Kelly Corazzi has been practicing yoga for over 10 years now, nine of which she has been teaching. Starting yoga as a way to get through a tough time in her life, she quickly realized that she had a love for it and wanted to teach it to others.
After receiving her instructive training at Power Yoga Works in Philadelphia, she has been spoiled with the amount of private studios that are located in the city. When she came back to Northeast Pennsylvania to share her knowledge of the art, she soon realized that the only way to participate in yoga was to go to a gym or practice at home while watching a DVD. Teaching classes at a gym for a time made her realize that the setting and vibes she received from being there were not at all how yoga should feel.
“There was no yoga here when I started,” said Corazzi, a Peckville resident. “I knew that I wanted to teach, but I knew that if I was going to teach, it had to be in a studio.”
Taking a brave leap in 2008, she opened Prana Yoga, a donation-based studio located at 960 Prescott Avenue in Scranton. A successful four years in Scranton has shown that there is an energetic passion and desire for yoga to be taught, so she decided it was time to expand her business, bringing it right here to Wilkes-Barre.
“We have a wonderful community in Scranton. It's doing fantastic,” Corazzi said. “It couldn't be better, so I'm expecting that it will take off here once people understand how it works.”
Prana Yoga is a donation-based studio, which means that there is no obligation for people to pay to take classes. Instead, the studio suggests a donation of $10 for each class. This way of teaching yoga may seem different, but the Scranton location has been functioning very well on the idea. Corazzi knows that when people have the money to pay, they will.
“I always said that if I had a studio, it would have to be donation-based. I've always wanted to do that, and I have some friends that have donation studios. People can pay whatever they can afford. We just want them to come to class. We want yoga to be available for everybody.”
Prana Yoga offers what is called Vinyasa yoga, which is a type of yoga that coordinates all of the regular stretching exercises with breathing techniques. Vinyasa is not hot yoga, but they keep the room warm at 80 degrees so that people work up a bit of a sweat during classes.
During yoga sessions, there is no pressure at all. Instead, Corazzi encourages people to do only what they are capable of and work up from there.
“If you can breathe, you can do yoga. Anyone can do it,” said Corazzi. “There's nothing to be afraid of. We're really very warm here and not intimidating.”
The studio is open seven days a week, offering classes at various times throughout the day. Most classes are 75 minutes except for classes at noon, which are 60 minutes. On Sundays, there is a special candlelight session that takes place at 6 p.m.
People may feel uncomfortable about taking a yoga class in a public setting at first, but Prana Yoga is a no-pressure, easy-going studio, accepting all levels of yoga and treating each client as if they are a beginner. Until the studio really gets a feel for what kind of people are going to come to class, they are going to keep each class at a beginner level.
“Yoga studios can be intimidating, but we're not here,” said Corazzi. “We're nurturing and welcoming. Anyone who comes to our studios can tell you that.”
The grand opening of the Wilkes-Barre studio will be on Sunday, April 14, with the first class starting at 11:30 a.m. and last class starting at 5:30 p.m. There will be refreshments, artists, chair massages, and live musical entertainment by Mark Woodyatt.
“I've had some people who have said yoga has changed their lives. It made them healthier and stronger, mentally and physically. Everyone who takes yoga is just happier and healthier. It's an amazing thing.”
To view the full schedule for Prana Yoga, visit pranayogadunmore.com.