The first time I walked through the doors of breathe Yoga & Juice Bar in Pittsford, NY, I was on my way to Erie, PA, where my daughter was a college student. She was struggling with major disappointments and the experience of being in a situation that was ultimately a major-league bad fit. I was on my way to bring her some mom love. At the time I was in a local 200-hour yoga teacher training program and Judiann, my teacher, mentioned what an incredible studio breathe was. This was 2008.

A quick jaunt off the thruway, I decided to leave early and catch a class on the way. This decision would change the course of my life in ways I could never have imagined.
I had never been to breathe and could clearly tell people knew one another as the ‘buzz’ in the yoga room was festive and joyful. Rather than feel an outsider, I was welcomed at check in. The teacher made contact with me and asked my name before the class started. I immediately felt at ease.

The class was hot. Really hot. But it was amazing! Inspired and physically demanding but this teacher was so down-to-earth! She was clear and inviting, acknowledging challenges and encouraging us to make the practice our own. I could feel the specialness of what was happening here.

It gets better. At the end of class Mary, the instructor, shared a brief reading about being a round peg and trying to cram yourself into a square hole. Sometimes, she read, the right choice is to simply leave the situation that doesn’t fit. On my way to see my daughter in exactly this circumstance, the reading felt highly personal and utterly perfect. I was moved to tears. I approached Mary at the end of class to ask her to provide the source of the reading. Smiling broadly, she turned, picked up her book and ripped out the page! “No!”, I exclaimed. “We don’t rip books!” She laughed and reassured me that this was her tear off copy. I knew I had found my yoga home.

Who are these people? I thought to myself on the way to Erie. It wasn’t just the teacher, it was everyone. The people behind the counter, the teacher, even the students.
I wanted more, and began to travel regularly to Rochester to take classes at breathe. I brought my friends. I brought my husband. I preached about breathe to anyone who would listen. I lobbied for breathe to open in Syracuse. The trip was long, and it was a half a day commitment to take a class. One day, planning a trip to breathe, my husband was on the website looking for a class, and noticed a “franchise” tab. He picked up that ball and began to set it in motion. Here we are, three years later, ready to open in our community. We have completely reorganized our lives, joyfully, to do this.

Breathe is bigger than me, bigger than my family, bigger than the amazing group of breathe trained teachers who will offer classes in our Syracuse location. Breathe is a movement. We are simply the trustees. Cyndi, founder and owner of breathe, says that she didn’t so much conceive breathe as she was entrusted with it. This is not a concept, but a lived-truth for her. The impact is profound. Breathe is a place where love passes through, where lives are significantly changed, where community is created and people empowered to live an authentic and inspired life. We are passionate about sharing this with our community.

My very best,

Donna
franchise owner