By Lisa Balschunat
Kayla Craft has been practicing yoga for 20 years and has owned and operated the Yoga Kayla studio for the past seven on the second floor of 206 Glen St in Glens Falls.
Since 2014, yoga enthusiasts have climbed an old 20-step wooden staircase to enter into the yoga studio.
In early July, Craft moved her New York State Women Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) down the block to 282 Glen St. She expanded the studio’s offering and renamed the business Grounded on Glen St.
“When I first opened Yoga Kayla, it was just me teaching. But now I have 18 instructors and offer mediation, pilates, teaching certification and retreats,” she said. “Rebranding the business was a must.”
Grounded on Glen St is located on the corner of Glen and South streets. It is now a street-level studio that features group classes, one-on-one private sessions, yoga weekends, urban retreats, wellness programs, meditation and mindfulness classes taught by the 18 certified instructors.
Her first space had room for 10 mats, Craft said. “I took on instructors and quickly outgrew the space. We expanded to the adjacent room, then, again we ran out of space.
“Being on the ground level is really nice. It’s more accessible and people can find us easier. It’s brighter and has a really good vibe.”
Grounded on Glen St instructors focus on wellness, overall health and wellbeing. classes include vinyasa, gentle flow, yin, guided meditation, yogalates, kundalini and kambala disciplines.
Most instructors specialize in one discipline and teach multiple classes. In the new studio, Craft will be introducing a new hatha vinyasa style class, a breath work training class for health care workers to incorporate into their patient care efforts.
“We are passionate about getting people moving and breathing to find focus, clarity and productivity,” Craft added. “My goal is to inspire, empower and motivate people to be educated, committed and responsible for boosting their own health and wellness.”
Classes were conducted online during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was concerned as to whether online classes would really work. People like being physically in a class together … Technology can be a challenge, but I did it,” she said. “We had 30 to 40 people at the start, then it dwindled a bit.”
Online classes kept the business afloat, in addition to $7,500 Small Business Administration COVID-19 relief funds.
“The lockdown was intimidating, but we got through it, and it gave me time to work on the move to this new space.”
Craft was the creative mind behind the Yoga on Glen Street event held in 2018 and 2019 in cooperation with the Glens Falls Collaborative.
“I asked the city of Glens Falls for a permit to close the portion of Glen Street from the circle to the library,” she said. “The first year the city said, ‘No to closing the street.’ But I could hold an outdoor class on the sidewalk. We had a bunch of people that year. The second year, I was granted the permit and over 100 people were doing yoga on Glen Street.”
The event was designed to be inclusive and to build community. Donations to participate benefited the Tri-County United Way. COVID-19 put a halt to the event last year, but Craft plans to bring it back this fall.
For more details about Grounded on Glen St and a class schedule, visit groundedonglens.com.