By PHYL NEWBECK
Lynn Alpeter and Heidi Kvasnak got to know each other when their children were in preschool. Little did they suspect that years later, they would become business partners. Kvasnak opened her Shelburne business, Yoga Roots, in February of 2013 with Katie Bohlin as her partner. Bohlin continues to teach at the studio but she didn’t enjoy the business aspect of the work. When she chose to step aside in 2016, Alpeter was only too happy to take the reins as co-owner.
Kvasnak, 57, is a long-time yoga practitioner. Her career was in technical training and development in the financial industry in Boston, but when her first daughter was born, she moved back to Vermont. After the birth of her second daughter, she began to look for something else to do and in 2004 she took a year-long course to become a yoga teacher. She initially taught at what was then called the Awakening Center in Shelburne Village but soon outgrew the space and subsequently taught at Shelburne Town Hall and All Souls before opening Yoga Roots on Graham Way. A second location in Williston was opened last June.
Alpeter, 52, is relatively new to the practice of yoga. She took her first class six years ago, after receiving a gift certificate from a friend. She was recovering from breast cancer and after her first class with Kvasnak, she was hooked.
“It was an important part of my healing,” she said.
Alpeter’s background is in marketing but following the birth of her children, she spent time at home and doing volunteer work. After a return to marketing, she worked for a few years as a paraeducator. Becoming co-owner of the studio allowed her to return to her marketing roots.
During her healing process, Alpeter attended a week-long workshop on creating your life after cancer at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Healing in the Berkshires.
“When she came back, she was so excited and she suggested I invite that teacher to Yoga Roots,” Kvasnak said. “I realized I liked working with Lynn and soon she started doing some marketing for us.”
When Bohlin left, Kvasnak approached Alpeter and asked her to join the team.
“It was my dream come true,” Alpeter recalls.
Last summer, Alpeter completed the teacher training program offered at the studio and now she teaches four classes each week.
Yoga Roots also sponsors a variety of workshops and meditation classes. The walls are decorated with the artwork of students and the studio sells some of their homemade products like pottery, back scrubs and tea.
“One of the things we feel strongly about is building a community,” Kvasnak said. “We like to be a resource and share the gifts of community members.”
Yoga Roots also offers special outdoor classes at All Souls Interfaith Gathering to benefit the Vermont Audubon Center and at Adams Berry Farm with proceeds going to the Charlotte Land Trust.
Alpeter and Kvasnak both see Yoga Roots as a safe and supportive environment for all who come through the door.
“There’s not a day we’re not sharing hugs in the front room and hearing people’s stories,” Alpeter said.
“It’s a gift to be able to teach and have people come in the door and leave feeling better than when they entered,” Kvasnak added. “That’s something we take seriously. It’s a great responsibility to make this place clean, nurturing and safe. It is a place of healing”