“You don’t come to a class, you come to practice and find whatever it is you need.”
This is how Jerome Schlafer, co-owner of newly opened Samskara Yoga & Healing, describes the concept he and business partner, Chelsea Snyder, recently debuted in the Dulles Retail Plaza of Sterling.
While this location is the duo’s first, Schlafer and Snyder are not new to the wellness community in Northern Virginia. Schlafer worked as a yoga instructor at Lifetime Fitness for several years before deciding to venture on his own and start Mats 4 Mindfulness, a project that delivers yoga mats to under-served populations around the world. Snyder, too, has a healing background, as well as experience in marketing and entrepreneurship through her digital and print publishing company, MojoWriting, LLC.
The first venture Schlafer and Snyder created together was the LoCo Urban Wellness Expo in 2018, which brought local businesses and entrepreneurs together to share their perspective solutions for better living.
Yet since they met just over two years ago, Samskara Yoga & Healing has been their passion project. While the physical location of the business is new, the pair has been leading practices for members of the community at local libraries, festivals and other neighborhood events for a few years, spreading their belief that yoga is a personal experience meant for all bodies.
“It was just about serving the community and making yoga accessible to anybody,” says Schlafer. “We are here for the people who you would not normally see in a yoga class, large bodies and small bodies, special needs, whatever it is. It was really happening and we needed a place.”
There are currently 14 teachers at Samskara who are all certified to instruct and have a similar understanding of the practice as Schlafer and Snyder. Classes currently offered at the studio include ashtanga, viriya yoga, vinyasa, yin, restorative and a few that the duo created themselves. There are also practices for kids as young as 12 months old, reflecting the owners’ belief that starting yoga from a young age is a great way for little ones to understand their own minds and bodies.
“We’re not serious,” says Schlafer. “We are going to help you relax. When you get to that point where things get tough, it’s about finding how you can release.”
The new site, which was once home to a My Gym, is tucked in a narrow space of the retail plaza, which will soon be easy to locate with the unveiling of its company logo atop the entrance. The studio is made up of three rooms—Journeys, which can fit about 50 people, Reflections (named due to its mirrored walls) and the Healing Room, home to the healing concept of the business that will bring in local experts in things like reiki or meditation for clients to utilize.
“I wanted to give people a space to ask questions and discover the various wellness solutions that exist,” says Snyder. “Bringing that to this space seemed like a natural part of what we are doing here.”
The studio officially opened its doors on Friday, Aug. 23, with a week of free trials and is now starting its regular practice schedule, as well as workshop offerings, which you can find here. In the coming weeks, Schlafer and Snyder will be adding items to the space, including a take-one, leave-one book shelf with mental health-inspired books, and also a place in the front for people to purchase goods from local companies in NoVA.
For Schlafer, the design of the space, consisting of three curved walls throughout, is an essential element of the practice that goes on within it.
“We all have curves in our lives,” says Schlafer. “Everything moves in a flow but nothing’s ever a straight line. And so you can come here and find what you need, find your journey and just let it be.” // Samskara Yoga & Healing: 22000-102 Dulles Retail Plaza, Sterling; prices vary
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