The Yoga Loft on Main Street in Canton, pictured Thursday, plans to expand its operations later this year to a new location on Miner Street. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — Over more than 20 years of life in the village, the Yoga Loft has written an extensive community service story. And a new chapter is set to begin this summer.

First conceptualized in 1999 by community members in the county, the Yoga Loft has since offered yoga and meditation classes, operating out of spaces on Riverside Drive and Main Street, and at various temporary locations.

In 2015, the Yoga Loft moved to 17 Main St., and now, a new space on Miner Street is being renovated as the organization’s long-term home.

“This is about service to the community,” Yoga Loft Board President Anna Sorensen said. “Being able to provide access to yoga and other health and wellness programs for as many people as possible, and be right downtown, is really important to us.”

The nonprofit North Country Center for Yoga and Health, doing business as the Yoga Loft, strives to promote personal growth and cultivate wellness in the community, according to its mission statement.

The Yoga Loft relocation and expansion, Ms. Sorensen said, will be a downtown asset in concert with the proposed redevelopment of Midtown Plaza through a $1.3 million Empire State Development grant, part of the Regional Economic Development Council’s current funding cycle.

The Yoga Loft’s separate $30,000 fundraising goal for updates to its future base in Midtown Plaza at 21 Miner St., Suite 2, is more than one-third met, with a total of $12,693 raised as of Saturday afternoon.

A GoFundMe page was created about two weeks ago, with more than 30 individual donors contributing to the running total, supplemented by $5,000 from a previous fundraising event and a $2,000 grant from the Canton Community Fund. The Yoga Loft Expansion Project GoFundMe page can be accessed on the Yoga Loft’s website.

The 17 Main St. space will continue to host classes and workshops until the official move, which will likely take place in early July, and no disruptions to classes are anticipated, Ms. Sorensen said.

“We’re really grateful and excited, and we’re already putting the money to use,” she said.

An upgraded heating system has been installed, and the restroom and entrances have been redesigned, Yoga Loft Board Secretary Sarah Scafidi-McGuire said. Flooring renovations are up next, with new radiant-heated floors.

The Yoga Loft functions as a community service organization “as much as a space that provides in-house classes,” Ms. Sorensen said, noting the Yoga Loft’s collaborative wellness efforts with Planned Parenthood, Renewal House, Canton Head Start, Girl Scout troops, as well as its off-site classes for people with anxiety, cancer patients and those in physical rehabilitation programs at area hospitals.

“With the expansion of the physical space, we really are looking to expand our programs, to increase our offerings and partnerships with other nonprofits,” Ms. Scafidi-McGuire said, adding that high-energy classes, like kids programs and hot yoga, are not appropriate at the current second-story location, as they can disrupt neighboring businesses.

The new, ground-floor space features two classrooms, plenty of parking and more opportunity for program expansion, she said.

The all-volunteer board works alongside two part-time paid administrators who handle scheduling and funds, as well as a group of teachers who receive a percentage of income from the classes they teach.

“The fact that we are a not-for-profit yoga studio is really unique,” Ms. Scafidi-McGuire said. “We’re a bunch of yoga teachers and other discipline teachers that come together and want to teach. That’s what makes us special — nobody’s holding the reigns necessarily. It’s a team effort, and it’s working.”

Several upcoming fundraisers for the Yoga Loft Expansion Project are scheduled over the next few months, including a run/walk in partnership with Deep Root Center for Self-Directed Learning on March 28 in Canton, and a yoga and smoothie bowl tasting April 4, at Foster the Plant Cafe in Potsdam. More details can be found on the Yoga Loft’s website.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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