Canton yoga instructor to open new downtown studio
Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 6:10 pm

Donna Kirka practices a non-weight bearing handstand at Kelly Newman Burnham's aerial yoga class in Massena recently.


North Country This Week

CANTON – A local yoga instructor plans to open a new studio downtown that may offer students a different perspective about the art – upside down.

Kelly Newman Burnham plans to open the Flying Lotus Yoga Center & Juice Bar at 81 Main St. in the former bridal shop by September offering, among other things, aerial yoga, which can literally turn students upside down in specially made yoga hammocks.

“That’s my real inspiration for starting the studio,” said Burnham.

Burnham is a certified instructor who has taught yoga in the area at several local studios over the years and children’s yoga recently at Little River School in Canton.

The aerial yoga style she will feature at the studio involves specially made hammocks suspended from iron bars allowing students to invert themselves in various positions. The style, inspired by iyengar yoga, will provide good traction to try to alleviate things like low back pain, and allow non weight-bearing handstand positions, said Burnham.

The local instructor learned the style in Sarasota, Florida from Kerry Tice, a former circus performer, and Cara Levitt. The pair run a studio there called CircuSoul. Tice is the designer of the hammock apparatus.

“It’s really a yoga prop,” Burnham said. Yoga uses a variety of props to facilitate different static and moving positions, things like foam bricks, mats, straps, various bolsters and wheels.

Burnham recently taught the style at Allison Smith’s Yoga Studio in Massena. “I had people coming who just wanted to try something fun,” said Burnham.

The inverted positions are meditative as well, Burnham said. “It’s taking a minute from your busy day,” she said.

Aerial yoga is not the only style Burnham will offer at Flying Lotus.

“We’ll offer a wide variety of yoga,” Burnham said. Ashtanga and kundalini yoga styles will be taught as well. The studio space is large enough and will be set up to allow two classes to run at the same time.

With a focus on holistic health, there will also be a smoothie and juice bar, and later this year meditation workshops, licensed therapeutic massage, aroma therapy, reiki sessions and tarot card readings.

Burnham hopes to eventually offer yoga instructor training as well.

“It’s a different sort of challenge,” Burnham said of opening her own studio. But she credits her time working as an administrative assistant at Little River School the last few years with helping to develop the business skills she will need at Flying Lotus. “It think that was a good experience for me as far as owning my own business goes.”

“It’s been a big project,” Burnham said.

She is also working with Michelle Collins at the Small Business Center in Canton to set up the studio’s business plan.

The instructor hopes Flying Lotus will expand yoga practice in the area.

“Yoga meets people where they are,” Burnham said. “The more yoga there is to do the more people will do yoga. . . It’s really nice to help people find the right yoga for them.”