Our location is a big part of what makes Yoga DownEast so special! Our (almost) 4,000 square foot studio building dates back to 1850 (at least!) and has been home to many different enterprises in her past. At one time she was a General Store – what is now the River Studio was the “barn” where feed and grain was stored, and you can see the door in the ceiling to what was once the hayloft. (Now, housing a sparkly disco ball!) In later years there was an IGA on the ground floor. (We hope to eventually return to the center entrance doors and awning the building sports in the photos of her IGA days!) Most recently the home to an antique business – the kind where there’s floor to ceiling cool stuff to look at so you don’t even notice the building itself – we expect we’ll be trying to find creative ways to camouflage the many holes that speak to all the treasures displayed on the walls for many years to come! But perhaps the building’s most significant occupants were the Masons, who owned the building for much of the 20th century.
The second floor is an unexpected gem with walls, ceilings – even beams! – covered in beautiful, ornate tin. This was where the Mason’s held their public suppers. Now, it’s a beautiful space for gatherings and classes that feels like a gigantic living room. But the Jewel remains the 3rd floor – where the Mason’s held their meetings. Although we do not know much about the goings on in these private meetings, we do know the Mason’s prefer to have their halls oriented with the 4 directions – and that is the case here. The ceiling is a barrel vault – which means the acoustics are incredible! There is a small “stage” or dais at the North end of the space – which is where we set up our gongs and crystal singing bowls for Sound Baths on the Full Moon. This is a truly special space that is best appreciated in person.
The setting for the building is yet another aspect of what makes this such a magical place! Right on the banks of the Narramissic River, just about within sight of the dam that holds it back from the tidal waters of the Orland River and Penobscot Bay. Home to much wildlife, it’s not uncommon for yogis to bring their lunch to enjoy on the lawn or deck after class. The lawn is where we have special classes for such occasions as the Summer Solstice or the Equinoxes – when we do 108 Sun Salutations at dawn – overlooking the River and facing east to watch the rising sun. (Yes, dawn on the Summer Solstice is REALLY early! But it’s an experience worth showing up for!)