NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Yoga studio in downtown Haverhill to host class with live music

One amazing spot located in Downtown on Washington Street, is The Yoga Tree. This beautiful yoga studio offers various yoga classes every day throughout the week, as well as lots of yoga-related special events. Tomorrow night, Yoga Tree owner Ally Vallieres will teach a yoga class as local singer-songwriter Liz Bills performs live in the studio. Liz Bills is a full-time musical performer, and recently released an album, Liz Bills & the Change, which can be streamed wherever you listen to music. The yoga class that Ally is teaching during Liz’s performance is happening Friday night , Sept. 24, at 6:00, more details can be found at www.yogatreestudio.com. The NECC Observer recently had the chance to chat with both Ally and Liz discussing their upcoming collaboration as well as The Yoga Tree in general and Liz’s music. Check out the interview below!

Ally Vallieres

Shaun Hood: I know that The Yoga Tree has been holding lots of special events recently, and I can see that there are many more to come. What is it specifically that you cherish about these classes with live music that makes this coming Friday night so special?

AV: Special events are an opportunity to have fun, unwind, and gather together with community in a different way from what we’re accustomed to. It’s different from meeting friends out at a restaurant or bar; in the studio, you feel seen, supported and loved. You feel like you’re part of something greater.

SH: Is there anything in particular that you like about Liz’s talent that you think makes her such a great fit for this event?

AV: First of all, she’s an incredible vocal talent. More importantly, Liz has this sort of magical presence both on stage and on her yoga mat. She’s a dedicated yogi and can really read the energy of a room, which is such an asset to a live music yoga class. We’re able to combine our talents to guide students through a beautiful physical and spiritual adventure.

SH: How is The Yoga Tree doing in terms of class attendance and/or the business aspect of things right now considering the current state of the pandemic?

AV: Our community is incredible. We’ve been really lucky in that our studio is spacious so even though we’re still spacing and limiting the amount of people we register for each class, we’re still able to provide a consistent yoga practice for so many Merrimack Valley yogis. The pandemic is nowhere near over and we’re still navigating the challenges that come with that but I’m excited for what the future holds for The Yoga Tree.

SH: Is there anything else happening or coming up at The Yoga Tree that you’d like our readers to know about?

AV: We’ve got a lot going on! Aside from our weekly class schedule, we host a variety of special events each month. We’re hosting a Reiki Level I training in October and a 200 hour teacher training that will begin in the Winter of 2022. Additionally, you’ll see a few retreat opportunities for 2022. Visit us at www.theyogatreestudio.com to check out all of our offerings!

Liz Bills

SH: Tell us about the ideas behind, and the process of creating, your song, “Wi-Hi.” Also, what do you have to say about the cultural relevance of that song, especially times like today when so much of our day-to-day lives involve screens?

LB: So I wrote the song actually before the pandemic, which is funny, but I wrote it to express my own issues with social media and cell phone addiction, which I think we all struggle with – whether we’re aware of it or not – at some level. For me, the more that I’m on my cell phone – which can be a problem for me – the less present I am with myself and my wants and my needs and my body. So I become more anxious, maybe more depressed, more overly stimulated.

It’s also this idea that, as human beings, we weren’t designed to take in so much information. So for me, it’s that my nervous system is often in a state of fight or flight because of just too much information. So that’s why I wrote the song. I would say right now, it’s a great time in our culture, in 2021, to be talking about this. I’m not anti social media or anti cell phone or anything like that. I just really believe that it’s a great conversation to have about having boundaries around social media and cell phone. Perhaps, in the morning when you wake up, you don’t have to go on your cell phone right away and check all your emails. Or at night, you can decide, “Oh, I’m going to put the cell phone away at 9:00 PM and read.” So it’s just little things like that, that we can talk about as a culture and a community to make sure that we feel present and happy.

SH: Is there anything that you like in particular about singing at The Yoga Tree? Does it feel different when your audience is moving through a yoga practice throughout your performance?

LB: Yeah, it is different. I’m known for being a very high energy performer and we play a lot of festivals where I’m jumping and screaming and dancing. So when I’m playing at a yoga class, it just gives me the space to really relax and to sing softer, which is nice. I would say it’s just slower, more relaxing, softer, a vulnerable side of myself that I can share in the yoga studio.

SH: Is there anything that you’re currently working on or that you have coming up that you’d like our readers to know about?

LB: Well, I just released a new record in August. So right now, we’re playing all those songs and it’s available on all major streaming platforms, and the band right now is just working on a theatrical set that we will be able to show everyone this coming festival season. So in the spring and summer, we’ll have a full theatrical experience that you can, not just enjoy the music, but really enjoy a lot of visuals and theatrics. So we’re excited to share that next year.

Liz Bills can be found on Instagram @lizbills, and The Yoga Tree can be found on Instagram @yogatreehaverhill.