Nantucket Chronicle Article: Wild Yoga on Nantucket

Yoga in the Wild

by Peter Brace

Originally published in the Nantucket Chronicle on December 7th 2012



…So why not practice it out in the wild.
by Peter B. Brace on Dec 7th, 2012

Yoga in the wild

Article and photos by Peter B. Brace

Balance, strength and love. For me, those three things give flight to my seven-foot frame in the practice yoga.
I’ve been a yogi for more than nine years now. My joints, specifically, my hips, but also my knees, knuckles, back and ankles can attest to the benefits of my practice. My heart center, where my love comes from, can speak to the warm, communal and supportive salve applied to my soul during each class and which lingers inside me from one class to the next.
The physical strength gained from continued or, in my case lately, a semi-continual yoga practice, is considerable and significant, and can be measured when I stop practice for a period of time, say, three weeks or longer because when I return to practice, I’m aware of the strength and flexibility that I’ve lost by not practicing. When I am back on track and have been so for several months, which is where I hope I’m headed with this latest re-entry into sweating and wobbling, I still can’t imagine practicing the postures on anything but the hard, level floor of a yoga studio or some similarly stable surface, so yeah, yoga on a standup paddleboard, not so much.
In October, one of my instructors at the Nantucket Yoga Room, Caitlin Marcoux invited me to take photos of her and her partner, Burr Tupper, and some of their friends doing poses and being photographed by a nationally known photographer named Robert Sturman based in Santa Monica, Calif. Sturman, a self-described artist using a camera, does portraits of people practicing yoga in outdoor settings. Having traveled around the globe to, as he says, celebrate different cultures in such places as Europe, Cuba, India and Nepal, using his camera, Sturman advanced his yoga practice beyond the mat by capturing yogis and yoginis posing in the wild.


“It started because I ultimately wanted to bring a yoga practice into my life because I had noticed that a lot of artists live very self-destructive lives and I wanted to find a way to rewrite that script and create much more of a positive experience for myself, so I started practicing yoga and I started to change a lot of things.
There’s a great quote by Picasso, which says “art is the elimination of the unnecessary” and I found also that when I was practicing yoga that I sweat so much out, I let go of so much while I was on the mat that it was also a process of eliminating the unnecessary. So, as soon as it started to make an impact on my life and [allow me] to create the kind of man I wanted to be, I started to look around and I saw how beautiful and poetic the asana’s looked, and it was so beautiful to me that I just started to make art of it.
I feel like I’m an artist and I’m a figurative artist, and having people in the midst of beauty doing beautiful things just makes more beauty, and yoga is an immensely beautiful poetic practice and so is the world, so that’s what my work is about; celebrating that.”

Before his celebration of yoga through a SLR digital camera began, eventually leading to his becoming an official artist for 2005 Grammy Awards and for the U.S. Olympics, Sturman took Polaroids, manipulating the image right out of the camera by carving up the surface and accentuating the lines and the forms while the chemistry was still viscous.


“When Polaroid went out of business, they divided up their film between artists that had done some nice things with their products and I happened to be one of those artists and so that’s when I made the transition into another medium, just straight photography. At the same time, I transitioned into really studying yoga.”

Following Sturman’s culture quest with his camera was the next stage in his career, a more in-depth study of yoga through his lens that perpetuated his photographic career theme in which he celebrates the poetry of life. Marcoux, who got her yoga instructor certification from the White Lotus Yoga Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif., connected with Sturman via social media. She then invited him to come out to Nantucket in October to shoot her and other yoga practitioners, including her sister Arial Marcoux, Tupper, and friends Juliet Loranger, founder of New Bedford’s Yoga on Union and Petra Ledkovsky, a yoga instructor at Power Yoga of Cape Cod Marcoux met atShiva Rea teacher training in 2009, pulling poses in scenic locations around the island.
What this meant to me when Caitlin dangled the making of the making of yoga in the wild, in addition to returning her many favors doled out on the mat by the imparting of her knowledge, was affirmation that building my poses should only happen on level mediums. Think it isn’t a challenge to cop a pose on a beach, near a lighthouse with distractions such as foghorns, passing boats and swarming gulls or out in a thick forest with muddy terrain? It’s every bit as tough as one might surmise. Though as yogis we’re taught to inhabit a boundless realm, I know the limits of my muscle-bound and heavy, massive body. But, I’m glad to have something to push back on too and was delighted to get the chance to witness the grace and skill of those advanced well beyond my own current station on the mat.
Sturman shot Caitlin and her friends out in some of Nantucket’s most beautiful locations and I had the pleasure of watching and photographing them wriggle into poses I aspire to perfect. I was amazed at Caitlin’s focus and balance on a short, narrow piece of plywood just beneath the surface of Miacomet Pond and equally impressed with Burr’s poses on a log suspended several feet from the ground in Squam Swamp.
Of them all, the sequences at Miacomet Pond where Tupper had submerged the platform in the pond, seemed the most challenging for Caitlin, considering the limits of the platform and the water temperature in late October.
There were poses at sunrise on Brant Point, a session at Miacomet Beach and then the Squam Swamp shoot, which was sublime with Caitlin and Burr posing individually and with each other against the backdrop of twisty black tupelo trees, the ground carpeted with a rainbow palette of summer’s leaves and my dog wandering in and out the shots.

So, check out the photos with this post, as there are many, maybe explore Sturman’s web site through the link near the top of this post and definitely look into beginning your yoga practice at the Nantucket Yoga Room here on the island.
Thank you to Robert and Caitlin for including me in the fun.

Robert’s finished body of work can be seen in the portfolios on his website. All his work is available for purchase.

 {photo: Robert Sturman}

DJ Pete Ahern & Caitlin Marcoux rock the Dreamland

Electric Flow Yoga

The Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center

Tuesday December 4th, 2012

Caitlin teams with locally renowned DJ Pete Ahern of Audio Architects  to bring you a blissful, electrifying vinyasa flow class.Peter and Caitlin grew up together on the island, and shouldered the triumphs and challenges of Nantucket High School, small town life, and the unique experience of living 30 miles out to sea. Now all grown up, Caitlin  & Peter both enjoy Island living once again; each with a 3-year old son (Griffin & Jocob) only two weeks apart  in age.

In this, their first collaborative effort, they will invite you to celebrate your Nantucket Roots – whether you’ve had them for 100 years or 5 and explore your connection to your local community through movement and music.  What better location to do this than heart of downtown Nantucket, in the  reinvented space at the Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center.

Students will be encouraged to go deeper into themselves by way of a silky smooth vinyasa flow practice as DJ Pete lays down  the deep ambient, electronic, DnB grooves to raise up your vibration. Don’t miss this chance to practice with live accompaniment and dig in deep.

Tuesday, December 4th 2012

The Harbor View Room @ The Dreamland Theater
(17 S. Water Street, Nantucket, MA)

Fluid Grace: A Vinyasa Flow Master Class

Shri Studio

Pawtucket, RI

Friday, December 14th, 2012 5:30-7:30pm $25

Please join Caitlin at Shri, Pawtucket’s only urban revitalization yoga studio, for this vinyasa flow master class. Caitlin will be picking up where she left off at Shri last May, leading you through looping and folding vinyasas with precision alignment and thoughtful placement. Link you breath with your body and surrender deeper into your heart’s wisdom and connect with Grace.

Please register well in advance by registering online here.

Slow Flow 2: Fluid Placement

Yoga On Union

New Bedford, MA.

Sunday, November 18th, 2012 (3-5pm) $30

Join Caitlin at Juliet Loranger’s intimate and beautiful studio, Yoga On Union, in the heart of downtown New Bedford, for this Slow Flow master class. Caitlin will be picking up where she left off last April, leading you through looping and folding vinyasas with precision alignment and thoughtful placement. Please register well in advance by emailing Juliet at Class will be limited to the first 18 people who sign up.

Gorilla Graffiti Yoga on Nantucket

Video Blog

We did this back in June. It was going to be an on-going project, but like many ideas or intentions, burned brightly and then faded away. The summer waxed and then waned  – and now I find myself with the extra time necessary for organizing and editing. With not many poignant things to say this evening, I thought it might be best simply to video blog, rather than force some ink to paper. This is not a perfect practice –  just a moment in time. Many thanks to my sister Ariel Marcoux and my friend and student Patricia Dolloff, for going along with the gorilla style Throw-Your-Mat-Down-and-Flow adventure.

Om. om. om.

Three Flow Pt. Two

April-May, 2012

and of course, there was a “Three Flow” part one… it’s below.

Three Flow

March 11, 2012

The Fall 2012 60-Day Yoga Challenge

Day Eleven.

Blah. I don’t want to practice yoga. Not today anyway.I’m sore. I’m tired. And I think I’m getting my toddler’s cold. I’d actually like nothing more than to crawl into Alison Alpert’s jacuzzi, and stay there for several days. But I have to practice.

Why? Well, it has something to do with discipline. A little to do with fortitude. Something to do with clarity. And a lot to do with dedication. It’s about seeing something through; setting a goal and attaining it. It’s about practicing for 60 days in a row; even on the days I don’t want to.  Yoga is good for me – it’s good for you too.  Just like flossing your teeth (though admittedly, I don’t do that every day, but I aspire to). And with or without a set “challenge” the equation is pretty simple: on the days I don’t practice I’m not as nice. I’m not as nice to my son. I’m not as nice to my partner. I’m not as nice to the person behind the check out counter at the Stop n’ Shop, and I’m certainly not as nice to myself.

In any event, I gave myself this challenge – and now I have to see it through. So despite the fact that I’m spent from last night’s adventures in yogic spinning (thanks DJ HyFi) and two margaritas at Corazon del Mar (thanks Kristen Kellogg) I’m going to meditate and do a little asana.

I cut this short video of my practice the other day  at The Yoga Room- to help keep me motivated. That was day six.


September 14, 2012

Electric Flow Yoga with DJ HyFi


Caitlin teams up for the first with Philly-based DJ HyFi to bring you a blissful, musical movement benediction. Venturing out of her typical Tuesday home base at The Yoga Room, Caitlin will encourage students to go deeper into themselves by way of a silky smooth vinyasa flow practice as DJ HyFi layers on the deep ambient, electronic, DnB grooves to raise up your vibration. Don’t miss this chance to practice with live accompaniment and dig in deep. Tuesday night, September 18th 2012. 5:30-7:00pm in the Harbor View Room @ The Dreamland Theater (17 S. Water Street, Nantucket, MA

Yoga Meets Live DJ

There are many tools on the yogic path to aid and assist us in connecting to our true nature. From following the intuitive guidance of our heart to transforming and purifying the physical body through the practice of asana, these practices help us reveal the boundless potential and beauty that lie within and around us.

Nada yoga, the yoga of sound, is a powerful tool that we can utilize in this journey of expanding and deepening our awareness. It can help us to break through to feeling the inner wellspring of creativity and life force that we can often lose touch with throughout our day to day activities. The yogis were aware of the power of sound, long ago and used various instruments to produce tones that enhance their mediation and consciousness exploration.

Music, like everything on our planet is constantly evolving and finding new ways to express itself. With the number of genres and sub-genres that exist today, there are virtually limitless options for us to flavor our lives with. Our experience on the yoga mat can be deeply nourished with this ever expanding palette of sound. Like a collage artist combines images, a DJ weaves songs together, to create a larger experience. Combining the power of asana with the sonic tapestry created by a DJ, opens the door to a unique yogic journey.

We are currently holding 5 spots for students who have yet to pay. Please email me if you would like to be added to the WAIT LIST. I will open these spots up in the next couple of days if payments have not been collected. Please email me at

Om om om

97.7 ACK FM Interview with Sandy Walsh

Speaking up for Yoga on Nantucket

On August 15th, 2012, Caitlin stopped by the recording studio at 97.7 ACK FM, “Nantucket’s True Island Radio”, and was interviewed by Sandy Walsh, where she spoke about her career teaching yoga,  her role as The Yoga Room’s Workshop Producer and the most recent workshop she’s produced for TYR, Flight of the Yogi with Kathryn Budig. The 8 minute interview can be heard here: 97.7 ACK FM radio interview with Caitlin .

This is Sandy, very at home in Mission Control.

Life and Love with a Nantucket Native

As is often said, sometimes a picture truly is worth a thousand words, yet despite my best efforts, photos do not do justice how much I love my son. No amount of “I love yous”, hugs, kisses or 3 am diaper changes can convey how big my heart feels when I hold him in my arms. It is a big, gigantic, overwhelming, and sometimes terrifying love.

No childhood friendship or romantic love I’ve ever felt feels as effulgent, unconditional and fulfilling. Not the maternal bond I have with my mother or the paternal bond I share with my father feels as strong.  Not even the rush of love I felt for my sweet husband, Aaron, as I held his hands and looked into his fading eyes, is in the same realm as the way I felt when I birthed my first and only born. No other relationship challenges me, rewards me and forces me to grow, on a daily basis, in the ways my relationship with Griffin does.

In the video below, I’ve tried to capture  a year in his life, hoping to get across how consciously and mindfully loving my toddler is the most important practice in my life.

Deep, deep gratitude to the cosmic consciousness for gifting me this child.

A Boy’s Life

The Gift of Teaching Yoga; Family Style.

Memorial Day Family Yoga @ The Yoga Room. May 28th, 2012

I never wanted kids. I never wanted kids and I never wanted to teach Kid’s Yoga. In my teens I was horrified by the over-population of the world, the irresponsibility of “breeders” and the selfishness of adults who wanted to see mini versions of themselves. In my early 20s I found myself ritually annoyed by the stroller take over of my previously hip South Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. And in my late 20s I was convinced that I might explain my situation as “childless by choice”.

Fast-forward 3 years later, and I now have a 2.5 year old little boy and not only am I’m teaching yoga for kids, but also yoga for teens, and yoga for families. Um…. how did that happen? I could tell you, but that might take a while, suffice to say I hit 32, and a whole bunch of everything changed.

For one thing, hormones I was perviously unaware of began raging through by body. I began fantasizing about the kind of family I might have. I started dreaming about doing yoga on the beach in Costa Rica with 2 or 3 naked bronze babies with long blonde dreadlocks crawling all over me. Then in 2005 my first husband Aaron died of cancer, after suffering through that loss for several toxic years, my need for human connection and comfort became a huge priority, and I wanted a baby, badly.

So here I am, seven years later, a mother and a yoga teacher, and loving every minute of it (okay, maybe not every minute – but a lot of the minutes). It’s been said a million times, but it’s true; being a mother is the single most difficult and simultaneously rewarding job there is. It’s hard to a have a real sense of this until you’re in it, but it’s the total truth.

Being a yoga teacher can be challenging for sure – but it isn’t nearly as challenging as being a mother. But I often feel very maternal towards my students, and watching their practices continue to grow is certainly rewarding. So having an opportunity to put the two together has been an amazing experience. I can’t say that I yearn to teach yoga to kids while parenting my own children every day – but yesterday it was truly, truly special.

On Memorial Day I taught my first ever Family Yoga Class at The Yoga Room here on Nantucket – and 6 brave mothers came with their children. Some of the mommies were beginner students, some intermediate and some advanced. Their children ranged in age from infancy to pre-adolescent. Some moms came with one child, some came with two. One was in a car seat, and yet another could already practice full tripod headstand (she’s only 5).  Even I had the chance to teach with my 7 year old former step-daughter  on the mat right next to me, and my ex-husband arrived at the end of class with our son Griffin. The last time I taught a class with Griffin he was nursing in a sling across my chest.

At first I thought the “class” felt more like loosely organized chaos (there was even a baby throw-up incident on a TYR mat – a first I’m sure), but then before I knew it, 55 minutes had passed and all 15 children and adults in the room were resting serenely in savasana. When class was over grown-ups and children alike looked happy, grounded and open, and my own heart blossomed in gratitude for the chance we all had to practice together.

A couple of hours later the lovely Jessica Douglass tagged me on Facebook in a bunch of photos she had taken of class, and my ex sent me a few photos he was able to capture with his iPhone.  I couldn’t help but get teary eyed and rather choked up. Here is a little look inside our class:

[slideshow id=6]

Yoga and Parenting both help us mainline compassion straight to the heart. I feel very bless to be both a mother and a teacher. Many thanks to all of those of you who have encouraged me to teach the Dharma Kids, Strong Girls, and Family Yoga classes. I wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t pushed me.