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Are you my Mother?
3 May 2016

Are you my Mother?
3 May 2016

Are you my Mother?

Are you my Mother?
Do you remember that book?—I remember Its hilarity, sure, but also its particular heartbreak: the abandoned child, the absent mother, and a faint anxiety about its premise that lingered after the details of the story had faded, despite the happy ending. With Mother's Day on my mind, I went looking for this book the other day, in boxes of saved children's books. Though I did (happily!) find Goodnight Moon, and Pat the Bunny, I never did find Are you my Mother?.

Mother's Day is Sunday. Like a lot of us, I both am a mother and have a mother. While I cherish and love my own mother and feel deeply connected to my identify as a mother, I can't help but reflect on other forms of mothering I have given and received in my lifetime, unrelated to biology or family of origin. If we are lucky, we have all done our share of mothering and being mothered, in all sorts of ways. Think about teachers, mentors, nurses, therapists, dear friends. And Shakti—the creative divine mother said to express herself through all beings.

Every Mother's Day I recall my 14-year old self, and my first boyfriend, Jon. His mother, Elise, took me to my very first yoga class. I credit Elise with my deep, heartfelt connection to this practice, and to its roots of love, caretaking, and compassion. Elise was beautiful, vibrant, nurturing, maternal, loving and easy to talk to, and I connected with her in a way that I was not able to do with my own mother, at that time. Like a lot of teenage girls on the brink of early adulthood, I put distance between myself and my parents, but was still hungry for maternal affection. Long after Jon and I broke up, Elise and I remained close. She took me to yoga classes, we went on long walks, she spoke to me like an adult, and listened attentively. Deeply shy at 14, I shared with Elise my most tortured fears and giddy dreams, emboldened by her warm encouragement. Years later, when my own children were toddlers and I was living in Southern California, struggling with a kind of continual, sleep-deprived identity crisis, I tried to track her down, and found out she had died of breast cancer, less than 6 months before. For 2 days I cried continuously. My chiropractor, gently adjusting my neck, suggested that I might be grieving something more than the loss of one woman I hadn't seen in 8 or more years, and I got mad, cried harder, and went home still grief soaked. Over time I came to recognize that in some essential way, he was exactly right. Elise was my model for mother love, and without her in the world, who was I? I loved my own mother but felt Elise's death tear at the very fabric of me. It was around this time that, after a 2-year hiatus, I began to teach yoga again. I found that my energy as a toddler-wrangling, haggard, newish mother lent itself rather well to teaching yoga, and I began to see teaching as a kind of offering. I noticed that teaching energized me, rather than depleting me, when I saw it simply as an opportunity to offer something of myself, something that was rooted in love, in nurturing, in acceptance. It didn't matter that I was leaking milk, frequently exhausted from lack of sleep, and not terribly fit. I felt my own "mother energy" re-awakened by teaching yoga once again. Replenished, I would return home after teaching a class to my beautiful babies, and feel full of patience and love.

The divine mother is within all of us, male and female. We find creativity, unconditional love, compassion, wisdom, beauty, gentleness, patience, acceptance, forgiveness, intuition, and healing all carried by the divine feminine or divine mother. It is a powerful force that gives us inspiration and power to create anything and everything, even life itself. If you invite Shakti into your yoga practice—make each breath a devotion to her—you will find your yoga transformed into a joyful celebration of the spirit.

I hope that this Mother's Day, as you honor the mothers and mother figures in your life, you will honor also the energy of Shakti within yourself. We all have biological mothers, adoptive mothers, or various other mother-figures, men and women, who have loved us and shaped us. Regardless of where you are or have been across this spectrum of mother-love, I wish you all a happy Mother's Day and hope the light and love of Shakti shines brightly upon you and from within you


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The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.

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Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent

People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.

Wear comfortable clothing

Not so tight it binds, not so loose it gets in your way. And please do not wear clothes that “gap” and are inappropriately revealing.

Practice on an empty stomach

If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.

No food or outside beverages inside the studio

If necessary, bottled water is okay, but remember we are trying to generate internal heat; constant sipping cools the body. After practice, drink plenty of pure water.

Bring your own mat

Shared mats are not hygienic; you may borrow one from us if one is available, until you are able to purchase your own, but please clean it afterward with the mat wipes provided. Please understand mats may be borrowed on a first come basis….we have only a few to borrow, and do occasionally run out of them.

Keep your eyes on your own practice

The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.

Be kind and loving to yourself

Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!

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Newcomers! 3 for $30

If you are new to Upper Valley Yoga, you can purchase a 3-class pass for $30! (For our first-time guests only, package expires 15 days after purchase)

Single Class, $18

Drop in to any regular weekly class

Single Class, Student or Senior* Rate, $15

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

10-Class Pass, $145

Expires after one year

10-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $130

Expires after one year

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

5-Class Pass, $80

Expires after 6 months

5-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $70

Expires after 6 months.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

Unlimited Yoga Passes

Monthly, Auto-Renew with credit card, $99/mo

Unlimited yoga. 6-month commitment is required; early cancellation fee of $50 applies if the auto renew is canceled before 6 months. This is the best value if you plan to attend at least 2 classes per week.

One month, unlimited, $150

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

One month, Student or Senior* rate, $140

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

3-Month Unlimited, $390

Unlimited yoga, 3 months

If you don’t yet have a mat, borrow one from us and please clean it afterward with the mat wipes.

We have a limited, need-based scholarship fund available for those who are struggling to pay for classes; please email or call us to inquire. We also gratefully accept donations for that fund in any amount. In addition, there are occasional work/study opportunities. If you are interested in being on the work/study list, please let us know!

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Upper Valley Yoga requires the use of your personal information for record-keeping and payment purposes only. We are committed to safeguarding your personal information, and will do so by using state-of-the-art digital technology and encryption services. We will not distribute your information to third parties.

We may use your online information to contact you about class cancellations or other information regarding Upper Valley Yoga. We require your personal information in order to provide you with an efficient and safe online class-registration and payment experience. Please feel free to contact Upper Valley Yoga with questions about this website, our privacy policy and terms of use.