This weekend I did something insanely awesome – I went to a Yoga Mala. The first annual Boston Yoga Mala at the Boston Button Factory.
For those unfamiliar, a yoga mala is
something crazy people do 108 sun salutations performed in a group. Yoga malas are done all over the world, often coinciding with the changing of the seasons. This yoga mala was for the Spring Equinox. While most normal people were getting their Easter baskets ready, I spent a casual 3 hours doing back bends, downward dogs, and yogi push ups. No biggie.
Until a few months ago, I had never heard of a yoga mala. As far as I’m aware, Boston has never had a yoga mala before – at least not one independent from a yoga studio. Carrie Bresnick, a Boston area native, set out to change that.
Having spent a few years in hippy crunchy Los Angeles where she participated in yoga malas, Bresnick had a vision to host a yoga mala back in her hometown. An idea quickly turned into a Facebook page with invitations sent to friends, family, and anyone in town who had posted a selfie on a yoga mat on Facebook. Obviously, an invitation to the Boston Yoga Mala Facebook Page showed up in my notifications.
Likely caught after an inspiring yoga class or on a caffeine high, I signed up, blissfully ignorant to how strenuous yet transformative a yoga mala could be. Someone who puts 108% of herself into everything, I took the idea of a yoga mala in stride, assuming at best it would be awesome and at worst I’d get a good workout. So…how was it?
The Boston Yoga Mala was great! Despite the fact that my arms are so sore that I’m struggling to type, I would do it again. Set in the awesomely historic Boston Button Factory, Bresnick’s first hosted yoga mala was a success. The turnout was good for an inaugural event – about 20 participants.
Upon entering the Boston Button Factory, Bresnick greeted everyone with a warm smile, a bottle of water, and a small towel. The mala was co-led by Bresnick and Paula Passanisi, a forest yoga instructor from the The Yoga Joy Studio, in Gloucester. The 108 sun salutations were a mix of versions A and B, making the flow interesting and challenging.
Broken into 12 sets of 9 rounds of salutations, Bresnick and Passanisi gave participants an intention for each set. Intentions give you something to focus on during your practice – a friendly reminder of why you’re on your mat, what brought you to it, and what you hope to get out of the practice.
After almost 3 hours, we had completed 108 sun salutations at the Boston Yoga Mala and welcomed in the Spring…or at least the balmy 30 degree weather known as Spring in Boston. Although I’m sore, it was an amazing experience that I’m looking forward to doing again. Bresnick has plans to host more yoga malas in the future – likely once a season. If you’re into yoga and challenging yourself, keep an eye out for events.