practice and peter
I teach the truth of my evolving yoga experience. I experience yoga first as awareness training. Instead of expecting results, I practice allowing for increased mental and physical comfort simply by letting myself be. The body benefits, but the physical practice is a laboratory for optimizing all aspects of physical, mental and spiritual wellness.
I don’t teach from a place of pushing limits but rather respecting them. When we encounter limits, we are given a choice to struggle with them or accept and soften around them. We all possess a legitimate urge to improve. Our yoga culture and society at large often exploit this urge to the detriment of our overall wellbeing. We might end up aggressively forcing results Softening and sitting with difficulty is a more mindful approach.
I want to help people grow more comfortable with their current situations through a practice of mindfulness. When we are uncomfortable, we may find ourselves grasping for what is familiar or pushing away what we don’t like. Yoga helps us expand the horizon of possibility by helping us grasp and avoid less. In an ongoing way, we experience a shift toward greater comfort even in the face of adversity and uncertainty.
Peter Crowley teaches what he practices. In his weekly group classes, Peter asks his students to turn their attention inward while feeling specific movement to promote more physical and mental comfort. He offers sequences embodying years of anatomical study bolstered by insights and anecdotes from his own practice spanning the last fourteen years. By introducing methods for better breathing and an attentive approach to feeling, Peter encourages inquiry into aspects of a meditative practice that goes so much deeper than choreography or shape making. His class nurtures introspection and self-discovery in a non-competitive environment.
Peter found yoga in spring 2002 though he now believes that his practice began long before he ever stepped barefoot into an asana class. Through the advice of a dear friend, he started attending regular classes to address back pain and a heavy heart. Yoga guided him to rehabilitate the physical and soften his subtle body.
Peter first taught a yoga class in 2003 while living in San Francisco. Five years later, having completed two 200-hour trainings as a regular student of Ashtanga Vinyasa and Forrest Yoga, Peter left his job in architecture and began teaching full time.
He has been studying asana alignment, pranayama, and philosophy under the guidance of master teacher Barbara Benagh since 2010 and completed her 500 hour Art of Teaching course in July 2014. Beginning in summer 2015, Peter began to apprentice with yogi and chiropractor, Tom Alden. Participating in Tom's individualized 1000 hour yoga training course, Peter is advancing his studentship to be a more effective teacher. Today, his teaching style fuses his previous pursuits with the authenticity and deliberate placement found in Barbara's Slow Flow and the expert life skills culled from his mentorship with Tom.
Grateful for the authenticity and discipline of his teachers, Peter encourages exploration, practices humility and teaches authentically. He believes that while our yoga practice is sacred and solemn, we must not lose sight of humor and humility.
PUBLIC CLASS SCHEDULE
Classes at Down Under Yoga Brookline
Friday Levels II/III 5:45-7:15pm
Classes at Down Under Yoga Newton
Wednesday Levels II/III 11:15-12:45pm
Classes at On the Mat Concord, MA
All classes are All-Levels Slow Flow unless otherwise noted.
See EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS for Peter's other group class offerings in Boston and beyond.
Down Under Yoga
1054 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA 02446
Down Under Yoga
306 Walnut Street
Newton, MA 02460
On the Mat
30 Monument Square
Concord, MA 01742
Private study with Peter
Why study yoga?
A consistent and effective yoga practice can help cultivate improved physical and mental function. Through practice, we learn to deliberately calm down. We learn more about ourselves, the functioning of our bones, joints, muscles and organs. We better know and have compassion for our habituated and reactive nature by training our awareness and ability to focus. When we are in touch with our own real-time experience, we can make more informed decisions and respond to others with greater integrity and kindness. Yoga study is a proving ground for true personal fulfillment.
What are the benefits of private study?
Private study with an effective teacher allows one to efficiently tailor a yoga practice that meets specific individual needs. In a one on one setting, by asking good questions and taking inventory of ongoing insight, yoga reveals what might require attention and to develop a protocol for improvement. If teacher and student are congruent in basic values and vision, the hard work of practice will be fun and fulfilling.
What is the process?
Yoga practice is an ongoing and cumulative process of inventory, understanding, execution, and states of completion. We will look at what is (What is yoga? What is your intention with yoga? What do this moment feel like? Why do we think what we think?). We will develop trustworthy strategies that include recognizing the truth of intensity, testing variations, learning to relax and respect limits. We will note improvements over time. Practice will include breathing awareness and observation, traditional and modified yoga postures, as well as more passive gravity assisted postures using blocks, bolsters, and blankets. While you are not guaranteed to learn how to embody headstand in four easy steps (there are no shortcuts here!), private study will reveal how patient awareness training can begin to create more gratifying relationships with self, and positively affect our relationships with others.
When are we done?
Essentially, yoga in all of its forms is a lifelong commitment. We all meet yoga in different ways and the practice takes on different roles in our lives. My hope is that you are never done practicing. Though many circumstance may lead to our being "done," our work together will be complete when you feel we have effectively addressed your needs. We will have satisfied the factors that prompted your initial interest. Ideally, an enthusiasm for your own self-led practice will emerge.
Yoga is most therapeutic and beneficial when practiced regularly and with consistency. My aim is to assist those who work with me to create their own evolving practice. Practice is more than asana though asana is absolutely part of practice!
I work weekly with some clients, bi-weekly with others. I have had ongoing clients for years and others for several weeks. Nobody's yoga is identical and no personal practice develops the same way.
We might meet at your home, one of the studios in which I teach, or over FaceTime. I teach Monday-Friday.
I request a minimum of 4 weeks commitment on the part of my clients so that we can BEGIN a conversation that illuminates values and vision.
I request 24 hours or one business day notice for schedule changes. Late changes will require a 75% session charge.
Please let me know a bit about yourself. Thank you.
Below is a piece I contributed to Architecture Boston's Body Issue from Fall 2014. I compared my process as a teacher and practitioner of yoga to my first career as an architectural designer.
LAYING FOUNDATIONS FOR AN INTERNAL JOURNEY by Peter Crowley
At home, in a square bedroom bordered by white walls and a bank of large windows, I do my daily yoga practice. An architect by education, I developed an early awareness of context and environment. In this room, in my modern house, I focus this sensitivity inward. I spend mornings moving from pose to pose — or just sitting still. In self-study, I formulate an internal inquiry
hat is it? What is happening? In the most secular of terms, yoga is the process of staying attentive to an object or pursuit, undistracted, for some amount of time. It’s an ever-evolving renovation of the mind and body that incorporates breath, postures, and concentration practices. Time in a physical posture is time well spent studying the network of strength and space that exists below the skin. With an awareness of these sensations one can construct a mental map, a meditation on where body and breath feel effortless, and where there is struggle. Sites of conflict need attention because they can hold captive physical or emotional scars. An immersion in this ongoing process demands patience. By quelling reactivity and shedding self-imposed expectation, we learn to be better, more up-to-date versions of ourselves.
Who do you want to be? Since I was six, I planned to be an architect. In my childhood bedroom, I spent many solitary hours fashioning models of famous buildings out of cardboard. I would construct a crude likeness, then break it apart to build it better, with ever more exacting standards. This iterative process resulted in whole cities I would lay out on my floor. I told myself stories about them, connecting separate narratives with construction-paper roads and rivers. At one point, the entire perimeter of my bedroom surrounded me with fantasy architecture. Years later, in design school, I aimed to entice the most critical of my peers and professors by posing a thesis and provoking a response.
How does this feel? Under the burden of professional demands and personal challenges, my early 20s were physically and emotionally painful. A dear friend suggested yoga to ease the reactive revolt taking place in my disordered body. At the urging of my first teachers, I studied what held me back, what locked me up. Why was my body shaking? The postures, crude in their initial execution, helped me examine, liberate, and redevelop the structure beneath my skin. My
job as a yoga teacher is to present and pass down what I have discovered. Holding space for my students to immerse themselves in self-study, I use narrative to describe a journey through the body. I pose a thesis, and yoga provokes a response. Students comfortably sit with an internal space of their own design.
Who designed that? Turning concepts into felt experience plays out in every yoga practice. The best architecture develops out of a streamlined thesis and a cumulative body of knowledge. Discipline and love for development through process reveal themselves in the design of a great building or a focused approach to yoga practice. In my body and in that of others, experience and repetition help lay these foundations. By paying attention, we feel tension dissipate, as strength and space support our structure. We dwell in the body, confident in our creation, comfortable with our circumstances.
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It's hip to study. ;) https://t.co/gFUIusYw4a
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