Taylor Wells grew up in the Midwest and California but after attending college at Brown, she moved to Massachusetts and has lived here ever since. Residing in Newton with her husband, Philippe, and their five children, Wells is founder and co-owner of Prana Power Yoga (locations in Cambridge, Newton, Winchester, as well as two locations in NYC). Her new book, Create Your Best Life Ever, focuses on how positive intentions have transformed her life, and now she aims to help others do the same. While the New York studios are popular, and Wells travels there every month to check-in and do teacher trainings, Boston is definitely home base. We caught up with Wells to hear about how it all started (Madonna!), and what it’s like being a mother to five children and five yoga studios.
How did you first get into yoga?
I was divinely inspired. I have always listened to my spirit and this was no different. I had read that Madonna practiced yoga and it made her pregnancy easy, and that inspired me to try it. One practice was all it took. I knew it was my Dharma.
When did you open your first studio and what led to that decision?
Yoga transformed me and continues to transform me daily on so many levels. I wanted to share this joy and transformation with others. If you knew me, you’d know that when I find something I love I tell everyone about it. Yoga was no different. [That led to] opening my first Prana Power Yoga in June 2002.
How has yoga in Boston changed since you first opened your studio 12 years ago?
When we opened, I would not even consider teaching anything but a 90-minute class without music. But now, we offer mostly 60-minute classes and many of them are to music. I want to meet people where they are, and this is what people want. [Back when we opened] it was pretty much us and one other studio in Boston, and now there’s a studio on every block. The more people practicing, the better. I don’t believe in competition. I believe in abundance.
What’s your favorite part about teaching?
Aside from being with my five children and writing, teaching is my favorite thing to do on earth. It’s challenging to put into words, but when I step into the room, the whole world disappears. I’m 100 percent present and enveloped with joy and inspiration. I disseminate this to my students, and they feel it. It’s effortless and energizing.
What’s different about Prana Power Yoga?
[It’s] accessible. You feel welcome from the minute you walk in the door. Whether you’ve practiced your whole life or never stepped on a yoga mat, you feel welcome. I am all about doing your best with breath. Anyone can do this and every single person who practices feels better after they do. No exceptions.
How do you keep up with the demands of your family and running five yoga studios?
I have five children [ages 3, 3, 7, 10 and 16]. They are my biggest teachers on a daily basis, and there is no one with whom I would rather spend time. I don’t think of it as the demands of having five children and five yoga studios, and I would never use the words ‘keep up’ because I believe and teach about the power of our words and thoughts. I utilize the law of attraction every moment to leverage my time with ease and create anything that I want with joy. This is called deliberate creation, and I wrote a book and an inspiration card deck about it. It works!
What made you decide to expand to NYC?
It sounded fun and I had a bunch of Prana students who had moved to New York from Boston begging me to open in the city because they said there was nothing like [it there]. Philippe and I took a road trip to New York and practiced all over Manhattan, and you know what? They were right. So I said, ‘Let’s do it!’
How is yoga different in the two cities?
New Yorkers love their abs and really love you to kick their ass.
Yoga is pricey. Is there a way to make it less expensive?
I have never once turned any student away because they could not afford it. We have an extensive and amazing volunteer community that I am super proud of. On a budget? No problem! Help us to do marketing, filing, computer work, cleaning, sign people in, you name it. And presto! Free yoga.
What’s your favorite place (besides your studio) to work out at in Boston?
My gym in my basement. I have twinkle lights and candles lit [when working out there].