Colleen McCaffery of Mattituck has been practicing yoga for more than a decade. But she only began pursuing the tradition more seriously after a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in March 2015.
She found the ancient practice and its focus on balance to be a welcome antidote for the debilitating disease, which affected her equilibrium. That, coupled with medication and a modified diet incorporating fermented foods, has helped her manage her symptoms.
“It’s the best medicine,” she said. “Because I do yoga, I am in touch with my body. My balance is a little better. I am not tired as much.”
Now she wants to share those benefits with the Mattituck community. She recently completed a 200-hour teacher certification course and has opened Aura Yoga, a new studio and clothing boutique on Pike Street.
The studio will offer hot and warm yoga, various vinyasa classes and Forrest Yoga, an approach that focuses on taking the benefits of yoga beyond the mat.
The hot classes reach 102 degrees in the 550-square-foot studio. If that sounds like too much, the warm classes only get up to 80 degrees. The infrared heating system leaves the humidity at 30 percent during heated classes. Room temperature classes are offered as well.
“It enables you to move into poses you might not be able to without the heat,” Aura instructor Lorraine Hayden said of the hot classes.
A longtime hair stylist, McCaffery noted parallels between teaching yoga and doing hair. Mainly, she said, they are both forms of self-care that lift the spirit.
“It’s not how [clients] look when they leave, it’s how they feel,” she said of her other profession. “I love people and our conversations always lead to the heart.”
She will also offer salon services in the studio. A boutique offering yoga clothes and street wear is located in the front of the store.
McCaffery’s passion for yoga is evidenced by how quickly she took over the space — formerly home to Blue Sage Day Spa, which has relocated to Main Road — after first touring the building.
She signed a lease Sept. 21 and within a week her crew had knocked down four walls, put up two more, painted and added a padded floor in the studio. It officially opened Sunday.
“When I get something in my head, I go for it,” McCaffery said. Of course, it helps that her twin brother is Russell Holmes, co-star of Discovery Channel’s “Garage Rehab,” and that her husband, Tommy, is a skilled jack-of-all-trades.
“I feel that I am providing a service,” she said of the new venture. “Plus, I have a space to do yoga every day.”
Aura Yoga is located at 140 Pike St., Mattituck. For more information and class schedules visit aurayoga.studio.
Photo: Colleen McCaffery inside Aura, her new Mattituck yoga studio. (Credit: Vera Chinese)