Sangha Looking for Larger Studio Space

BURLINGTON—Nestled on Main Street, just above Mirabelle’s Bakery, is a small, one-room yoga studio with warm orange walls and a smooth hardwood floor. Sangha Studio, founded in February 2014 by Caitlin Pascucci, has been open for just under a year now, and it’s already outgrowing its home.

Pascucci opened Sangha’s doors in nine days, and after five months it became Burlington’s first non-profit yoga studio. After attending the Yoga Service Council in Upstate New York last summer, Pascucci connected with Hosh Yoga in New York City, a yoga service provider with federal non-profit status. “It just made sense with our original values,” Pascucci says about their one-year partnership agreement. “We’re part of a larger network of yoga service.”

Caitlin Pascucci, Exec. Dir., Sangha Studio PHOTO BY JESSICA DEMAREST
Caitlin Pascucci, Exec. Dir., Sangha Studio

Focused on bringing health and wellness to everyone, regardless of age or income, sangha means “community” in Sanskrit and the studio offers classes open to all skill levels. “Everyone in the area who wants to do yoga comes,” Nikki Pito, a sophomore at Champlain College, says. “It’s not just one group of people, which is cool because everyone gets along really well and you meet a lot of new people.”

Unlike other local studios that cater primarily to specific groups, Sangha’s ten teachers collaborate to provide multiple styles of yoga practice including acro yoga, fluid yoga, vinyasa yoga, and yoga dance. Despite their vast array of classes, the studio itself remains small, at about 450 square feet. This space allows for approximately 12-14 people per class. “Twelve is kind of comfy, and more than that would get kind of packed,” Pito adds.

Inside Sangha Studio on Main Street PHOTO BY JESSICA DEMAREST
Inside Sangha Studio on Main Street

In early January, the studio announced that it was considering moving to a new, larger location. Pascucci and her staff have looked at several spaces, but have found one on St. Paul Street where she says she can see their dreams coming true. By remaining close to Church Street, Sangha believes they can retain current members. Gaining new members might be more challenging without the constant Main Street traffic, but the studio hopes extended class offerings will continue to draw people in.

Pascucci’s ideal space features six floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Lake Champlain and would provide enough space for studios, a check-in area, a changing room, a kitchen, storage rooms, and offices. The studio would like to expand to have two studio rooms and offer several other types of wellness classes. Pascucci is looking to lease out small office spaces to massage therapists, counselors, and other wellness practitioners and has already shown the spaces to a few individuals. She hopes that if Sangha’s board of directors approves the lease on the new space in the coming weeks, more small businesses will join in their endeavors. “We need to commit so that other people will commit,” she says.

Their post on Facebook calls out for community support from donators, renters, and renovators. The new space would need to be outfitted with sound systems and new, yoga-appropriate flooring. Other improvements would be primarily aesthetic, like painting the walls to maintain the studio’s cozy and intimate vibe. Pascucci sums it up saying, “It’s still Sangha. It’s just a larger Sangha.” Should the move occur, the studio will begin a crowd-funding effort to obtain funds for new mats, bolsters, and other yoga accessories.

Sangha Studio’s current space PHOTO BY JESSICA DEMAREST
Sangha Studio’s current space

Currently, the studio offers a weekly drop-in schedule and periodically hosts various workshops and special series. With more space, the staff could provide Bodhi & Mind classes for patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer, as well as other types of therapy. To obtain a sustaining membership, individuals can pay $39 a month to help support the studio and practice as often as they like. Individual classes are donation based, with a suggested donation of $10 per class. This pricing structure would remain the same in the new space, and would allow Sangha to support more people. Currently the studio has 70 members, but could grow to accommodate over 150 regular members.

“If the world was a perfect place, it would be awesome to be open by June,” Pascucci says about the potential new studio. Their current space heats up fast in the summer months, and that combined with close quarters can make classes significantly less enjoyable. The staff would need at least a month to complete the renovations, and would ideally be able to sign the lease for March. Whether Sangha takes the leap or not remains a question. “Everyone would have to be on board,” Pascucci says in reference to her staff and Sangha’s board of directors. Smiling, Pascucci remains hopeful. “We’ll see,” she says.

“Sangha Looking for Larger Studio Space” was first published in The Champlain Crossover in March 2015.