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(April 19, 2013) YogaVibez has been open less than a month, yet owners Melanie Martin and Dawn Ehman have already added a number classes to accommodate students’ demands.

“It was a great first week,” Ehman said last week. The West Ocean City studio opened April 1. “We saw so many new faces we haven’t seen before.”

Ehman has practiced yoga for about 10 years and taught for about seven; Martin has practiced yoga for about seven years and started teaching about three years ago.

The women have both taught yoga and other fitness classes at several gyms in the community, and seeing that yoga was on the rise, they wanted to be able to offer more for practicing yogis and yoginis.

“We knew there was a interest in hot yoga. We knew the area was ready for it because people have been traveling to take classes,” Ehman said. The closest studios that offer hot yoga — yoga in a heated room — are Lewes, Del. and Salisbury, she said.

With their own studio, they could offer longer classes in a more serene atmosphere and delve deeper into meditation and the spiritual aspect of yoga.

They moved into a vacant unit in the Ocean Creek Plaza in West Ocean City in mid-March. The pair painted, installed flooring and lighting, and added a heating element to control the humidity in the yoga studio.

Classes have been well attended since YogaVibez opened and some have even sold out. More than a dozen instructors teach at the studio.

YogaVibez can accommodate beginners and advanced yoga students, and men and women of all ages. Mats are provided or students can take their own.

Newcomers are encouraged to try a class.

“Even if you’ve never stepped foot in a yoga studio, it’s still for you. We welcome anyone,” Martin said. “It’s accessible to everyone. Anyone can do it and everyone should do it.”

Four “HotVibez” yoga classes are offered. The room is “intensely heated” to 90-95 degrees to create an energetic and fiery vibe.

For the four “CozyVibez” classes, the room is lightly heated to about 75-80 degrees to create a warm and cozy atmosphere.

Some classes use equipment, such as an Indo Yoga board, to help students improve balance, stability and focus. Yoga classes will also be available on Stand-Up Paddleboards.

Martin and Ehman said there are many benefits of practicing yoga.

“The lights are turned low, there’s music and aromatherapy. It’s a chance for you to take 60-75 minutes for yourself and shut off the mind chatter [and] release and let go and be in the present moment,” Martin said. “Yoga allows you to open up and lengthen and stretch your muscles. And, the breathing practices are good for your blood flow.”

A grand-opening celebration and ribbon-cutting event is scheduled for today, April 19, from 5-8 p.m., with demonstrations, music, refreshments and raffles. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 5 p.m.

A number of membership levels are available. The first class is free for locals. Through April 30, students can get a month pass with unlimited classes for $69 (regularly $99).

Martin and Ehman plan to host a number of workshops featuring topics including acupuncture, yoga for beginners, oils and their benefits, partner exercises and using props (blocks, bolsters an straps) to assist and challenge.

They also plan to offer one-on-one training, children’s yoga and community classes at the nature park off Keyser Point Road.

For more information about YogaVibez, class schedule or membership options call 443-735-7597, visit http://yogavibezoc.com or search “YogaVibez” on Facebook.

Melanie Martin, left, and Dawn Ehman opened YogaVibez on April 1, in the Ocean Creek Plaza in West Ocean City.
Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Managing Editor Lisa Capitelli, a New York native, entered Salisbury University (then Salisbury State) in the fall of 1998 and graduated in the spring of 2002 with a Bachelors of Arts degree. She majored in communication arts, and minored in art, with concentration on photography. Lisa began her career at Ocean City Today as a staff writer in February 2003. She was promoted to Assistant Editor in August 2011 and Managing Editor in May, 2013. Editorial responsibilities include covering sports — from local high school games, to fishing tournaments and recreation and park programs, the business community and weekly happenings, events and activities.

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