By Gretchen Althoff Snyder
A bright, airy new yoga studio with a focus on overall health and wellness opened this week upstairs at 22 Purchase Street, in downtown Rye. Beyond Yoga: A Home for Wellness is a long-awaited dream come true for Janet Muller. While Muller, a former Rye resident, has taught yoga in various locations around town for 17 years, she always envisioned a studio of her own to cultivate a place where people can relax, breathe, and enjoy all the health benefits that a yoga practice has to offer.
Muller began her career as a dietician at Nyack Hospital, but quickly realized that she wanted to be more proactive and help people prevent illness before they landed in the hospital. As a result, she got certified as a fitness instructor and started teaching exercise classes at Rye Recreation 27 years ago. “I taught aerobics and step classes back in the days when those classes were ‘in’,” quipped Muller.
After teaching exercise classes for many years, Muller says she suffered with some health issues that drove her “on a personal level to seek out yoga.” She felt very stressed and fatigued at a young age, and knew that something wasn’t quite right. Muller enrolled in training classes to get certified as a yoga instructor, and said that she felt great after each session; her exhaustion and stress levels were significantly reduced. Although she was eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease, Muller found that a yoga practice drastically improved her overall quality of life and she wanted to share this gift with others. Over the years, she blended vinyasa, hatha, and Iyengar styles to create her own unique brand of yoga classes.
In the midst of growing her practice, Muller was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. Throughout her ordeal, which included four months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy, Muller says yoga is what kept her going. “My yogis were so dedicated – they got me through a very tough time.” Muller continued to teach her yoga classes during chemotherapy, even when she wasn’t sure she could do any of the poses (or stand) herself. Just having a place to go where people depended on her kept Muller from cancelling classes and staying in bed.
After her recovery, Muller was inspired to join Soul Ryeders as a client coordinator for the highly successful Wig Exchange program; she also runs the Soul Strong survivor program. Muller also credits yoga for helping her cope with another extremely difficult time when her son was battling drug addiction. Yoga’s focus on breathing, being mindful, and staying in the moment kept her in the right frame of mind to be present and steadfastly support her son during a very stressful time.
After teaching yoga at several different venues, Muller was recently alerted to an open studio space on Purchase Street. Having waited 17 years to open a place of her own, she jumped at the opportunity. “Going through all these hardships in my life has taught me to be fearless,” said Muller.
Her vision for the Beyond Yoga studio is to create a home for wellness. “I want to empower people and make them feel better both mentally and physically.” To that end, Muller will host wellness initiatives, including nutrition workshops and a six-week “Mindful Parenting” course to help participants respond to life and parenting challenges in new and more effective ways. Her goal, Muller said, is to partner with different professionals who have expertise in a variety of health initiatives to promote the overall well being of her clients.
And, of course, there will be numerous different yoga classes to choose from every week, including a Begin and Renew class (for those who may be intimidated by a more advanced class), Sweat the Stress, Beyond Cancer, Millennial Madness, a class for teens and tweens, and even a class for teachers. Muller stresses that her studio is a place for everyone, and that she is fully dedicated to meeting the needs and interests of the community. “People should feel free to drop the load they are carrying and just leave it here at the studio.”
Muller is hosting an open house on Saturday, March 25 from 2-4. For more information, as well as class and workshop schedules, visit www.beyondyoga.org.