Husband-and-wife yogis Ed Mullen and Terri Speck are pairing medical backgrounds with a love of yoga and alternative healing to launch Peace, Love & Yoga at 221 Hillcrest Drive in Roxbury.
“My husband and I are both in health care,” Speck, 61, said. “He’s a physician and I’m a medical physicist boarded in radiation oncology, so our background is as health care providers and helpers. Through that, we looked into a lot of alternative types of care … (such as) meditation and acupuncture — just things that could support people’s work in getting healthier.
“I also started yoga 20 years ago to counterbalance some stress from running, and really fell in love with the practice,” she said. “My husband started practicing yoga about four years ago, and we both decided we were committed to the practice, but wanted to do something to bring those other types of care to the community.”
Peace, Love & Yoga will offer primarily vinyasa-style yoga instruction, Speck said, with herself and visiting yogis teaching, as well as event rentals, concerts, movie nights and more. The site will also feature four free electric car-charging stations and an open meditation garden.
“Our tagline is, ‘A community garden where ideas grow,’ so we want to bring in all kinds of people,” Speck said. “We’re offering a few different things and (the space) will be available for weekend retreats, rehearsal dinners and there’s going to be an Airbnb attached to it. We’re going to be flexible for how the space is used, but we’re mostly looking to offer all types of activities that support wellness and happiness.”
Establishing Peace, Love & Yoga in their adopted upstate community, Speck said, was important.
“We’d been coming to Roxbury for 10 or 12 years for weekends to enjoy the area and we have a house up here,” Speck said; she is from Long Island and Mullen is a New Jersey native.
“It all happened serendipitously,” Mullen, 66, said. “It went from a small idea of renting a place to building this big thing.”
Roxbury residents, Mullen and Speck said, are embracing the arrival of something new.
“Everybody tells us, ‘That’s great, I can’t wait,’ or they say, ‘I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible,'” Speck said, “so we have people that will already be part of our community and people we have to convince. We want to encourage people to add a little more play in their daily lives.”
“When we talk to people and say we’re going to do a yoga and event space, they say, ‘That’s great, because there’s nothing to do here at night,'” Mullen said.
The 2,400-square-foot facility, 1,200 square feet of which will be dedicated to yoga instruction and event space, Mullen said, is under construction, with completion expected in early spring.
“One of the things we’re committed to is using local people, because we really love the area,” Speck said. The architect is from Delhi and the builder from Grand Gorge, she added.
“We have a hard date of April 24 and our fingers are crossed that we will be ready for that, because we’ve made arrangements for a couple to come up for opening weekend,” Mullen said. “We have MC Yogi, a very well-respected yogi and rapper that gives great concerts, coming Friday night … and his wife, Amanda (Giacomini), an artist, is on a mission to paint 10,000 walls with the image of the Buddha. She’ll be painting a wall here and that will be a great addition to the space.”
Opening weekend, which Speck called “a whole extravaganza,” will also include an April 25 yoga workshop and book-signing.
Speck and Mullen said they hope to make yoga accessible and impact groups often unfamiliar with the practice. A donation-only community yoga session will take place at 5 p.m. every Sunday, Speck said.
“We want to start a program in the schools,” Speck said. “Yoga has a lot of health benefits, on a deeper level than just physically, so we’d like to get kids involved … and we’re going to make it fun.
“And we want to reach out to recovering addicts,” she said. “Data shows that yoga supports people in recovery.”
Keeping offerings and outreach varied, Speck and Mullen said, underscores their mission.
“Long term, we’d like to see ourselves as part of the community where people stop in and just say hello; not someplace you only go to do yoga,” Speck said. “There’s so much talk about isolation and connection and we want to be part of the chain that brings people together.”
For more information, or to see class and event schedules, visit playcatskills.com. Also, follow @playcatskills on Instagram.