Beauty & Wellness
Fitness From The Field: Embodyoga
The Rural Intelligence region offers a plethora of fitness and healing modalities, but it can be hard to know which is the one that fits your needs, your body type and your schedule. Enter Paula Boyajian, a yoga instructor certified in Interdisciplinary Yoga and Yoga for the Special Child, who has taken on the role of RI’s fitness contributor to sleuth out the details of the many health and wellness options in our area.
With all due respect to the great Nat King Cole, I take umbrage to the lyrics “Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer.” After taking in countless plays and concerts; keeping track of openings and benefits; and, of course, entertaining houseguests, it’s the fall that affords more laid-back days. To help in this transition, may I suggest an Embodyoga® class at Millbrook Yoga . This style of yoga that encourages us to slow down can also tone muscles, better our posture and poise, and rejuvenate that calm, strong center within us all.
What It Is
Simply put, Embodyoga, is “yoga from the inside out.” As easy as it sounds, it actually requires deep concentration and precise movement. For instance, you just don’t breathe into the lungs, but into each lobe of the lungs. These small changes reap big results; by following Nancy’s instructions during a pelvic tilt, I worked my core more than I had doing this exercise before. Her instructions are based on compassionate self-exploration. As Nancy said, “So much about this is about your own experience.” And clearly many people have enjoyed their experience – this is the only yoga class that I’ve seen the men-to-women ratio at almost 50/50!
All Levels – Nancy uses Sanskrit terms throughout the class, so if you’re new to yoga, there may be a bit of confusion at first. But with Nancy’s finely detailed step-by-step instructions, it soon becomes clear what to do. And there’s always the obvious solution: just tell Nancy you’re a beginner and you’ll be in good hands. Whether she’s offering verbal modifications to someone across the room, physically assisting a gentleman to sit taller or removing a blanket to make someone’s neck more comfortable, Nancy is as hyper-aware of what’s going on with our bodies as she hopes we will become.
By comparing how I felt before class to after, I can say that the benefits from Embodyoga are amazing and burrow deep into the toned body. My breath flowed stronger and more smoothly during our concluding “om” than our initial sounding. And I humbly state that this yoga instructor’s form was off during a couple of asanas. Thanks to Nancy, when I now do Happy Baby, my neck doesn’t hurt.
As I closed my eyes for final relaxation, I noticed the knots in the wood ceiling and laughed thinking, “You were knotted up on your drive and now the only knots are in the wood.”
Twenty years ago, Nancy began practicing yoga to cope with the stress of being a NYC business owner. After a couple years, she decided to teach and eventually studied with Embodyoga founder Patty Townsend. Nancy is professional yet warm and generous; she knows each student’s name and needs, and displays great humor throughout the class.
But her generosity doesn’t end with her students; she was quick to ask me to write about the entire Millbrook Studio, not just her class. It’s probably this genuine caring that keeps people returning. As I tried to enter the space, I ran into a cluster of folks chatting enthusiastically. Nancy piped up, “Coming into class is like coming to a cocktail party!”
I was convinced that my WAZE app was wrong, as it directed me along winding roads and past a waterfall, but before I knew it I found Millbrook Yoga — a beautifully restored blacksmith’s studio. Wide-plank floors, a deep chestnut ceiling and wispy white curtains dancing in the evening breeze create a serene space. Not one detail is overlooked; amber lights warm the room as the sun dips, and props are kept in rustic-looking baskets. Even the hardware of the light fixtures and door handles are perfectly matched — which dovetails nicely with Embodyoga’s philosophy of noticing.
Drop in classes, $20; 5-class series, $75; 10 classes, $140
Embodyoga at Millbrook Yoga
5 Merritt Ave., Millbrook, NY