Tapping in, finding a center

Posted: Sunday, February 07, 2010

After falling in love with Southeast Alaska in 2005, east coast girl Malia McInerney returned three years later to fuse her love of the outdoors with her love of yoga — in Juneau.

Klas Stolpe
Klas Stolpe

McInerney opened Taproot Yoga Center, located in the  Diamond Center, 2211 Dunn St., in the Mendenhall Valley, in September 2008. She has since hosted an assortment of events, including meditation and yoga teachers from around the world as well as ongoing classes and occasional workshops hosted by local community members, she said.

“I’m so grateful for the teachers and students in the community who have come forth to support this endeavor,” McInerney added. “It’s much bigger than any one person, and while I do my best to foster its growth, I can only do a little part.”

McInerney has spent much of the last decade traveling and studying with yoga and meditation teachers from across the world. She says simple awareness is the foundation of her personal practice and teaching.

“It’s a lifelong practice, because it is our life that we are coming back to, not escaping from,” McInerney said of daily meditation. “In our fast-paced culture, I believe the most powerful tool we can utilize to make change in ourselves and in the world is to slow down and relate to our experience as it is.”

For McInerney, opening a yoga center in Juneau was risky.

“However after living in a lot of places, I knew that Juneau was unique,” McInerney said. “My intuition served me well, because Taproot has been embraced by the folks who have been a part of fostering yoga in the community for a long time, particularly the board of Rainforest Yoga, as well as newcomers that have found themselves at home here.”

Q: What sort of growth or positive changes have you seen?

A: It’s been neat to see community form within and around Taproot as well ... classes bring people together under circumstances that might not otherwise exist, so I often find that while people primarily connect within during class there is also a sense of communal support.

Q: Have you done anything like this before? What did you expect? How was that different than what transpired?

A: I used to run a music studio where I’d teach groups of kids, which was great; I spent my days teaching and playing music. It required very little administrative duties and no marketing.

Taproot requires a lot more work. I’m a uni-tasker and a kinesthetic, creative type, so the administrative tasks push me beyond my comfort zone. But I’ve learned some new things about myself in the process, and it gets easier all the time. I trust that as my enthusiasm grows and my own path deepens, things will continue to evolve.

Q: What sort of new classes or programs is Taproot offering?

A: We have a lot of exciting happenings this month and beyond. One thing I’ve been wanting to do is get more music going in the space. The acoustics are great, and I already have a piano, drums, and several string instruments on hand. We now have African and Middle Eastern Drumming class on Friday nights, and a Nia Dance class which will soon be accompanied by the local drumming group Noodle of Doum. We hold classes like Kundalini Yoga and Vedic Chanting which inspire pure sound vibration from the heart.

Then there are the ongoing classes for kids and adults, from flowing vinyasa styles of movement to slower, alignment-based approaches and everything in between.

In March we’re adding Trance Dance, Bellyfit and Prenatal Yoga classes. A Tibetan yoga teacher is coming up to host a workshop March 13, and I will be offering a special class on March 6th for those interested in finding connection and clear pathways through our feet, the foundation of all movement. No yoga experience is required for either event.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: Although the intention behind Taproot is primarily to foster yoga classes, its size and ambiance lends itself as a multi-purpose space. My hope is that it will continue to be used as often and by as many people as possible in ways that inspire creativity and well-being.

• Contact Neighbors editor Kim Andree at 523-2272 or kim.andree@juneauempire.com.

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