Blair & Jill practice at Dancing Dogs Yoga on State Street.
I think we’ve all had weeks that are just rough. You have a deadline that seems impossible to meet, your boss is breathing down your neck, your friends have bailed on your plans and your partner has been in a mood. When I feel overwhelmed to the point of wanting to crawl under the covers and sleep for three days, I go to yoga.
I can vividly remember a day that I cried on my mat. In child’s pose, I let the hot, salty tears run down my face silently and felt a weight lift from my body. I went into that practice feeling so anxious and angry at the world and left feeling like I could carry on. I think that’s the appeal of yoga. You just let it go and connect with yourself. It’s an amazing feeling to focus so intensely on your physical being that you end up transcending whatever baggage you brought in with you that day.
For Dancing Dogs owner Libby Ramsey, it’s something that turned her on about Baptiste-style yoga: “It’s really physical and challenging so that you get out of your head and into your body.” It’s one of the reasons to which she credits DDY’s success, since a lot of athletes come in to try yoga for the first time and leave feeling hooked.
Ramsey also hits on another important draw of yoga: “Self-acceptance and the empowerment of the practice are more than the physicality that I get from it,” she says. It’s a lesson that Ramsey frequently teaches in her classes: “It doesn’t matter what it looks like,” she says. “Drop what you know and release the concern for looking good. All of that empowers your practice and your life, 100%.” I can vouch for this one. One of my favorite things about yoga is the diversity, and how as we all work on our individual selves, we also come together collectively, as one. When I see the complete acceptance of all different kinds of body shapes and sizes, it makes me feel more accepting of my own. Ramsey sums it up perfectly: “We’re all in this together.”
Libby’s favorite yoga pose is side plank because “there’s so much room to grow. I feel like I’m never done with that pose. There are days when I want to feel really grounded and then there are days when I want to take up a lot of space.”