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 Crossfit Level 1 trainer, certified Level 1 ParaYoga teacher, registered with the Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 200, RYT 500, and also has a 500 hour certification as a Medical Qi Gong Director through Zen Wellness. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 experiences 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 wasn’t magical or enlightening or even enjoyable. After an arduously heated 90 minute session, she recalls melting into Savasana, hoping the deluge of sweat from the neighboring yogi would not desecrate her new yoga mat. There have been many classes, teachers, and 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 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 Chi Gong discipline has been an invaluable component to her practice and teaching. She earned at 200hr certification in February 2014 and is currently working toward a 500hr certification with Zen Wellness, under the guidance of Master teachers Michael Leone and Jason Campbell.
Since Jules was big enough to push a lawnmower across the back yard, she has 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 daily. Jules grew up in northwest Indiana which was a significant cultivating factor of her comedic irreverence and love of pierogies. This leads to another prevailing theme in her 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.
Ashley Villandry is passionate about helping others create a healthy lifestyle that is unique and tailored to them. As both a Personal Trainer and Health Coach, she focuses on modifying all aspects of one’s lifestyle to help clients reach their goals and experience the benefits of improved health. In 2012, after spending three years running successful weigh-loss programs, Ashley decided to pursue a certification in Personal Training from the American Council on Exercise to broaden the amount of people she could reach and enhance the ways she could help them. Knowing that the key to successful long-term weight loss and improved overall health extends far beyond exercise alone, immediately after becoming a certified Personal Trainer she began pursuing the American Council on Exercise’s advanced certification of Health Coach and became certified in 2013. Ashley believes that it is possible for everyone to achieve optimal health through lifestyle modification, knows that everyone’s goals and needs are different, and strives to help clients discover and take control of their own health.
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.
Nicole Chow began practicing yoga many years ago when she was in search of something that would better her physical body. And after many years of accomplishing just that, she realized it was her mental and spiritual body that were getting much of the attention through her yoga practice. Nicole began to finally understand that working from the inside out is far more powerful and everlasting than working from the outside in. And with that realization, she decided to make yoga not just a small part of her day, but a big part of her life. As studio manager, she hopes to help others realize that yoga can and should be a part of everyone’s life – big or small – and that when we commit to our practice, the power from within is limitless.
As a graduate of Northeastern University’s business program, Nicole embraces the entrepreneurial spirit that resides in her. She spent many of her early professional years looking for that ‘some thing’ that she was passionate about, and she eventually discovered that what she loved was helping others, and more specifically, helping small businesses grow and flourish. Being a firm believer in ‘living purposefully to find your purpose’, Nicole feels people and businesses thrive when they are doing what they love and are passion about, while being able to provide a greater good to all who can benefit.
When Nicole is not on her mat (or behind the studio’s front desk), you can find her laughing (or making people laugh). She loves learning new things about herself, discovering the latest kitchen gadget, and finding a creative way to cook quinoa (if you have one, please share!). Nicole normally has a smile on her face, and it’s what usually greets you when you first walk into the studio, giving you the impression that Underground Studios warmly welcomes you, just as how you should warmly welcome your practice.
Tracy Fowkes began practicing yoga when she was in college because she needed an extra credit for the semester (maybe not the best intention to start). A self-described “human doing”– Tracy spent the next 15 years in “go-go-go” mode: grad school (joint degree program – why stop at one?), attorney (two states – seeing a theme?), consulting (crazy working hours and traveling 4 days a week 50 weeks of the year) – and still yoga, in various forms and styles but always there. However, at this point her yoga practice reflected her life: go-go-go with an emphasis on physical practice. And then a Groupon led Tracy to Underground, where she found something a little bit different and EXACTLY what she needed: space, time to reflect, meditation. She is slowly but surely letting go of her “human doing” and moving into “human being” – a space where existing is enough. Instead of aiming for perfection and setting herself up for inadequacy and failure, she strives for excellence. Setting a high standard and looking at each moment as an opportunity to be her best self – not a “perfect” self – has given Tracy space to try new things, learn and grow in a light, happy, healthy way.
In 2013, Tracy completed her 200 hour yoga training with Prana Power Yoga learning about the alignment, modifications and adjustments for flow yoga. Tracy recently completed a second 200 hour training with Zen Wellness (old habits die hard), combining chi gong and a deeper study of the practice of yoga. She has decided to further her studies by moving on to the 500 hour Zen Wellness Certification (so maybe old habits die really hard). Bringing a sense of lightness and joy, Tracy offers classes that are challenging, energizing, supportive, and fun.