"This is really the first time I've even had my shoes off in this place!" said Bob Doto to the packed house at Church Avenue Yoga and Bodywork Center (CAYBC). It was the launch party of the new 5th street studio, construction and renovations having been completed a mere handful of exhales ago.
The newly minted CAYBC community celebrated with a tour of the pristine new studio, exquisite vegetarian platters and wine, live bluegress music by Alex Hargreaves and Jordan Tice, mini-Reiki sessions, and Tarot readings.
"I love this neighnborhood," says Bob of the charming Kensington/Ditmas Park area. "I've lived here for over seven years."
Bob, a yoga instructor and licensed massage therapist, is also a founding member of The Babarazzi, the satirical website which gave a real drubbing to NYC's commercial yoga culture. (And we miss it!) Bob saw a need in his nabe for more yoga, and decided he would fill it--with a little help from his friends.
"I feel like everyone here has helped along the way."
He gave a shoutout to Deborah "Handstand" Bagg, who had first got him into yoga. ("She told me, 'you've got to make a speech tonight!'" laughed Bob.) Deborah, along with Natlee Reisen, help put together the terrific teaching lineup, which includes Frank Wildermann(Yogamaya), Anna-Louise Williams (Earth Yoga),
Eleana Kouneli (Sangha Yoga Shala) and Brianna Aguilar-Austin (Mala Yoga).
"It will be intelligent yoga instruction throughout the day and into the evening," says Bob, noting that his roots in ashtanga would be felt in the classes. "There will also be therapeutic massage. At night we plan to have events and workshops. When the sun goes down, there will be Full Moon Ceremonies, Kirtans, and Gong Baths."
Bob encouraged us all to make the studio our own. "Come by, use the space. Make it homey, beat up this floor -- it's cork!"
Classes are held seven days a week, and massage appointments will be available for therapeutic, sports and pre- and post-natal techniques. Bob is teaching open-level classes weekdays at 10 am.
On June 27 the studio will host "Vibrate the Cosmos - Sound Immersion Through Gong and Chant" at 7:30 pm. Bob promises it will be "a Sonic expansion bliss fest!" accompanied by as many as ten resonating Gongs.