Yoga & Meditation Classes

Sliding scale fees; no one turned away for inability to pay
Welcoming anyone who has not felt welcomed in conventional wellness culture
Holistic Wellness for All

Root to Rise Yoga & Meditation Styles

Our classes combine the following styles:

 

Hatha Yoga: Developed in 15th century India and brought to the US in the late 19th century, hatha yoga is what people usually think of when we think of yoga. Classes include a series of specific poses (called asanas) that are held to build strength, flexibility, and healthy body alignment. They are done with breathing exercises that help you go deeper into the asana, calm your mind, and become fully present in your body.

 

Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa evolved from hatha yoga in 1940s India. This style uses the same poses/asanas and breathing techniques as hatha yoga (see above), but the emphasis is on using the breath to carry you through a series of asanas that transition easily from one to another. Vinyasa can be done fast, making it a cardio workout, or it can be done slowly and gently. It often moves through asanas that work the entire body in a single class, while hatha yoga may focus on one area of the body in each session.

 

Yin Yoga: Yin yoga, developed in the 1970s, is named for the feminine, receptive principle in Taoism and is designed to complement traditional yoga, which aligns more with the active, masculine principle in Taoism, called yang. While conventional yoga focuses on exercising muscles, yin yoga focuses on stretching connective tissues like fascia and tendons. Yin yoga is slow and meditative, combining breathing practices with poses/asanas that you can really relax into and hold for a long time, so your connective tissues can lose their tension and stretch out.

 

Restorative Yoga: Restorative yoga, developed in the 1970s, is the slowest and gentlest. It uses poses/asanas that you can hold with no effort for a very long time, and it often uses props to help. The focus is on relaxing you, mind and body, to increase your wellbeing and help you recover from stress, illness, or injury.

 

Vipassana Meditation: The most ancient form of meditation, vipassana was already old when the Buddha rediscovered it India over 2,500 years ago, but is still accessible and highly useful worldwide today. It involves witnessing your thoughts and feelings, accepting them as they are, without judging them, and then letting them go in peace. This cultivates lovingkindness toward ourselves and others, which is particularly important for those of who are from tough circumstances that may have forced us to harden our hearts to survive. To get out of poverty and other rough circumstances and build better lives, we need safe space to soften up and heal our wounds; vipassana gives us that.

 

Benefits of Yoga

Physical Benefits

  • Greater strength, flexibility, and energy

  • Improved posture, alignment, and balance

  • Reduced or eliminated aches and pains

  • Better athletic performance and sleep

  • Weight loss

  • Reduced likelihood of illness or injury

 

Mental/Emotional Benefits

  • Brighter mood and sense of wellbeing

  • Reduced stress and anxiety

  • Greater ability to cope with life challenges

  • Improved connection to your body

  • Improved self-acceptance and self-forgiveness

  • Better self-image and self-confidence

Benefits of Vipassana Meditation

  • Brighter mood and sense of wellbeing

  • Reduced stress and anxiety

  • Greater ability to cope with life challenges

  • Improved ability to relax and sleep

  • Improved connection to your body

  • Better self-understanding

  • Improved self-acceptance and self-forgiveness

  • Better self-image and self-confidence

  • Greater compassion for others

  • Greater spiritual connection

Class Descriptions

The Root to Rise Model
 

  • Regular class – Root to Rise Collective currently offers three weekly evening classes designed to root us in our physical bodies, then help us rise to integrate our minds and spirits with our bodies to achieve holistic wellness. These weekly evening classes are supported by a morning class three times a week to assist students of all levels in maintaining a regular daily practice. All classes are 75 minutes.
     

  • Seva (selfless service) – To extend your yoga practice off the mat and into regular life, we offer the opportunity for seva (selfless service) for Holistic Wellness for Youth[link]. Our youth members are young women and trans youth ages 14-21 and facing hardships in life for which their families cannot provide enough support. You can connect with them in class and/or volunteer when the studio becomes a drop-in safe space for them on weekday afternoons (2:30-5:30). Come help them with homework and practical skills, just bond with them and talk about life, and/or join them for fun activities. To learn more, see Support Us
     

  • Quarterly immersions – Every quarter we offer a two-hour immersion class as a fundraiser for Root to Rise Collective. Topics are chosen based on what would be most helpful to students currently in our regular classes. 

 

Daily Yoga   (3 Days a Week, All Levels)

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, this class will support you in maintaining your regular daily yoga practice. We will start with a gentle warm-up, then move into a combination of poses/asanas that we hold for a while (hatha yoga) and asanas that progress smoothly from one to another (vinyasa yoga). Each class will end with a quiet, relaxing asana to wind down. Throughout the class, we will use our breath to deepen each pose and our mindful awareness of body alignment and sensation. We will get a good workout and leave class feeling more calm and balanced.

This is an all-level class that will use poses accessible to brand new beginners and offer variations for anyone looking for a more advanced practice.

 

Developing Our Roots – Intro to Yoga      (Weekly Class, Beginner)

This weekly class is for anyone with little or no yoga experience, and for experienced practitioners who want to cycle back to the basics to improve technique. This class is much like Daily Yoga (above), except that we will hold the poses longer, while you receive more individual assistance with your alignment. We will also save time at the end to answer your questions or provide explanations to teach you more about yoga.

 

Standing in Our Power – Embodied Strength      (Weekly Class, Beginner/Intermediate)

If you have already established a beginner or intermediate yoga practice and are comfortable with the basic asanas, but looking to take your practice to the next level, this class is for you. We will use the same styles and flow of Daily Yoga (above), but focus on adding more advanced variations of the asanas and increasing our mindful awareness. This will level up the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of your practice and help you begin using it as a tool to assist you in your life off the mat as well.


This class is recommended for students who have taken at least 10 Intro to Yoga or Daily Practice classes, or the equivalent.

 

Elevating Mind/Body/Spirit – Rise Up       (Weekly Class, All Levels)

If you have an established yoga practice and are ready to integrate meditation into it, or if you have an established meditation practice and are ready to integrate yoga, this is the class for you. We will use the same flow of warm-up, more energetic practice, and wind-down as in Daily Yoga (above), but may incorporate yin or restorative yoga as well as hatha and vinyasa. We will focus on using breath and mindfulness to reach greater heights of inspiration and depths of peace in the asanas. After 50 minutes, we will drop down into 25 minutes of vipassana meditation with guidance at the beginning and time for questions at the end.

 

This class is recommended for anyone with a regular yoga practice at any level and for anyone with a regular meditation practice at any level. If you are new to both yoga and meditation, we suggest starting with Intro to Yoga and growing into Embodied Strength before joining Rise Up.

 

Quarterly Immersions (Quarterly Fundraisers for Root to Rise, Usually All Levels)

Every quarter at mid-morning on a Sunday, we will offer a two-hour immersion on a topic particularly relevant to current yoga students. Immersions will always include yoga poses, breathing practices, and meditation. They will usually be all-level classes, and sometimes advanced only. They may sometimes be taught by guest instructors volunteering their time. Pre-registration is required.

 

About Your Instructor

Andrea Chesnes was a strong girl from a tough background. She grew up in Chicopee, surrounded by poverty, addiction, and unhealed trauma. School was an obstacle course of bullying and silencing, without help from any supportive adults. Her mother was struggling to survive with three kids alone on Welfare, including one with autism, and couldn’t give Andrea the support she needed.

 

The only ways Andrea knew how to cope were to fight or withdraw. The more she did either one, the more adults in her life believed the worst of her – too rough, too stubborn, too wild.

 

Fortunately, caring women intervened and led Andrea to yoga and meditation. She learned to use both practices to heal and empower herself. A 500-hour E-RYT Hatha yoga teacher, she has now taught yoga for nearly a decade and won The Valley Advocate’s 2019 Best Yoga Teacher award. She has practiced meditation since 2013 and taught it since 2018.

 

Living in Turners Falls, she kept naturally connecting and becoming like a big sister to teen girls/young women and trans youth like her. As a tough, resilient woman who had healed herself, she could resonate with hard up young people. As a single mom of a non-binary youth and a son, a former foster mom of a teen girl in hard circumstances,  a trained rape crisis counselor, and a yoga and meditation teacher, she could give them the support they needed. They spread the word among their friends, and soon she had a cohort of 15. 


She also developed a passion for making yoga and meditation available to all, including working class people who do not feel included in the middle/upper class culture around holistic wellness, as well as people who feel judged by conventional holistic wellness culture if they have not given up everything it sees as a vice. Because of her background, Andrea naturally connects with these people and makes all feel at home in her classes.

Andrea decided to form a nonprofit to address the needs of young women and trans people, as well as the needs of people who don’t usually feel welcomed in holistic wellness classes. She launched a fundraising campaign among her yoga and meditation students and gathered a Board of Directors in 2018, and Root to Rise Collective was born.

General Class Info

COVID-19 Protocols

  • Vaccinated students only: We do not have space to keep everyone six feet apart, so to keep our students safe, you may join our classes only if you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 for at least two weeks before coming to class. Please have your vaccination card ready to show at your first class.
     

  • Face masks required: Vaccines are not 100% effective, so you must also wear a mask at all times in the studio.
     

  • Bring your own mat & water bottle: Usually, we can provide a yoga mat and water, but due to COVID-19, please bring your own mat and water bottle if you can. If you don’t have a mat, you can one of ours (we will sanitize it for your safety).  

Class Fees   

We use a sliding scale to make our classes accessible, and no one is ever turned away for inability to pay. All fees are confidential – no other student will know how much you paid.
 

  • Walk-In: Drop by for a class at $XX or pay what you can at the door.
     

  • Single Class Registration: Register online for $XX or whatever you can pay.
     

  • 10 Class Card: Buy a 10-class card for $XX or whatever you can pay, and we’ll punch the card every time you decide to show up for a class.
     

  • Unlimited Monthly Pass: For $XX or whatever you can pay, buy a monthly pass and come to as many classes as you want.
     

  • Quarterly Immersions:  $75, not covered by the 10 Class Card or Unlimited Monthly Pass. Since these are fundraisers for Root to Rise Collective, we ask you to come from the generosity of your spirit and give what you can to support our community. If you simply cannot manage $75, talk with us about how much you can afford; no one will be turned away.

 

What to Wear

Clothes that are comfortable, are not too warm, and don’t limit your movement.

 

Length of Classes

All classes are 75 minutes long.

 

Our Cultural Agreements

We strive to create a space that is welcoming to everyone, including people who do not feel welcomed in conventional holistic wellness classes (see Holistic Wellness for All Program[link] for more information. Please come with a spirit of compassion and nonjudgment for everyone at Root to Rise – including yourself. Read our Values[link] for more information.

 

Location

51 11th Street, Turners Falls, MA 01376

 

Directions

 

Parking

Our beautiful studio is in a small neighborhood known as the Patch, on an island in the canal. Children play in the streets, so we must keep traffic and noise down. Please park in the bike trail parking lot on the right just before the bridge into the Patch, then cross the bridge on foot. It is handicap-accessible.