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Ben McLellan opened Underground Studios in 2009 to provide yoga and personal training in a welcoming and professional environment for students and clients of all levels.

Ben found yoga while in college studying classical percussion. Due to the rigors of practicing and playing for many hours he developed tendonitis. “This was a very challenging time for me as I saw my music career being challenged by a physical issue.” After exploring several methods Ben was introduced to yoga by his sister. “I began practicing power yoga and felt immediate relief from my tendonitis.” He continued to practice for a couple of years and then slipped away from practice for a few years.

Upon moving to Massachusetts to pursue a master’s degree in music, Ben’s life took a major turn towards living his Dharma (purpose). He decided to forego another music degree and instead stepped into the wellness realm. “My mom had always been an inspiration for me to touch people’s lives in a positive way.” Ben found his way to personal training and also began practicing yoga again. He was fortunate enough to apprentice with a seasoned teacher and soon began teaching yoga.

“Since coming back to my yoga practice there has been a profound shift in my life. In fact, yoga has touched all areas of my life. This is why I do the work I do so that I can share this with clients and students and help them see that transformation and living a more auspicious life is possible.”

Ben received his personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and is additionally certified by the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), which has advanced his understanding of human movement patterns and how they relate to functional performance and injury prevention. His current and past clientele range from those interested in weight loss, post rehab clients, college and semi-pro athletes and beginner to advanced yogis. Incorporating aspects of both yoga and resistance training, Ben provides a balance between the individual desires of his clients regarding their physical body and promoting and emphasizing a mind-body connection.

Ben prides himself on his commitment and enthusiasm towards his work and is continually working to grow his personal yoga practice.  Ben is a certified Level 1 ParaYoga teacher, registered with the Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 200, RYT 500, and also has a 200 hour certification in Qi Gong. Through continued education, yoga trainings, and Qi Gong trainings, Ben is able to practice what he preaches and offer his students a thorough understanding of the ever-growing practice of yoga. Ben currently studies with Yogarupa Rod Stryker of ParaYoga (www.parayoga.com), Level 2 certified ParaYoga teacher Lauren Toolin (www.laurenjaytoolin.com), and Master teachers Jason Campbell and Michael Leone (www.zenwellness.com). He supplements his yoga training with continuing education seminars on meditation and breathing, structural alignment, and Qi Gong.

Using the technique of “wise progression”, Ben teaches yoga from a place of compassion and leadership, often using humor to connect with students. Ben expresses his knowledge of the body by incorporating alignment principles throughout his classes. He is able to safely bring students to their edge by encouraging them to rest when they need to, take it to the edge when possible and ultimately enjoy the process of breathing through it. His classes provide a challenge to students while remaining accessible and open to all those interested in the practice of yoga.

If you’re interested in meeting with Ben to discuss personal training options, developing or advancing your personal yoga practice or with any questions about Underground Studios, contact him at info@bostonundergroundstudios.com


Jules Engler has been teaching Yoga and Qi Gong at Underground Studios since 2010.

While serving in the military, it was her role as an Army Drill Sergeant that first sparked Jules’ interest for physical training and teaching. Her history as a Yoga Teacher and Drill Sergeant are not as divergent as one might think. In these roles, her goal was and is to guide people towards revealing their most dynamic and fulfilled selves. There just happens to be a lot less yelling in yoga.

 Jules’ first experience with yoga, in 2003, wasn’t magical or enlightening or even enjoyable. She recalls lying in Savasana, hoping the deluge of sweat from the neighboring yogi would not befoul her new yoga mat on its maiden voyage. There have been many classes, many teachers, and many trainings since that day and they have all shaped her practice in some distinct way.

 In 2007 Jules completed her first 200hr teacher training with Mary Bruce in Tempe, AZ. Mary’s direction and encouragement was the gateway to her path as a yoga teacher. That initial training changed the trajectory of her life for the better and she is forever grateful.

In 2013 she completed a 500hr teacher training with Barbara Benagh in Brookline, MA. At a time when Jules felt her practice and teaching was lacking “something”, Barbara was a beacon. Her guidance helped Jules rediscover the confidence she felt had progressively diminished since her departure from the military. She is aware of Barbara’s influence every time she steps in front of a class and feels incredibly blessed to have a mentor so close to home.

In addition to formal yoga trainings, the Qi Gong discipline has been an invaluable component to her practice and teaching. Currently she is working toward a 200hr certification with Zen Wellness, which includes training in Arizona with Master teachers Michael Leone and Jason Campbell.

 Since Jules was big enough to push a lawnmower across the yard, she always found satisfaction in a job well done. The desire to serve has been a constant in her life and that pursuit has taken her all over the world, affording opportunities which continue to enrich her spirit day after day. She grew up in northwest Indiana which is important to mention because people often wonder how she became so charming; the rest is genetics. This leads to the other prevailing theme in Jules’ life:  to never take herself too seriously. Laughing with others is her favorite thing in the world. Except for chocolate. And sleeping. And New England in autumn. And dancing.


Julie Theron began practicing yoga over ten years ago as a way to cope with the physical and emotional demands of being a nurse.

Because her professional life meant being up all day, up all night, or somewhere in-between, Julie was first drawn to the pure relaxation she found on the mat. Over time, Julie also came to appreciate the physical challenges of yoga and to realize how her practice could create a steadiness in the present moment that could be applied to all of life, both on and off the mat.

In 2011, Julie completed her 200 hour teacher training with Natasha Rizopoulos through YogaWorks, which blends precise alignment with elements of flow. Julie is also a certified Yoga Warriors Instructor, which is an evidence-based yoga program designed specifically for military personnel to help prevent or alleviate symptoms of combat stress (COSR) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Julie continues to deepen her personal practice, and is currently studying with Ben McLellan of Underground Studios. Julie views yoga as a life-long practice that encourages self-exploration and offers concrete tools with which to face life’s challenges. As a teacher, Julie strives to help others see the subtle changes that are possible at any time and to discover the place of stillness that lies within.


 Niav Connor 

Power. Beauty. Grace.  These are the guiding principles of Niav’s teaching. Power comes from building core strength, aligning bones, and stabilizing joints. Beauty arises in the exquisiteness of each pose and the joy that naturally occurs in the practice. Grace happens in the dance of breath and movement and the seamless flow of one posture into the next.

The yogic path is one of awakening and liberation. From a place of integrity, personal experience and a deep desire to walk the yogic path, Niav supports her students in their evolution. With over 25 years of practice experience, 11 years of teaching experience, and a MA in Psychology, Niav brings a depth of understanding, wisdom and compassion to her teaching.  She encourages playful fascination and exploration of the body.  Her classes are creative and joyful focusing on development of core stabilization, mindfulness of breath, precision in postures, and the slow, steady building of strength and flexibility through intelligent, thoughtful sequencing.

Niav attended her first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in 2001 with Ana Forrest.  She began teaching in early 2002 in Santa Barbara, CA where she honed her teaching skills for nine years. She then moved to San Francisco and taught at various studios including Yoga Tree for two years. Over the last 11 years she’s been certified in Pre-Natal Yoga (2006), acquired a MA in Clinical Psychology (2007), been licensed as a Massage Therapist (2007), attended her second 200 hour YTT in Vinyasa Yoga with Vidya Jacqueline Heisel (2010).  Most recently she’s acquired a 150 Hour Certification in Yoga History and Philosophy (2011) from the California Institute of Integral Studies, 150 Hour Certificate in Kashmir Shaivism (2012) from Christopher Hareesh Wallis, PhD, and 500 YTT with Janet Stone (2012). In addition she’s studied with Baron Baptiste in Boston, Cyndi Lee of Om Yoga in NYC, and Shiva Rea in LA.  Niav has extensive experience working with a broad range of students from beginners to advanced yogis, from adults to teens, and from athletes to those with injuries and disabilities including MS, paralysis, and spinal chord debilitations.

 

 

Lakota Sandoe 

 

Yoga caught my attention while perusing books on my grandfather’s shelves as a child… i was intrigued and curious about the shapes these men were making with their bodies and the kookie abilities they claimed as a result of practicing. Circa 1993, i took my first classes and had some potent experiences pretty early on which left me curious… and so began a recurring love affair.
Desire led me to study Fine Arts, Poetry, and Dance and back to Yoga again and again. For the next ten years, the play of Yoga supplemented and soothed a busy life as a student, a single mom, an activist and an artist.  Around 2003, when my coping mechanisms failed, Yoga was were i found my support and i realized the practice gave not only the gifts of transcendence (the fireworks), but also the patient transformation of deep acceptance (the slow burn) and i began intensively training.

Yoga has been a way to drop into my senses, experience my creativity, still harmful internal dialogues, soothe my nervous system, and transform and harness energy in my life (the short list). I am awed by how much more is always there waiting for me and i am thoroughly convinced that this well is bottomless. Cultivating awareness, friendliness, and playfulness with intention are my revolutionary activities of choice these days.  I believe that the Yoga traditions are more alive in and relevant to our world than ever, that the world needs Yoga. As i like to say Yoga is real fun serious work.  I’ve learned that in its generosity Yoga gives whatever is needed in the moment: strength, stress reduction, fun, courage, healing, integration…

Whether i am teaching Vinyasa, Restorative or Prenatal it is one of my greatest joys to share what i’ve learned and watch people reconnect to their physical and mental vitality in class. My goal is to create a container for people to experience their own potency, curiosity and creativity through tried and true instruction, attention to and respect for the breath and an attitude of openness. My classes weave together a love of anatomy, yogic physiology and philosophy, humor and honesty, eclectic playlists and fluid sequencing. 500hr, yoga therapeutics for trauma, and prenatal certified, i am currently assisting both 200 and 500hr trainings, raising 2 beauties, working on 2 books, planting, cooking and eating beautiful foods, and leading workshops wherever they’ll let me. To learn more about what moves me take a peek at lilalokas.com.

I am inspired by and grateful for the gifts of the fantastic teachers i’ve had the luck to come across in all traditions, but i am continually indebted to Patty Townsend for embodying the trust and love that are the ultimate promise of yogic teachings, for the tools of exploration and attention, and for demonstrating the delicate balance of desire and discrimination.

Lauren O’Sullivan,

Lauren O’Sullivan, LMHC is a state licensed psychotherapist. She has a wide range of experience working with children, adolescents and adults. She has worked with individuals experiencing emotional difficulties as well as those particularly interested in personal growth and cultivation. Lauren began her work in the crisis centers of Boston with adults dealing with moderate to severe mental illnesses and the families that supported them.  As she continued her formal education, she also began to practice yoga regularly, which enabled her to experience first hand the important integration of emotional wellbeing with health and management of the physical body. She continued her work with adults and also started working with children in the Boston public school system. She then transitioned to working with adolescent girls and their families in a residential treatment center. In her current work with adolescents and their parents, Lauren integrates mind/body techniques and talk or play therapy to enhance a person’s ability to experience and understand their emotions, increase their ability to effectively communicate and manage distress in healthy ways.