Zak and Eleanor Girdis began with a love of one of Reno’s historic Midtown buildings and matched it with their love and knowledge of yoga to open Midtown Community Yoga.
“I fell in love with the space,” Zak Girdis said of the large high-ceilinged brick building at S.Virginia and Moran streets, originally constructed in 1930 as the Reno Dodge Dealership. “I had a couple different ideas for it initially that the landlady didn’t like.
“One evening, my wife (Eleanor) and I talked about opening a yoga studio and doing it in a way that would benefit the yoga community.”
The Girdises created a simple open space with natural materials and opened it to yoga teachers in the community.
“We devoted it to yoga without all the bells and whistles,” Zak said.
“Our passion is that people could make a living (teaching yoga) here in Reno.
“We want to do our best to provide success for the teachers.”
Eleanor Girdis has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for about six years. She began yoga as a cross-training method while training to run a marathon.
“After the marathon, I realized I liked yoga. I stopped running marathons.”
Zak previously worked at a yoga studio in Los Angeles as an events coordinator. When it was bought out, he began marketing for that national business.
Midtown Community Yoga opened its doors to classes earlier this month. A core group of 14 yoga teachers conduct 22 classes each week in a variety of yoga techniques including Kundalini, Warm Vinyasa, Acrobatic Yoga and Restorative.
“A lot of places tend to specialize in one form or another, not all forms,” Zak said. “We’re trying to do the opposite.”
The yoga studio is starting small to “grow organically,” Eleanor said.
As it grows, expect to see a beginner’s program, children’s classes and other focuses.
“One class a week will be a discussion on where this all comes from,” Eleanor said of the traditional practices of yoga.
“We’re just providing the venue for the yoga community to do their own thing, not control (what they teach).”
The Girdises are also excited to be part of the renaissance of Reno’s Midtown district. Their interest has led to connections with others who are working to revitalize the area, many of whom helped them put together the deals they needed to make Midtown Community Yoga a reality.
Others have become natural marketing partners, including the food co-op.
“A lot of our partners are into the co-op and a lot of their customers are into yoga,” Zak said.
They also plan to work with and give back to organizations like The Holland Project, which promotes the arts for youths from their facility on Vesta Street near Midtown.
“I really believe in Reno a lot,” Zak said. “In 5-10 years (Midtown) will be completely different.”
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