Maeve McCaffrey found her way into yoga as a way to find balance in her body and heal overuse injuries. She believes the worlds of fitness and yoga can co-exist as complementary lifestyle necessities. We are very excited to have Maeve as a new member of the Circle of Grace and for you to get to know her through this interview.
Zobha: How did you start your yoga journey?
Maeve McCaffrey: I was first exposed to yoga as a pretty young child. Until I was six, I lived on a small organic farm in Vermont. My parents had a natural food store and, as you can imagine, in that circle, yoga was fairly mainstream. My mother had a regular self-practice and I would often “play” along with her as she practiced. In my early 20s, I found Hatha yoga as a way to stay healthy after years as an athlete, and at that time, I was teaching multiple group exercise classes each day and really putting my body through a beating. You remember, step, kick boxing, etc. I had severe pulls in both hamstrings, plantar fasciitis, on and off again rotator cuff pain. I looked like I was in the best shape of my life, but couldn’t walk when I got out of bed!
I think like many practitioners, at that time, I didn’t know why I needed yoga. My initial intention was to stretch, but I was hyper-flexible and what I really needed was the joint, muscular and overall structural stability the practice provided me, not to mention the mental benefits, which have carried on. In addition to the physical benefits of the asana practice including happy feet, happier hamstrings (that’s still a work in progress) and healthier shoulders, yoga helps me to be kinder to myself and others. I love being a student and adore teaching yoga. For me, yoga, whether teaching class or practicing, is as good as a warm hug.
Zobha: Do you practice a particular style of yoga?
Maeve McCaffrey: When I have the liberty of choice (I often practice based on the time of a class rather than the style) I practice primarily Vinyasa Flow. I love the orchestration of posture and breath together. For me, it feels artistic. Like music, dance, or literature, there is a beauty to it that can evoke different emotions. I love to feel the transitions between the postures which feel the way well-played notes sound, relishing the moment of the sound or the feel of the posture, word, movement or sound, then gliding through the space between the next posture, word, movement or sound. There are moments when I’m teaching Vinyasa Flow and the beauty of my students’ practice makes me want to sing or dance. It’s ridiculous, but true.
Zobha: What is your favorite yoga pose and why?
Maeve McCaffrey: I love Virabhadrasana 3. It is forever challenging and equally rewarding. It is such a strong pose, yet in all that work, it allows you to feel like you are flying, which is a truly liberating sensation. I have odd physical metaphors when I’m practicing, i.e. in Warrior 2, I feel like an arrow heading toward a target, and Warrior 3 makes me envision I am coasting over a body of water the way birds do.
Zobha: What do you do in your free time when you don’t teach yoga?
Maeve McCaffrey: When I’m not working, I love to cook and enjoy good food, and dance, whether in class or around my house. I recently took up golf which is a good test of my patience, but hands down, my favorite activity is to spend endless amounts of time with my cat Tia. Her purr feels like a good dose of yoga.
Zobha: What is your favorite Zobha piece?
Maeve McCaffrey: Of the Zobha gear, I love the Evolve Capri. They come in a multitude of colors, hit at the perfect length and have just the right tightness to stay put, especially when I am flying in Warrior 3! They are seasonless and look great if I need to slide a pair of boots on and look presentable.
Zobha: Where can we attend your classes?
Maeve McCaffrey: I teach for YogaWorks in Tarzana, CA and El Segundo, CA as well as The Sports Club/LA in West Los Angeles. In addition to teaching, I am the Director of Specialty Programming for YogaWorks. My role, in part, is to bring Mindful Fitness classes, Private Yoga and Introduce Yoga to students. How great is that? Helping people be more in tune with their bodies so they can have years of yoga and fitness in their future. I will also be teaching a Summer Solstice Yoga Mala, 108 sun salutations at The Sports Club/LA on June 21st. It’s pretty powerful. I love summer and all that goes along with it, and this is the second year I’ll be welcoming it in this fashion.
For Maeve’s class schedule, click here.