Cabarrus

Yoga studio raising funds for expansion

People enjoy the community provided by the Lotus Living Arts Studio in Concord. From left, yoga students Susie Blythe and Rayanne Norris, studio director Vicky Geros-Holmes, graduate of the studio’s yoga teacher training Erica Hayes, studio co-director Gerald Moose and yoga teacher Amber Nedoff.
People enjoy the community provided by the Lotus Living Arts Studio in Concord. From left, yoga students Susie Blythe and Rayanne Norris, studio director Vicky Geros-Holmes, graduate of the studio’s yoga teacher training Erica Hayes, studio co-director Gerald Moose and yoga teacher Amber Nedoff. MARJORIE DANA

Lotus Living Arts Studio in downtown Concord is a yoga studio that conducts business based on a philosophy of service and accessibility to all. The studio has grown and now seeks to expand its location from about 600 square feet to about 1,500.

Lotus Living Arts Studio will host classes for donations from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 15 to raise funds toward the expansion. There will also be a silent auction with items like a retreat weekend, discounts to yoga-teacher training, yoga apparel, massages and energy work, gift cards to other businesses in downtown Concord, and gift cards and class packages to Lotus Living Arts Studio.

The studio does not require memberships to attend. Participants pay $5 for each class they attend. The studio has 24 teachers and about 30 classes offered each week, said studio director Vicky Geros-Holmes, 46.

“Yoga is for the people.… I don’t think happiness and health should be limited to people with means,” she said.

Studio co-director Gerald Moose, 62, who teaches tai chi, explained the studio’s atmosphere with a quote from a tai chi master: “An imposing front porch discourages visitors.”

“I like to think of Lotus as a welcoming front porch,” said Moose.

The studio’s welcoming space has also created a community for the people who teach and attend classes there, say the people who use the studio.

“I just fell in love with the studio: the building, community, and teachers.… It’s my safe place,” said yoga student Susie Blythe of Concord.

The studio supports itself through donations from independent teachers who use the space, sales of bottled water and merchandise, space rentals and a yoga-teacher training program lead by Geros-Holmes. Teachers do not have to audition to teach there and all styles of yoga and spiritual movement are welcome, so class offerings are eclectic. Classes range from kundalini yoga to qigong. The schedule also includes less common offerings like Argentine tango and ecstatic dance.

“It’s liberating for me, because I get to share different (yoga) styles,” said lotus yoga teacher Amber Nedoff, 33.

The studio was started in 2009 by Geros-Holmes and Moose. The upstairs space off Union Street was originally marketed as warehouse space and Lotus Living Arts Studio was tasked with transforming the space from warehouse to welcoming.

“You know how lotus flowers grow out of the mud? That’s exactly what happened,” said Geros-Holmes.

The appropriate flooring was provided with the help of an independent contractor and a grant from the Downtown Concord Development Corp.

“Downtown has been very supportive of us and enthusiastic about what we’re doing,” said Moose.

Lotus hopes to convert the spaces next to the studio, also warehouse space, in similar ways upon expansion. To expand and prepare the space, the studio needs to raise at least $5,000.

“People want to give back to the place that brings them joy,” said Geros-Holmes.

Marjorie Dana is a freelance writer: marjorie.dana@yahoo.com.

Want to go?

Lotus Living Arts Studio is at 52 S. Union St., upstairs in Suite 3, in downtown Concord. For information, visit www.lotuslivingartsstudio.com.

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