sara@coolidgeyoga.com

YOGI OF THE MONTH: MOHAMMAD ALY ELSAYED

Name? mohammad
Mohammad Aly ElSayed

Occupation? 
Senior Audit Associate, CPA at PwC formerly "PricewaterhouseCoopers", I transferred to PwC Boston through PwC Egypt in December 2014. I engage in performing public and private statutory audits as well as quarterly reviews of companies' annual and quarter financial statements.

Fun fact​ about you?​ 
I'm an amateur self-taught musician, I play guitar and oud (an old Middle Eastern lute-like instrument). I love flamenco music and I know a lot about flamenco music, more than a typical Spanish person would know.

Favorite yoga pose? 
Being fairly new to yoga it's hard to decide on a favorite pose yet, as I honestly like many poses, but what resonates with me the most is taking a breath for clarity in plank pose before lowering down to chaturanga (Four-Limbed Staff Pose, a.k.a. pushup) as well as tadasana (mountain pose) with palms in front of the heart as when I align myself with gravity. I feel a strong line of energy and opening flowing through my body.

When not on your mat, where can you be found? 
Hanging out with friends, listening to or playing music, reading and watching videos about yoga, meditating and talking to family and cousins overseas.

How long have you been practicing and what's your latest yoga breakthrough? I've been practicing for 6-months and 3-days to be precise:) My very first class at Sadhana was on April 1st, 2017, but I did realize right away that Yoga is a practice that I will keep doing for the rest of my life. I feel grateful and very lucky to have been introduced to Yoga in such a great studio like Sadhana, with all these wonderful teachers around. Balancing on one foot is my latest breakthrough, either in Tree Pose (vrksasana) or Chair Pose (utkatasana). In the beginning it was very hard having a fairly flat foot but through Q&As with different teachers I learned much more on how to balance and adjust my balance.

How has yoga impacted your life? In the simplest words, Yoga has changed, is changing and will keep changing my life. I lost around 30 pounds just from keeping a daily yoga practice over a period of 3 months combined with being mindful about my diet. I never thought it was possible to get more into areas and muscles in my body that I didn't even know existed. The physical aspect of yoga is just one of the countless blessings of yoga. I am eager and humble to keep learning more and more. I consider my yoga practice as my surfing board through the changes and ups and downs that we encounter in life. I keep reminding myself to bring my practice outside of the studio into real-life with the focus always on the breath.

sara@coolidgeyoga.com

FEACH-A TEACH-A: JESSICA DELLA CALCE

Where​ ​are​ ​you​ ​from​ ​and​ ​how​ ​long​ ​have​ ​you​ ​been​ ​in​ ​Boston?Jessphoto
I grew up in Rocky Hill, CT, a small town just south of Hartford. I moved to Boston 11 years ago when I was a volunteer in Americorps. The following year I went to Boston College to get my Masters in Reading & Literacy Education and began teaching kindergarten in Cambridge.

What​ ​was​ ​your​ ​first​ ​yoga​ ​class​ ​like?

My first yoga class was in the fall of 2012 and it was magical and confusing at the same time! I loved how I felt but had no idea how my body was supposed to move through the poses. I always believe it takes trying something three times to get a feel for it and by my third class I was hooked.

What’s​ ​your​ ​favorite​ ​pose​ ​to​ ​teach?

The pose I enjoy teaching my youngest students is savasana. We are living in a fast-paced world and it is important for children to know that they have the power to slow down. Savasana gives kids permission to relax and create a sense of calm and inner peace. They begin to understand that off their mats they can return to this peaceful state too. One of my 5-year-old students recently said “I’m crying happy tears because I feel so calm.”

As​ ​a​ ​practitioner,​ ​what​ ​pose​ ​makes​ ​you​ ​cringe?

Wheel Pose!  Throughout my years of practicing yoga I’ve been working to open my shoulders and learn to backbend from my upper back. I’m making progress, slowly.

Where​ ​can​ ​we​ ​find​ ​you​ ​when​ ​you’re​ ​off​ ​your​ ​mat?

You can find me at the Maria L. Baldwin School in Cambridge, encouraging students to embody the growth mindset as they learn and grow as readers and writers. You can also find me at the beach with my toes in the water, cooking and baking in my kitchen or eating something delicious at Flour Bakery and Cafe.

What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist​ ​right​ ​now?

I love using music to help create the energy and tone of a class. One of my current favorites is Try Everything by Shakira from the Zootopia soundtrack. One of my all time favorites is Jubel by Klingande, it just makes people smile no matter what mood they are in!

sara@coolidgeyoga.com

YOGI OF THE MONTH: MARY JAFFEE

mary jName?
Mary Saudek Jaffee

Occupation?
Arts administrator (music), recently retired. Most recently was I Executive Director of Project STEP, a classical music training program that identifies black and Latino 5-year-olds with exceptional musical ability, and gives them the training, support, and equipment they need to succeed. In 2014 we won the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities Award and I had the thrill of a lifetime in going to the White House to accept it from First Lady Michelle Obama. Project STEP continues to be a small, selective, highly successful program, with this year's graduates going to Yale and Juilliard.

Fun fact​ about you?​
I am and always have been surrounded by males. I was the first female to be born since 1863 on my father's side and was the only girl in my family, with four brothers. I have two sons, my husband is one of two males in his family. My first grandchild - a girl - will be born in October, and I'm over the moon to have her commence another generation of Jaffees!  

Favorite yoga pose?
I've grown to love downward dog. It feels really good, - finally! - stretchy, but solid.

When not on your mat, where can you be found?
If I'm in town, I'll be working on one of the organizations I'm involved with, mostly music ensembles, a couple of social justice programs. If in Maine, sailing or sitting on the porch looking out at the ocean. 

How long have you been practicing and what's your latest yoga breakthrough?
I did a few classes in 2008, but my real practice began December 29, 2016. One of my sons gave me a one month certificate to Sadhana for the holidays. It was a great start. I'm about to finish my 7th month. My latest breakthrough; beginning to do crow successfully, although haven't done it in over a month now so it may be rusty now, but it was getting there!

How has yoga impacted your life?
When I began yoga in January I was pretty unhappy about being retired, despite its having been a three-year lead-up. Feeling unproductive and generally blue, I started yoga thinking at least I'd get in decent physical shape. The classes were immediately satisfying while being challenging, and I felt buoyed physically and mentally. Yoga continues to lift my spirits and restores a sense of wellbeing. I enjoy being in the company of the thoughtful, kind teachers of this studio, who are always encouraging and inspiring. 
It's a service to the community to reach people on both sides of my age (a few months from 70) and encourage them to take classes. Our bones become brittle and muscles stiff, balance is increasingly challenging and strength diminishes. Yoga reverses those processes, eases pain, improves balance and builds strength. It is liberating!

sara@coolidgeyoga.com

FEACH-A TEACH-A: LAUREN MASSALAS

Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston? 
I grew up in Mattapoisett, MA, a small beach town in Buzzard's Bay. After college I lived in New Haven, CT and Encinitas, CA and moved to Boston 4 years ago.  
lauren headshot PNG_copy1
What was your first yoga class like?
When I was 16 I bought a yoga book and taught myself how to headstand by people wearing 90s leotards. My first real class was at Balanced Yoga in New Haven with Lori Bonazzoli, who is a real spiritual gangster. It was dimly lit, warm, intense and flow-y. She made us "om," played glass singing bowls during savasana and occasionally played Mos Def and Ratatat.  

What’s your favorite pose to teach?
Mindful chatturanga. This is the most used and abused repetitive motion in vinyasa, which can cause serious injury in the wrists, shoulders, and back. But when done properly, over time you can become so, so strong! Letting go of ego by dropping your knees down is truly humbling so I try to encourage that truth.  

As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?
Still chaturanga! My teacher, Laura Ahrens, makes us hold each phase for what seems like hours. You can learn a lot about life in chaturanga.  

Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?
Cooking delicious vegan food in my kitchen. Boston favorites include the esplanade, American Provisions, Jugos, the Boston Public Library, and the ICA.  I also work at MGH as an RN in the cardiac ICU, and do phlebotomy for functional medicine practitioners. 

What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?
Both favorite and random is definitely "Bubbles" by Yosi Horikawa. It starts with what sounds like a fistful of marbles tumbling down the stairs and morphs into a beautiful bass-y instrumental.

sara@coolidgeyoga.com

FACE BEHIND THE CART: CHRISTINE PAGE

What do you do when not the friendly face behind the cart? christine page
I work as a licensed mental health counselor doing in-home family therapy and teach yoga privately in Boston and Cambridge. You will also find me at concerts and shows all over the city - music is one of my great loves!

Where are you from and what brought you to Boston?
I am from Simsbury, CT and came to Boston for Lesley University's holistic counseling masters program, and I'm returning in the fall for a PhD!

Fun fact about you?
I play the tenor sax and the piano. 

Latest Yoga breakthrough?
Deepening the asanas and practice only using the breath. 

Insiders tip?
Come to Sadhana classes early to get a favorite spot for your mat! I love the breezes in the warm weather when the window is open. 

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the cart?
Meeting the Sadhana community and getting to know some of our Wednesday night regulars.

sara@coolidgeyoga.com

FEACH-A TEACH-A: TARYN MARCORELLE

Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston?taryn wheel
I was born and raised on the North Shore (of Massachusetts). I spent seven years in Washington, DC and it feels like I moved back to Mass just yesterday, but I’ve been here since June 2015!

What was your first yoga class like?
I was in college and it was an extremely crowded, heated class. Mats were lined up within an inch of one another and you broke a sweat the second you stepped into the studio. I was slipping all over the place and feared I was going to fall over, causing a domino effect. But I left curious, and couldn't wait to go back.

What’s your favorite pose to teach?
I love teaching backbends. There are so many variations and modifications, they can be accessible for anyone. I believe in finding your own expression of a backbend, one that you can hold and breath in. Finding what works for you builds confidence and mental strength. If we’re picking favorites I’d have to say urdhva dhanurasana – wheel pose. Try it by supporting your hands with blocks secured against the wall, or with a chair!

As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?
Honestly, handstand. It’s a combination from breaking my arm as a child doing gymnastics and a fear of being upside down. But I’m working on it!

Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?
On the beach, reading, drinking tea, or eating pizza. Maybe all four at once.

What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?
My favorite; that’s tough to answer! For the past couple of months I’ve had Beautiful Light by Uppermost, Kerla by Bonobo, The Little Things by Big Gigantic (Kasbo Remix) and any Nujabes song that I can find on my playlists.

joanna@sadhanaboston.com

FACE BEHIND THE CART: REBECCA GREEN

What do you do when not the friendly face behind the cart?

I am a student at Northeastern University studying Sociologyunnamed-9 with a minor in Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies. Through the co-op program at Northeastern, I am currently working full time at Jane Doe Inc., the statewide coalition to end domestic violence and sexual assault, doing budget and legislative advocacy work. I am a medical advocate volunteer at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and beyond that I am a community organizer focusing on anti-racism, immigrant justice, anti-war, and anti-violence work with a particular interest in labor organizing. I am currently a leader of the Huskies Organizing With Labor Coalition (HOWL), the student group at Northeastern organizing with dining hall workers to win a livable wage and affordable healthcare!

Where are you from and what brought you to Boston?

I grew up in San Francisco city, and I came to Boston to study at Northeastern. My entire extended family lives in England (my parents immigrated to the US in '89), but my Grandma grew up in Worcester, so I felt my move was a returning to my family roots in a way.

Fun fact about you?

I have never broken a bone, been stung by a bee, or gotten a bloody nose!

Latest Yoga breakthrough?

I am developing a love for half moon pose. I find it incrediblychallenging because of tightness in my hips, but have been doing a lot of work and am discovering it to be an incredibly rewarding pose!

Insider's tip?

The instructors at Sadhana are amazing -- I would definitely recommend staying after class, introducing yourself, and asking any specific questions you have about different poses or things you want to work on. They are thrilled to engage and to help.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the cart?

Seeing the amazing community at Sadhana that welcomes people from all backgrounds and of all levels!


Tags:
sara@coolidgeyoga.com

FEACH-A TEACH-A: KRISTEN SWEENEY

Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston?
I'm originally from Florida but most recently moved from New York City. I moved to Boston last summer.

DSC_0521

What was your first yoga class like?
I had practiced here and there when I was younger, but the first class that really started me on the path of yoga was in 2009. It was at a Bikram studio in Las Vegas, NV. I came out drenched and totally exhilarated. What I remember best is that in my second class I understood the poses a little better, and it was much
harder than my first one!

What’s your favorite pose to teach?
That fluctuates all the time in terms of actual poses. What I love best is teaching a pose where you get to see a student have an "aha!" moment that totally changes their practice."

As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?
It's hard not to be a teacher with this question! I feel like there's a lot of yoga advertising with up dogs that don't look well aligned, and that makes me cringe a bit.

Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?
Singing, writing, playing with my dog, trying a new restaurant, and right now wedding planning!

What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?
I love ending class with the song "Lullaby" by Trevor Hall.


sara@coolidgeyoga.com

Face Behind The Cart: Melanie Kinney

What do you do when not the friendly face behind the cart?melaniek_copy
By day, I'm the Digital Design Director for G3 Communications. By night, I'm either hanging out with friends, playing volleyball or adventuring around the city! I love doing anything outside, especially when the weather is nice.

Where are you from and what brought you to Boston?
I'm originally from New Jersey, just a short bike ride from the beach. Most recently though, I was living in Hoboken, near NYC. After 4 years there I decided it was time to make a change! I spent some time looking into other cities, before settling on Boston. (I was quite close to being a Nashville resident!).

Fun fact about you?
I just became the proud owner of a french bulldog puppy! Her name is Cassi and I could not have imagined how much she would change my life. I'm enjoying the change and learning so much about both of us!

Latest Yoga breakthrough?
My latest breakthrough would have to be really connecting with myself during class. I'm a fairly competitive person, so letting go of my ego and focusing solely on my body & mind during class has been not only a goal, but an adjustment. I find that I'm able to get so much more out of the practice when I listen to myself and accept wherever I am on that particular day.

Insiders tip?
It took me 6 months to reach this breakthrough! My tip would be don't give up and don't get frustrated. Some days are easier than others, but eventually you find your rhythm.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the cart?Getting to know everyone has by far been the most rewarding aspect of the work/study program! Being behind the cart has allowed me to meet and familiarize myself with many of our fellow yogis. I also love getting to know the instructors.

caity@sadhanaboston.com

Face Behind The Cart: Eliza Petri

image1What do you do when not the friendly face behind the cart?
I work at a 9-5 job in promotions, which has been teaching me about the many intricacies of business and marketing. But my dream is to live small and support a community, so Sadhana really keeps me grounded and inspired.  

Where are you from and what brought you to Boston?
I’m form the South Coast of Massachusetts, the geographical armpit of New England, which is absolutely adorable. Growing up I was always enamored with Boston. I think because I grew up going to the historical district of New Bedford the cobble stone streets of Beacon Hill have always felt familiar… Acorn street will forever have my heart. But I came for college about seven years ago and haven’t left! 

Fun fact about you?
I grew up in front of a sheep farm, and as a child I would help raise the lambs that became motherless. Their tails bounce all over the place when they drink milk from the bottle and it’s the cutest thing in the world. 

Latest Yoga breakthrough?
I really believe that yoga is a process, so my latest breakthrough has probably taken over a year to really stick and has had little to do with the progress of my physical practice. I’ve always been a pretty competitive person and found that in my vinyassa yoga practice I was being super competitive with myself.  I became easily frustrated if I felt more off balance, or not as flexible, or not a strong as I had the day before.  So over the last year I’ve been working on becoming mindful and just noticing. When I notice, rather than scold, I’m able to more clearly tune-in to my body and listen to what its telling me it needs. 

Insiders tip?
Be patient with yourself, and if you’re in search of a loving and supportive community Sadhana really is a great one, so just show up and snuggle in! Also, if you’re looking for a post flow nibble Toro has the best tapas on the planet (get the brussles sprouts). 

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being behind the cart?
All of the hugs and smiles! I also love watching people laugh as I attempt to spell their last names.

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