One door closes, another opens in Chestnut Ridge

BY CAROLYN JOHNSON

I recently wrote about how disheartening it was to see many small businesses closing in a strained economy. Within days of writing that article, I heard wonderful news: two renowned yogis are opening a yoga studio in the same area where a beloved local store had closed. I recall the adage, “one door closes, and another opens.” Let us hope that this is a sign of good things to come.

Husband and wife yogis Charles and Lisa Matkin are known to thousands of yoga students through their appearance on the Yoga Zone line of videos and National television shows, currently shown on Comcast and Wisdom Television and Hulu Television and as the previous directors of Teacher Training at Yoga Zone and Satsang Yoga and the co-directors of Mind-Body Therapies at Health a complimentary wellness center in New York City.

Their new studio, Stepping Stones Yoga in Chestnut Ridge, offers a variety of classes and levels, from challenging heat-building classes to gentle restorative, as well as specialty courses in Therapeutic Yoga, Couples’ Yoga and Twelve Step Recovery workshops. A studio blessing party was held at the newly renovated studio on December 21, also celebrating Winter Solstice. Lisa and Charles hope this sacred space will allow people to go into the darkness to find the radiant light that illuminates the way along the stepping-stones of their lives.

In Manhattan, the Matkins are senior teachers at Yoga Works. Their philosophy of yoga as a path to self-knowledge and physical and emotional healing radiates throughout their teaching. The Matkins’ vision for the studio will be to create a sacred space of transformation for people to gather and grow together, to deepen relationships with self and community. They are hoping that Chestnut Ridge, the midway point between their Garrison home base and New York City, will become a welcoming center for many yogis. Ultimately they would like to expand it to offer spa services, a tea salon, juice bar and retail shop.

As the yogi/proprietor Lisa Matkin sees it, a new day is dawning.

“We are giving birth to a new yoga studio! It’s a feeling of being truly alive and expansive. When you give birth to a baby…well at least my experience was that it brought me to a place where I had to dig down and find out the dormant strength that was lying untapped deep inside of me to bring this baby into the world…I even told my two kids it’s like we have an addition to the family…I we will need your patience for this next little while but ultimately it is going to be a wonderful thing that will bring us closer to this new community Chestnut Ridge we are so in love with.”

Why did the Matkins choose Chestnut Ridge? An effervescent Lisa answers, “When we first put our kids in to the Green Meadow Waldorf School the first thing I did was walk into the Hungry Hollow Co-op and ask where was the closest yoga studio. No one could tell me. Some said that people were teaching out of their homes and others said there were studios about 15, 20 minutes away. I thought to my self, there needs to be a yoga center here. Very soon after that we stumble across a sign in the window that says ‘store for rent’…I looked in the window and saw potential. We finally made contact with the owners and a month later we were doing demolition and making plans.”

Charles Matkin is a third-generation yogi originally from Vancouver, Canada who began his formal study in yoga and meditation at the age of five. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Theatre from Maharishi International University, which included training in Ayurveda. His training includes certifications from the Yoga Zone and Jivamukti schools and extensive education in the Iyengar approach to Yoga. His writing on Therapeutic Yoga is featured in Yoga Journal and many wellness magazines. Among his favorite teachers are Leslie Kaminoff and Glenn Black. He has been on the faculty of Omega, Kripalu and The Open Center.

Lisa Bennett Matkin has been teaching yoga for twenty years. She was trained through personal mentorship from Alan Finger, and her teachers include Angela Farmer, Glen Black, and Kevin Gardiner. Lisa’s Yoga Zone: Power Yoga video was rated number one by Natural Health Magazine, and her classes have been rated as the “best high energy in the country” by Allure magazine. She co-directed the Teacher Training at the Mind Body Therapy Department at Haelth, a complementary Health Care Center in NYC founded by Dr. William Fair.  She has been on the faculty of Kripalu, Omega, and The Open Center. Lisa is the star of Anchor Bay’s “Healing Yoga” line of videos, which are currently available, and she has participated in writing, developing, and producing over twenty-three retail videos and DVD releases. She is currently a contributing editor at Fit Yoga Magazine, and has also contributed to numerous other publications. Lisa’s teaching style finds inspiration from her own life challenges and experiences, which she shares generously from her heart and spirit to guide others to reconnect with their own uniqueness.

On January first and second, classes will be complimentary, but donations will be accepted for MidnightRun.org. In over 1,000 relief missions per year, Midnight Run volunteers from churches, synagogues, schools and other civic groups distribute food, clothing, blankets and personal care items to the homeless poor on the streets of New York City.

For class schedule and further information about this new studio, visit http://steppingstonesyogastudio.com and https://www.facebook.com/#!/steppingstonesyoga.

In an upcoming issue, the Rockland County Times will feature local gyms, dance and yoga studios, places where you can realize your intentions for the New Year. Please send your favorite Rockland County places (including helpful instructors, trainers, etc.) to get fit, indoor or outdoor, public or private, to cjohnson@rocklandcountytimes.com, or post it on The Rockland County Times Facebook page.