Studio Mandala began as a suggestion from older women in South Philly who expressed a desire to practice yoga in a space that was affordable, within their neighborhood, and respectful of their cultural values. Aquinas Center proved to be a perfect location. Together, with these women, Kate Canino and Bethany Welch identified two guiding principles:
- We believe that people of all ages, cultures, and income levels should have access to the health benefits of a yoga practice.
- We believe that a community studio can nurture peace and strengthen relationships among neighbors.
Studio Mandala will offer evening and morning classes. Participants are only asked to give a donation and to share the opportunity with their neighbors.
Why the name Studio Mandala?
Mandala comes from Sanskrit, meaning “circle.” We see this symbol everywhere in nature. In addition, we know that many different cultures and traditions use a circle image in artwork and to express unity. Similarly, Aquinas Center seeks to build unity in diversity across South Philly and beyond. When visiting the center you will already see many different mandala murals that have been painted both inside and outside the building. We wanted to carry that theme into the studio by creating a space where anyone can come and benefit from the healing effects of a yoga practice.
Studio Mandala seeks to offer quality instruction, a welcoming space, and classes for all ages, body types, levels of practice, and budgets. Increased access will increase wellness. Regular participation will develop a greater sense of community among individuals of different backgrounds. Gentle Yoga offers gentle movements, stretching through beginner yoga poses, breathing exercises, and deep relaxation. This class will increase joint mobility, improve balance, and bring a sense of peace.
Since 2013, Aquinas Center has proven to be a space where the largely immigrant community has co-created a hospitable learning environment in the midst of great diversity. Founding director Bethany Welch has worked with neighbors to identify programs, like yoga, that respond to the needs and desires of the community.
Yoga instructor Kate Canino has been practicing yoga for over 10 years and completed her RYT 200 hour training in Nicaragua through School Yoga Institute in January of 2014. Her classes are designed to build confidence, physical and mental strength, and bring a sense of peace into the lives of her students. She places an emphasis on linking breath with movement, proper alignment, and bringing awareness to a student’s unique practice.