By Christine Graf
Saratoga Spring’s newest yoga studio, enLiven, is now offering a full schedule of yoga and movement classes.
The studio, located at 120 South Broadway, had a Memorial Day soft opening. Since that time, owner Carrie Winograd Kaufman has been busy hiring teachers and planning class offerings.
Regular classes at enLiven will be taught by one of the studio’s five teachers. Guest teachers will also be conducting special classes and workshops.
Kaufman has been teaching yoga locally for more than 12 years. Five years ago, she quit her job to found enLiven Retreats. After working exclusively on her business for several years, she resumed her career as an internet executive. She continues to operate enLiven Retreats in addition to operating her new studio.
Kaufman’s retreat business has evolved over time to meet the demands of her customers. Part of that evolution included opening a Saratoga Springs studio.
“I opened the studio so I could have a local, physical space that was an extension of the business where we could do one- and two-day mini retreats and workshops and have yoga and other classes during the week,” said Kaufman.
She continues to offer retreats. The next one will be held in Saco, Maine, Oct. 10-13. The four-day retreat will include traditional yoga, yoga with horses, paddle boarding, and boating. The $649 cost includes lodging, meals, tips, and activities. According to Kaufman, people who attend her retreats “never have to take out their wallets.”
“When I started retreats, I wanted to make it accessible to people who couldn’t normally afford to go on a retreat. Most yoga retreats are seven days, plus two days for travel and cost around $3,500 or $4000,” she said. “I didn’t know many people who could do that and take that amount of time out of their lives and pay that much money. I usually do five days, Wednesday through Saturday, or Sunday through Wednesday, so you are only taking off three days of work.”
According to Kaufman, each enLiven retreat is different. It is for that reason that many people have attended multiple retreats. For one woman, the Maine retreat will be her eighth.
“My business had gone through different iterations. Initially, the retreats were very spiritual, but I realized I need to meet people where they were at,” said Kaufman. “I decided to start offering retreats that incorporated yoga, meditation, outdoor activities, and some sort of group bonding component. I found that what people were really looking for was a way to get out of their comfort zone and have fun.”
After realizing that many of her clients were looking for an experience that would help them achieve some sort of personal transformation, she changed the tagline of her company to “Retreats that Transform.”
“Rather than providing the transformation in the retreats, the idea is that you go on a retreat, and it opens up new pathways that lead to some type of transformation in your life,” she said.
Kaufman held her first retreat in Belize in 2013 and has returned there several times. She has also held retreats in Mexico and Costa Rica. Her local retreats are held at Garnet Hill Lodge in North River and Elk Lake Lodge in the Adirondacks.
In previous years, Kaufman offered eight retreats a year. Due to the opening of her new studio, she will offer just three this year. In addition to October’s Maine retreat, she will offer a mini-retreat in the Adirondacks in January. She has not yet chosen the location for her third retreat.
Kaufman is aware that going on a retreat can be intimidating for people who have never attended one. It is for that reason that her retreats are designed to offer people a safe place to try new things.
“There is no expectation that you’ve done yoga, and it’s a safe way to try new activities. It’s an easy way for people to try new things without a lot of pressure, with no expectations, and without any judgment. I try to keep it really light and really fun,” she said.
Many people who attend her retreats are new to yoga. “I probably get more people who don’t do yoga than who do. I find that fascinating,” she said.
Kaufman hopes people who have never practiced yoga will try out her studio where the first class is always free. She is committed to keeping her prices affordable.
“I’ve been teaching yoga in Saratoga for about 12 years, and many people say they don’t do yoga because it’s too expensive,” she said. “I’ve tried to overcome those barriers by making my pricing very reasonable.”
The studio has a drop in rate of $12 per yoga class ($10 for students and seniors). Ten-class cards are available for $100. For more information, visit www.enlivenretreats.com