Dancer turns to yoga, focuses on body and movement – Wicked Local

Members set up their yoga mats in silence after entering the  studio. Hannah Adams, 31, a yoga instructor at the Down Under School of Yoga, begins her Tuesday night “flow” class at the Brookline location. This class, described as a “joyful Vinyasa practice,”   is one of eight classes Adams teaches during the week.
Adams logs on to Zoom and whispers hello to the students logging on, as she continues to greet in-person and online students by name, chatting  with regulars. As the class begins, she  leads students through her Vinyasa practice, encouraging them to make accommodations when necessary. As the class ends, students filter out, with several thanking Adams and asking yoga-related questions. 
 Along with being a certified yoga instructor, Adams has certifications in Pilates, usui reiki, and ayurveda massage.
“Sometimes I will tie a bow on that and say I am a ‘Somatic Specialist,’  regarding the body and movement,” said Adams. 
 The Boston native, who lives in Chestnut Hill, teaches yoga and Pilates, is a personal trainer, a nutritionist, and a body worker.  
Adams was originally trained in the Alexander technique, taking after her mother who practiced the discipline when Adams was young. She describes it as a “mindfulness practice, where you are being more acutely aware of how you are moving in your body.”  
Adams suffered  an injury in her during a dance performance in high school. This injury  turned her career toward the mindfulness practices she performs today. 
 “As a 17-year-old girl, I was very much who I am by what I could do, and I could no longer do the things I identified with as a dancer and a boxer,” said Adams.
After being given a  book on  chakras, Adams said her view of her body and energy changing.
“Who I am is  not just what I am doing; it is more than that, and that is when I started meditating,” said Adams. 
Although she didn’t practice yoga until much later, this was her introduction into the practice. 
 “I knew at that moment I couldn’t be a yoga teacher; I didn’t have the ability. I was limited in my flexibility and had injuries… but I could be a Pilates teacher and I could do that well,” said 
Adams, who went on to train under Zayna Gold, a well-known Pilates instructor. Adams later obtained a yoga teaching certification while she was  living in Peru.
 “From my Alexander technique and spoken word poetry background, I have also been very sensitive to language and how people were telling me to move my body,” said Adams. “Sometimes it would be assumed I could do certain things, because I looked strong and flexible, but I am not, and I had a really hard time in those [yoga] class settings.”  
Megan Crimmins, a 21-year-old Brookline resident, frequents Adams’ in-person yoga 
classes.
“Hannah was one of the first classes I went to when I was adjusting to the new studio. It was comforting,” said Crimmins. “I think her classes offer the ability for me to feel strong and comfortable in my body… I feel very refreshed and renewed afterwards.” 
 Adams explained that she loved this philosophy of yoga and implemented her training in Pilates and the Alexander technique to modify the traditional version of yoga.
“I enjoy yoga teaching, I like being in the front of the room and having people listen to me,” said Adams. 
Crimmins – and other students – have felt this impact.
“Every yoga instructor describes how your body should feel, and the way she explains it makes me understand exactly how I should feel; it clicks. There are hard things within her class that feel attainable rather than being out of reach,” said Crimmins. 
Adams prides herself in creating flows where the student may not know the path of the practice.
“It challenges a student to not anticipate what is coming next… it requires them to just be present and not to be too eager to go into the next thing,” Adams said.  
 In addition to the creativity in her yoga sequences, Adams is mindful of the words she uses.
“The quality of my language and the quality of the breath that I am encouraging, the moments of pause, is enough to have them really experience something… an experience of ‘being’ that is not impatient or restless,” said Adams 
Adams has two yoga retreats scheduled for 2022: her January retreat is in Santa Marta, Columbia. The other  is in  Peru in March. 
 Adams puts a lot of time and devotion into curating her classes and retreats.
“It’s much more about being and less about doing… we practice doing all the time; we are  human beings, which is important in this practice,” said Adams. 
The pandemic  affected the way Adams was able to practice yoga and her relationship with yoga itself. As the pandemic began, Down Under shut its doors and moved to online classes.  
“That’s been a silver lining, is integrating virtual classes into my schedule. It is more sustainable energetically,” said Adams. “It also lets me have more students and my private practice has flourished a bit more.” 
During the height of the pandemic, Adams reached outside of her teaching role to be a student again and also pursue outside passions.
“I have taken time to do a lot more meditating but also pick up other hobbies like snowboarding and playing guitar,” she said.
Adams also described the importance of finding these new hobbies to combat the stress and loneliness of a pandemic. 
“There was a deeper necessity for it, for me. It wasn’t just having more time; I needed something to make me feel alive, that gets me out of my apartment and out of my head, and that was what snowboarding did for me,” said Adams. 

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2 thoughts on “Dancer turns to yoga, focuses on body and movement – Wicked Local”

  1. The core of your writing while sounding reasonable at first, did not really work well with me personally after some time. Somewhere throughout the paragraphs you managed to make me a believer unfortunately only for a very short while. I still have got a problem with your jumps in logic and you would do well to help fill in all those breaks. If you actually can accomplish that, I could definitely be fascinated.

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