Tara Rachel has studied yoga since the early 90’s. She has completed 4 teacher training courses, most recently with Tias and Surya Little of Prajna Yoga. She is well known to the Boston yoga community. Tara Rachel was both a student and teacher under Boston master teachers Barbara Benagh and Arthur Kilmurray. She has studied Iyengar yoga with Zoe Stewart. Her profound interest in the mind body connection led her to The School for Body Mind Centering to study infant developmental movement, somatic anatomy and its relationship to yoga. Since 2001, Tara Rachel has enriched her studies with private courses and workshops in anatomy and physiology with Yaron Gal Carmel, Tom Myers, Andrea Olson, and others. She is also a certified Zen Shiatsu Therapist. Her classes for adults are unique, flowing and relaxed, yet grounded in attention to proper postural alignment. In addition, Tara Rachel has been a pioneer of children’s yoga in the Boston area. She has worked professionally with children since 1989. She has developed her own approach to children’s yoga, which is simply, yet uniquely, a synthesis of education, developmental movement, and yogic teachings.
Yoga is the cessation of the movements in the consciousness.” -Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: Samadhi Pada: Sutra:2 as translated by BKS Inyengar-
“Yoga is defined as restraint of the fluctuations in the consciousness. It is art of studying the behavior of consciousness, which has three functions; cognition, conation or volition, and motion. Yoga shows ways of understanding the functions of the mind, and helps to quieten their movements, leading one towards an undisturbed state of silence of mental discipline through which the mind becomes cultured and matured.” -BKS Iyengar-
Tara Rachel is a student of the life practice of yoga. It has been her aim to align her life in the world with the inner life of yoga practice.
YOGA means union; the joining of the physical, mental and spiritual elements of life. It is a process of integration of one’s entire being and an opportunity for an awakening of a deep awareness that, through practice, we return to the memory of our inborn wholeness.
The practice of yoga is a vehicle for developing a deep and conscious relationship with one’s individual self and therefore the cosmic aspect of self.
Tara Rachel offers three styles of yoga practice for adults:
CLASSICAL HATHA YOGA This class includes detailed attention to postural alignment and our connection to the internal rhythms of the body-mind experience. This practice inspires moving gracefully within a mindful attention to the breath. As a trained bodyworker, she supports her students to discover an appropriate approach to individual practice that brings harmony to the whole person.
QI FLOW YOGA : This class is sequenced in accordance with the Qi Flow Clock as taught in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The asanas nourish and promote the smooth flow of Qi through the meridian channels and restore inner balance.
SIVANANDA YOGA: Sivananda yoga is based on the teachings of Sri Swami Sivananda. Sivananda’s teachings were introduced to the west by his student,Swami Vishnu Devananda. The teachings were simply laid out, by Swami Vishnu, in 5 components: Proper Exercise, Proper Breathing, Proper Relaxation, Proper Diet, Positive Thinking and Meditation. This class consists of deep relaxation, pranayama (breathing practices), classical sun salutations, asanas (postures) for opening the hips and strengthening the abdominals, followed by a set series of postures to enhance spinal flexibility, mental focus, self awareness and calm nervous tension. Some Sanskrit chanting will practiced at the beginning and end of the session.
My experience tailoring curriculum and holistic healing practices has given me the depth of insight into customizing my varied services for the wide range interests of families, teachers and organizations.
This is a unique skill enables me to adapt my background knowledge so that it serves the needs of the individual and collective respectively.
It was a warm sunny day with a blue sky and full white and curved clouds. A woman wearing a long white dress and upon her head, a bonnet with a yellow ribbon; walked in the light breeze through a prairie towards a large willow tree that had short soft grass and plenty of shade underneath it. She was followed by a large group of families who were all humming the same tune that she sang as she led them to this special place. When they arrived, she turned around. She was ME.
The families gathered around me and their eyes fell upon me with attention, as I began to tell them a story… I awoke from the dream, tears streaming down my cheeks and I cried out, “I am a teacher!” Over twenty years have passed since that night. The declaration came with the dawning of a deep quest that has stirred my soul: If I am to teach, who do I need to become and what qualities must I embody?
When I was studying education in college, I was taught how to do lessons and how to externally maintain order so that what I would be teaching could be “learned.” I longed for a deeper connection: relationship. This longing was begun to be satiated by one of my college professors who taught a course entitled, Philosophy of Education. She brought to life the journey of philosophers such as John Dewey, Plato and Rousseau. I was moved by Dewey’s concept of learning from and with the children.
For my teaching practicum, I was in an exceptional first grade public school class where the teacher brought to life the joys of learning and play through his animated stories, imaginative lessons and an environment fully equipped with a sandbox, water play, blocks and a dramatic play area. I noticed very quickly through other intern experiences that this was truly an exception rather than a rule. When the children were contracted by the system, so was I.
The experience I had in the first grade, during my internship, prompted me to look again for another process of education, by which I found Montessori. Upon entering this environment, my need for more, was met. The environment was calm and relaxed as each child worked with their own choices and as teachers softly engaged with individual children and in small groups. The children were at ease with themselves and the teachers.
When I left college, I immediately went into Montessori education, where the question; who am I to become? lived more deeply inside as I read Montessori’s lectures on reverence for the environment, the children and humanity, her writings on the spiritual life of the teacher and peace in education. While intrigued by the methodology of her curriculum, I wanted to know what she was feeling. How did she come to trust the children? What was living within her?
My year long study was entitled Building Blocks for Peace: A study: Foundations for a Peace Curriculum.I spent the year exploring what inner work the teacher needed to do, in order to lead the spirit of the human becoming. Maria Montessori lived in India for 7 years, after leaving Italy at the beginning of WWII when she refused to indoctrinate children to grow up to fight. It was there that she renamed her system “Cosmic Education,” and hence, her life purpose in working with children became one of building a cosmic view of human interaction that would infuse tolerance and love for the earth and all of creation.
My desire to discover the deeper meaning of my calling as a teacher, and my yearning for continued self discovery, led me to the study and practice of the life path of yoga; including selfless service, devotional chanting and prayer, asana, meditation and self study. I also embarked on learning about and training in Chinese Medicine, Zen Shiatsu Therapy, Gaia rhythms in accordance with the seasonal cycles of the earth, Reiki, Transformational Breathing, drum circles, woman’s circles, holistic nutrition studies and cooking including: Ayurveda, Macrobiotics, Chinese medicine and food, 5 element theory and food and raw food preparation. Also, turning towards many other alternative healing modalities including a holistic primary care physician and holistic dentistry.
My passion for healing had transformed into my path of teaching and healing work with others. It was through my teaching of yoga for adults and children that I arrived to create my first full children’s yoga program at a Waldorf inspired school, in 1997. The school was located at the end of a road on conservation land. The children spent much of their day outdoors communing with nature. Indoors, life was like being at home, which included warm organic grain snacks that were prepared in relation to the planetary correlation to each day of the week. It was enlightening for me as I noticed a merging of both holistic consciousness and spiritual ground for education. It had a soul life of its own that beckoned me to learn. I had not chosen it, but it had chosen me, which seems to be the way, when one embarks on a journey.
“Thus, we see that a fundamental issue in teaching and education is the question of who the teacher is. What must really live in the children, what must vibrate and well up into their hearts, wills, and eventually into their intellects, lives initially in the teachers. It arises simply through who they are, through their unique nature, character and soul attitude, and through what the children bring out of their own self development. So we can see how a true knowledge of the human being, activated into embracing everything, can be the single foundation for a true art of teaching and fulfill the living needs of education.”
The immersion and study in varied roads of education, which span out from the workings of other great philosophers and approaches was part of a three year project I was contracted to do for writing a pilot for a Holistic School (nursery through eighth grade). The project involved curriculum development by synthesizing the heart of many approaches to the field of education including, public school, Montessori, Waldorf, Quakers, Sufi’s, Yogic approach, Reggio Emilia and the Free School approach amongst many others. Also included architectural layout of the school building, grounds and classrooms, festival and community planning, specialty class planning and teacher enrichment.
Simmons College, Boston, Ma:
BA Early Childhood Education 1991 (nursery through grade 3)
New England Montessori Teacher Education Center Boston, Ma.
Pre-primary (N-K) 1992: Year Long Study: Peace and Education
Waldorf Foundations Course, Lexington, Ma. (2 years) 2005
Antioch Graduate University, Keene, NH. (3 years) 2009
M.Ed. Concentration: Waldorf Early Childhood and Elementary Ed.