Yoga makes Farmers Hardware debut
Yoga made its downtown retail debut Friday at the Shoppes at Farmers Hardware, with the opening of Neighborhood Yoga extension store, The Lotus Garden.
The brainchild of local dance icon Valerie Midgett, The Lotus Garden isn't just a store.
"It's a community space," she said.
With an inviting couch and bright colored pillows, the atmosphere threatens to suck you in before you see the merchandise.
The store specializes in yoga clothing and yoga props, but also contains a "Karma Corner," with a spiral rack of pre-owned clothing at cheap prices. After all, "what goes around, comes around," Midgett said.
Much of the merchandise is labeled "Fair Trade," meaning it supports artisans in developing countries.
"As kind of a small independent artist and a business owner myself, I like to support that," she said.
Despite the gifts and apparel on display, the focus is on yoga, a passion of Midgett's for 15 years.
"For me, [yoga] fulfills a lot of things because it's a physical practice ... it's a philosophical practice, and it's a spiritual practice," she said.
Owner and operator of Neighborhood Yoga for five years, Midgett's dance background drew her first to its physical benefits. Yoga quickly became her passion.
"I think my yoga helps me deal with life in a way that allows me to act intentionally... rather than always reacting emotionally," she said.
Yoga has done more than change her life. It has caused a transformation. Midgett recently returned from her first trip to India, what she calls a "pilgrimage," to the land where yoga began.
"A lot of what I learned ... will reveal itself over time in my teaching of yoga," she said.
Neighborhood Yoga, Boone's only independent yoga studio, services about 500 students a month and hosts classes Monday through Saturday, including yoga basics, pranic flow yoga, vinyasa yoga, anusara inspired yoga and more.
Midgett, who also teaches part-time at Appalachian State University, hopes the store and the studio will promote and support each other. The Lotus Garden, "Clothing and Gifts for Body and Soul," is located downstairs at the Shoppes at Farmers Hardware on the corner of King Street and Depot Street in downtown Boone. Neighborhood Yoga is still located at 212 Water St. in Boone. For information on classes, call (828) 265-0377 or visit http://www.neighborhoodyoga.net.