Historic sliver of Germantown Avenue now home to new yoga studio

About 50 locals made their way to a Saturday meet-and-greet celebration that marked the opening of Germantown’s newest yoga studio, Sandalwood Yoga. The day was more than two years in the making.

Located at 5310 Germantown Ave., in a historic sliver of the neighborhood, Sandalwood offers gentle, moderate and vigorous yoga classes catering to students of all ages and levels of experience.

Historic location

The building that houses the yoga studio was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the late 1970s, along with more than 100 other Germantown properties described as having illustrated the “Germanic character of the early town.” It’s located across Germantown Avenue from the historic Grumblethorpe site.

Studio owner Tracy McNeil said the effort to open was a long, winding one.

“We had to do a whole historic restoration,” said McNeil, who is among six Sandalwood instructors. “The process, start-to-finish, took two years to complete and then they started building out the studio in the end of January, this year. And finally, we’re finally here.”

Local impact

Mary Calloway will teach a vigorous yoga class focused on reducing stress and alleviating chronic back pain.

Calloway learned about the open position through a posting on Craigslist. Having previously traveled to Chestnut Hill for yoga, she said she’s excited to be able to teach at a studio in Germantown.

“Tracy had literally just put an ad on Craigslist. I had no idea where I was responding to. It just said Philadelphia so I figured, I’m gonna take a stab at it and it turns out it was this new studio in Germantown,” she said. “I got so excited. Now that there’s a new studio in Germantown, I think it’s gonna be a real service to the town.”

For her part, McNeil said she wants to focus on giving back to Germantown.

In addition to offering classes starting at $13 — said to be $3-$7 cheaper than many yoga studios’ per-class fee — Sandalwood will host one weekly drop-in community yoga class that students of all experience levels can attend for $5. Students can also purchase classes in bulk for a reduced per-class fee.

“Right now, we’re starting with one community class per week. We may add more. That’s really just to serve the community,” McNeil said. “I live in Germantown, I have property in Germantown, and I love Germantown. I think that Germantown sometimes gets a bad rep, but Germantown deserves a lot, and I think that this is something that I can do to help.”

Germantown native Al Robinson said he’s looking forward to improving his yoga skills at Sandalwood.

“I started doing yoga at home. To be quite honest, when I was doing it at home, I was bored. It’s great that now I can come here in five minutes,” he said. “I’m definitely going to come and try it, and if it’s more stimulating than what I was doing at home, I’ll be back.”

The studio will operate on an abridged class schedule this week and will begin a full class schedule for the first week of May. More information about yoga classes can be found on the studio’s website.

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