The Yoga Loft Storybook: Maya Viswanath


Why/When/Where did you start practicing yoga?

It was 2009 and I was going through my first heartbreak, by way of my divorce. My parents, who have been practicing yogis for as long as I can remember, suggested I go to a yoga studio to reclaim some headspace. So, at 28, after being a total gym-rat and shunning all things not cardio or weightlifting, I went to my first yoga class at O2 Yoga in Somerville. I wish I could say that that class on a Saturday, from noon – 1:15 pm was my A-HA moment. It wasn’t. I was absolutely stunned to realize that I couldn’t move my body the way the other yogis, older and bigger than me, could. It was a totally humbling experience. I went back the following weekend to learn at a 2.5 hour ‘Breaking down yoga’ class. I found myself going back to my mat more and more, and less and less from the workout world at Bally’s. The O2 Yoga studio provided me the safe haven I needed to cry, to ache, to twist, to attempt hand-stands and the Crow pose (badly…ever so badly), and to Shavasana for as long as I needed. The teachers at that studio saved my life and my sanity.


How has yoga changed/influenced your life?

I return to the mat whenever I feel that I can’t breathe (out of anxiety, because…Adulting. It’s the worst!). I return to the mat because it is my therapy outside of my therapist’s office. Yoga is my slow-moving meditation; I love taking Gurdeep’s meditative yoga class, Jen’s fun & peppy yoga class, Vito’s ‘Oh my God how long is this plank pose’ class and Larisa’s purely transcendental class. I find that yoga grounds me, makes me happier vs. jaded at the state of this world, it opens up space inside my head for creative thoughts, it slows my running-on-a-hamster wheel days, and in general, just makes me a pleasant person to be around.


What has been your experience practicing at The Yoga Loft?

I absolutely adore the many positive changes that Julie and her team have brought to The Yoga Loft. I love the smiling faces at the front desk, the touches of green (greenery and green initiatives), even the little string lights leading up to the studio. The Yoga Loft is cuter, cozier, and even more welcoming today.


Anything else you wish to share about your yoga journey?

Everybody’s yoga journey is custom-built based on individual needs. Mine was needing a safe haven to break down and to be put back up. I didn’t come to the mat for health issues, injury/rehabilitation, for another workout option or to extend and expand on my flexibility. I came to the mat because my heart was broken and I wanted to be around people, sharing a collective experience and not necessarily talking. My heart continues to be attacked by this world and life, but, it also gets defended by the teachers, Bailey and the community at The Yoga Loft. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

Julie Helmes