Yoga in the Hamptons that's not crowded, full of cranky city people or crazed celebs in SUV's? It's possible, I learned on a recent trip out there. Nestled in the hamlet along Scuttle Hole Road is John Seelye’s artful summer oasis, One Ocean Yoga. It’s an outdoor tented studio on the grounds of the 130-acre Channing Daughter’s Winery.
John brought One Ocean to the winery 4 years ago -with the help of the Channing daughters - and now Isabella Channing is one of the instructors there. Situated on the ocean, between the vineyard and a sculpture garden, it’s the perfect place to bliss out before a weekend of shenanigans or recover from them.
Arriving on Montauk Avenue and quickly discovering there were no cabs, I realized that if I walked, I would just make the last class of the day. After a 3-mile hike along Butter Lane (in retrospect, I would recommend using a car), I arrived with minutes to spare.
A lively wine tasting was winding down as I rushed in, looking not for vino but vinyasa. The host pointed me in the right direction, and I dashed through the vineyards, wondering if I'd make it. Like Dorothy crossing from the poppy fields into the Emerald City, I emerged from the orchard and came upon a large fairground-style tent overlooking a vast sculpture garden filled with quirky, animal-like shapes. The charming woodwork sculptures (which I was able to snap Instagram pics of in the twilight after class), are by Winery founder Walter Channing, who acquired the land in the 1970s.
The students, already set on their mats, turned from this vista and smiled at me as if reassuring me I had indeed made it in time. I was then greeted by Kripalu-trained instructor Linda Muse. She gave me a complimentary Manduka mat, and I gratefully got on my yoga going.
“People come to me and say it’s the nicest studio they’ve ever been to!” says Anusara-trained John. “And some of these are people have been everywhere on the planet for yoga. I know no other studio that is so surrounded by nature. With any other studio out here, as soon as you’re outside the door you’re in a parking lot or in a row of stores—you have to step right back out into the ‘real world.’ Here you’re already outside, and it’s just a beautiful surrounding. ”
Though I have yet to do yoga on other continents, I was inclined to agree as I sat on my mat breathing it all in. The class boasted the traditional hard work of a vinyasa flow, but the location added a calm serenity that increased the “Ahh-sana” quotient exponentially. I closed my eyes and let the breeze brush my face as I balanced in dancer’s pose. Then I opened my eyes for the standing portion and took in the afternoon sun, now casting shadows on the wood sculptures, some of which seemed to almost mimic the postures we were playing in.
When we emerged from savasana at the end, Linda informed us that we’d missed a special guest! “A deer came across the field!” she laughed. “But I thought ‘no, I can’t wake them up for it!’”
“I’ve been teaching out here for about 20 years,” says John (just edging out Linda’s 18). “I’ve done a tent before, had a full-time studio (at the Butter Lane Barn, not far from the Winery). But it’s a tough thing to keep a space going year-round out here, it’s a very seasonal community.”
Fortuitously, a couple of the Channing sisters came to class at the original location one day. “I went and saw the kind of place they had at the Winery, and just asked them if we could do a seasonal class there,” explains John.
Classes at One Ocean run from Level 1 (foundations and basics) through to Level 2-3 (for strong intermediate and advanced students). There is also Urban Zen, a session of meditation, restorative asana, aromatherapy, reiki and breathing techniques, and a Restorative Slow-flow. The studio will be open full-time through Labor Day and then on a modified schedule to Columbus Day, weather permitting. The beach parties under a full moon aren't bad either. And there are also plans for some post-summer yoga . . .
“Off-season is incredible out here,” says John. “I’ll be doing some immersion-type classes, 2 and 3 hour workshops. The building we’ll be using on the Channing property has a wall of windows looking out onto the garden and the vineyards. So it will still feel we’re as close to the outside as we can get. It’s not just a summertime thing.”
Drop-in classes are $25. For more information, click here or call 631-537-5522.