Gwen Murphy

Gwen-Murphy200Gwen has spent much of her adult life making sculpture and, with her husband, Peter, raising their two children, who are now adults themselves. She began practicing Yoga about ten years ago, and as that practice brought more and more benefits – peace of mind, comfort in the body, better sleep, relief from various ailments, & the releasing of destructive habits – she became committed to sharing it with others. She completed her 200 Hour Teacher Certification at Frog Pond Yoga Center in Princeton, Ma. With an emphasis on alignment and movement with breath, her classes center on the fundamentals of Classical Yoga, while allowing each participant to move at his or her own pace. Gwen is a long-time resident of West Acton, and enjoys raising chickens and attempting to train the family’s adorable “problem child,” a rescued labradoodle named Lamb Chop.

What do you remember about your first yoga class?
I remember how challenging the breathing was, and that I couldn’t wait to comeback and do it again.

How has practicing yoga impacted your life?
Yoga has given me so many benefits – better sleep, increased range of motion. My body feels more spacious. Since I began my practice I have gradually been able to let go of more and more things that were causing me suffering:  alcohol, refined sugar, animal products.  My belief in the power of Ahimsa (non-harming) as the foundational teaching of Yoga, has lead me also to the practice of veganism, which has brought me so much peace and joy, as my actions come more into alignment with my most deeply held values, my aversion to cruelty, and my love of animals . Each step along the path of Yoga brings new possibilities for positive change. I feel happier.   I feel a sense of calm, even when things go wrong.

What is your favorite yoga asana and why?
I can narrow it down to three: Mandukasana (Frog), because it helps me sleep, Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon) because it’s so much fun, and Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold), because I love to say “Prasarita Padottanasana.”

What is your favorite yoga-related book/movie?
“Fierce Grace,” a truly inspiring film about Ram Dass after he had a stroke.
“Paths to God,” also by Ram Dass, is an exploration of the Bhagavad Gita and the major paths of Yoga, including Devotion (Bhakti), Wisdom (Jnana), Service (Karma), and the Yoga of the Eight Limbs (Ashta Anga, or Raja Yoga, the Royal Path).

What is your favorite inspirational/spiritual passage or quote?
“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong in the world.”  Paul Farmer

What is something others might not know about you?
I am an artist.  I have a husband, two grown children, a dog, a cat, and three hens, all of whom are pretty awesome 🙂