What is yoga to you? Something to squeeze in or a calmer alternative to spin class? If so, maybe you’re approaching the centuries old practice wrong. “It’s living in the present moment,” explains Phoebe Miller, the Founder of nOMad, a yoga studio centered around travel and community. “It’s getting on your yoga mat, being mindful and making good choices…It’s not getting lost in the day to day routine.”
Phoebe, who has been teaching yoga for ten years and resides in Beacon, knows something about feeling lost. In 2013, it was a reoccurring theme for her. She kept being hit by a series of disappointments and heartbreaks. Her dad died early in the year. Her marriage ended. Soon she found herself uprooted, none of her plans were panning out. By fall, her health began deteriorating. She wasn’t sure what to do. Traveling had always been a passion of hers and if there was a time to get out of dodge it was then, so she headed to Florida to visit her best friend. It was the first time she was able to process things and on the plane she had an epiphany of sorts. She began envisioning a place where the lessons given through yoga could be learned in and out of a studio setting; a studio that could awaken and reach students in a way a traditional practice couldn’t. What if she could take yoga from an ordinary fitness experience to something that could transform the spirit, as well as the body? She calls this moment her “waking dream.”
“All of a sudden I just saw it completely unfold, this whole idea of nOMad,” she remembers. “I got off the plane and went to [my best friend’s] apartment and said, ‘I’m buying a domain called, nOMad Always at Om.” She began to lay her vision out, creating a business plan and asking for feedback from family. Things began to take form and by 2014, nOMad was no longer a dream but a reality.
nOMad is different from other yoga studios in that it approaches the discipline in a very modern way. It offers experiences on and off the mat, providing an online studio where students can take classes and watch tutorials as their schedule allows. They also have access to a private Facebook page and are included in nOMad’s network, complete with profile page and bio. It’s a setup that takes you from being a nameless face in class to part of a thriving community.
Community, whether you are a student or instructor, is a big part of Phoebe’s mission. From June to September nOMad hosted the Summer Series at the Long Dock Park in Beacon, a weekly event where anyone could come out and be led through a series of poses by an instructor from a different local studio. “I kept on hearing you need to link our communities,” Phoebe recalls of how it began. “I emailed all the studio owners I knew and they were all really excited about it.” In September the Peace & Quiet, a meditation event took place to close the summer season. Most recently they held a hike and class at the top of Mount Beacon.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of nOMad is the global yoga retreats which not only provide students with a vacation but the opportunity to foster a deeper connection with their practice by taking them into a new environment. Phoebe and her team plan everything, from the exotic venue and food, to classes and meditation time. Instructors from a variety of studios participate and students are given ample time to explore or just relax. Excursions to Bali, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are already in the works. “I would love to have a retreat each month, in a different location with a different teacher,” says Phoebe. “[Traveling] is part of my yoga practice. It’s really living and being present… When you’re in a new place and you don’t know the language, you don’t know the food, you don’t know what’s at the end of that block or what’s beyond that tree, you have to live in the present moment. You have to trust yourself, your instincts.”
nOMad students and teachers are filled with praise for the tribe that Phoebe has built. They use words like grateful, invaluable, and family. “I want to make yoga accessible to everybody,” Phoebe says. “There isn’t a perfect way of doing yoga or having a yoga community…I think people have this perception that [yoga] is like down dog or warrior pose. No! It’s the study of yourself. It’s about having a conversation.”
On October 23rd, nOMad will be celebrating its second anniversary at Benmarl Winery in Marlboro. Classes will be held from 10:45 to noon and will be followed up by brick oven pizza, a wine tasting and a tour of the scenic vineyard. The anniversary also coincides with the birthday of Phoebe’s dad. The event is open to all. You can RSVP at Eventbrite. To learn more about nOMad or to become a member, please visit their official website.
This story originally appeared on The Mighty Mite.