WAIMEA — It’s a warm sunny day in St. James Circle and the laughter of children from Small World and Waimea Country School ring out. Meanwhile, inside the new yoga studio, Waimea Yoga, there is a full house for Ruthie Bernaert’s level 1 class.
The studio is a dream come true for new owner Chelsea Morriss, who was born and raised in Waimea.
“I’ve always wanted a healing space in Waimea and even back in high school I thought about it,” she said.
Morriss began studying yoga in 2013 at Open Space Yoga on Oahu but had long been a student of human anatomy and exercise science.
“I’ve always been interested in the human body, physical therapy and athletic training. I wanted another way to connect with the clients and a way to make their experience on an even deeper level,” she said.
When the previous owner, Katherine Weise, announced that she would be closing There’s No Place Like OM yoga studio, Morris jumped at the chance to continue the tradition in St. James Circle.
“When I found out that she was going to be leaving and giving up the space, I immediately called the church. They put together a committee and it was a huge process,” she said.
The committee interviewed applicants and made a recommendation to the vestry who made the final decision.
“We think it just adds a really nice grounding energy to the St. James campus. It blends well with what is already happening here. We love the beautiful relaxing energy,” said St. James Church administrator Sheri Mariscal.
With her close links to the community, Morriss was perfectly poised to take on the ownership of the studio.
“I work with veterans once a week doing guided meditation at Spencer House and volunteer at the community dinner,” she said.
Waimea Yoga offers an array of classes and workshops.
“We have all different levels; all different styles for all body types, shapes and forms. My roots are here in this town and my passion is to bring people together in health and wellness, to really bring the community together in a safe and welcoming space,” Morriss said.
Inclusion is key to the new studio and she has already created a collaboration to teach chair yoga in the church hall.
“The seniors get shuttled over and the church lets us use their space on Monday mornings. That was a great collaboration between Ho’oNani, the church and myself,” Morriss said.
Morriss is also a yoga therapist.
“It’s a focus on the therapeutics of yoga for things like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, some kinds of injury, anxiety or depression. Yoga can be used as a healing modality for those things. I hope to reach other demographics that can’t do regular yoga,” she said.
Waimea Yoga offers hatha, vinyasa and kundalini yoga, but the studio isn’t limited to yoga.
“There will be a free meditation workshop from 6-8 p.m. this Wednesday, and on Feb. 17 we’re going to have a Thai couples’ massage workshop with Amy Grimes. We also have kirtan meditation, sound healing and chanting the third Saturday of every month,” Morriss said.
Waimea Yoga’s grand opening will take place from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. this Saturday and will be an opportunity for prospective students to experience the variety of yoga offered and meet the instructors.