An hour of quiet amidst the rush of the smart phone, iPad, texting, twitter, and e-mail. An opportunity to stretch and exercise in a non-competitive environment. A chance to learn techniques of physical, mental, and spiritual mindfulness that can be incorporated into your daily life.
All of these are possibilities and options at Romy Yoga, located in Lawrenceville. Opened in 2007 by certified yoga instructor Romy Toussaint, it offers instruction for all ages, both men and women, and for people of all levels of yoga experience.
“My style is vinyasa yoga, focusing on flow, and I also incorporate different styles into a session,” explains Ms. Toussaint. “My teaching and practice are different. I incorporate yoga teaching and yoga philosophy into the session as well as the physical poses and exercise.
“There is an 8-fold path to yoga awareness,” she continues. “The yoga principles are actually like spokes on a wheel, and include Yamas (moral principles), Niyamas (personal discipline), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (mindful breathing), Dharana (turning inward), Pratyahara (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (enlightenment).”
Yoga can be exceptionally helpful for one’s well-being, adds Ms. Toussaint, who came to the U.S. from Haiti, and discovered yoga in 1992. She points out the various beneficial components. “For example, what is your mental state when you come to the yoga class? What is it when you leave? Are you practicing gratitude? Are you being helpful and loving to others? And it is so important to be in the moment, which yoga helps you to do. It is an awareness of one’s breathing and concentration.
“Then there is the strength, flexibility, and balance component. All are significant in the yoga session.”
Ms. Toussaint had been working with other yoga studios in the area since 1998 before opening Romy Yoga. She is also a certified personal trainer, a specialty she continues to practice. “I had always been involved in physical fitness,” she explains. “I had been a soccer coach and swimming instructor in high school and college. Being physically active was very important.”
Her yoga students are all ages — from children to retirees — and she points out that it is never too late to begin. “One woman who was 65 came for the first time, and continues to come. She said ‘it has changed my life!’”
Many of Ms. Toussaint’s students emphasize the unique aspects of her classes. Lawrenceville resident David Morhaim has practiced yoga for 15 years, five with Ms. Toussaint. As he points out, “Several things set Romy apart, including her variety. She has never duplicated a class; she teaches all eight segments of yoga, and challenges us to incorporate them into our lives, on and off the mat!
“She’s also got a great sense of humor, and doesn’t hesitate to make us laugh in class. She is a true student of yoga and leads by example, and she creates a safe, spiritual space in which to practice. In short, she’s the best I’ve found!”
Sense of Clarity
Another student points out the completeness of Ms. Toussaint’s classes. “Romy is the complete yoga experience. She provides an amazing physical challenge, but even better is the mental clarity that is gained from every practice. I have gone to classes with other instructors, but she is definitely the most complete for both mind and body. I most enjoy how I feel when the class is over: relaxed, calm, with a sense of clarity. I can’t imagine my life either without yoga or without Romy!”
Ms. Toussaint also emphasizes that one’s state of fitness or health condition are taken into consideration. “If people have special physical constraints, such as injuries, arthritis, etc., they can still participate in yoga. I make it my priority to help everyone find what they need in the class. We can make modifications for individuals, and people can come in and do whatever they are able. I cater the practice to everyone in the room to their individual situations — and challenge them to be the best they can be, or to be as challenged as they want to be.
“One of my favorite times with a student was truly memorable. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she came to yoga classes right after surgery and during all of the chemotherapy treatment. No matter how bad she was feeling, she came, and she always felt better when she left.”
Classes range from one-on-one to groups of four to 15, says Ms. Toussaint, and most students attend twice a week, although some come once a week.
Classes are held in a spacious studio in Ms. Toussaint’s home, and it is very conducive to a fulfilling yoga session. In addition to the yoga classes, she has special workshops. Most recently, there has been been a five-week “Yamas Immersion” in which students focus on the guiding principles of yoga.
“Studying these principles allows for the insight and wisdom to remain focused on truth so that the principles can grow and become manifest in all areas of our lives,” notes Ms. Toussaint. “Each week begins with an extended group practice focusing on each Yama through assana, meditation, reflection, and discussion.”
Ms. Toussaint’s interest in yoga extends beyond her own classes. She attends yoga retreats and other yoga classes. As she points out, “I am a student of yoga as well as a teacher.”
She also teaches at Bristol Myers-Squibb and the Pennington Ewing Athletic Club, as well as giving presentations on yoga to various groups and organizations, including care-givers, corporations, and schools.
“In addition, I teach yoga to girls who are pregnant or who have had a baby, and have returned to school. This is in West Trenton, and is an opportunity for them to see how yoga can relate to their life. I have taught the history and philosophy of yoga, and little snippets that people can take back to their environment, whether it is a corporate environment, caregivers helping patients, or a teenaged girl struggling to continue her education, while she is pregnant or caring for a baby.”
Ms. Toussaint is elated to be able to do work she loves. “I enjoy this so much. I am always happy! I come out happier at the end of a class, and I enjoy how much I learn being with others and hearing their stories and seeing them all so pleased at the end of a class.
“I look forward to educating people about yoga and all its benefits. I am doing what I love!”
For more information and about class hours, call (732) 991-6607. Website: www.romyoga.com.