Maureen McAllister in a side bend on the floor in a orange shirt and black pants touching her toes

Welcome Maureen McAllister to the Wellness Grind community!

Wellness Grind icon on blue background with WG

Welcome Maureen McAllister to the Wellness Grind Community!

Have you ever met someone and just fell in love with their spirit? Or their workouts? Or their vibe? That’s my friend Maureen McAllister, owner of Clarksburg Yoga and Wellness. 

How we became friends isn’t the traditional adult female bonding story. I stumbled upon the Clarksburg Yoga and Wellness Studio when googling yoga studios near me about a year before Maureen became the proprietor. The first class I took was an intense Saturday morning class with a very enthusiastic young yoga instructor. 

I loved the class and the hands-on assist she gave was just what I needed to deepen my practice. I, as usual, was sore from Spin class. I stayed after class to thank her and then came back to her class maybe once or twice before drifting from the studio for a while. 

Eventually, I came back to the studio just after I decided to launch I took a risk and asked this awesome yoga instructor if she would be interested in collaborating. I didn’t know that in my absence, the instructor became the owner. Of course, Maureen being an amazing partner said “Yes!”
We set up a meeting at a local coffee shop and started our discussions. At first, we talked about what we wanted to do and found we had so many entrepreneurial commonalities, hopes, and dreams. We also discovered we both love fitness, healthy food, and meditation. We set out to collaborate on projects that would support both our goals. 

The lunch dates became a regular occurrence on Fridays. Generally, we leave with a list of things to accomplish- which I promptly email us both so we don’t forget our million and one ideas. 

As I’ve continued down this path of sharing wellness stories and planning community wellness events, Maureen has been there to support me the whole way. On a personal and professional level, I made a lifetime friend out of the intense yoga instructor. 

When I asked Maureen if she’d write something to share with the Wellness Grind community, again, she enthusiastically said “Yes!” 
I’m so happy to share with you the perspective of a female wellpreneur about herself and all things yoga.

Here’s Maureen to tell you all about her Yoga Life… 

Maureen sits in Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana at the Clarksburg studio.
Photography by Dave Myles.

How Did You Get Introduced to Yoga?

I attended yoga classes off and on for years in gyms, but it wasn’t until I tried a class in a local studio that it really captured my attention. My cousin, Veronica, and I were on vacation together and she had recently become a yoga teacher when I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life. She spoke with me about how much of an impact yoga had on her and improving her own situation. I was inspired to try again and loved it! Fifteenth time is the charm. 😉

I think that speaks largely to the community I’ve experienced in studios, as well—there’s a deeper level of commitment and dedication to the principles and ethics of yoga beyond the physical asana, (affectionately known as one of the eight limbs of yoga). I feel the other seven limbs, (community ethics, self-discipline, breath control, inner awareness, meditation, concentration, and enlightened living) are where most of the changes and benefits happen that so many people enter yoga seeking.

What Made You Become a Yoga Instructor?

I did yoga every day for six months after that first initial encounter and I found everything in my life was improving—I was able to deal with the stress of college more easily, my mental and emotional health was improving, I developed strength and flexibility in muscles I didn’t even know I had, I found myself naturally wanting to eat healthier and live a more clean lifestyle without a lot of extra prodding and pushing. I started to like people again!! That was a big one for me after a couple of years in the corporate world. I wanted to experience more of these “good” feelings.

At the urging of one of my first teachers, Dorota, I signed up for a local teacher training—she convinced me six months was plenty of time if you’re serious about it. ☺ I also learned most people who enter teacher training don’t usually go on to teach, (so there’s not a whole lot of pressure to perform,) it’s more a journey of self-exploration. Yoga teacher training is where the REAL changes happened in my life. I learned more coping mechanisms that worked for me in that one year, than in my previous 25. I fell in love with teaching and sharing those benefits with others and haven’t looked back.

Lotus Mudra variation during Friday morning Meditative Yoga at Clarksburg Yoga.
Photography by Ixiana Wilmot.

Now That You Own Your Own Studio, What Advice Do You Give to New Yoga Teachers?

Don’t get caught up in the rat race of how you think yoga teachers “should” be or act. Be authentic and learn to hold space so that in turn your students feel comfortable fully expressing themselves and having their own authentic experiences. Turning yoga into it should be this, or has to be that, takes some of the magic out of coming to terms with yourself.

Also, let go of the idea of a guru. There are no perfect, pure individuals. Believing such is what allows us to blindly follow others and we lose our natural ability to lead and be innovative. Some of my best ideas have come out of the rub of conflicting ideologies—the less dogmatic yoga is, the better for everyone.

Sacred Mural at the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh, India. Rishikesh is considered by many to be the birthplace of yoga.
Mural by Miles Toland.

What Is Your Vision for Clarksburg Yoga & Wellness?

I would love for Clarksburg Yoga & Wellness to grow into a multi-dimensional healing and wellness center. When I say multi-dimensional I mean a center that speaks to all aspects of a healthy individual (mind, body, spirit, and emotions). It would be great to include modalities like nutrition, acupuncture, massage, psychotherapy, and varying relaxation services. Funnily enough, we have all those offerings in the Gardner House now—perhaps we’re just in need of a sauna and heated pool. 😉

Maureen McAllister, Bernadette Soler, and Alison Heilig sit outside the Gardner House where the studio is located.
Photography by Ixiana Wilmot.

My vision of Clarksburg Yoga as it exists today is a community of people who use love, peace, and acceptance as guides to explore their spirituality and practice together. As much as possible, we like to offer different workshops, training, and events so people have access to aspects of yoga they normally wouldn’t be able to get out of a class setting. I ask myself every day how we are able to grow and support each other in rising higher. When the people closest to you improve, you are also challenged to rise and improve as a direct result—it’s symbiotic.

Maureen teaches Vrksasana during Mini Horse & Goat Yoga at non-profit, Madison Fields. This specialty-class was recently selected as an Editor’s Pick in Bethesda Magazine.
Photography by Ixiana Wilmot.

What Benefits Do You Get From Attending a Yoga Retreat?

A yoga retreat allows you to unplug from your current distractions and routine, which when it gets too comfortable, can also be a distraction from growth! Science says our creativity and ability to problem solve rests in our ability to take a break, learn how to rest, and have new experiences. For years, I put off traveling and pursuing activities that bring me joy because I figured there would be a better time later or I could do it NEXT year. In reality, I’ve come to realize that the more I prioritize my own joy and the things that give me meaning, the more all the other pieces of my life seem to fall into place. Everything goes better when I live in the let’s do it right now.

This photograph was taken during a winter retreat in Rishikesh, India. The group of friends met by the Ganges river for a ceremony to prepare to enter an ashram for three days of silence and meditation.

In terms of going deep—practicing yoga twice a day, reflecting with journaling and meditation, and connecting with people in a new culture changes the way you look at the world. Even if it’s for just a little bit of time in the grand scheme of things. It’s flipping the script or finding a new perspective to return to your day-to-day life. I also use travel to practice finding qualities that don’t come easily to me all of the time, (traveling with strangers can be hard!)—patience, tolerance, acceptance, being more open-minded and accommodating.

Riding camels was one of the highlights of a yoga retreat in Essaouira, Morocco!

In 2020 What Are Your Personal Goals? How Do Your Personal Goals Support Your Professional Goals?

  • To continue trying things that scare me, or that I initially judged—so now I have to try them! I am an overly cautious risk-taker and don’t want to miss out on life and professional opportunities by overthinking.
  • To take better personal care of myself, (that is always a goal haha). I now know that the better care I take of myself, the better everything else in my life goes, so it’s always a priority! Especially when life gets demanding, as it often does these days, am I taking time to enjoy and step into my own life? It’s a relatively short ride! ☺
  • From my background in academia and research, I used to come from the angle that I have a personal life and a business life, and they are very separate from each other. As I began teaching yoga, I have learned that it is not possible to compartmentalize my life if I want to show up as my most true, honest, and authentic self, so for 2020, I will continue to embrace ALL parts of me.
Another Sacred Mural at the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh, India by Miles Toland.

What Else Is Going on At Clarksburg Yoga and Wellness?

We have our studio’s first yoga retreat planned for Sep 26-Oct 3 in Costa Rica with Vista Celestial!! The boutique hotel is one of Trip Advisor’s 2019 Travellers’ Choice award winners. We are limited to ten participants so that we can do what we do best—give selective and personalized attention!

We also have our first Clarksburg Yoga 200-hr Teacher Training planned for 2021! ☺ We are so excited to be able to show others just how transformative of a path yoga can be. For anyone who would like to journey down the rabbit hole with us, please feel free to reach out and we will keep you updated! Namaste.

P.S. – I hope you enjoyed the wall paintings from the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh, India. 😉 This place, and song Across the Universe, held a deep significance for me on my journey!

Thank You!

Thanks to Maureen McAllister, Owner of Clarksburg Yoga & Wellness for participating in sharing your yoga and wellness journey. If you want to read more posts like this about yoga you can also check out Wellness Grind’s yoga lifestyle and workouts page. Follow Clarksburg Yoga & Wellness on Instagram for all the latest yoga events and classes!

Maureen smiling

Maureen Mcallister

Owner & Director | Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP) | Thai Massage & Reiki Practitioner

Maureen (E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP; Thai Yoga Massage, Reiki I & II, Aerial Yoga certified) loves to use her science and psychology background to enhance the more esoteric components of yogic practice. She likes to teach to sensation with a focus on pranayama (breath work) and meditation. Everyone is given the freedom to explore their individual inner and outer worlds on the mat while enjoying a peaceful community atmosphere. Classes feature unique and creative sequences with a focus upon the breath and meditation to promote stress relief, balance, and tranquility in mind, body, and spirit.

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