Start the day with yoga and a view at Yoga by the River on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 9 a.m. at Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury.
Bring water, a mat and your family to an hour-long, walk-ins-welcome yoga session hosted by Emily Chandra, who has four years of full-time yoga instruction and a lifetime of spirituality and dance experience under her belt. Chandra said the Yoga by the River series is designed for all skill levels, and she welcomes parents and families to bring their young children to join in on the experience.
The Yoga by the River practice will consist of conscientious breathwork and flowing movements in a style known as vinyasa.
“Vinyasa means flow, so moving one movement per breath with one movement leading into the next,” Chandra said. “It’s not particularly fast-paced, but it’s also not gentle. You’re going to get the blood flowing, your heart rate up a little bit, maybe even a little sweat. It is invigorating, but it’s not physically demanding.”
Chandra, who grew up in Amesbury, says that the deck off the side of historic Lowell’s Boat Shop is the perfect location.
“Last year we didn’t even have music to it; it was just in nature, right on the deck with the beautiful view of the river. I have just been trying to take advantage of how beautiful this area is and trying to bring what I do to people by doing it in places that are so beautiful, since we have access to them,” she said.
Chandra said that her ultimate goal is to bring people back to nature through her craft.
“It’s really easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives. Thinking that we are separate from nature, we get really stuck in our heads and we get stuck in our little boxes and our worlds, so [Yoga by the River] is kind of a reminder to come home to who we really are,” she said. “I want to be able to offer an opportunity for people to remember that connection to nature and that connection to who they really are.”
Yoga has made sense to Chandra from the start. She was raised in a spiritual family and said she was introduced to meditation at a young age. She was also a dancer and went to school for dance.
“When I found yoga, it was kind of like the two worlds blended together,” she said. “Here is something where I can move my body, express myself physically and bring in that meditative, spiritual aspect all into one. It just felt right.”
Still, Chandra says that she understands the reservations that some people may have about delving into the practice, but she emphasizes that yoga is far more than just a form of exercise.
“In the modern world now, especially with social media, there is such a stigma around yoga,” said Chandra. “Go into it with an open mind and of the possibility that this could be your practice. It is not geared toward a specific type of person, a specific group or body type. This is a practice that has been in place for thousands of years for a reason. It is much more than a fitness craze. It’s a well-rounded practice. Go into it with an open mind and see for yourself.”
Yoga by the River is $13 per person, and walk-ins of all experience levels, body types, age, race and gender are welcome to participate.
“Sometimes,” Chandra said, “we think of it as a fitness thing, but the word yoga actually means union, to bring together — the idea of getting out of your head, getting out of this idea that we are separate from nature and coming back home.”
For more information, visit lowellsboatshop.com or call 978-834-0050.
— Andrew Clay
Featured photo was provided by Emily Chandra.