Our Desk Angel Maddy is a professional musician getting her second masters in Violin! Maddy’s calming energy gives us all peace of mind. She helps Bella Prana care for our students’ needs by simply being on top of every detail to be sure they can float in and out of class. We honor and appreciate your never ending care and attention. We would not be the same without you! We love you very much, Maddy!
What brought you to yoga? How has it impacted your world?
I first began practicing yoga with my mom at our Azalea neighborhood recreation center in St. Pete when I was in high school. I am so grateful that my introduction to the practice was in a humble, no-frills, community-based space, and that it served as a bonding experience for me and my mom. It informed my belief now that yoga can happen anywhere and is for everyone. I love that yoga facilitates growth in your relationship with yourself and with others- whether it be family, friends, or folks in your community. When I am on the mat, practicing in a space with other people, I feel a connection with myself and with everyone else in the room. Yoga has also provided me with the mental, emotional, and physical tools to navigate my health as a professional violinist. There are so many benefits to practicing yoga for musicians; I utilize meditation techniques to manage my performance anxiety and have found Yin and Gentle classes to be extremely effective in rehabilitating a chronic performance-related injury.
What advice can you give to those who are just beginning their practice?
It is easy to try to conform to someone else’s idea of what your practice should look like. Resist the urge to compare your practice with others’ and trust yourself. Listen to your heart, be gentle with yourself, honor your body, and follow your intuition.
Why are you a Bella Prana Desk Angel?
I love the community of Bella Prana and the values that this studio upholds. After the first few minutes on my mat during my first class here with Chanel, I could tell that Bella Prana was where I wanted to practice. This studio observes and respects the historical and cultural traditions of meditation and yoga, prioritizes accessibility, and is constantly learning and working to make everyone feel seen, heard, welcomed, and considered. I am grateful to have found a studio that shares the same values as I do, and even more grateful to be able to spend some of my time each week servicing its community.
What book or documentary has changed your life in the recent year and why?
Last year I slowly worked my way through The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van der Kolk and it has truly impacted the way I engage with my body, personal trauma, and my healing. In this book, Van der Kolk explores how trauma reshapes the body and brain over time and discusses meditation, breath work, and yoga, among other things, as helpful tools for healing. Reading this book has added so many new layers of perception and empathy in understanding how trauma works, especially within myself. I am an outspoken advocate for the destigmatization of mental health and am currently in therapy, which has been essential in my personal growth. No matter what your relationship with your mental health looks like, this book can serve a window into your own trauma and healing, that of a loved one, or the collective cycle of violence and trauma in our society.