Stefanie Finocchio and Suzanne Dufresne are helping transform and improve bodies and minds at their new yoga and massage studio located at 526 Shirley Street.
They co-owners and certified yoga instructors opened The Yoga Lounge on Sept. 2 and the response has exceeding their expectations.
“It’s definitely better than we anticipated – our minds are blown away with how many people have come through the door,” said the 27-year-old Finocchio, a 2004 graduate of Winthrop High School. “It’s fascinating. The response from people in Winthrop has been awesome.”
Dufresne, 48, sensed the excitement even before they opened the doors.
“Right from the start in August there was a lot of excitement when we were putting the studio together,” said Dufresne.
Finocchio said those who have tried yoga classes at The Yoga Lounge are becoming regulars. “People are coming to classes and they’re staying committed and bringing other people,” she said.
What was the inspiration to open a new business?
“I’m from Winthrop and Suzanne is from Revere and she had a home studio for seven years,” said Finocchio. “We had both been teaching at Saanti Yoga Studio in Winthrop and we both had the same goal of wanting to open a studio. It happened quickly. Everything fell into place. The biggest thing we wanted to do was create a community for people in Winthrop and the surrounding areas to have a space to come and practice yoga, meet new people, and feel safe.”
Dufresne feels the studio is well on the way to establishing a yoga community. “After two months we feel we have built a community and people are becoming friends here.”
The name “Yoga Lounge” was inspired by Finocchio and Dufresne wanting to host “tea lounges” on Wednesdays and Thursdays after classes. Clients sit around and enjoy tea and talk about classes.”
In addition to yoga classes, Dufresne, a Reiki master, offers Reiki massage while Finocchio, a massage therapist, offers Thai-yoga-range-of-motion massages at The Yoga Lounge.
“Reiki is hands-on or hands-off energy healing,” explained Dufresne. “Basically clients are on massage table and they are fully clothed and I provide an energy massage. The energy comes through my hands and on to the client for relaxation and emotional healing.”
Finocchio and Dufresne teach 17 classes a week that range from 60 to 90 minutes in length.
“In my opinion a well-rounded yoga class consists of breath, meditation, and movement,” said Finocchio. “All the classes are different but to some degree all classes consist of those three elements. We have beginners’ classes, power (vinyasa) classes (for developing strength and flexibility and improving posture), and Yin yoga classes (that are designed to help alleviate tight muscles).”
The two women believe that yoga can be very beneficial to individuals who have stress in their daily lives.
“When you walk in to our yoga studio, you still may have a lot on your mind,” said Finocchio. “Once you get on the mat, you’re trying to let go of all that stress. They call it the ‘chitta vritti’ – the stuff that clogs the mind and the brain. Here you are able to reassess all that stuff that was clogging your brain and most of the time you find that those things weren’t really that important. A good analogy is that we help people find clarity when the dust settles.”
Yoga students will notice beautiful artwork on the walls of the studio, notably a painting of Ganesh, the Hindu deity of removal of obstacles. Joanna Ciampa is the Winthrop artist responsible for the eye-catching art.
“Joanna is a mind-blowing artist,” said Finocchio. “There are no words to describe her.”
“Joanna is so humble. She comes and practices yoga here and when people find out she’s the artist, they’re awestruck.”