I initially came to yoga in the 1970s because I wanted to look better—lose weight, look younger, be more fit. I got what I came for, and more that I didn’t expect. I got a spring in my step, how I felt about myself totally changed, and I felt so terrific that it became much easier to avoid the foods and lifestyle choices that would interfere with feeling terrific. I became happier and more patient with myself and the people around me.
My life has had some rocky turns – stressful office jobs, an 8.7 earthquake, a painful divorce, and in 1971, my brother’s suicide. Practicing yoga –learning the postures together with meditation, yoga breathing, and yoga philosophy-- has given me a way to live fearlessly and lovingly in a challenging world.
And this is what I have to give, as a yoga teacher. I have witnessed firsthand and repeatedly that yoga practiced on a regular basis can heal the whole person, body, mind and soul. It can profoundly change your posture, it can change deeply rooted fear-based habits, it can change the course of your life. I’ve experienced it myself and I’ve seen it enough that it would be selfish of me not to teach yoga.
"What kind of classes do you teach?"
This is the question every yoga teacher gets asked! The simple answer is that I teach Viniyoga and Yin Yoga, and there's plenty online to explain what these two practices are about.
What I think people are really asking with that question, though, is, "What's going to happen to me in your class? Will I get hurt trying to keep up? Will I be bored? Will there be chanting in a language I don't understand? Will you burn incense and trigger my allergies?"
The answer to these fundamental concerns is that everyone is included. I don't burn incense in my classes but if we were having a private session in a space that allowed it, and you requested it, sure! My classes don't usually include chanting, but chanting in English or Sanskrit is a powerful tool for change, and if you wanted, we could incorporate that into your private session, or in a group class for anyone who wanted to join in. You'll be happiest if you are working on your edge, whatever that is for you, so I'll make sure you have a version of what the class is doing that day, that challenges you. If you have injuries or are just feeling raw and tender on a particular day, we can design a more subtle and gentle practice for you, on the spot. Because I've been injured in the past by other yoga teachers making "adjustments" to my postures, I usually teach alignment by example, or with verbal cues rather than putting my hands on students, but healing touch is always an option.
The underlying principle in Yoga is to do no harm to yourself or others, and we are not in class together to violate our bodies’ wisdom or in a competition to see who can be most acrobatic! My public classes are small, which allows trust and ease in the group. As a newcomer, you will be unanimously welcomed, encouraged to ask questions and/or make specific requests, and you will leave class feeling challenged, relaxed, optimistic and energized.
In my one on one sessions, you and I would be partners in creating a unique, customized program that you would do weekly with me, and throughout the week at home. You’d have an initial meeting where we set goals, have a mini class, and design a practice that you can take home and do in between sessions. In our weekly classes, the challenge will evolve. We will use yoga to address everything going on in your life- from aches and pains, to fears and dreams.
Carlotta Hayes is a certified yoga teacher, who has been teaching since 1992. She teaches monthly workshops, a Wednesday night class for staff at The Boston Home on Dorchester Ave that has been ongoing since 2002 and also private one-on-one classes for individuals who want a more personalized approach. In addition to her 200-hour teacher certifications, Carlotta has studied Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga.
- Kali Ray TriYoga Academy, 200 hours, 1992
- Fitness Resource Associates, 200 hours, 2001
- Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Levels I & II, 72 hours, 2007
- Viniyoga New England, 200 hours, 2010
- Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (Justice Resource Institute), 40 hours, 2011
The weekly yoga sessions with Carlotta have led to a significant change in my perspective about health and wellness. As a yoga teacher, Carlotta plans her classes so that there are a variety of poses that each participant can use outside of class. Her joyful approach is infectious and enhances the teaching. I am grateful for Carlotta’s personal commitment to the yoga class at The Boston Home. -- Marva S.
Carlotta is an excellent, inspiring yoga teacher and person. You leave her class feeling stronger and more confident about yourself. -- MaryAnn F.