by Catharine Eberhart
If you've ever enjoyed a deep breath, a peaceful relaxation pose or stretched your hamstrings during a yoga class at Purna Yoga East (formerly East 2nd Street Yoga and Massage) you can thank Jodi and Cliff-visionaries for Clayton's music and art scene at the Coffee Mill and FlipSide in downtown Clayton.
Because they had a dream to bring music and the arts to their business in Clayton and to encourage the creative expression of the the human spirit in it's multitude of forms I was able to live out my dream of teaching yoga and having a proper yoga studio for Clayton.
Back in 2000 their son Zac was a student in my 4th grade class at Poe Montessori Elementary School where I also taught the teachers and students at the school yoga stretches and breathing techniques. It was mostly a survival tactic for me in a hectic setting often laden with stress. The kids, teachers and I would find respite doing the different poses and guided meditations to relax and refocus our minds for the rest of the school day.
Zac shared the yoga techniques with his parents and would encourage his family to do yoga together! When Cliff and Jodi purchased the Coffee Mill and committed to living their dreams of creating a venue for community, coffee, independent music and local artist they asked if I would consider teaching yoga at their shop. I was happy to have the opportunity.
Cliff and Jodi were two of the first students to attend the yoga classes on Monday night after the latte machine was turned off. Local artist Cheryl McCardle and now husband of mine and co-owner of Purna Yoga East, Bob Maiers, also attended the classes. We'd move the cafe tables decorated by local high school student artists out of the way and roll out our yoga mats on the floor. Everyone loved the warm smell of roasted coffee beans in the air and the art that lined the walls. Cliff would serve up tea after class and our sense community expanded.
From those early beginnings Cathy Marraccini wrote and article for the Clayton News Star about the yoga classes and our attendance grew. You can still read that article on on the Coffemill web site. We moved the classes into what is now the FlipSide. Cliff would turn on the propane heater in the winter for us and during the summer we'd run fans trying not to stir up too much dust from the back storage area and stay cool. Elementary school teachers Goria, Anne and Clarrise joined us for class during their summer breaks to enjoy the benefits of the yoga classes.
Another one of the yoga students, Julia then a physician's assistant at Johnston Memorial, proposed I look for a space to have a studio as plans were being made to renovate the current yoga class space for the FlipSide. That is where my dream really took off. I looked at several properties but the timing wasn't right. We moved our classes out to Riverwood and then to the Clayton Center where we taught until last year. I know how many held and worked tirelessly to have the dream of The Clayton Center manifest and I am forever grateful to them, too.
Last July my dream of having a fully equipped yoga studio came true when we opened the doors of Purna Yoga East. We even have beautiful old brick walls just like in the FlipSide. If it weren't for Cliff and Jodi of the Coffeemill and Flipside that dream would never have taken place.
So as they transition to live out their next life dreams I salute and honor them with deep gratitude. I know it has been tough hard work to run, manage and grow their business and often not with out controversy, but it is out of their creative spirit and determined will (they might say a little insanity, too) they brought what is now a place for great food, arts and music for our downtown to Clayton! I know the new owners of the FlipSide and Coffemill have dreams of their own that will hopefully grow others dreams, too! I wish them all the best.
For more information about yoga classes visit our web site Purna Yoga East or call 919-270-4892. We offer safe classes for new and experienced students 7 days a week!