By Ginger DeShaney
With everything going on in the world right now — from the Covid-19 pandemic to the political situation — people are seeking an antidote.
One such medicine comes with a mat.
“At this point, our mental well-being is at the forefront,” said Andrea Corazzini, owner of East Side Yoga & Fitness at 584 E. Broadway. “We’re trying to navigate this new landscape.”
Andrea likes to say that the physical part gets people on the mat, and the mental benefits keep them there. “Exercise helps you get out of your own head. Someone tells you what to do so you can just zone out.”
Yoga offers a sense of peace and mindfulness, Andrea said, something we could all use right now. “It clears your mind as you are taking care of your body. You’re taking care of yourself so you can be there for others.”
Dorothy Bolster, Kerry Nash, and Andrew Rigoglioso attended a yoga class last week.
“[Yoga is] good for our physical and mental health,” said Dorothy. “It’s more meaningful than ever.”
“Yoga gets me through it,” added Kerry. “I don’t think about anything.”
Andrew said yoga definitely helps him cope. “It’s so stressful right now, so any sense of normalcy is so important.
“Yoga takes everything out of you,” he continued. “You leave everything on the mat.”
Since so many people are working from home, hunched over a computer, physical movement helps relieve the stress, said East Side instructor Keely Byron. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in stuff; we have to remember to breathe.”
When the state shut down because of the pandemic, East Side Yoga & Fitness jumped on livestreaming right away. “We didn’t know what we were doing,” Andrea said, noting she asked her instructors if they were willing to use their computers to offer livestream classes.
They were. “I’m really grateful to all my instructors. [They all] stuck with me,” Andrea said. “They are still with me.”
Livestreaming has been so popular — attracting people from all over the country — that East Side will continue to offer that option when the pandemic is over. “We are providing mental and physical wellness to the South Boston community and beyond,” Andrea said.
During the shutdown, East Side also offered outdoor classes by the bandstand at Farragut Park.
Andrea also does personal training, in and out of the studio and via Zoom. East Side offers workshops and the space is available for private events (when things are safe). The studio also has a retail offering, featuring logoed pieces and items from local makers.
The award-winning studio (including the Improper Bostonian’s Best Yoga Studio in 2018 and the 2020 Expertise Best Yoga Studios in Boston) reopened in July, adhering to state guidelines. The studio that normally holds 25 people is limited to seven now, with 14 feet in between. Participants must bring their own mats and blocks.
East Side offers Yoga Sculpt, Heated Power Flow, Yoga Stretch, Flow and Restore, Power Vinyasa Flow, and Yoga Tone.
While other yoga studios have closed because of the pandemic, East Side remains open and vibrant. Andrea credits her wonderful instructors, her amazing landlord (Robert Cassis), her marketing person and rock, Paulina Kozak, and the South Boston community for their support.
“We’re a smaller studio. It’s always been a tight-knit community,” she said. “We’re a neighborhood studio. I think that’s what got us through this.”
Andrea and her husband, Tom Regan (owner of Regan’s Motivated Fitness on West Broadway), give back to the community whenever they can, doing fundraisers, hosting free camps for kids, offering self-defense workshops, providing yoga for vets, and so much more.
“We try to support local businesses,” Andrea said, noting her space can be used for pop-up shops. For the past three years, East Side has teamed up with Publico Street Bistro and Garden to offer yoga classes at the restaurant. With the beautiful weather on Saturday, Keely led a class there on the rooftop deck.
“It’s small businesses helping each other,” said Andrea (featured in the first photo below). “We all thrive off each other. There’s a lot of cross promotion within South Boston.”
Follow East Side Yoga & Fitness on Instagram (@eastsideyogafitness) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/eastsideyogafitness). The website is https://www.east-sideyogaandfitness.com/.