After a year and a half of pandemic challenges, Watsonville Yoga Dance & Healing Arts is once again finding its footing.
The business is settling into its new location (734 East Lake Ave. #16) while expanding its programming and services for children and adults both online and in-person.
Owner Phoenix Artemisia says that the past three months have been a whirlwind, but things are finally coming together.
“It settled down for a while, and it was very joyful here for a couple months,” she said. “But then Delta hit, and we had to pivot once again. We’ve gone back online for some classes, and [in-person] for others. We’re sort of in both worlds now.”
Earlier this summer, Watsonville Yoga moved from its studio on the corner of Main and West Beach streets, where it had been for four years, to one in a small business complex on East Lake Avenue. The new location is quieter, off the street and comes with more parking.
“I love downtown Watsonville, but it’s so loud and chaotic sometimes,” Artemisia said. “This is a really different setting. We’ve gotten lots of people from the surrounding neighborhoods just walking or biking by. It’s nice.”
Artemisia called the landlord of the complex, who said that an old Herbalife outfit was moving out of the space. At first she worried that the space was too small, at least comparatively to the previous studio.
“But it’s working out really well,” she said. “Basically this place is a super-simplification of what we were already doing.”
A loyal group of people—teachers and students—have followed the business to its new location, which includes one large room for classes, a storage alcove and a side room for massage, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, counseling, and other healing arts.
The business will retain some of its online Zoom classes—and not only because of the pandemic.
“Some people are just happier doing yoga at home,” Artemisia said.
Various yoga classes, from Restorative and Gentle to Hatha Flow and Vinyasa are on the docket, as well as Pilates, Bombay Jam Indian Cardio Dance, Tai Chi, Zumba and African Dance.
They have also started a kids program, with classes in Ballet and Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music.
“I’m super happy about the launch of the kids program,” Artemisia said. “We have such a diverse arts movement happening right here.”
Meditation is another important aspect of what they do, Artemisia said.
“We want people from all walks of life to feel safe and comfortable to learn to meditate,” she said, “to reduce stress, anxiety, and the impact of negative emotions and negative thinking.”
More than 80% of Watsonville Yoga’s teachers are from Watsonville, and 10% from the Corralitos/Aptos area. Half of the staff are bilingual Spanish speakers.
But Watsonville Yoga’s projects reach far beyond the walls of their new studio. They often work with local schools and nonprofits, providing wellness resources and video content for workplaces.
Through a partnership with County Parks Friends, the business is offering free Zumba classes at Pinto Lake County Park. And thanks to a sponsorship from Santa Cruz County Parks, they will also offer free West African dance (Senegalese), with live drumming at Pinto Lake County Park on Sundays in October.
Artemisia said she hopes her studio can be a non-intimidating, welcoming space where individuals can find a like-minded group of people and learn self-care. She called the new location and continued growth of her studio “invigorating.”
“There is a sort of metamorphic energy right now,” Artemisia said. “It’s breathing new life—behind masks—into everything we do.”
For information, class schedules and more, visit watsonville.yoga.