Straight off a Pinterest mood board, The Soulful Place: Yoga and More is a place of healing, balance, and calmness. Aesthetically pleasing tones of pink and white decorate the place while a neon sign with The Soulful Place glows softly behind the welcome desk. A lounge area with a small kitchenette area serving tea and other drinks are tucked into a corner. The whole space exudes peace. Owners Amanda Baker and Emily Gentry are the visionaries behind the tranquil place. They knew that they wanted a space where people can gather as a community in a COVID-friendly environment. This whole idea emerged from the current situation regarding COVID-19. If there is one thing that this pandemic highlighted it was the importance of mental health and doing things to help destress.
Baker said, “I’ve been teaching meditation for a long time, doing yoga for a long time, but finally not being on the road gave me the chance to get certified. So while I was going through that process, I was taking classes at other local studios and talking to other teachers and students and we all were doing the same thing. We’d go and hang out in the parking lot after class.”
The Soulful Place offers yoga classes for all age groups and skill levels. All the classes are taught by certified instructors. Participants are coached through the movements in a safe and gentle manner. On Fridays at 6:30 p.m., a class entitled “Candlelight” is taught under the watchful and calming presence of yoga instructor Alex Lauren. In accordance with COVID guidelines, yoga mats are placed six feet apart from each other. The lights are dimmed and the only glow comes from lit candles placed around your mats. Each movement or flow is explained thoroughly so the participant knows exactly what is happening and is also comforted by the knowledge that they are in safe hands.
Classes run seven days a week with multiple different time options so there’s really something for everyone. Most classes are approximately 60 minutes long while a few are 75 minutes long. Some of the classes include Mindful Flow, Power, Yang/Yin/Tea, and Chair. In addition to yoga classes, they also host private events, a book club with Read Books VB and BioMat sessions.
While yoga might sound like a financial investment to a beginner, Emily Gentry offered some advice. Gentry said, “As a mother of three college students, I would advise my kids to check all the studios and get as many first free classes as you could.” Baker also said that “if anyone asked us, if you’re a college student on a budget, we’ll work with you. The whole point of this is to make yoga accessible to as many people as possible.” Currently the first class one takes at The Soulful Place is free with promo code GOLDENTICKET.
Lauren explained why yoga is her favorite activity to do. Lauren said, “I would say that yoga is single handedly the most introspective area of my life because it’s a place where I know I can step up on my mat and like I said in class, it’s truly such a mirror for how I show up in the world. When I can show up on my mat and begin to release judgement and peel back the layers of conditioning, then I am more easily able to go out into the world and do that and to apply that to other people.”
Lauren brought up an interesting point in that we could all use a little inner peace. Lauren said, “I think that’s especially important in the world right now that is so busy and so loud and that if we just begin to sit with the quiet within ourselves it makes the world more tolerable.”
The Soulful Place is located at 1485 General Booth Blvd, Suite 116 Virginia Beach, VA. For more information about classes and bookings, visit www.thesoulfulplacevb.com or check out their Instagram page @thesoulfulplacevb.
By Faith Macwana