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Heart of Yoga Salisbury brings wellness downtown

By Andie Foley

SALISBURY — For Wivianny DeHaas, the journey into yoga was “both business and personal.”

As a licensed clinical social worker and therapist, she battled with severe compassion fatigue and burnout.

“When people come to a therapist, usually they’re not sharing happy things,” DeHaas said. “And when you have empathy, you are there, you’re present with them. I had to find a way to balance that in my life. That’s what led me to yoga.”

Now, DeHaas is sharing what she’s learned with the Salisbury-Rowan community through Heart of Yoga Salisbury studio downtown.

DeHaas calls the studio, located above Bangkok Downtown at 131 E. Innes St. in Suite 303, the community’s baby.

“I think the Heart of Yoga is community. It’s unity, and it’s to bring people together,” she said. “Sometimes it takes one person to kind of go ahead in front of the marching band and open the space, but it doesn’t mean it’s mine. It’s for the community.”

The studio opened in mid-December and features a variety of classes taught by DeHaas’ local wellness professional peers.

Each teacher — Nye Hartwick, Vanessa Dumont, India Little and Cara Effinger, along with DeHaas — has a background in a different healing modality, including nursing, massage and therapy.

“Everybody is really in the business of compassion and well-being and healing,” DeHaas said. “That’s the vision. … We all really wanted to bring more wellness to this community.”

Though classes have been small, DeHaas said the response of clients has been great.

“People come as students, but they leave as friends,” she said. “We teach from a place of compassion and love, and that’s what we’re attracting.”

As the studio continues to grow, DeHaas is planning to offer additional packages soon: a pass for classes and combination packages with other downtown merchants.

These partnerships with other businesses ties in to DeHaas’ purposeful selection of the Innes Street space.

“I miss the days when I drove through downtown and there was a lot of vibrancy going on. We want to bring that back to our city,” she said. “We’re in very good company here.”

She said packages may include a yoga workshop followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant or classes followed by a health drink from a nearby store.

Heart of Yoga classes are varied to meet the needs of each individual, DeHaas said. The range starts with restorative sessions — those with a slow pace and long-held poses for deep muscle relaxation — and extends to vinyasa, a faster-paced and core-strengthening routine.

These varying methods make yoga a great way to maintain balance, flexibility, mobility and strength throughout one’s life, Dehaas said.

“Yoga is something that anybody can do regardless of their body shape, size and even mobility,” she said, “because there’s so many things that you can do to adapt it to each person.”

The studio also offers sessions for people who suffer with chronic pain, for teenagers and for preschoolers.

In sessions for youngsters, the goal is to help them be more mindful of their own emotions and sensations in their bodies while helping them learn coping skills to regulate emotions.

“Yoga is personal. Each person has to find what works for them,” said DeHaas. “That is why I opened this studio, because I know so many teachers that have this passion for helping students find what works for them.”

Most classes are drop-in, requiring no prior registration. To find schedules and additional information, visit www.heartofyogasalisbury.com or www.facebook.com/HeartofYogaSalisbury/.


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