Those who look to experience the new wellness center in East Aurora will have to bend to a few demands of owner Susan Garguiolo.
Leave your shoes at the door – and turn off your cellphone.
“There’s no computers allowed in the entire space, either,” Garguiolo said. “No iPads. When you come in, you disconnect from the world, which is what we need sometimes – to create a place of stillness, peacefulness.”
Creative Wellness (creativewellnessgroup.com) stretches across the third floor of a building at Main and Pine streets that also includes Beulah’s General Store. More than a dozen holistic health practitioners will occupy the 4,000-square-foot space. Several will fill more than one role, including Garguiolo, a massage therapist who has taught hatha yoga for more than 15 years.
The new business will host a grand opening celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Saturday, April 22. Those interested in meeting the instructors, checking out the space and participating in special demonstrations are asked to email email@example.com or call 714-9347.
“I’ve had an interest in holistic health since I was in my teens,” said Garguiolo, 50, a Cheektowaga native who started teaching aerobics at Elaine Powers in the 1980s, right out of Cleveland Hill High School, then helped manage two health clubs.
She owned a trucking company for 18 years, then become licensed as a massage therapist and certified as a yoga instructor. She handled public relations for a group of general, vascular and transplant surgeons for about five years before focusing exclusively on yoga and massage about three years ago. She and her husband, John, president of an oil manufacturing company in Niagara Falls, live in Lancaster. She also has a son, Matthew Szwajda, 23.
Q. What types of holistic health practitioners will be here?
I have teachers, independent contractors and workshop providers. They will work here part-time. I wanted to create a place where people can come to get acupressure, reflexology, massage therapy. We have an herbologist, a nutritionist, a chiropractor, a group called Creative Motherhood. Within that group, I have a certified prenatal yoga teacher, a prenatal massage therapist, a prenatal chiropractor and three doulas.
Q. Can you talk about some of those who will be here?
Amy Hartl, one of our massage therapists, also works for a group of naturopathic physicians in the Northtowns. Nyaya Kelkar is a scientist from India who is going to do acupressure here. Julia Kress, a yoga instructor, works at the Himalayan Institute.
Q. Yoga looks to be important.
It’s a huge component but there’s so much more. Yoga teaches us to be present in body, mind and spirit, in the moment. When we live in the past constantly, it creates depression. When we live too much in the future, it creates anxiety. The only time we can really let go is to be present to what is. Our breath grounds us to do that. Everybody needs to be present, no matter where they are. Mindfulness is important.
Q. What yoga styles will you offer?
A gentle flow for people, including seniors, who require less movement. We call it a peaceful flow. Vinyasa, yin and restorative. We might bring in some hot yoga.
Q. Can you talk about the meditation room? It feels relaxing.
We’re going to have open classes and guided meditation, but this room is open free to the community. Even if you don’t have a therapy scheduled or are not coming to a yoga class, you can just come up here to get away from the stressors of the world.
We have a dozen pillows in the room. When I was in Sedona, Arizona, I was in this open meditation space that had this piece in the middle of the room. In that piece they had a pendulum with a crystal hanging down. The crystal wrote in the sand below by the natural rotation of the Earth. We’re going to create that in here. This room will be used for a lot of activities. Sometimes, we’ll have the pendulum. Sometimes we’ll just have flowers, sometimes candles.
There are cushions in the corners. We’ll also work with people with post-traumatic stress disorders who need the comfort and safety of being in that corner. We’ll also be able to bring someone in a wheelchair. Not everyone likes to be on the floor, so we’ll also bring in chairs. We’re trying to accommodate everyone.
Q. What are the cooking classes going to be like?
I have a nutritionist on staff who is going to be doing a natural, whole-foods weight loss class. She’ll also do individual counseling. I also have two Ayurvedic specialists (including Kress).
Q. How did you come up with the name?
I felt people need to be creative in their lifestyle and their choices. Creativity and wellness work well together.
Q. How do you stay healthy and well?
I meditate every day. I practice yoga every day. I like to bring mindfulness to everything I do. Not every person who comes to the center has to refrain from eating meat. I don’t eat it. … We need to eat fruits, vegetables. Food has to be nutritionally alive.
It all comes down to awareness, balance, in body, mind, spirit.
Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon