By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough- On Aug. 12, there will be a new yoga studio in Westborough that will feature a variety of traditional classes but some that will also have a different type of twist.
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio, located at 30 Lyman St., Suite 108B, in the Westborough Shopping Center, is owned by husband and wife team Ajay and Ritu Kapur. The couple, who live in Hopkinton, were inspired to open a yoga studio, they said, after realizing the benefits of how their own yoga practices have positively affected their lives. They also hope to bring elements of their own particular backgrounds into the classes that they will teach.
The couple had been mulling the idea of opening a studio for about a year, they said.
When they saw the Lyman Street studio, they knew they had found the right spot. The 1,100-square-foot space was actually home to another yoga business several years ago so little was needed to renovate the spot.
The name “Sohum” comes from the Sanskrit mantra meaning “I Am That,” which, according to Vedic philosophy, means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality.
Ritu has her advanced degree in Occupational Therapy and has worked for over two decades with patients in hospitals and nursing homes throughout New England. She has been a certified yoga teacher since 2009. As such, she hopes to offer the benefits of her experience in both disciplines to her clients, particularly those who may have had a stroke, have multiple sclerosis or other debilitating diseases or conditions. She offers private Yoga Therapy sessions to clients who may have difficulty participating in group classes due to their medical conditions.
“My classes will focus on a gentle approach and emphasize alignment and breathing,” she said. “It will be calming and restorative. I want to make it more accessible to those who maybe thought yoga wasn's for them because they are not super fit or flexible.”
Ajay has his Ph.D. in neuroscience and is an information technology professional. He will be teaching classes that focus on the many benefits of meditation.
He will also lead another class that doubles as a club of sorts and feature a relatively new type of yoga: laughter.
The Japa Manifestation Meditation and Laughter Yoga club, which will meet from 6:30-7 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, will offer a combination of chanting, meditation and laughter. Laughter yoga exercises help stimulate the release of endorphins to elevate mood, reduce stress and strengthen the immune system.
The club concept, Ajay said, is a way to help people feel more connected to each other instead of just attending a class, but not really getting the chance to interact with others.
Eventually, he added, the studio hopes to have the club participate in community volunteering initiatives. The Kapurs also hope to have book clubs and spiritual discussions.
“We want this [studio] to be a way to help people feel more of a community involvement,” he said. “Not only will you develop a network that you can use for your own benefit, you can use it as a way to help others.”
The couple is already putting that philosophy into place by creating a program to teach to the residents of the Willows at Westborough complex.
The schedule, which can be viewed on the studio's website, www.sohum.org, will feature a wide variety of classes for all needs, including beginner level, children, senior citizens, athletes and cancer survivors.
Class passes may be purchased; there will also be a drop-in option. To welcome new students, the studio is currently offering an introductory discount for a limited time. For more information visit the studio's website www.sohum.org, call 508-329-3338, or email [email protected].