By John Sakata, Berkshire Eagle staff
GREAT BARRINGTON -- When Scott Moraes talks about yoga, he doesn't take you through the thickets of yoga jargon.
Sitting cross-legged at Pittsfield-based Radiance Yoga, which he co-owns with business partner Gillian Gorman, he says yoga stripped of the avant guarde forms is a portal for "mental, physical, spiritual" well-being. It's an opportunity to restore and renew the body's energy, he said.
In September, the business partners purchased a second yoga studio, Yoga Great Barrington, from owner Deborah Salem after she specifically sought them out on the advice of her daughter. The focus, Moraes said, is improving an already quality studio so yoga practicioners can walk away from the studio rejuvenated and inspired to take on new experiences.
"I see both of these studios as opportunities to really help people to really take care of themselves," Moraes said. "I think that often starts with the body."
Since founding Radiance Yoga in 2011, Moraes and Gorman have put special attention into fine-tuning "every contact point" from customer service, registration for classes and the local aesthetics to ensure a "cozy environment" that promotes community. That's what the business partners plan on producing at Yoga Great Barrington, Moraes said.
Despite being new owners, there won't be significant changes to the studio. But by making small changes, they hope to improve the ambiance and further enhance the already tight-knit community.
"We want to keep focusing on the entirety of the student experience from the moment someone walks in the door and even lingering hours after class," Moraes said. "We want to do our absolute best to create an ambiance feeling and quality service offering that is in sync and consistent with one another so we can truly make the best experience possible."
The cost of classes range from $9 to $17 depending on how often individuals attend.
Salem, who ran the business for seven years, said she sought the couple because she felt they could further build on what exists. Her daughter attends Radiance Yoga and was impressed with what they offer.
"I was feeling like I had contributed to the extent I wanted to, and I thought Scott and Gillian specifically would have the savvy, experience and youth to take it to another level," Salem said.
Moraes, 30, has practiced yoga for the last 11 years after taking a class at Skidmore College in New York as a philosophy major with a focus on Buddhism and existentialism. He served as a trainer for several years before partnering with Gorman to start Radiance Yoga.
"There's a special thing going on [at Yoga Great Barrington] and we want to nourish and cultivate it," Moraes said. "We are appreciative of the history and direction."
In the short-term, Yoga Great Barrington will add about three new classes to the 13 classes that already exist. There are classes for beginners and advanced students.
Moraes said he wants people to walk away feeling more in control within their bodies.
"Someone may come in with physical or emotional stress," he said. "I see our job through a physical or mental physical spiritual practice to help them learn skills for themselves where they can heal their bodies and become more aware when to push and when to calm down. We want people to feel better, to literally feel better."
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