Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Addie's Visit to Lumina

Midterm Paper

Lumina at Longfellow Clubs

Hot Yoga class with Tara Kilgallen


For the midterm, I chose to take a class with some one I know that teaches, someone who has shown me several poses that I use to stop and prevent panic attacks. Her name is Tara Kilgallen. Before I took one of her classes at Lumina at the Longfellow Club, I sat down with her, and asked her some questions. Below is a transcript of a few of those questions.

Me: How did you get started? What was your first yoga experience like?

Tara: Well, I was a dancer in high school and took a yoga class as a dancer wanting to push my body physically, improve on my dance skills. And I was always body conscious, you know self-conscious, and what struck me about yoga was that it was all about body movement, but unlike dance is was movement with out judgment.

Me: What types of yoga do you practice/teach?

Tara: It’s really a mix, not just one style. Its some vinyasa flow, iyengar, and kundalini.

Me: what where you doing before this? (points to her two boys)

Tara: Well, before the boys, I would practice for about an hour 4 to 5 times a week, now its more like 20 minutes a week. And I also ran my own studio, Tushita Heaven out in California. It was mostly private lessons and small classes.

Me: What kind of books are you reading right now?

Tara: Ha-ha, I think I’m going through a theory phase cause I’ve been reading a lot of books on theory. The one I’m reading at the moment is “Light on Yoga”. You should read it when you get a chance. And I’m also re-reading the “Bagavad-Gita”.

Me: Translated?

Tara: Yup, I wish I could read it in Sanskrit.

Me: If you could pass on some words of wisdom to new yogis, what would you want to tell them?

Tara: That’s a good question. Be consistent. You should try to practice everyday, or as close to everyday as you can. It doesn’t have to be long (laughs at my expression), it just has to be consistent. That’s the point, is to be doing it, not just reading it or listening to it, and once you get into a groove you can re-shape your experience in yoga to fit what you need, to make you better, body mind, and spirit. I believe if everyone could make small mental shift the world would be a better place.

After talking to her, I reread our conversation. I found that for her, it wasn’t just about the physical benefits; she really uses yoga as a way of life. “I’m not one for traditional temples, my body is my temple,” that’s something she said when I asked if she had plans to make a pilgrimage to a temple. I spoke with her more about this after class and found that for her its not about going somewhere, or being around other people, or even going to a religious site, it’s about what’s inside her. That everything she needs to be a great, enlightened person is in her own self, all she has to do is to find it.


The place that I took my class at was Lumina, a club that is under the name of Longfellow Clubs. Longfellow Clubs was founded in 1972, and was originally was tennis club, but around the 1980’s it was down to about 200 members and was sold to Laury Hammel and Myke Farricker, who took the club out of near bankruptcy and made Longfellow one of the fourth largest independent health club organization in New England and the fifty-sixth largest in the US. Dedicated to community, health and social responsibility Longfellow Clubs took on Lumina as a new innovative club based on dedication to the integration of mind, body, and spirit and to offer balanced and practical programs. Their Yoga, Dynamic Movement, Meditation and Chi classes focus on an ancient system of self-transformation, designed to connect movement with breath. To also quiet the mind, strengthen and purify the body, which will result in improved self-awareness, flexibility, stronger muscles and joints and sharper mental focus, as well as an expanded array of holistic classes designed to nurture the movement of life energy, or chi, through the body and activated the inner self, promoting strength and relaxation for the mind, body, heart and soul. They also offer classes based on weight loss and fitness, promoting a healthy life, and a love of your body, no matter the shape or size.


The class that I attended was a hot yoga class, so it was much warmer in that room than in the room our class is held in. But, it was amazing. From a student’s point-of-view the class was rather large, about 20 people there (5 of them guys, older men in there late 30’s- early 50’s, the female’s in the room ranged from early 20’s to late 50’s). Most people knew what they were doing, and knew what pose to get into when Tara used the Sanskrit term for the pose (I found that I knew more than I thought, though there were some poses that I had to look at other to find out what I was suppose to do). The room was equipped with blocks and straps that would be used for the iyengar influence in her class.

The class started off with crossed legs, and slow breathing. She told us to find our natural rhythm. And then had us take a 5 count breath, that is to say breath in for 5 counts, hold for 2 counts and breath out for 5 counts, then we did the same with 8 counts. There was a small chant before we started but it was only one chant of “Om”. I was a little disappointed because I’ve had one on one lessons with Tara and she does do several more mantras than just “Om”. We did the sequence of plank, upward facing dog, then downward facing dog several times throughout the class. And also did some warrior poses, and triangles, and back bends, and a whole host of other poses that I’ve done in other classes or read about. She spoke a lot about “melting you heart” and “warming your body”, which helped and one thing that surprised me was how little water I need during the class, but once I was done with the class, I drank A LOT of water, about 5 or 6 glasses. As we got further into the class we started holding poses longer and I did not feel any muscle pain while in the class, or for hours after, but when I woke up the next day my abs and arms where sore. A good sore, with a feeling of strong, lean muscles.

Tara really tried to help us focus on our breathing throughout the class, reminding us to stop and go into a downward dog, or baby pose if we lost our flow and to use those poses to regain our breathe focus. There was also a lot of attention paid to multiple ways of pushing a pose. So she gave the class three or four movements to help go deeper into the pose, or to alter the pose to focus on a specific muscle/group of muscles, and it was nice to have those options.

Getting to the end of our session, the lights were dimmed, and we all rested our bodies and minds. Tara gave us about 3 minutes of pure quiet and it was nice to have a moment of silence. I love those moments I can find that are quiet and still. We ended with a final mantra, and a thanks for mother earth and for everyone there. Namaste.

Lumina didn’t have to many pamphlets but they did have a lot of stuff online. There was a schedule and this. A little hand out that talks about chakra and mantras. It also has a little picture guide to help you better understand what mantra goes with each part of the body. You work your way from bottom to top (usually), or you could focus on one place. It also talks about colors associated with each chakra. And after reading this, it’s something I would like to further understand. And I plan to ask Tara if there are some books she’d recommend. I would also like to learn more poses to integrate into my practice (I can usually only get 10 minutes every few days, I do plan to try and add more time).


Over all, I’m really glad that we had this as an assignment. It really is nice to get out and try something new. I’m hoping to have a few friends come with me next time, they heard me talking about going to do a yoga class. This definitely inspired me to want to practice more, just knowing all that I have someone in my family that can help me, and support me in ways other members of my family can’t. And I think Tara was happy to have a family member go to her class and be interested in learning more.

1 comment:

  1. Your paper really resonated with me. Although I only read your interview with Tara, the advice that she gave for new yogis really inspired me. She says that it is important to practice everyday, mentioning that it doesn't have to be long each day (since many people are busy and are incapable of including a lengthy exercise into their day) to make people feel better in both mind, body, and spirit. Reading that inspired me to practice yoga more. I have been meaning to incorporate yoga into my daily life but have felt as though I haven't had enough time for it, but after reading what Tara said, I definitely think it is now a possibility.

    I am glad that you went to this site, since it is not too far from my house and I feel as though it would be a positive experience to travel to Lumina and practice yoga with Tara. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your paper and have gained a new perspective on my own personal yoga practice. I feel that it is now possible to incorporate yoga into my daily life and feel as though I will become a more well-rounded person in mind, body, and soul.