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Blossom Wellness Re-Opens Dormant Yoga Studio

Joanie Bégin-Morin stewards a space where women healers have worked for over two decades. Photo by Andreas John.
A much-loved local yoga studio left dormant by the pandemic has new life in it. Blossom Wellness Center has taken over the space formerly occupied by Embodied and Yoga Mountain Center. The studio on the second floor of the Citizens Bank building, at 7 Main Street in Montpelier, has long drawn yogis from around central Vermont, but has been quiet since the COVID-19 pandemic pushed yoga classes from in-person to online. No more, though.

Blossom Wellness Center opened the studio for live classes in December 2022, after former Embodied owner, Lindsay Armstrong, moved her yoga classes to be fully virtual. Armstrong has operated out of the the space at 7 Main Street for five years and has offered massage, bodywork, yoga and other movement practices for over two decades.  She officially transferred Embodied’s studio in September 2021 due to the need to care for — then tend to the death of — her husband in the midst of the pandemic. In late-Fall of 2022, the studio became part of Blossom Wellness. 

Joanie Bégin-Morin, co-founder of Blossom Wellness Center, now operates out of that same space, which, for over two decades, has been associated with women-owned businesses centering on somatic and healing arts as well as community. In fact, starting in March, Armstrong will be offering hybrid/in-person classes on Sunday and Tuesday mornings at Blossom.

“As we all know, the pandemic changed a lot of things for all of us. We have reached a time when it is safe to be in each other’s presence again, and I think many of us have realized more deeply how important interpersonal connection and relationships are,” Bégin-Morin said.

In 2017, the Montreal native introduced herself to the Montpelier community offering what she loved: massage and Ayurvedic consultations and bodywork through her private practice in a tiny office on the third floor of Blossom’s current address. By 2019, Bégin-Morin taught at Embodied Yoga, where she met fellow teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner Marisa Hall. The two would eventually collaborate on launching Blossom Wellness. 

“It’s incredible to look back on how much Blossom has grown in the past four years, but also not that surprising if you know Joanie,” Hall said. “The question at the forefront of her mind is always, how can [Blossom] benefit the community? It’s been remarkable to witness such love in action.” 

“I keep telling people: Well, you know, it wasn’t exactly my plan to do it all myself, but when the landlord said that other people were looking at the space and it was going to be office space, I was like ‘no.’ This place feels very sacred and important. We just had to trust that the community was ready. So I decided to take the leap and go for it,” added Bégin-Morin. 

Currently, Blossom has six practitioners offering a variety of treatments and one-on-one work, including Bégin-Morin, and a rotating staff of movement instructors. 

“We’re not just a yoga studio — that was just as important to me as the community being at the core of why I decided to do this,” said Bégin-Morin. “Aside from yoga classes, we do have ongoing offerings such as meditation courses and women’s and men’s circles. We do have a monthly workshop coming up on Friday, Jan. 27, “Seasonal Deep Restorative Yoga” with Anjali Budreski, a very loved teacher who has been a big part of this community for a very long time, and who used to own Yoga Mountain Center in the same space as us.”

Bégin-Morin attributes part of her center’s success story to Lindsay Armstrong, who has been a part of the studio since its inception in 2001. Armstrong, the founder of Embodied, opted to teach yoga using a virtual format in 2020 and “did a great job of really keeping the flame going, keeping the community connected through the online offerings.” 

In August 2021, Armstrong announced she would be closing (or “releasing”) the physical yoga studio while keeping her massage space across the hall from the studio, where she moved her virtual set-up and continues to stream live classes. 

“Though the closure was bitter sweet, it was a deeply liberating release, and I have loved connecting with a relatively small number of “embodied ones” four times a week and through my recording library ever since,” she said. 

After five years of somatic offerings that included bodywork, energy-healing, and yoga-movement arts, Armstrong officially let go of Embodied’s physical spaces in September 2021, when it became part of Blossom Wellness. Starting in March, Armstrong will offer hybrid/in-person classes on Sunday and Tuesday mornings at Blossom.

In addition to a wide array of holistic offerings, Bégin-Morin and Hall are currently creating a program to teach Ayurvedic bodywork. Blossom Wellness will also be enhancing its accessibility by offering online (hybrid-Zoom) classes, and is hosting a retreat in Costa Rica from Feb. 4 through Feb. 11. 

“We recognize that it can still be difficult for some of us to be in a room with other people at this point, and are working to create hybrid classes you can take from home,” Bégin-Morin said. “We hope the special energy in the studio will translate to online attendees so they can get in on some of the magic!”