From Art to Zen: Cavagnaros to open Ocean View yoga studio
Kim and Justin Cavagnaro recently announced the opening of Ocean Vayu Yoga at 29P Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View, opposite the UPS Store and Northeast Seafood Kitchen. The community is being invited to the opening party and ribbon-cutting on Friday, June 17, at 4 p.m. Classes start Saturday, June 18.
The Cavagnaro name might be familiar to Coastal Point readers, because they have both been active members of the local art community since moving to the area in 2002. And, from 2006 until last year, Kim Cavagnaro was the owner of The Artful Bean, located near the post office in Bethany Beach.
“I was working at Japanesque when the space became available, and I thought it would be an incredible place for Justin and me to display and sell artwork, while we sold a few cups of coffee on the side. But, as time progressed, the coffee and food section of the business really took on a life of its own,” said Cavagnaro.
The couple met at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where Kim focused on ceramics and Justin on glass-blowing. Without attending regular classes, they both practiced yoga informally at home. After graduating, a friend invited them to this area, and they fell in love with the scenery and people they met.
As work life at the Artful Bean became more intense, and the business became more successful, they were drawn back to yoga.
“The more we got into it, our lives turned 180 degrees, and we realized that we wanted yoga and our art to be central in our lives. We started by watching DVDs and then going to classes at Involution Yoga in Lewes,” said Cavagnaro.
While, initially, it was the physicality of yoga that attracted Justin Cavagnaro — especially a type of yoga called Ashtanga — shortly after beginning to practice regularly, yoga’s true benefits became clear.
“When I’m working with glass, I tend to go through the same movements over and over for long periods of time. It’s easy to get stiff and, as a result, I’ve always enjoyed stretching,” he said. “Ashtanga yoga has allowed me to slowly strengthen my body and make it more flexible, through various postures that are healing from the inside out. I’ve learned to concentrate on my breathing, clear my mind, stay focused and can enjoy longer days in the studio without feeling fatigued.”
As friends observed the positive changes that the couple experienced through yoga, they asked them to share what they were doing. At that point, Kim and Justin decided to become trained themselves as yoga teachers, and transition their business venture from a welcoming, art-filled, bustling coffee shop to a welcoming studio of calm, mindfulness, strength, healing and art.
“We are fortunate to have found amazing teachers,” said Kim Cavagnaro. “They are amongst the first generation of Americans who studied directly under Indian masters. They are true to the essence of the practice and follow what has been taught for millennia.”
Both are now certified in many aspects of yoga and Reiki, which will appeal to students of all ages and all levels of experience and wellness. Other instructors will also teach at Ocean Vayu, and they plan to have classes in meditation, tai chi and prenatal yoga as well.
Karen and David Jayne were among Kim and Justin’s first formal students. They are owners of Jayne’s Reliable in Dagsboro, a business that requires the strenuous work of lifting, painting, moving and hauling heavy antique furniture and quirky objets d’art.
“We had never thought about yoga before we had to evacuate during Hurricane Sandy. Kim and Justin let us stay with them, and we watched them practice,” recalled Karen Jayne. “When David lay down on a mat on the floor the first time, we all realized that his body was so tight and stiff, he couldn’t lie flat with the back of his head touching the floor.
“He was strong, but he was musclebound. Being taught exactly what to do with ever-so-gentle stretches and positioning, he is now amazingly flexible and can even do backbends!”
“Even more than feeling so much better, physically, the real benefit to me is that I can lose myself in the moment,” said David Jayne. “I can let go of the stress of the whole day. By focusing on each single breath, I feel grounded in a spiritual kind of way. I would never have thought of trying yoga before, and now it’s part of my daily life.”
David Jayne’s parents are in their 80s and live in South Bethany. Gary Jayne is already participating in a “stiff-man’s yoga” class at the Tunnell Cancer Center in Rehoboth. And Barbara Jayne can’t wait for Ocean Vayu Yoga to open so she can take Kim’s chair yoga class for beginners.
“When people think of yoga, they generally think of crazy looking poses, when actually it’s a very internal practice” said Kim Cavagnaro. “Yoga has taught me to be more accepting and less judgmental. We are all just trying to find our way, to find joy and beauty in life. I’ve learned to avoid negativity and criticism.
“My yoga practice has given me the tools to get through sticky situations by always coming back to conscious breathing. This helps lower the heart rate and gets us out of being stuck in the worries of the mind and back into the strength of our body. I used to almost make myself sick with stress, and now I’m calmer, happier and more self-confident.”
The Cavagnaro’s believe passionately in the power of yoga. They are looking forward to sharing their experience, knowledge and skills with the community. As David Jayne advised, “Step out of your comfort zone, and try something new… you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
To learn more about Ocean Vayu Yoga, a description of its classes, schedule, instructors and pricing go to www.oceanvayuyoga.com or call (302) 616-2604.