Bay Area Yoga Teacher Highlight: Carly Boland
Name: Carly Boland.
Practice with me at:
Bhakti Center West // San Francisco
Yoga Tree Telegraph // Berkeley
Indigo Yoga // Walnut Creek
Nest Yoga // Oakland
How long I’ve been practicing yoga: My teachers have instilled in me the understanding; we can not practice Yoga, Yoga is our natural state. What we practice are exercises that help us to see where we are resisting our natural state, and soften that resistance.
Sometime after Jivamukti Yoga Teacher Training I was given a journaling exercise that prompted this same question, “How long have you been practicing yoga?” I started writing about my understanding of Karma yoga. The insight that the Actions you perform (thought, word and deed) will in turn affect not only how you interact with the world, but also how the world goes. If you are kind, the world becomes a kinder place. If you are rude, rudeness comes back to you. Intuitively at a very young age I understood this, and still feel it is a strong foundation of my Yoga practice.
How long I’ve been teaching yoga: I chuckle at the memory of the yoga classes I offered as a tween nearly two decades ago. Coming from the background of dance and movement research, I was teaching from a very young age. An ever student, deepening in practice, philosophy and understanding, I look forward to many years from now looking back with a similar feeling on the classes I am sharing now. (Formally, I completed training and began teaching both Jivamukti and Yin in 2014).
What kind of yoga I teach: I have been very fortunate to have found Jivamukti Yoga, and even more grateful to be able to share this well rounded method. Learn about Jivamukti here. I also share Yin Yoga, Meditation, Pranayama and Sanskrit.
My mantra: There are two which have the weight and import on my daily life and practice;
lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino-bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
I use this mantra as a prayer every day. It reminds us that our relationships with all beings and things should be mutually beneficial, if we desire happiness and liberation from suffering. No true or lasting happiness can come from causing unhappiness to others. No true or lasting freedom can come from depriving others of their freedom.
Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma
These three words, namely Harā, Kṛṣṇa and Rāma, are the transcendental seeds of the mahā-mantra. Chanting these words is the transcendental process for reviving this original, pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts.
My teacher Srila Prabhupada has instructed:
Keep yourself clean outside by bathing, etc. and clean inside by chanting Hare Krishna Mantra.
A pose or kriya that has been resonating with me lately is: Naṭarājāsana.
Naṭarājāsana falls in two categories of āsana, standing balancing and backbending.
Standing āsanas are the foundation of the yoga āsana practice. In practicing standing āsanas we are able to purify karmas tied to muladhara chakra, which holds karma pertaining to our relationship to the earth, our parents, environment and the base issues of survival.
Backbends facilitate opening at the anahāta (heart) chakra, resting in the center of the chest. Because anahāta is associated with relationships to those we feel have hurt us, this āsana provides an opportunity to heal those relationships on our own side and propel us towards a brighter future. Backbends also stimulate the thymus gland, which boosts immune system, brings us up from dark emotional states and contributes to better health.
Standing āsanas provide an opportunity to resolve past karmas, while backbending opens us up to the future, naṭarājāsana is a deep expression of both. This is a just brief glimpse of the benefits, for more information about the benefits of a consistent āsana practice please read Jivamukti Yoga Life/Gannon.
How I like to practice yoga off the mat:
Off the mat my main Yogic practice is an ethical vegetarian lifestyle. The quickest way to yoga is to cause as little harm to others as possible. Along with a compassionate lifestyle, I love to gather together and chant the Holy names (Kirtan), on my own at home, with friends in the park, in large groups on the city streets. The sound vibration is not material, it is spiritual, and powerful beyond our conception. It surpasses all material barriers. So when you are chanting, you are also giving benefit to even the trees and the birds flying by.
The last book I read was: The Journey Home By Radhanath Swami.
Favorite local juice/tea spot: Timeless Coffee. (Vegan dreamspot, think cruelty free croissants).
Where I go for a nourishing meal: Bhakti Center West.
What’s on your yoga playlist right now: Hunzel Riddim - Ninze Remix, Joblyn. (You can find some of my playlists on Spotify).
A few of my favorite yoga teachers are: Sharon Gannon and David Life.
A ritual I love: Reading.
I am currently reading Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā Purāṇa,
This book is a massive Tomb, and I have committed to reading it in 3 years, (I used a great app called Be a Sage Page by Page to figure out the pages per day). Each day, weather at home, on the road or with a friend, I am setting the time aside to read, out of a physical book, usually with a cup of ginger tea. This book is a summary of all that is (on the spiritual platform) here is a brief introduction:
“There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship and prosperity with a common cause. Srimad-Bagavatam will fill this need, for it is a cultural presentation for the respiritualization of the entire human society.”
What I am letting go of this year: False ego (doing my best…!) As living entities our nature is Sat (eternal) Chit (conscious) ānanda (bliss). We are made of spiritual energy, but there are lots of attachments that cover or conceal our true nature. This year I’m working on letting go, at least a little more.
What I am embracing this year: All I can ever do is my best. I am embracing the imperfection, meeting myself and others where they are, and encouraging that we do our best. To be a voice for the voiceless. To provide food for the hungry. If we say we want every being to be happy and free, then we have to consider that at all times. Shifting what we do- how we spend our time, our money, how we eat, how we speak, and even how we think.
My website: happyfreecarly.com.
My instagram: @happyfreecarly.