Yoga Profiles for Natural Awakenings Westchester/ Putnam NY

Westchester and Putnam Counties abound with experienced and skilled yoga teachers and spacious, serene yoga studios. Natural Awakenings presents the following profiles to help yoga students of all ages and ability levels find the right place to practice and the right teachers to guide them on the mat.

Basil Yoga     

This yoga and ballet studio in the North Salem countryside overlooks treetops and horse farms from atop a building constructed in the mid-1800’s. The bright and spacious Basil Yoga studio features a professional quality sprung dance floor with radiant heat, state of the art sound, and shower facilities.

Basil Jones

Basil Yoga is aligned with the Vinyasa tradition, emphasizing breath and movement along with self-study and mindfulness as the cornerstones a strong yoga practice. Classes, workshops, and private sessions are offered for practitioners of all ability levels, with an emphasis on hands-on adjustments, customized support, and the incorporation of higher yogic philosophies to maximize one’s potential.

Founder Basil Jones has more than 10 years of experience as a professional yoga teacher. He holds a certification from Integral Yoga, completed Ashtanga teacher training with David Swenson, and studied extensively in the Jivamukti Method. Basil currently assists Seane Corn and supports her global activism.

 Location: 2 Keeler Lane, North Salem. Info: BasilYoga.com.

Bikram Yoga Yorktown Heights

Bikram Yoga class

Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures done in a room that’s heated to 104 degrees with 40% humidity.  During each 90-minute session, practitioners work every part of the body inside and out, from bones to skin and right down to the cellular level. Instructors guide students through each posture, opening up the entire body and bringing fresh, oxygenated blood to the cells while detoxifying the body and leaving one feeling relaxed, refreshed and energized. The Bikram yoga posture series, which is repeated each session, is challenging but suitable for beginners.

Bikram Yoga Yorktown Heights is a Certified Bikram Yoga College of India studio. Bikram yoga teachers are trained and certified by Bikram Choudhury, the founder of this original hot yoga style. The Yorktown Heights studio conforms to the authentic teachings and traditions of Bikram Yoga.

 Location: 37 Triangle Center, Yorktown Heights.  Info: BikramYorktown.com; 914.245.5405.

 Come To The Well  

“Yoga came to me via a wonderful teacher who taught a basic class in my home,” says Joanne Sanchez, founder of Come to the Well yoga studio in Carmel. “What began as a stretch on the mat grew into greater mindfulness of my body and breath.” Joanne’s appreciation for yoga led her to obtain Teacher Training Certification in 1999. She began teaching in private homes, where she gained awareness of what students need during a class, and she initiated a yoga program for adults. Joanne continues to teach small, intimate classes, adding scripture that reflects various postures and meditations. “Come to the Well was developed to offer those who are seeking the spirit of God an opportunity to come together and receive the gifts of strength, spirit and serenity through yoga,” she says.

 Location: 62 Valley Road, Carmel. Info: Joanne Sanchez 914.715.6130.

Golden Temple Yoga Studio

Rai Kaur

When Rai Kaur was introduced to meditation at age 13, a journey of healing and exploration began. After studying and practicing many forms of yoga, meditation and spirituality, Rai was led to Kundalini Yoga and Meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan, where she immediately knew she was “home.”  Her calling to share this practice manifested as Golden Temple Yoga Studio in Katonah, a sacred space created to share in the “homecoming” that is possible through Kundalini Yoga and Meditation.

Golden Temple is a non-competitive environment where all levels of experience are welcome. Weekly classes, gong meditations, Teacher Trainings, and classes to support issues of mental health and addiction are offered at Golden Temple in an effort to help students live healthier, happier lives. Rai is Kundalini Research Institute Certified and a practicing Mental Health Counselor.

 Location: 223 Katonah Avenue, Katonah. Info: 914.232.3473; GoldenTempleYoga.com.

 Hudson Valley Health & Tennis Club Yoga Studio

Caryna Wong

Conveniently located near the Metro North station in Hastings-on-Hudson, the studio offers inspirational views of the Hudson River with heated floors and a fireplace in the winter months, as well as lounge areas and changing rooms. They provide an array of classes for all levels of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga for students who wish to start or grow their practice.

The teachers at Hudson Valley Health & Tennis Club Yoga Studio are highly trained and certified, infusing their own practices with the influences of Bikram, Iyengar, Ashtanga, and Jivamukti yoga.  Classes are fun and invigorating, with a focus on strengthening and healing that leaves students with a profound sense of serenity and greater harmony of body, mind, and spirit.

Location: 100 River Street, Hastings-on-Hudson. Info: HudsonValleyTennis.com; 914.478.4400.

Katonah Yoga

Nevine Michaan

Nevine Michaan and her teachers spent the last 30 years developing Katonah Yoga in Bedford Hills, where students learn techniques to participate in their own wellbeing. Katonah Yoga students practice classical hatha yoga and breathing techniques (pranayama) in order to initiate a flow moving through the form. “While practicing the postures is the effort to make an origami cup through folding and developing pliancy of forms,” Nevine says, “the study of pranayama allows us to fill the cup with our breath, the elixir of the universe. The power of the practice comes as students endeavor to develop their depth, stability, and capacity to participate in the world, while using their imaginations to achieve freedom and acuity of vision.” Katonah Yoga offers classes for beginners, intermediate, and advanced practitioners.

 Location: 39 Main Street, Bedford Hills. Info: KatonahYoga.com; 914.241.2661.

Laughing Hearts Yoga

“Yoga and motherhood have transformed my life,” says Elisha Fernandes Simpson, founder of Laughing Hearts Yoga. “I was drawn to yoga to get grounded, develop a personal practice and connect to my inner light. When I became a mother, I naturally shared this gift with my children, and established a foundation for us as we moved up and down the east coast.” Seeking a way to enhance her family’s practice, Elisha completed a children’s yoga teacher training program and developed a passion for teaching young people. “Through a creative exploration of kids’ yoga, I witness how kids gain respect and love for themselves and discover the place of peace and stillness within,” says Elisha, noting that the word yoga means union. “Watching families connect through yoga continues to fuel my passion to offer yoga to all.”

 Contact: Elisha 914.319.4010. Info: LaughingHeartsYoga.com.

Liberation Yoga & Wellness Center

David and Adrea Roble, owners.

Located in Mahopac, Liberation Yoga & Wellness Center was created as a sanctuary for busy lives. The studio offers stunning views of Lake Mahopac and aims to bring healing, empowerment, and liberation to the body, mind, and spirit. Classes range from gentle to challenging, while all are creative and fun. Liberation Yoga & Wellness Center offers high-quality yoga instruction in Vinyasa and other yoga styles, with emphasis on proper alignment, breathing, and philosophy. Their 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher Training Program offers students the chance to expand their practice by studying in more depth and awakening the teacher within. Liberation Yoga instructors teach from a desire to share their love and knowledge of yoga, and the Wellness Center offers several types of massage, bodywork, and Reiki to assist the healing process.

Location: 900 S. Lake Blvd., Suite 6, Mahopac. Information: LiberationNY.com; 845.803.8389.

 Lotus Gardens Yoga School

Lotus Gardens is a comparative theory yoga school devoted to nurturing the experience of sharing and educating both yoga students and teachers.  Since 1980, founder Lara Azzarito Ward has brought yoga, meditation, martial arts and stress management programs to major corporations and hospitals in the greater Danbury area. She also established the first Yoga Alliance approved school in Connecticut. Lotus Gardens Yoga School has a well respected and refined 200-hour yoga teacher training program with over 260 certified instructors now guiding others throughout the world. With a private studio in Sherman, Lotus Gardens has five training studios offering a comprehensive yoga certification curriculum in Canton, Newtown, North Haven, and Plantsville, CT, and Troy, NY. Continuing Education blooms for yoga teachers from all disciplines through the school’s Seniors, Therapeutics, Kids and 500-hour certification courses.

Contact: 860.354.6241; Info: LotusGardensYoga.com.

 O2Living Yoga

The wood planked floors and beamed ceiling rooms of the O2Living yoga studio in Cross River establish the setting for a perfect yoga class. O2Living offers a variety of hatha based yoga classes including Vinyasa, Hot Vinyasa, Power Vinyasa, Restorative, Gentle and Kundalini. These balancing classes are taught by a variety of intuitive yoga teachers who help lead students on a transformational mind-body journey. The peaceful setting in the Yellow Monkey Village adds to the ambience of the yogi state. After class, students can flow into the café and pick up a fresh organic juice or smoothie before stepping into the O2Living spa for a therapeutic healing treatment. O2Living is open seven days a week, offering a variety of classes at all levels throughout the week.

 Location: 792 Route 35, Cross River. Info: 914.763.6320;  O2Living.com.

 Quest Yoga Arts

The studio at Quest Yoga Arts

While primarily a Vinyasa yoga studio, Quest Yoga Arts in Mt. Kisco incorporates core strength, massage and other mind-body disciplines to complement the quest for inner and outer fitness. Vinyasa Flow is a short, fluid, creative style of practice where the movement is driven by the music of the breath, and the classroom journey unfolds in delicious and exciting ways. It’s also a serious workout, not only for the body, but also for the mind and spirit. Quest presents a warm and accepting tone, allowing everyone’s journey to unfold in an environment of safety and joy. The instructors are inspiring and filled with great warmth, bringing a wonderful energy to the light filled studio space. Quest Yoga Arts offers daily classes, workshops, and a beautiful selection of yoga clothes and accessories.

 Location: 11 Main Street, 2nd floor, Mt. Kisco. Info: QuestYogaArts.com; 914.241.9642.

 Richard Villella

Richard Villella

A student and teacher of yoga since 1985, Richard has a thriving private yoga practice in New York City, where he helps people with pain and aging related problems who haven’t found relief through Western medicine. Some of his well known clients include: Candice Bergen, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, ex-CIA Director George Tenet, former senator Bill Bradley, professional golfer Raymond Floyd, and members of the New York Mets. Richard co-founded and operated the Yoga Zone studios from 1994 to 1998, and he created and directed the Yoga Zone Teacher Training Program. Hundreds of students inspired by his teaching have become instructors, and Richard was voted best yoga teacher in the United States two years in a row by Allure Magazine. He currently teaches a group class at The Yoga Coop at the Garrison on Sundays from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

 Contact: Richard at painfreeyoga@gmail.com.

 Sacred Space Yoga Studio

Sacred Space Yoga Studio in Somers opened its doors in March 2010 to offer Vinyasa, Hot Power Yoga, and Gentle Hatha classes at the most affordable prices in the area. “My mission is to bring sanctuary to the community during times of global upheaval and natural disasters,” says studio owner Laura Jean Polisky E-RYT, “We all need to feel safe and we all need to feel connected. I offer my home and keep fees as low as possible so that everyone can practice yoga regardless of economic status, thus creating unity.”

 Location: 245 Route 100, Somers. Info: 914.401.9140; SacredSpaceYoga.info. 

 Sandra Bernstein

Sandra Bernstein

Sandra’s yoga classes help people of all ages and ability levels to feel relaxed and renewed, with an improved sense of overall well-being.  A Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, Sandra received her 200+ hour instructor certification in Hatha, Gentle, and Chair Yoga from Integral Yoga Institute in New York and Virginia, where she was recently certified to teach Yoga for Arthritis. Her Gentle classes provide the benefits of yoga in a non-strenuous way, incorporating easy breathing and stretching techniques that are designed to reduce stress, decrease anxiety, build strength, and help maintain mobility. This style is ideal for older adults and for individuals who have some physical limitations, less flexibility, or who may not have exercised for a long time. Sandra remains committed to helping older adults stay flexible and strong through yoga as it opens their hearts, minds and bodies.

 Contact: 914.539.8909.

 Susan J. Wright

Susan J. Wright

Yoga has been a vital part of Susan’s healing journey for decades. A licensed massage therapist, clinical social worker and Kripalu yoga teacher, Susan draws on her background as a bodyworker, psychotherapist, shaman, and belly dancer to weave yoga classes that are mindful, dynamic, and healing on all levels of being. Susan is the author of, The Chakras in Shamanic Practice: Eight Stages of Healing and Transformation, published by Inner Traditions. She’s thrilled to be returning with her yoga teaching practice to beautiful Wainwright House in Rye, where she studied extensively with Swami Shantanand in the early 1980s. Susan’s new class at Wainwright House, “Mindful Yoga for Everyday Healing,” will be held on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m., Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. and Saturday mornings at 8:45 a.m.

 Contact: Susan at 914.967.6080.

 The Yoga Co-op at The Garrison

The Yoga Co-op at The Garrison

The Yoga Co-op at The Garrison is a community-based, teacher-run yoga studio rooted in the heart of the beautiful Hudson Valley. Their mission is to provide high-quality, accessible yoga to the community while inspiring and encouraging a movement towards honoring the sacred in everyday life. Through the art and science of yoga and related work, the Yoga Co-op strives to help all students feel good in their bodies, quiet their minds and reclaim their peace.

 Location: 2015 Route 9, Garrison at Snake Hill Road. Info: 845.224.9909. 

 Yoga for Birth

Yoga for Birth

Beth Gibney-Boulden, owner of Yoga for Birth, offers inspiring classes for women throughout their journey into motherhood. Beth’s experience as a counselor and Kripalu practitioner and teacher help shape her classes into a nurturing mix of movement and insights that support body, mind, and soul. Classes are held at Full Circle Family Care in White Plains, and drop-ins are always welcome at weekly classes in Fertility, Prenatal, Mommy & Me, and regular Women’s yoga. Beth co-teaches the popular Couples Yoga for Birth workshop with midwife Tanya Tringali to give partners the skills and practice they need to feel confident about supporting moms during labor. Beth enjoys helping women find physical and emotional peace as they welcome their babies into the world.

Location: Full Circle Family Care, 1241 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains. Info: FullCircleFamilyCare.com; 914.421.1500.

 Yoga on Lake Rippowam

Yoga on Lake Rippowam

Stephanie Harding, founder of Yoga on Lake Rippowam, started practicing yoga when she became pregnant at age 41 and experienced chronic back pain. Her yoga practice kept her fit during pregnancy and eased her back pain. “Although I initially thought of yoga as exercise, I soon found myself happily immersed in the profound teachings of connectedness and presence that yoga offers,” Stephanie recalls. “I decided to devote myself to bringing these gifts to others.” She trained with Viniyoga teacher Gary Kraftsow, and with Leslie Kaminoff in the Krishnamacharya tradition, which teaches adaptation of the elements of yoga to each person. Stephanie’s home studio classes are intimate and tailored to each individual’s needs. Sessions are held in view of Lake Rippowam or on her lakeside dock, accompanied by the sounds of nature.

 Contact: Stephanie at 914.763.2548; Info: RippowamYoga.com.

 YogaShine

Vitalah Simon of Yoga Shine

Located in Valhalla, YogaShine is a simple, non-commercialized yoga studio based in Kripalu and Viniyoga styles.  Their adult classes reduce stress, calm the mind, and honor a person’s spiritual core while developing flexibility and strength. Classes are taught at a relaxed pace tailored to the needs of the moment and students receive individual attention. Vitalah Simon, the primary yoga teacher and dance-movement therapist at YogaShine, also provides special needs and other yoga classes for kids. Her specialty is working with children with autistic spectrum disorders ADD/ADHD, PDD, and other emotional, developmental and physical disabilities. Parents are typically included in special needs sessions. YogaShine also offers Super Gentle yoga for seniors and adults with special health considerations, individual yoga/movement therapy for adults, family yoga, and parent support services.

 Location: 7-11 Legion Drive, Valhalla. Info: 914.769.8745; YogaShine.com. 

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