From Thailand to Australia to New York, Daniel Max has traveled the world to study yoga and nutrition. Now he's bringing the world's knowledge to Boston, as co-founder and director of the newly opened JP Centre Yoga in Jamaica Plain. I chatted with the young yogi about his new venture, his travels, and tips for being a little healthier every day.
Tell me about the new shop in Jamaica Plain.
JP Centre Yoga is a product of a combined passion for the practice of yoga and our local community. We have two large-scale rooms, in which we offer both hot and unheated yoga as well as meditation. We also have rooms that are used for massage and nutritional consultations. When not used for yoga, we host community events such as movie nights and dance parties with local DJs. Our last event was on election night: we projected the coverage on a 14-foot wall and gathered as a community to watch the results.
How did you get from Israel to Boston? It sounds like you have quite a story.
I grew up in Israel and was there until I finished my three years of military service. I did what many other young Israelis do: I saved up some money and backpacked. I spent two years overall in India and Australia. During my travels I discovered meditation and yoga. I left Australia and came to the States to visit my two siblings who were living in the U.S. at the time (my brother has since returned to Israel). Once in Boston, I settled and immersed myself in the studies of nutrition and the healing arts.
I have a bad back and am a little worried about yoga. Are all movements off limits for people like me, or are there some things we can still do?
When I started yoga I had a rounded spine, a painful back and injured knees. Our pains are not our limitation but a calling from the body to do something differently. Yoga helps both stretch and strengthen the body, bringing it back into alignment. I’d recommend having a proper consultation with an instructor who can help you identify the best-suited practice for you. With so many styles ranging from the most restorative to the most vigorous, anyone can do yoga.
For me yoga is more than a physical practice. It’s a way of life. Nothing surprises me anymore. I’ve seen people recover from physical injuries, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression -- you name it. It’s a healing practice.
What's the number one thing folks reading this can do to be a little more healthful in their daily lives?
Find a daily practice that challenges you to deepen your breathing patterns. Most of us have an erratic pace and shallow breath, which keeps the nervous system in a constant state of low-level stress.
When it comes to diet, the quality of our food defines the quality of our life. Our body uses the energy sourced from our food to regenerate and heal. If we want to feel energized and alive, we must build our body from foods that contain energy and life. Foods that are alive have life force. They are often raw and will spoil if left out. Foods that don’t go bad are usually already dead. They have had all life processed out of them and are packed with preservatives to keep them from decaying. What we consume feeds our brain cells, our nervous system and hormonal system. If our cells are regenerating from processed foods alone, we start to fall apart both physically and emotionally. Generally speaking, the more naturally the food was raised or grown and the less commercial processes it has gone through before we eat it, the more life force it contains.
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Four Questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!