The Kelly House, formerly the Tiffany Shop, Joette's and an apothecary business, is chanting a new mantra. Udumbara Yoga is infusing elements of wellness and classic style into the resonant energy inherent within this timeless, historic home located at 400 Plain St., Lewiston.
A rare glimpse of this transformation will be available to the public from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15. Udumbara is inviting the community to explore the Yoga hall, veranda and garden for a grand-opening celebration and ribbon-untying ceremony (3 p.m.).
Christening the space with a traditional invocation, the first Om reverberated from the walls at a sunrise ceremony June 21 as 15 Yogis reached, stretched and linked movement with breath through 27 rounds of Sun Salutations. Paying homage with one of Yoga's oldest and most revered rituals, Udumbara's Summer Solstice event planted the seeds for this latest incarnation.
Christine Fowle, Udumbara's principal teacher, said, "Yoga is a far more interesting mental game than it is physical. Its popularization in the West simply places far more emphasis on the asanas (postures)."
With focused awareness on movement, breath, meditation and philosophy, Udumbara's sessions are designed to move individuals into a deeper sense of self. What this means isn't meant to be defined in words.
"This is why we practice," Fowle said.
To emphasize this conviction, Udumbara is the first Yoga studio in Western New York to offer daily classes on a donation basis. While this is not meant to imply free, there are (currently) no imposed minimums.
"I have faith that the students will support one another," Fowle said. "Moving towards greater clarity, compassion and peace is good for us both individually and as a community. You can't put a price on this."
Yoga, she said, is designed to encourage students to develop a sustainable personal practice. It is being made accessible to all who are interested - regardless of financial limitations - but only through the generosity of others.
"Every donation represents an act of kindness, and all members of the community are uplifted as we evolve and grow," Fowle said.
If moving through the asanas under a chandelier seems a bit decadent, Fowle reminds others the practice isn't about location or destination.
It's about the journey.
"The lifestyle changes involved with self-transformation can be difficult. Udumbara is here to hold space for those making these choices," she said.
Trained in both Kundalini and Hatha Yoga, Fowle's style draws from the philosophies of Buddhism and Raja Yoga. With an emphasis on awareness, her sessions are designed to leave students feeling awakened, energized and alive - a deepening focus of energy and breath as they transition through the postures.
For additional information and a calendar of classes, visit www.UdumbaraYoga.com. Ten percent of all proceeds are donated to organizations that support education and women's skills training for Tibetans in exile, as well as the cultural preservation of Tibet.