Packed in like sardines is no way to practice yoga, at least not for Sean Tyler. Although relatively new to yoga himself, he said the studios he had been to had only six inches between each practitioner's mat, and were typically in strip malls.
"How can you relax, decompress and leave the world outside when all that's separating you and the hustle and bustle of a mall is a pane of glass?" he asked.
That was the inspiration for his new business, Cairn Yoga, now open at 2011 Dayton Blvd. in Red Bank.
Tyler said he wanted a space that was different — his classes are held in a geodesic dome — but most importantly, easier for clients to find peace in.
Though the space measures 2,000 square feet, classes are limited to 20 people, giving each student several feet between them and the nearest mat. Students also have their own personal oak board to lay their mats on, Tyler said. The outside glass is frosted, and the yogi running the class can project light onto the ceiling of the dome, often creating a peaceful night sky under which to learn.
"I'm a very big fan of atmosphere," Tyler said. "I think the difference between an ordinary and an extraordinary experience is your surroundings. I knew this couldn't be fake, and so everything in the dome is real."
Barring the projected night (or day) sky, the oak benches are real oak and the stones and plants scattered throughout the space are also real. Authenticity, said Tyler, is key to transporting the studio's students to another world.
Tyler said he selected Red Bank for a few reasons. First, the location enabled him to run his business with much less overhead than if he'd chosen a location downtown or on the North Shore. Second was how visible it was. Tyler described the small municipality as "up and coming."
Cairn Yoga had a soft opening in May, and he said the initial response has been excellent.
"The best reaction I've heard from someone walking into the dome for the first time was when someone said, 'I'm not in Red Bank anymore,'" Tyler said. "I think people appreciate the space. Obviously, you can meditate and find peace anywhere, but I hope what we've put together makes it easier and a bit more fun for people."
To introduce themselves to their new neighbors and community, Cairn will be hosting several events in the coming weeks and months. Among those are "Yoga and a Movie" nights, where Tyler and his employees will screen a film on the walls of the dome following a class. Another option will be allowing customers to rent out the facility for a night, sort of like an adult sleepover.
Single classes cost $16 apiece, while a 10-class package is $135. An unlimited monthly pass is also $135, letting the member attend as many classes as desired during that month.
For more information, call Cairn Yoga at 883-5826.