At Yogarage, Fitness Routines Get A Tune-Up

yogaragePhotos by Jess Benjamin

Feel like you’ve been spinning your wheels workout-wise? Park yourself in this makeshift Kendall Square studio.

Last June, yoga enthusiasts Katharina Giegling and Nicco Krezdorn brought their practice home— literally—when they converted their Cambridge garage into a cozy, fully functioning yoga studio. At Yogarage (34 Bristol St.), the husband-wife team offers a range of small classes in a unique neighborhood setting while providing a fresh perspective on working fitness into everyday life.

Both Giegling and Krezdorn have professional lives outside of Yogarage. In fact, Giegling says it was her primary pursuits that brought her to yoga in the first place. A violinist and music teacher, she wanted something that could help her balance and decompress after long hours of musical training and performance. “I needed something to relax and work out at the same time,” she says. Yoga allowed Giegling to “be aware of the body and to breathe, to be healthy and to stretch.” It also turned her workout routine upside down—before concerts, the musician could often be found backstage in a stimulating headstand pose. The flexibility of the exercise, and its utility, was part of its appeal. “I could do yoga where I was,” says Giegling. “I didn’t even need a mat.”

Other non-traditional spots where the yogini has done poses include a museum and a harbor, where she and Krezdorn set up their mats to follow along with a yoga video in synchronized stretching during a sailing trip. “I think it looked kind of weird from a distance,” she says.

Then, of course, there’s their garage. The duo moved to Boston in 2015—Krezdorn is a post-doc at Brigham and Women’s—and were drawn to Cambridge for its diversity. “It’s such a perfect balance between old and young,” Giegling notes. “You can find everything here.”

They attended different yoga studios before the ignition of Yogarage, and it was in a tiny Cambridge yoga studio that Krezdorn first said, “This is as big as our garage.” At first, the couple laughed at the idea of using their empty storage space as a studio, but a friend took the opportunity seriously and pointed out the perfect, punny portmanteau it offered: yoga + garage = Yogarage.

Once they had the name, Giegling and Krezdorn set about transforming their idle one-car garage into a comfortable workout spot. Starting in the entryway, they lay carpeting, lit candles and hung fabric to dress up what’s “normally our cellar, where we have the stroller for my daughter and the washing machine.” Inside, they left the walls largely untouched save for a decorative cloth print—they wanted to keep the aesthetic authentic. Inspired by a previous class where the studio doubled as a kids’ playroom, they put down a foam floor.

“It was important to have a clean floor and to have the atmosphere of—I don’t know if it has to be called a yoga studio—but the atmosphere of having a special place,” Giegling says.

A speaker that plays playlists curated by Giegling and a small heater were the final touches that brought the room together.

yogarage

“Nicco and me, we do yoga every morning here,” Giegling says. “We really enjoy the space because it’s so holy. It’s just doing yoga and nothing else.”

Even with its limited square footage, Yogarage provides students with all the trappings of a successful yoga practice: mats, blocks and even a makeshift changing room behind a paneled curtain in the hallway. Classes take place three days a week on Monday mornings and Wednesday and Thursday nights. They accommodate seven or eight students with room for a range of poses, though participants are encouraged to RSVP via email ahead of time to help the teachers plan.

The 60- to 75-minute sessions cost $10 to $12 each and are taught by Giegling and fellow instructor Annie Feldman. While Feldman’s slow flow classes lean more towards stretching, meditative yin yoga, Giegling describes her vinyasa exercise as strong and energetic.

“I like to encourage students’ awareness of their body. I think yoga is a great opportunity to relieve stress and relieve pain, and I think it helps you to be aware of your emotions, too, and to soften everything,” she says of her teaching philosophy. “I especially like doing yoga as a sport, as well. I think it’s important to move and to strengthen everything, and then you’re able to soften.”

Due to its unlikely locale, the Yogarage studio fosters a strong sense of community. Giegling has witnessed the mostly Cambridge-based students form friendships through their yoga practice, feeding into her (admittedly expansive) belief that “there would be less aggression and less war in the world if everyone would do yoga.” Yogarage allows students to engage in fitness not just of the body, but also of the emotions and the mind. Like Giegling’s pre-concert headstands or the couple’s harborside asanas, it proves that a workout can be accomplished wherever there’s a little space.

Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to change gears.

This story originally appeared in the January/February issue of Scout Cambridge, which is available for free at more than 250 locations throughout the city or by subscription

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