Grounded, On and Off the Mat Melinda McAuliff, June 2011
When I walked into Molly’s Yoga Corner the first thing to draw my attention was a small wood-slat shelf decorated with mementos, maybe better called treasures, that she’s collected and carried through life. Note cards with inspiring messages, books, Vishnu and a silk lotus flower were just a few of the treasures adorning the simple alter at the front of her studio.
It led us to talking about the ways life shows up in our bodies, and on our mats – and how appropriate it was that these treasures, the external expressions of a life lived, became the mementos of her studio’s alter.
“The places we’ve been and the things we’ve done are the building blocks that make each of us the whole-person we are in the present moment,” says Molly. “Celebrating and remembering those places we’ve come from is how we honor who we are today.”
Molly opened her studio in Fairport 11 years ago. In that time she has seen a lot of changes in the yoga community and in her own practice. “When I opened the studio, yoga was not as popular as it is now. This first three years were tough,” she says.
“Today it’s exciting to see all the ways yoga has taken off; sometimes it can be a little scary too,” she adds. “There’s a lot of commercialism that can distract us from the fundamental practice of yoga, but there is something for everyone. No matter where you are in life, when you come to yoga there is likely something that fits you. ‘Gym Yoga’ gets a bad rap but a lot of people, who may never have tried it, are introduced to the practice that way.”
Molly encourages people to try other studios and other teachers, “yoga is a personal experience – each person needs to find what is right for them as they develop their own yoga practice.” She compares searching for the right yoga studio or teacher to wine tasting, “there are so many styles and ways of teaching yoga that you need to sample a little of this and a little of that to find the best fit.”
“It’s a great thing that there are so many pathways to yoga – personally, I think if everyone did yoga and rode Harleys the world would be a happier place.”
Talking about the pathways to yoga provided a natural segway in our conversation what yoga is. “The poses are the things we see and do – the part of yoga that people can physically connect with – but it is so much more than that.”
Molly talked about being at a stage in life where she can’t practice as much as she used to. Years of practice and her history as a competitive triathlete have put a lot of wear on her body. “The beautiful thing about yoga is that it is so much deeper than the poses. We can choose to develop our practice around meditation, breath work, and the practice of being present. These things also challenge us, our sensibilities and sometimes even deeply held beliefs about the world and our place in it.”
“The thing that has become the most important to me is finding balance,” says Molly. “We live in a world of extremes – where we often turn healthy habits into unhealthy ones. Finding balance starts by first being grounded. Unless you have a firm foundation, it’s very hard to find balance.”
Molly teaches a hatha-style yoga based on three main principles: the ground, the breath and the spine. Molly's philosophy of yoga is greatly influenced by Esther Myers and Monica Voss who both were students of Vanda Scaravelli.
Rochester has a dynamic yoga community with students and teachers whose talents are as diverse and unique as the places we live and practice. E-mail email@example.com to recommend a fellow yogi (student or teacher) to be profiled on iRocYoga.
Content copyright . iRocYoga. All rights reserved.