Located in the small coastal village of Niantic (East Lyme, CT), the Studio offers a wide variety of services, the primary being our beloved Blanket Yoga. This unique yoga practice teaches us to soften into the sweet release of the supportive, restorative asanas that ease tension, pain, and the physical limitations of modern life.
Niantic Yoga Studio is a diverse healing community that fosters both physical and spiritual balance in life by focusing on a restorative yoga practice that utilizes guided awareness and supported yoga poses we call Blanket Yoga.
The mission of The Studio is to always nurture recovery, stability, health, and wellbeing by creating a safe and sacred space that invites each of us to explore, discover and learn new modalities of growth and holistic healing for our bodies, our minds, and our hearts. We encourage a long-term practice that allows slow, steady change that lasts a lifetime.
Kris Montigny began teaching Svaroopa® Yoga in Niantic in 2002. In 2006, Kris partnered with Donna Criscuolo, another independent Svaroopa® yoga teacher, to form the Niantic Yoga Center in its original location at The Bridal Mall on Liberty Way in Niantic. Prior to that both were teaching in their own locations, Kris in Niantic and Donna in New London. They decided to form the Center to create a Svaroopa® community where the teachings could be offered exclusively.
Both were involved with Master Yoga Foundation, the school of Svaroopa® yoga. Kris was a teacher trainer and travelled extensively running training programs. Donna was involved initially with their board of directors, then as Director of Marketing and eventually becoming the Executive Director of the Master Yoga Foundation.
The Center grew at a rapid rate in its first year. Classes doubled in a short time and students began to arrive early to make sure they had a spot on the floor, so as not to lose their place in class. After the first year, Donna hired two more teachers, Kathy Monte and Ann Mehr, to teach at the studio and increased the capacity even more.
In its second year, growth continued and the space sustained multiple classes and students. It even began hosting Master Yoga Programs so that the community could immerse more intensely. Donna was trained as a meditation teacher at the Master Yoga training facility in PA and, forever changed by her training experience, she began teaching meditation and yoga philosophy to the community. This addition created an even deeper connection for students as they began having spiritual experiences of their own.
At the end of the second year, they received an email from the landlord stating that the space was no longer available, and the search for a new location began. After long searches and seemingly no other options, they simply surrendered to Nityananda the idea of the studio continuing: “If it is meant to end here, so may it be.” The next day, they received a call from a realtor whose first name was Fortune.
Fortune walked them across the street to the current location, where it was instantly love at first site. The perfect space had made itself available. It was larger, brighter and could hold the energy that the community had generated in a safe and blessed container.
By this time Kendra Price had begun teaching at the studio. She and Donna coordinated the move from one space to the other, while the dedicated students made it happen. Everything was in the new space within an hour. The studio closed down for one week while the walls were painted and the space was established. There was a dedication ceremony shortly thereafter.
As classes resumed, JoAnn Burrows, the studio’s creative director at the time, began painting the mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” around the perimeter of the new space 108 times. This labor of love for JoAnn helped to seal the studio into a sacred space. JoAnn is also responsible for the large Om symbol in the yoga studio.
After the first year in the new space, Donna turned the keys over to Kendra who continued to keep the tradition alive and vibrant, growing the business even further and teaching three classes each week. Many years later, Kendra passed the keys back to Kris Montigny.
15 years later, in November of 2017 the keys were once again handed over, this time to a student. Tara Filip was a dedicated student of the studio for three years before taking ownership. Coming from the perspective of a student who experienced great relief, change, and evolution through the healing power of the practice, Tara fully understands the importance of Blanket Yoga, the Studio, the students, the teachers and the practice.
During a meditation in the spring of 2017, Tara wrote a life purpose statement that at the time seemed to be without context. Believing there was power in the words, she hung on to them quietly.
In October, with a variety of events along the way, Tara was invited into ownership.
It was then that her life purpose statement revealed the divine context under which it had been created:
What would you be if you could be anything? Isn’t it time to say ‘yes’ to the best version of you yet to be? Happy. Whole. Complete. Yes!