It was a year filled with new offerings, community building, and giving back for Roots Yoga in Burlington, which recently celebrated its second anniversary on June 15th.
“This past year has been one of sharing new experiences and developing new programs centered on healing the body, mind, and soul,” said owner Ginger Boermeester.
One goal was to offer students an opportunity to branch out beyond their traditional yoga classes. Last summer, Roots provided yogis with an opportunity to get out of the studio and into nature via a guided hike up Prospect Hill in Waltham, which concluded with a tranquil yoga and meditation class.
“We focused on the root chakra, which is a big part of Roots’ Yoga philosophy; like the roots of trees that reach deep into the earth, the root chakra helps to anchor and secure ones connection to their foundational center that we don’t often tap into,” said Boermeester. Another hike is planned for next month, which will include special guest instructors.
In keeping with yoga’s holistic approach to health and well-being, Roots invited author Jodi Blasé to lead a workshop on her autobiography, ‘My Big Fat Head’ and to conduct an open discussion on all types of addictions, as well as Jodi’s own, where she shared her firsthand struggles with eating addiction and her long road to recovery.
Another unique workshop targeted an oft-ignored subset of yogis: overweight individuals. Yoga for Bigger Bodies (Y4BB) ran two, five-week series, which taught full-figured folks basic poses with modifications to prevent lower back, knee, and wrist strain, all within a judgement-free space. “The thought of walking into a yoga studio for the first time was intimidating and would have been overwhelming, but knowing what to expect in a traditional class and understanding my limitations and the modifications needed for my size has armed me with the knowledge to start my yoga practice,” said one participant who has since transitioned into Roots’ beginner yoga classes.
Drawing on yoga’s seva principal of selfless service, giving back was another priority of Roots and its instructors, as the studio entered into its second year. This included playing host to a number of fundraisers. Among them were donation-based classes for Boston Children’s Hospital and Children’s Tumor Foundation, and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. And for the second year in a row, a team of Roots Yoga students and instructors participated in Yogathon at Gillette Stadium, where they stood in service with one-thousand yogis to raise money for Children’s Hospital Boston.
But perhaps the biggest example of giving back was Boermeester’s recent trip to Haiti. In May, she traveled to the village of Grand-Goave, where she visited the Be Like Brit (BLB) orphanage, home to forty-seven children. There, she introduced these young victims of trauma, many of who had lost their families in the 2010 earthquake, to yoga as a way to help them heal.
“The time I spent in Haiti was by far the most rewarding and fulfilling days of my life,” said Boermeester. “Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, yet rich in so many ways, with their spirit and appreciation of the smaller, more important facets of life.” She added, “Working with the children of BLB to help them feel safe, secure, confident, and empowered was both fulfilling and fun.”
Interest in the project has been widespread, and Boermeester is currently in the process of raising money and applying for grants in order to develop a yoga curriculum for BLB, train staff members, and create a network of volunteer instructors to travel to the region. Heading into year three, she says Roots’ offerings, and reach, will continue to expand.
“We have a variety of specialized programs in the works that will continue to build community and wellness on both local and global levels. We are all really excited to see how things evolve as we move into year three!”