and relish in an hour of peace, but the mat isn’t the only place you can cultivate calm.

When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, take a couple minutes to breathe. It’s good to bring yourself back to the present moment at least twice a day to reset your mind and start fresh. If you’re a yoga practitioner, think of how great you feel after a deep savasana. If you aren’t yet, consider what makes you feel the most calm. If you channel this energy, you can bring yourself back to that place at any time, in any place.

“Surely, a healthy dose of stress comes into play for most of us from time to time. (Or, let’s get real, most of the time.) However, prolonged stress often accumulates into feelings of overwhelm and anxiety—and these feelings drain our energy, leaving us exhausted and caught in a perpetual cycle of craziness. The crazier life feels, the harder it is to remember that we can find calm, even if for just a few minutes.”

Still don’t know where to start? Read this great article from Yoga Journal outlining five practices to cultivate calm. Stay neutral, exhale often (and with gusto!), and notice the pause!

How do you cultivate calm in your life? Join us at CNY Studios for a number of calming yoga classes for all levels!

Sydnie Lopolito
Start Small for Healthier Habits
Small Commitments.jpg

Did you know it takes 21 days to form a habit? That means it only takes three weeks of doing something on a regular schedule, like going to the gym, eating healthy, or starting a yoga practice, to make it second nature. Starting small leads to big changes, and even a small commitment can change your life.

What does your morning routine look like? If it involves stress or anxiety, it might be time to form new habits to start your morning off right. Forcing yourself to put the phone down for the first hour you’re awake is one way to start. Waking up a half hour earlier to ensure you eat a healthy breakfast is another.

The author of “A Small Commitment Can Change Your Life,” posted on the Wanderlust Journal, used to start her day every morning like this: wake up at 4:45am, read through emails while making coffee, climb back into bed, scroll through Instagram, wonder what kind of enlightened post to share, ignore her meditation because news on Twitter was more important, and then look at the time to realize she’d wasted an hour spiraling into negative news and other people’s lives. Then she recognized her behavior was destructive and decided to do something about it.

"My alarm coaxes me out of bed at 4:45am. I lift up the covers, walk to my kitchen, and turn on the kettle. As it heats, I climb back into bed and drift for a few moments before my second alarm goes off. The kettle is whistling, and I move on to begin my day with coffee, reading, and journaling. That’s my ideal morning agenda, but it didn’t always turn out that way."

Read her advice on how to start small and commit to a new healthy lifestyle step by step. It’s versatile wisdom that is applicable everywhere! I’ll be using her tips to strengthen my yoga practice and ingrain new, healthy habits into my day. How will you?

Sydnie Lopolito
Promote Good Health in Your Office By Celebrating "Wellness Week"
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If you’ve ever worked in an office, you know just how tough it can be to shake up your typical routine. We already know it’s not good to stay sedentary all day – sitting for excessively long periods of time without getting up from your desk to stretch isn’t ideal for your body and even is a risk factor for early death. It’s essential that office leaders and upper management take the health of their employees seriously, and thankfully, we’re steadily trending in that direction.

“There’s a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause, researchers said, based on a study of nearly 8,000 adults. As your total sitting time increases, so does your risk of an early death. - CNN

But how can you encourage your employees to take care of themselves on the job? Make it fun, of course! Try celebrating a “Wellness Week” once a year and planning health-related events during the work day to break up the standard 9 to 5.

Here are some ideas.

HOST A HEALTHY POTLUCK LUNCH

One of the best ways to get people up out of their seats is free food! Post a sign-up sheet in your break room asking for participants to bring in a dish for a healthy potluck lunch. Not only is this a great way to encourage healthy eating habits, it’s also an opportunity for team members who might not work together on a daily basis to get to know one another. If the weather is nice, try having your healthy potluck lunch outside!

BRING AN INSTRUCTOR IN TO HOST A FITNESS CLASS

There are many options if you’re looking to bring an instructor in to teach a fitness class during lunch, after hours, or even just during a pre-determined half hour where all employees are allowed to leave their desks and participate. For example, Chasing Nirvana Yoga offers on-site yoga classes with certified instructors, an excellent way to de-stress, get healthy, and move mindfully. On-site yoga classes are the perfect way to cater to all ages and skill levels because every yoga pose can be modified to fit an individual’s capabilities. For the extra active office, try an outdoor Zumba class, a group run, or a kickboxing session!

START A WEEK-LONG WALKING CHALLENGE USING FITNESS TRACKERS

This one is fun because it can be repeated throughout the year. Everyone loves a bit of competition! Encourage your employees with fitness trackers to break up into teams and get stepping! The competition can cater to a number of goals: the team with the most total steps wins, every team that hits 100,000 steps collectively gets a prize, or each individual who hits 10,000 steps per day during the week is entered into a raffle. Gauge interest and see what your office leans toward!

PULL TOGETHER AN EMPLOYEE-WRITTEN HEALTHY RECIPE BOOK

Send out a company-wide email in search of healthy home-cooked recipes, and at the end of the week, gather the recipes together and print a book (or several)! If you’re a sustainable company and you’d like to stay away from printing hard pages, try pulling together an e-book and sending it out to each employee. This is a unique way to gift each member of your team with something they’ll always have a use for!

PARTNER WITH A LOCAL HEALTH-FOCUSED COMPANY FOR AN EMPLOYEE DISCOUNT

If you work near a juicery or a healthy food joint, see if you can partner with them for a week-long employee discount. Suggest an exchange for free promotion on your website or social media accounts. This is a nice way to start building relationships in your community, and if your employees enjoy the food or drink after utilizing their discount, they may just incorporate a healthy meal into their diet every so often!

What ways have you seen companies embrace wellness? Connect with us for more ideas, and keep us posted if your company hosts a Wellness Week!

Sydnie Lopolito
Is Breathwork the Next Big Thing in Yoga?
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Take a deep breath, count to three, and take one more. Feel better? Recharged? That’s because science points to breathwork as a way to gain a sense of self-awareness and release anxiety and trauma. Yoga studios across the world are now incorporating this practice into their daily offerings, but the practice of breathwork isn’t new. Breathwork has roots in Eastern practices like yoga, Tai Chi, and Buddhism, but it became a major form of therapy in the 1960s.

“Breathwork is like shaking an etch-a-sketch after finishing with a drawing. You’re harmonizing the energies physically, emotionally, mentally, and beyond, bringing the entire being back to neutral as a way of living truly and deeply in flow with the present moment rather than dragging the undigested noise of past experience into every situation.”

Breathwork combines conscious control with breathing. It encourages healing, restoration, and ever-expanding perspectives. This is why it works so well with a yoga practice. It’s a way to promote full-body healing and allows the practitioner to experience the full benefits of a yoga class.

Learn more about the history of breathwork, why it works, and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine in the Wanderlust Journal. Still not sure where to start? Take another deep breath. We can help! Join us at our Merrimack, NH, yoga studio for an assortment of classes for all levels!

Sydnie Lopolito
How yoga & meditation can help you through travel woes
sunset from the plane

If you've made travel plans for the last month of summer or upcoming fall weekends, you can expect a certain degree of stress along the way. Luckily, Mindbodygreen wrote about all the ways your meditation and yoga knowledge can help you get through air-travel woes.

Whether you do a few simple but effective yoga poses to stay comfortable throughout flight delays or practice mindfulness during turbulence, remembering the fundamentals you've learned in yoga class can really help.

"While we can’t control what happens in the travel world around us, we can work on our own selves and mindsets to make any travel a true adventure."

If you want to deepen your yoga and meditation practice before you pack your bags and head out, the knowledgeable New Hampshire yoga instructors at our Merrimack, NH, yoga studio are here to help. We offer yoga classes for beginnings, yin yoga classes and more!

 

 

Christine Hayes
What is the meaning of namaste?
namaste

Every yoga class ends with a collective "namaste" and although you say it with your fellow yogis, you might not know what it actually means. Check out this article from Yoga Journal where yoga teacher Aadil Palkhivala explains the history of saying namaste at the close of each class. 

 

"The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another."

Christine Hayes
Pilates classes aren't just for the ladies
 CNY Studios Pilates instructor Denise Samuel

CNY Studios Pilates instructor Denise Samuel

It's time to shed the stigma about Pilates. Pilates is the perfect type of fitness for anyone who wants a fully functional body. Regardless of your other hobbies, Pilates can provide unprecedented physical benefits. This is all to say, men should do Pilates too. Our Pilates classes in Merrimack, NH, can provide men and women with the strength and body control they need to keep themselves healthy.

Men's Health wrote about Pilates exercises that men can incorporate into their workout routines. Take a break from the gym and join us for a class in our Merrimack Pilates studio. We'll show you that Pilates isn't just for girls.

Christine Hayes
Instructor Spotlight: Denise Samuel

Denise Samuel is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Stott Pilates Certified instructor with over 20 years of experience helping people feel strong and centered in their bodies. Her focus on increasing deep core strength, joint stability, and overall flexibility have helped empower her clients to enjoy better posture, a greater range of motion and functional agility.

denise samuel

Denise has lived all over the country throughout the years -- from Michigan and Seattle to Los Angeles to Napa -- but she’s happily settled in New Hampshire these days. With an incredible variety of interests, Denise definitely knows how to keep busy. Whether she’s sewing re-purposed clothing with recycled fabric or tending to her flower gardens for bees, she’s always ready to lend a helping hand to Mother Nature. Having spent years in the wine industry, Denise is a self-proclaimed foodie who also loves spending time in the kitchen. And when she’s not teaching Pilates classes or indulging in one of her hobbies, Denise uses her background in marketing and advertising to consult small companies on branding and marketing strategy.

How were you introduced to Pilates?

When I was in the wine industry, the gym I was at was looking for instructors to teach kickboxing, so I started there and with other group fitness classes. I started to get certified in yoga and I went to a conference with one of my girlfriends who was a Pilates instructor. She said I had to try out a class; I went and I hated it. The breathing is very different from yoga and I kept thinking, “This sucks. This isn’t right. I don’t like this.”

I kept heading in the yoga direction, but when I moved to the coast of California, I met a woman who taught instructors how to teach Pilates. She said I should try a Pilates class with her, and I absolutely fell in love.

What made you decide to become a group fitness instructor?

I love connecting with people and I think it’s really important to keep your body functional. You only have one body and if it’s not functional, what are you going to do?

What we’re trying to do [in a group fitness class] is create an experience. It’s the music, it’s the interaction, it’s looking at the people in the classroom and teaching what works with their bodies. With personal training, one-on-one instruction is much easier, but when you have a group of people, you’re trying to choreograph a class for different levels and capacities. It’s like painting a picture; it’s very creative.

What do you love about pilates?

Pilates changed my life because it’s so functional. Pilates is really good for people who do other things like bike and golf and race horses. It’s all about being able to control your body. It’s about being able to feel your muscles, and then being able to control and use them when you need them. Plus, it builds great posture because we’re all hunched over our cell phones all day. I just love watching people’s bodies change.

Sign up for one of Denise’s Pilates classes in Merrimack, NH, to experience her expert instruction and see how your own body can change!



 

Christine Hayes
Healthy & tasty treat: Almond butter cookies
almond butter cookies

If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth without going on a sugar binge, whip up a batch of these almond butter cookies! They're quick, easy and DELICIOUS. Plus, you only need five ingredients. This recipe yields 15-20 cookies, so you'll have plenty to share.

Plus...Toby the pup thinks these cookies look amazing.

Recipe:

1 cup almond butter (creamy works best!)
1 1/2 cup of oats
1 large egg
3 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 cup of honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, then roll dough into balls and place on sheet of parchment paper. You don’t need to press them down too much! Make a “cross cross” using a fork (optional!) Cook for about 10 minutes. Bakes about 15-20 cookies!

 

Christine Hayes
Desk Yoga Routine for Days When You Can't Make It to Class
Desk Yoga.png

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.

Learn more about our on-site yoga classes in Boston, MA, to fully stretch your body out and let go of your daily stress. Bring yoga to your team to help them feel better, physically and mentally!

Sydnie Lopolito
From controlling emotions to improving balance, there's nothing yoga can't teach
yoga pose

Yoga's physical and mental benefits are far-reaching, and practicing yoga can truly change your life. This article from The Inertia was written by a yoga instructor in Paris who has experienced a transformation since making yoga part of her life. Check out how yoga has helped her emotionally, physically and mentally.

"Yoga empowers me to deal with anything that comes my way (from internal or external triggers), with trust that I can come out of it stronger."

Discover everything that yoga can add to your life at our yoga studio in Merrimack, NH. We also offer barre and pilates classes in New Hampshire!

Christine Hayes
Yoga improves the lives of inmates in Argentina

The benefits of yoga know no bounds. Regardless of a person's gender, size or location, yoga can help them find balance and turn negative energy into gratitude.

In fact, the 48th Penitentiary Unit of the San Martin state prison in Buenos Aires brought yoga classes called "Moksha" (yoga in jail) to the inmates, and yoga has started changing their lives.

yoga pose

"During the two-hour class, you forget about your problems,' said Lucas Roldan, a 33-year-old inmate who has been in prison for the last eight years. 'You feel free doing yoga, you leave the world.'"

Read more from The Straits Times here.

Christine Hayes
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