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Building a yoga community in Langley
LANGLEY — On a recent early evening in Langley, the body and mind were united in a consolation of calm.
Newly opened in Langley Village is Half Moon Yoga Studio, a place of solace and peace, where the breath is awakened to flow through the sinews of one’s body with natural grace to encourage both invigoration and relaxation.
The studio is the new endeavor of yoga teachers Victoria Santos and Valerie Easton.
“It felt so right, with everything coming so easily,” Santos said.
“With yoga, if you have to push, forget it.”
Santos referred to the serendipitous discovery of the studio’s space, which she stumbled upon one day while walking through Langley. She and Easton had considered a couple of other possibilities, but the rents were too high. With the Langley Village space, owners Christine and David Goodwin told the partners to “make them an offer that would work,” and things fell into place from there.
“It’s been all about community from the beginning,” Easton said.
“So many people came by to help with the space, with the website, to offer their visions and ideas about yoga studios — I’m so amazed by Langley.”
The studio has been remodeled into a serene and inviting place, with soothing wall colors, neatly placed benches for shoes and gear, and plenty of room on its clean, honey-colored wood floors to spread out and breathe into the stillness and movement of yoga. Lining a far wall are shelves and baskets that house a colorful array of mats, bolster pillows and blankets used to keep the body warm during “savasana,” or the final resting pose that ends many yoga classes.
The place effuses the positivity of its creators.
The partners met when Easton, a Seattle Times gardening columnist who lives part-time in Langley, began taking yoga classes taught by Santos.
“She’s a lovely teacher. There’s been a lot of laughing and lightheartedness between us,” Easton said.
Santos, a Langley resident, is originally from the Dominican Republic and is a counselor for the South Whidbey School District. She lived and trained at the Kripalu School of Yoga in western Massachusetts extensively, one of the most comprehensive yoga centers in the country. Both she and Easton have been longtime practitioners of yoga, with Easton recently finishing her teacher training in Anusara yoga, a new style of the more traditional Hatha yoga.
But although their styles of yoga differ, their philosophies are linked.
“Yoga is for everyone,” Santos said.
“It’s about uniting your energy to your core. The yoga mat is where you practice your life — everything shows on the mat.”
Santos’ classes are for people of all physical conditions and levels. She encourages people to explore their own personal experience with yoga — however that reveals itself on the mat for their body and spirit.
For Easton, too, what she teaches is connected to daily living. The basic tenet of Anusara yoga is the opening of one’s heart, so that everyone can feel empowered. The word she connects to what she feels from yoga is “joyous,” which she said doesn’t remain behind in the yoga studio.
“It’s all about the subtle body we so rarely tap into in our daily lives,” Easton said. Santos, too, stressed that yoga goes far beyond the practice in the studio.
“If we tune back into the body and tune into the breath, we will have the opportunity to tune into ourselves,” she said.
In the spirit of community, the owners have invited other members of the island yoga world to teach at Half Moon Yoga Studio and will offer a free class once every month. Other teachers include Anne Peterson Mauk, Marta Mulholland and Gail Malizia. Classes include Hatha, Gentle/Beginner, Chair Yoga and Yoga Basics ,and are currently scheduled in the mornings and evenings, with more classes, such as yoga dance, being added as spring progresses.
And just as the practice of all styles of yoga helps the body and the mind harmonize with one’s spirit, so the Half Moon Yoga Studio hopes to become a gathering place for a variety of harmonious practices, including musical chanting and social devotional gatherings.
Half Moon Yoga Studio will hold its first free community class from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. followed by a grand opening party from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 9. Everyone is welcome to come and meet the teachers and enjoy the music of Kimmer Morris and refreshments.
The website is under construction at www.halfmoonyogalangley.com. Visit the studio to pick up a schedule, or call Santos at 321-4012 or Easton at 206-226-6055 for more information or to confirm classes. Half Moon Yoga Studio is also on Facebook.