As much as the pandemic presented a hardship to her yoga business, Raquel Vamos still saw an opportunity.

“I just trusted the universe — as hippie as that sounds,” said Vamos, who owns Free Spirits Yoga in Sayville, now located at 247 W. Main St.. “I decided to focus on my yoga practice. Every day. So I did six hours of yoga, every day.”

Vamos, 33, explained that people were really going to need yoga once the state permitted yoga studios to open again.

“I really focused on the craft of what I do, so that when people come back, I have all of the tools to help them get out of their anxiety,” she said. “I was like ‘I’m not going to let this defeat me.’ I’m just going to take it as an opportunity to practice, and then I’ll have so much to give.”

So in August, when the state announced that gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios could re-open, Vamos re-opened the Sayville business in a new streetside studio, at the west end of Main Street between the popular Bunger surf shop and The Shabby Tabby Cat Café.

She also opened a second yoga studio, Free Spirit Warrior Yoga in Miller Place. Vamos and her two partners, Carlyn Burczyk and Chris Cardinale, now own the Miller Place studio, together with Dawn Stidd, who founded the formerly named Peaceful Warrior.

“I think people were surprised how relaxed I was. People around me were nervous. But when I went into (the class), it was just like second nature,” said Vamos. “Because I was so in the moment. I’m not consumed by this fear like everyone else is. Being in the present moment I think is helping others be in the present — like laughing again.”

Vamos, a former pediatric nurse, has taught yoga for 12 years. About eight years ago, Vamos and co-inventor Dov Vargas introduced the world to the Dharma Yoga Wheel, a plastic mechanism shaped to match the contour of the spine and help aide in back bending. Celebrities and numerous NFL players have taken to social media to praise the product.

After touring the world promoting the Dharma wheel, Vamos opened Free Spirits Yoga with Burczyk in a second-floor studio on South Main Street in 2019. They had closed shop there and were set to swing open the doors at their new location on April 1.

But the pandemic and the state had other ideas. Now, about five months after the business’ re-opening, Vamos said business is about one-third of what it was pre-COVID-19.

“A lot of people are scared still,” she said. “We’re not banging on people’s doors to come, we’re just creating the space, and then whoever comes, they come with their own free will.”

But the new Sayville location is paying off.

“They’re always foot traffic. And it’s much easier now to tell people where I’m located,” Vamos said. “When it was upstairs, people didn’t even know we existed. We’d get one walk-in a month, and now we get about 10 walk-ins every week. We’re more visible to the public.”

More about Free Spirits Yoga in Sayville

  • Classes are held each day of the week, starting as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 8 p.m.
  • Hot and hatha yoga classes are offered, as well as special weekly meditation sessions.
  • Online streaming is available.
  • Massage therapy, acupuncture, reiki and energy healing services are also available, by appointment.
  • There’s a really cool wellness gift shop and chill lounging around area.

More about Free Spirit Warrior in Miller Place

  • Classes are held each day of the week, starting as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 8 p.m.
  • Hot and hatha yoga classes are offered, as well as aerial yoga and singing bowl meditation sessions.
  • Online streaming is available.
  • The final touches are being put on healing rooms that will offer massages, acupuncture, facials and other sorts of mind and body pampering.

Raquel and the Dharma Yoga Wheel

A look around Free Spirits Yoga

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