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A little more 'om': Jala Yoga completes expansion, renovates community space
December 6, 2019

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SHEPHERDSTOWN -- When Christa Mastrangelo Joyce started Jala Yoga in Shepherdstown 10 years ago, she decided to open it up in the rental space above her brother's restaurant, Mellow Mushroom Cafe and Juice Bar.

In the years since the restaurant's closure, Joyce realized she missed having it around, as a space where community members could go to hang out. So when the space opened up at the beginning of this year for a new tenant, Joyce immediately began talking with the landlord about renting it out.

"I wasn't sure what would be done here, but I realized what it could be," Joyce said, as she sat in the newly renovated space, which she calls The Mellow Room.

"The renovation was inspired by a couple of things -- 'jala' means 'water' or 'flow,'" Joyce said. "I have a strong connection to water, so the mural on this wall was connected to water and the flow of community between each other. And it was also inspired by the idea of the community being so connected to the Potomac River."

Joyce worked with her friend, interior designer Heather Crosby, to come up with ideas for the renovation. Now that it is complete, she is looking forward to opening the space for pop-up restaurants and other events to be held.

An art exhibit, featuring the work of Shepherdstown artist Danielle Corsetto, is currently showing in The Mellow Room's gallery area in the back of the first floor space. Other items are also on sale in The Mellow Room, including fresh-pressed juice by The Juice Jar in Winchester, Jala Yoga's "Practice Peace" T-shirts and Highbush Farm's jams, handmade knives, cutting boards, handmade pottery, plants, infused vinegars, seasoned salts and birdhouses.

"I'm hopeful this place will grow more -- that's why I plan to start it out small, so I don't get overwhelmed," Joyce said. "This space is for all of the community to come together to do good. We're just a vessel for them to come together."

Joyce hopes to be able to open The Mellow Room for regular hours in the future, but will need more volunteers to sign up for her work-study program.

"I'm looking for more work studies who have 4.5 hours of time in their week and would love to do yoga," Joyce said. "It's been an incredible benefit for those who really want to practice yoga, but don't have the finances for it. And then we get these amazing people working with us, who love yoga so much."

Jala Yoga's second location, in Winchester, will be celebrating its fifth anniversary today, at its location at 3119 Valley Avenue. To learn more about Jala Yoga and its work-study program, call 401-440-0279 or visit www.jalayogaflow.com.

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