ABSECON — Meditation and exercise. Relaxation and breathing. Serenity and calm.
Add to that yoga and water.
Owners of a new Absecon studio say there’s an obvious correlation between the two, a synergy that can deepen the experience of a simple yoga pose or an afternoon spent beyond the beach out on a paddle board.
So, they’ve decided to make that combination their business.
Absecon residents Ashley and Bill Haggerty teamed up with their friends and Galloway Township residents Roger and Megan Mussa to open Water+Yoga, a yoga studio on New Jersey Avenue that combines classic yoga classes with regular water excursions. The idea is about deepening bonds, not just through the practice, but with each other.
“It’s about creating a place of togetherness. That’s what the goal is,” Ashley said. “A place to gather, a place to be supportive, a place to empower others through yoga the experience on the water.”
The business they’re in is relationship building. So far in their three months of operation it’s what has attracted new clients and kept them coming back. There are other yoga studios, places to drop in to for a session, but it’s the feeling of community the Mussas and Haggertys are relying on to set them apart.
“I teach a 5:45 (a.m.) class. You’re coming here for the experience, the camaraderie, and the friendship,” Bill Haggerty said. “A few yoga poses alone aren’t going to get you out of bed that early in the morning.”
Right now, Water+Yoga hosts about 20 classes a week and two workshops a month. Come Memorial Day, the water component of the business — the paddle boarding, surfing — will be incorporated. The owners are also developing retreats, taking small classes to various locales around the globe to lean on and learn from local teachers.
Bill and Ashley have studied yoga for the better part of six years and decided to open their studio along with the Haggertys, combining the practice with water activities such as beach yoga, surfing and stand-up paddle board, or SUP, yoga.
Roger Haggerty said it was friendship, followed by a shared passion, that led them to teaming up to start the studio.
“We clicked. We connected. Bill and Ashley are the yogies, Megan and I are the rookies. It’s the perfect marriage,” Haggerty said. “They’re teaching us a lot about yoga. Not just yoga, but about yoga, that yoga can be anything for you.”
Including finding a way to be present in the moment.
“When I go out and teach these classes it’s an experience that forces me and the students on the (paddle) boards to be very present in the moment,” Bill said. “There are so many variables when you’re out on the water. It requires you to let go of everything that happened that day and focus.”
Regular outings and classes for various skill levels — even beginners — is just a component of the business.
Water+Yoga regularly hosts celebrations, as they call them, themed weeklong events that focus on spiritual and mental well-being, as well as fun. Last week’s theme was “aloha,” a Hawaiian greeting that not only encapsulates the spirit of their business but also represents the ideal of the community they’re trying to grow, they said.
“One of our core values is having fun,” Ashley said. “To do things as a community.”
The Haggertys and Mussas stress that their studio is a welcoming place for all, not just those who have experience in yoga or on a surf board. Growing together — students and teachers — is one of their goals.
“When you come into the store you just feel the love,” Ashley said.
Water+Yoga is at 102 New Jersey Ave. in Absecon. For more information see waterandyoga.com. Those who are interested in attending are invited to take their first class for free.