We are so lucky to live here in Rye for so many reasons. One perk is the variety of workout options available. With so many options, it can be difficult to find something special. Well, this past weekend, at the end of the Hanover House arcade (the row of shops that begins with Arcade Books), I found something truly special: Elan Yoga.
On that snowy Saturday morning, I walked into Elan's bright, warm studio. Large picture windows revealed the beauty of snow-covered trees from the comfort of the cozy interior. Owner and instructor, Jennifer O'Connor, had new, clean mats, blocks, straps, bolsters, blankets and sandbags laid out and ready for each participant. Before beginning, Jennifer led me to a lounge and offered me pineapple-infused water (sooo yummy).
The class was both invigorating and calming. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience of Elan Yoga, and I'm so happy that the studio is right here in town!
After class, I had the chance to chat with Jennifer about her new business:
Who are you and what do you do?
"Jennifer O'Connor, founding owner of Élan Elite Body Development and recently (January 2015) opened, Élan Yoga.
Élan Yoga is an authentic yoga studio located in the historic Hanover House, a local jewel overlooking the town square here in charming Rye, New York. Nestled among ancient trees, stone walls and a pretty brook, our space is filled with light, fresh air, love, and passion for yoga and pranayama.
Small, intimate sessions enable you to leave your busy, chaotic life behind and tune into your body, breath and mind. Our well-rounded, quality instruction consists of asana, meditation, philosophy, anatomy, chanting, breath awareness, body scanning and savasana.
Unlike sessions where poses may be thrown together without intent or logic, our Iyengar inspired sequencing helps reduce the risk of injury to your spine, hips and knees, and makes students feel more balanced and grounded. Personal attention and adjustments allow you to focus on what’s healthy for your own body as you deepen your daily practice. Élan Yoga can help you relieve stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and poor digestion, and cultivate a well-balanced, compassionate life."
How did you get started?
"I have been in the health and wellness industry for over 10 years. I completed a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Exercise Science from Manhattan College, as well as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Master of Science (M.S.) Magna Cum Laude in Athletic Training from Long Island University. I am professionally certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association, American College of Sports Medicine and National Strength & Conditioning Association, and am certified in Pre/Post Natal Fitness and CPR/AED professional rescue. I am also a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, having completed a 600 hour yoga teacher training program with world renowned yoga luminaries Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee.
I have worked at Greenwich Hospital and Burke Rehabilitation.After several years of working with professional sports teams, college athletes and being the Head Athletic Trainer at School of the Holy Child in Rye, I decided to take a chance and branch out forming my own company, Élan Elite Body Development, which offers private customized fitness training and coaching to yield a stronger physique, boost self-confidence and heighten performance. Taking into account any injuries or limitations you may have, we design a unique program to help you achieve your fitness objectives.
From time-restricted professionals aspiring to feel and look better, to athletes trying to maximize performance, to teens trying to manage their weight, to mature adults seeking to maintain independence, we have found that our unique approach to integrating movement, mindset and nutrition leads to greater success, a balanced life and lasting change."
Why is what you do important?
"I am so grateful to have added yoga to my own personal daily practice and am thrilled to have the opportunity to teach and guide students through the asana postures and meditation. Yoga illuminates your life with the main purpose of restoring the mind to simplicity, peace and poise. Yoga increases strength to the bones and muscles, corrects posture, improves balance, eases tension and enhances circulation and breathing. The regular practice of asana consisting of lengthening, bending, twisting and inversions helps restore strength and stamina to the body. A daily practice with meditation can reverse the effects of stress and disease which may include depression, anxiety and restlessness. Yoga has the unique ability to calm the nervous system in turn alleviating pain, easing tension and soothing the mind. I am truly grateful and passionate about the practice of yoga and the art of meditation and daily pranayama. The benefits are limitless. The practice has changed my life and enhanced my professional work tremendously."
What's ahead for Elan Yoga?
"We are excited to announce the addition of our new Spring Season Teen Yoga Class beginning Wednesday March 25, from 5:30-6:30 pm each week. Designed to give teenagers a place to physically strengthen their bodies, unwind and restore from the stress of academics, athletics and common everyday social interaction that may include judgmental behavior. Yoga can help teenagers develop self-confidence, decrease stress, improve their physical wellbeing and create more balance.
We currently have artwork by acclaimed local artist, Jeanette Doné-Lagemann, displayed at the studio for viewing and for sale. We also plan to invite other local artists to display their work and host an opening. We have collaborated with Cai Palmer, owner of Wine at Five, to participate in future art events.
We are planning a Spring Open House and Art Exhibit. It will be scheduled in the afternoon during the week (suggested by Ania Dunlop of Rye Mom’s) to accommodate all of the local mom's and residents who weren't able to attend our evening Grand Opening Celebration in January.
We are working on adding 'Savasana Night' once a month with proceeds donated to a local charity. This is an hour of meditation consisting of breath awareness, a guided body scan, restorative poses and Savasana, An opportunity for people to get on their mat and disconnect from their busy chaotic lives. This session will help soothe and relax the mind, ease tension and calm the nervous system.
And lastly, we are planning to add a Sunday evening Restorative Yoga Class beginning in April, using props such as bolsters, blankets, sandbags and eye pillows to allow students to decompress and leave feel rejuvenated, vibrant and alive. A great way to unwind after the weekend and prepare for a new week."
To learn more about Elan Yoga, check out their website http://elanelite.com/yoga.