When you stroll by the storefront of Contesta Rock Hair Salon on the corner of Hudson and Charles Streets in the West Village, you expect a bustling scene of blowouts and trendy hair stylists chatting away with clients.
However, once a week the lively vibe of this rocker’s paradise transforms into a calming restorative yoga studio.
Every Sunday night, neighborhood local, Jared Pava, a yoga teacher, Thai masseuse and Reiki practitioner, creates a yoga space in this one-room salon fully equipped with bolsters, blocks and nearby blowdryers. With a handful of mats scattered across the midnight black flooring, there’s just enough room for Jared to lead an intimate 1 hour and 15 minute restorative yoga class.
The idea of offering yoga classes came from Jared’s mom, a long time customer of Contesta, who thought it would be a great space for him to offer restorative practices for those in the neighborhood.
Salon Manager, Simone Domizi loved the idea and was immediately on-board for opening their venue as a place for people to reunite and create something meaningful. “We decided to collaborate with Jared because we wanted to give back to the community, “Simone said. “With his expertise and interest in doing the same for our West Village community, we decided to partner up and offer Sunday night yoga.”
Why Sunday nights? It is the day before work so it's a stressful day for those who have pre-work anxieties or jitters. “It’s a way to calm and center the body before a demanding workweek,” said Jared.
No stranger to healing practices, Jared has been teaching restorative yoga for over 15 years in hospitals including Memorial Sloan Kettering and Beth Israel, working closely with individuals suffering from life challenging conditions such as breast cancer, Parkinson’s and clinical depression. “People dealing with illnesses or who have just had surgery need restorative yoga, so that's where I come in,” he explained.
Jared emphasized that interested participants don’t necessarily have to be dealing with a health concern to attend one of his classes. Restorative is a universal outlet for stress management and practicing the art of slowing down. “In New York, people are generally in fight or flight mode running to the subway or their jobs. I think people forget how to breathe, a full yogic breath,” Jared said.
The class focuses on postures and deep breathing techniques that can be done in a work chair like the simple action of inhaling to lift the shoulders and exhaling to lower, which brings relaxation to the body. At the end of each class, Jared weaves in Chi Gong practices as a way to take the mind off worrying since you’re continuing to move from one sequence to the other without distraction.
Jared’s students admitted that it’s common to find people casually stopping to peak through the storefront windows, curious to see what kind of mindful movement is taking place at a rather notorious “rock” hair salon. “I kind of like the idea of people walking by and looking through the window,” said Jared, “it creates curiosity and mystery.”
The word ‘Rock’ in Contesta Rock Hair Salon, paired with it’s decor from local artists, clearly refers to the music genre and its influence on culture. “Rock music has served as a vehicle for cultural and social movements making it evolve in different ways over time,” said Salon Manager, Simone. “In the same way, we like to offer our space as a way for people to express themselves under diverse circumstances.”
Classes are every Sunday night from 6:30 PM to 7:45 PM. Click here for more information.