LIVERPOOL, N.Y. — When Samadhi Yoga Syracuse opened at 101 1st St. in the village of Liverpool in March 2021, owner Bridgette Maney had just two people come to the studio’s first class. On a recent Sunday she looked out her office window and saw 15.
“I just can’t say enough about the area and the people of Central New York,” she says in an interview with CNYBJ about the support she has received. “They’ve been my biggest cheerleader.”
Originally from the Binghamton area, Maney returned to CNY at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to help her sister — Maureen Maney, a partner at personal-injury law firm Greene Reid & Pomeroy, PLLC — in Liverpool with her son after schools went remote.
Bridgette had been living in New York City and continues to work remotely as a publicist for ABC — working on shows such as “American Idol”, “Jeopardy!”, and “The Conners” — and at Robin Roberts’ Rock n’ Robin Productions. She has also worked on “Good Morning America” and on the final season of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Now, though, Maney is a full-time Liverpool resident and happy to be here.
“I showed up with a backpack, I thought I’d be here for three weeks,” Maney quips. That was in the spring of 2020. She had been practicing yoga for 20 years and had private clients in New York City. So when she saw the “For Rent” sign at the 2,500-square-foot space at 101 1st St. in the village of Liverpool — a space her sister told her had formerly been a yoga studio — Maney says she “took a leap of faith”.
Maney’s background in PR helped her with the launch of Samadhi Yoga, but she says many of her outreach programs — like free classes in Washington Park through the summer months — were motivated more by “[feeling] really strongly about making yoga accessible to anyone who wants to try it.”
Maney says it was difficult to grow her business at first thanks to COVID-19-related occupancy restrictions. But after adding the neighboring unit for more studio space and offering virtual sessions, she says she’s been able to grow the studio’s client base, which has been “very exciting.” She adds that most members are now coming to classes in-person, of course following applicable state and local guidance on masks and other safety measures.
While Maney is the only employee at Samadhi, four other instructors host classes and sessions including vinyasa and gentle yoga, as well as massage therapy, astrology and tarot-card readings, and Reiki, a Japanese hands-on healing technique. In vinyasa-style yoga, students flow from one pose to the next in a more movement-intensive class than gentle yoga, which according to the Samadhi Facebook page is “focus[ed] on breath and stretching.”
Maney and the Samadhi instructors have been working to develop new classes and programs like meditation and sound journeys. Samadhi also held a “holiday pop-up shop” on Dec. 12, when studio members with side businesses — ranging from photography to jewelry to candle making — set up temporary shops inside the studio. The event was free for vendors and open to the public.
Programs like the pop-up shop and yoga in the park stem from Maney’s deep appreciation for the local community. “I’m just so thrilled to be in Central New York, and I’m just blown away by the support,” she says, adding, “we plan to be here for a very long time.”
Classes at Samadhi Yoga Syracuse run every day of the week except Tuesday. Yoga classes are $15 each. according to its website, but class bundles as well as monthly and yearly memberships are available. A one-year unlimited membership costs $80 per month.