Bree Dillon describes the experience of opening a yoga studio in Winthrop as riding a rising tide: “We are on the surfboards and someone is pushing us — the set is coming in — and we just happen to be here with the willingness.”
Dillon is the owner of Motive Yoga, which currently offers classes at the Mazama Country Inn. She also taught yoga at Winthrop Physical Therapy and Fitness, where she met Stacey Williams, who had been teaching there for 6 years. Dillon and Williams’ classes were often beyond capacity — with waiting lists. People couldn’t get enough. The two women decided it was time to make the jump.
“Student after student after student kept saying, ‘When are you guys going to open a yoga studio? When does Winthrop get a yoga studio?’” Dillon recalls. “It definitely feels like the desire is there.”
But they needed a space. Someplace centrally located, with great light, mountain views and lots of parking. The commercial building at 31 West Chewuch Road, across from the entrance to the U.S. Forest Service offices, had all those things and had been for sale for a while. When the new owner, Christian Kar, bought the building and began actively seeking tenants from the community, things started to come together.
“Bree and I started looking around and this place was an idea and it didn’t manifest for a while and then it did and it seemed like it all came together pretty easily,” said Williams, who will be the studio manager of the Winthrop location, as well as a regularly scheduled teacher. Motive will also continue to offer classes in Mazama.
The building, which is now known as Mtn.Annex, hosts 25 tenants (some of the spaces are multiple-occupancy).
“It’s a broad mix of occupants,” said Pitkin Thomas, building manager. “We’ve got everything from writers to builders, financial planners, teachers, counselors, as well as the Methow Housing Trust offices.”
“It’s a good blend of people from the community,” he said.
Upstairs there is a shared work space as well as several single-occupancy offices (two of which are still available), and a large conference room.
And downstairs you’ll find Motive Yoga Co., in a beautiful, open space with views of Mt. Gardner and a studio large enough for 45 yogis — including cubby storage for belongings and a library of yoga books.
Variety of offerings
Motive has eight instructors signed on to teach at the Winthrop studio and will offer yoga every day of the week with 18 regular classes on the schedule, including hatha, vinyasa, yin, restorative, nidra, deep stretch, myofascial release, and a philosophy class called “sutra studies,” which will be taught by Stacey Williams. There will also be a weekly donation-based class called a Seva class (Seva means “to be of service” in Sanskrit). The proceeds from that class will be given to a charity of the instructor’s choosing.
Dillon said she and Williams are committed to creating a welcoming community around yoga in the Methow Valley that will be inviting to tourists while still being accessible and affordable for locals. People can purchase an annual membership for $25 per month that includes perks like an annual one-on-one consult with an instructor, priority sign-up for classes, free access to open studio sessions, as well as 20% off of each class ($12 instead of the drop-in rate of $15).
“Those memberships are designed to create a sense of community and a culture of support,” Dillon said, much like buying a membership to The Barnyard Cinema.
“This whole thing feels like an experiment,” Dillon said. But the two women exuded a quiet confidence, as they talked about this new venture.
“People are excited about a dedicated yoga space,” Williams said, a warm smile spreading across her face, “The spirituality of it, the peace, the quietness of it.”
Check out Mtn.Annex
The building at 31 W. Chewuch Road in Winthrop — variously known as the “skate barn” or the former location of the Methow Valley Community School — has been renamed Mtn.Annex, and is offering multiple uses for a variety of tenants including professional suites and co-work spaces. There will be an open house at the building on Feb. 13 from 2-5 p.m., including tours, refreshments and door prizes. Call (509) 731-3768 for information.
Motive Yoga, a new tenant of Mtn.Annex, will host a grand opening on Feb. 8, with an open house from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.