Tricia McAvoy founded the New London-based yoga studio Blissworks Yoga & Healing Arts in 2004. She began her yoga practice in 1996 to help support a friend who was recovering from a back injury.
“I always hated exercise, but yoga changed that for me,” she says.
McAvoy is a certified yoga instructor and a Registered Yoga Teacher through the National Yoga Alliance. She is also a member of the Kripalu Yoga Teacher’s Association and a Karuna/Usui Reiki Master Teacher. She has focused much of her study to Anusara-Inspired ™ yoga, a school of hatha yoga.
McAvoy is a native of Uncasville, although she currently lives in downtown New London. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains, snowshoeing, rollerblading, and crafting pottery.
Q: How did you first become interested in yoga?
A: In 1996, a friend of mine had a back injury so I started practicing yoga to help support her. She stopped coming to classes, but I decided to continue. I always hated exercise, but yoga changed that for me.
What would you recommend to someone who is on the fence about trying yoga?
I’d say just try it out. It’s more fun than you think, and with yoga you really can’t mess up. It’s different for each individual, but I think one of the best things yoga offers is a community that is very supportive.
What are the health benefits of yoga?
It increases circulation, helps joints and back problems. It creates more space in the body to open up. It also provides a sense of peace and wellbeing that is created through the practice. You feel more connected to yourself, and less agitated in daily life. Yoga can take you wherever you want to go. Once you start, the possibilities just open up.
What has the regular practice of yoga brought to your own life?
I was a lot heavier before I started practicing yoga. I think it has brought fitness to my life, and it changed my diet. Now I’m much more sensitive to how I feel at any given moment. I’m also definitely much more calm than I was before I started practicing yoga.
Yoga is more than just doing postures, it has helped me with how I conduct myself in life. I have a much stronger sense of self, and I’m much more confident than I used to be. What I remember about my previous life (before yoga) is fear. Yoga has made it possible for me to see the bigger picture now.
What is your favorite yoga pose and why?
Poses that incorporate handstands are really fun for me. My favorite right now is a hand balance pose where my legs are out to the side. I like poses that are really hard and take a lot of concentration.
My next level of development in yoga is to become more precise in my movements. I want to continue to build strength and stability, and handstands can help me reach that next level.