By Maggie Cagney
On the second floor of the office building at 118 E. Main St., in the heart of Carrboro sits a small room with wooden floors and earthy-green walls — the perfect location for a yoga studio, according to Irina Nordstrom.
Nordstrom, 38, opened Soula Grove, a yoga and pilates studio, on March 5.
“This is a perfect area and community,” Nordstrom says. “We are right on Main Street, in a very private space. Eventually, I hope to have a local name.”
Nordstrom moved to Chapel Hill from Wake Forest, N.C., in January 2011 with her husband, Colin Nordstrom, 39, and two children, Hannah, 11, and Xander, 9. She says they are just now finding and getting used to the Carrboro area.
“The children love it here,” she says. “We bike on the trails and play baseball at the middle schools — it’s perfect for us.”
Nordstrom earned her health education degree from Virginia Tech. She also studied yoga at the North Carolina School of Yoga, where she got a traditional yoga education.
“I wanted to share what I had learned at school with others,” she says. “Yoga is grounding, and I know I’ve grown just by doing it.”
While Nordstrom says she is still getting the word out about the studio through the use of flyers, the studio’s Facebook page and the studio’s website, her future vision is to offer children’s yoga, hot yoga and gentle and restorative yoga. Right now, they offer traditional yoga and pilates, every day except Fridays, in a space that accommodates six or seven people, Nordstrom says.
“Soula, to me, indicates the soul. It also indicates warmth, like from the sun,” she says, which is why she hopes to incorporate heat into her business.
She says she practices yoga under hot and humid conditions, hot yoga, in Raleigh now, and it has become one of her passions.
“Hot yoga fuses yoga with the detoxification principle,” she says.
Nordstrom says her classes are not only perfect for beginners. Experienced yoga students can also benefit from the classes.
More importantly, she says she hopes a wide variety of community members will participate in her classes, whether it is the college student taking a break from his or her studies, or the busy mother taking some time for herself after dropping her children off at school.
“Moms are nonstop,” she says. “They don’t have much downtime. Yoga offers an hour and a half to step outside of all of that.
“I wanted to create a spiritual sanctuary, and I wanted to make it personal: You come into the room, take your shoes off at the door, and it feels like home.”
Which is exactly what the studio offers — a serenely “earthy and organic” room with wooden floors and dim candles.
“I wanted to offer a space that is stepping away from the membership-driven gym,” she says. “I don’t want the music to be playing the top 40 hits.”
And so, Soula Grove was born. Nordstrom says she would eventually like to rent a few other rooms in the building and expand the business to become a wellness center. She would like to work with her husband, a physical therapist, and add physical therapy and life-coaching sessions.
Right now, Nordstrom works with two other instructors at the studio, Beth McElroy and Gabriel “Gabe” Anderson.
Anderson, 20, who teaches pilates, says he came to Carrboro from Florida to pursue music. He stumbled upon Nordstrom and volunteered to help teach pilates for Soula Grove.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said, reflecting on meeting Nordstrom. “I grew up in a pilates family, so this worked out.”
As she expands her business, she wants to also add a donation class on Sundays, when the money collected for the class will go toward a different local organization each week.
“I want to teach my kids that there’s more to life than a nine-to-five job,” Nordstrom says. “Soula Grove started with a seed. This is my grove — a place where I want things to grow.”
“Take care of yourself. That helps take care of the rest of the world.”
Visit http://www.soulagrove.com/ to find class schedules, pricing, information about instructors, and more.
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