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Great Falls Yoga settling right in

  • Great Falls Yoga on 3rd Street in Turners Falls. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Great Falls Yoga on 3rd Street in Turners Falls. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • A look inside Great Falls Yoga on 3rd Street in Turners Falls. Below, owner Elena Mamatas, who is pleased to open her studio in the village. Recorder Staff PHOTOS/Andy Castillo

  • Elena Mamatas, owner of Great Falls Yoga, inside the 3rd Street studio, Dec. 14, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—



Recorder Staff
Thursday, December 21, 2017

TURNERS FALLS — Six months after opening in a renovated livery stable, Great Falls Yoga is finding stability.

“This panel on the ceiling was a grain elevator,” said owner Elena Mamatas, 31, looking up from a cozy bench just inside 34 3rd St. during a day last week. In front of her, coat hangers graced a large barn door. And through a doorway afternoon sunlight fell onto the floor of a 25-by-27-foot yoga space.

“We’re sharing the practice of yoga because of its myriad benefits. We want to make this space accessible to everyone in our community,” Mamatas said.

The business fills a void in Turners Falls — it’s the only yoga studio in the village — and fits into the town’s tight-knit community, offering discounts for anyone in public service such as police officers, teachers, firefighters, and those working for local nonprofits.

“We want people who are working in the public in different ways to have this practice,” Mamatas said. And for those who might not be in public service, she noted, “if the costs of our classes are prohibitive, you are still welcome here. I want everyone in the community to feel comfortable here regardless of the price. People just need to talk to me.”

Mamatas, who majored in environmental studies at the University of Vermont and previously wrote grants for a nonprofit replanting trees in Peru, graduated as a yoga instructor last December from Yoga Center Amherst. She began renovating the 3rd Street building in March. At the time, it was outfitted as an industrial garage.

Classes at Great Falls Yoga are taught by six different teachers, including Mamatas, in a variety of styles. They include yoga fundamentals for beginners, Vinyasa options for all experience levels, one specifically designed for expecting mothers, another for mothers with babies, a restorative class for relaxation through gentle stretching, and a holistic class that explores more spiritual aspects of yoga.

There’s also a free monthly meditation circle, and periodic workshops usually offered once a month. Over the past year, business has been good, and Mamatas said she’s been welcomed by the community — yogis regularly attend classes from as far away as Athol and Orange.

“People are finding out about us more and more. It’s been a lot of word of mouth. We’re growing every day,” Mamatas said. “We’re mainly just settling in, and adapting our classes as more people come through our doors.”

Six months in, Mamatas said she appreciates that the business has introduced yoga to the community.

Yoga is for everyone. “You just need to be able to breathe,” Mamatas said. “One of the things I’m really pleased about is that some of our most dedicated members are people who tried yoga for the first time here at the studio.”

For more information, and to see a complete schedule, visit www.greatfallsyoga.com.