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New owner of The Gardens sees Elmira locale as just the right spot

Sharron Cook is inviting everyone to take a deep breath, stretch, and welcome a little more calm into their lives with the opening of The Gardens of Elmira.

The business just opened on Dunke Street this week, offering a variety of yoga classes for people of all skill levels. She also will have nutrition counselling, workshops and retreats, as well as opportunities for the community to rent the space for events.

Right now they have a strong focus on beginner yoga.

“Obviously there’s a physical benefit, but yoga is so much about the mind too and that’s essentially what it was created for was to conquer the demons in the mind and to create that stillness. The poses are more of a tool that your mind would use to strengthen,” Cook said.

The gentle flow is a step up from beginner yoga. Then there is vinyasa which is a bit of a faster pace. Every other Friday night for a few weeks they’re going to be having candlelight yin yoga.

“Yin is where you hold a pose for an extended period of time. You just get your mind calmed. You just focus on holding it and breathing. It’s really calming. I’m super excited about that,” Cook said.

Wednesday nights they’ll dim the lights for groove yoga which is dance style with loud music. The instructor tells you to do different things, like walk with big steps or every three beats strike a pose, which is another fun way to get into yoga.

The younger crowd, those eight to 12 years of age, can participate in tween yoga on Monday nights starting Feb. 20.

They will also have some pre and post natal yoga in March. The plan is to offer yoga outside in the gardens in the summer.

Cook has been practicing yoga for several years and became inspired on a trip to the Chopra Center in San Diego last year, where she focused on meditation, yoga and personal growth.

“I came back from that time with such a sense of calm and peace and just happiness. And I thought I need to bring this back to my town, people need to know that they can feel good. They don’t have to always be stressed out and rushing around. We need to take time in our lives to relax,” Cook explained.

She and her husband talked about it back and forth. It was something they thought would be nice to do someday. They never expected it would happen this quickly. When she heard Doug Mooder was selling The Gardens property it took about two texts between she and her husband before they decided to take the leap.

Sharron Cook has repurposed The Gardens property into The Gardens of Elmira, a holistic healing centre offering a range of yoga classes on the main floor and nutrition counselling upstairs. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]

“My husband and I were talking about something like this, we were talking about a business venture, not necessarily this and I kept saying but we need to have gardens. We need a place where people can walk around, we need a place where people can sit outside and enjoy nature. And this was absolutely perfect. When it came up it was a no brainer. We’re like that’s exactly what we’ve been talking about,” she said.

They purchased the property in September and took possession of it in November.

This is her first foray into entrepreneurship. She says it seems impulsive, but it was impulsive with intent behind it.

“It’s been super exciting. It hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be. I have amazing people in my life and that’s one thing I’ve learned from business people I know, that when you have quality people behind you, that’s such an amazing foundation that you can make it happen,” Cook said.

Some of the instructors she’s hired are from Elmira and others are ones she did her yoga teacher training with. She’s been particular about selecting reputable instructors who are welcoming and encouraging.

As for why she sees a need for this kind of a space in Elmira, she says she sees a need for this everywhere because everyone needs time to quiet their minds and be still.

She’d like to bring in some other holistic health practitioners to make use of the space.

She encourages yogis and beginners alike to come check out one of their classes, noting that getting up and getting out of the house to a class is the hardest part, not the class itself.

“I’m really excited that we have this space that we can open up, that they can come here and just feel the nature and feel calm.”

The business is located at 11 Dunke St. Yoga classes began this week. Their website should be up within a week, but to see their yoga schedule and to sign up, visit The Gardens of Elmira on Facebook.

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