Early their first business venture together, Stephanie Sirico and Jennifer Strober both realized they agree on quite a bit.
“It’s been a really easy partnership so far,” Strober said. “One of us will get an idea for something and ask the other what she thinks of it, and the other person will just always respond, ‘Love it.’ We’re on the same page with pretty much everything.”
Unsurprisingly, Sirico agrees with the assessment.
“It helps to be friends,” she said.
The two, who became friends after working together at the Rockland JCC, are little more than a month into owning Karma Vault, a yoga and fitness studio in Pearl River.
Although neither are from Pearl River -- Strober lives in Nyack and Sirico lives in Stony Point -- the two are already looking into helping out the Pearl River community. One of their students at the studio is Lise Chanin, whose husband, Jeffery Chanin, was killed during Hurricane Sandy when a tree fell on his house during the storm. The studio began collecting donations for the family.
Sirico and Strober are also looking out for those who might not normally have money to spend on something like a yoga class. Throughout the week, they mark different kinds of classes as “donation classes.” While dropping in a class usually costs $15 at Karma Vault, donation classes ask those that attend to give what they can afford. The suggested donation for those classes is $10.
The Karma Vault is currently running a Cans for Class event, collecting non-perishable items for homeless shelters in Rockland County.
“Everybody should have the opportunity to feel good,” Strober said. “Stress is a major factor of disease and sickness. We’re not doctors, but we can help people really feel better.”
Strober added offering the donation classes was also done to reach out to the community. Both she and Sirico said when thinking about opening up a studio, they wanted to open a place that felt like a community. That led them to look for locations actually in communities, opposed to opening one in a strip mall. Sirico and Strober both agree that settling in Pearl River was a good idea.
“We love it here,” Sirico said. “The people are so warm, so welcoming. The other businesses too. After we opened, a few nearby businesses sent us food to welcome us to the neighborhood. There aren’t any other yoga studios in the area, so people have stopped in to grab a schedule and just thank us for coming here.”
The studio offers a wide range of classes, from various types of yoga to pilates to meditation, and even classes specifically for children, breast cancer survivors and those looking to become yoga certified instructors.
Strober, a certified personal trainer, pilates instructor and wellness coach, is actually taking that class currently. Sirico has been a professional yoga therapist for 17 years and is a certified instructor in a few different kinds of yoga, as well as pilates.
They also offer massage therapy and Thai yoga bodywork.
“Back in the ‘90s, a lot of places did just yoga,” Sirico said. “Yoga has gotten more popular, but you don’t want to be just a one-stop shop.”
Sirico added that they offer one-on-one sessions, which can be good for people who recently had surgery.
“After you have surgery, a lot of times you have to be careful about how you move your body,” Strober said. “We have a special certified instructor, Amy [Brown], who specializes in movement and how to get energy back after surgeries. The individualized help is more gentle and it helps to make sure someone isn’t doing something harmful to themselves after surgery, which might be harder to see in a class of people.”
They also offer small group classes if there’s enough interest that can help people who battle things like anxiety or depression.
“Those small groups, not only are people exercising together, but they can act as a support group for each other,” Sirico said.
That was the idea behind the breast cancer survivor class, which is a 12-week program where the students meet twice a week and work to regain energy and strength while looking to restore the ability to complete daily tasks.
But for those just looking to some exercise, Sirico said yoga is a great way to do it.
“Yoga is for every body type,” she said. “It’s a much more individualized practice that works the entire body. You don’t get that in a gym.”
The studio offers classes seven days a week starting as early as 9 a.m. and with the latest classes starting at 7:45 p.m. most nights. They offer a lunchtime express class that lasts 45 minutes for those looking to possibly sneak in a workout during their lunch break. Strober said having a wide time range of classes to try and help those with families ensure they will be able to attend at least a class a week.
“As a mom of two kids, I understand how difficult it is,” she said. “You give everything to them and even doing yoga for an hour a week, it really does help.”
The Karma Vault is located at 14 East Central Ave., Pearl River and can be reached at 845-800-5063. It's official website is www.thekarmavault.com.