When I talked to Judy Joy Wyle, owner of the Joy of Yoga, Saratoga Springs’ longest dedicated yoga studio, in January, the wounds of COVID were still fresh. Last July, amidst a pandemic that had all but canceled closeness—a key pillar of any yoga practice—Wyle made the emotional decision to close her Arcade building studio, a fixture in the community for more than 20 years (the business has been active for more than three decades).
Even though she had to close her physical space, Wyle was able to pivot to virtual classes in mid-March and has been hosting them on Zoom from her small Saratoga living room for just over a year now. “It’s an amazing thing to me that the Joy of Yoga never stopped,” says Wyle. “As a business owner, I’m grateful that I’m still in business.” While virtual classes are nothing like the real McCoy, Wyle says she’s been surprised by their inherent power. “There still is this amazing sense of unity,” she says. “Even through the airwaves, we can come together. At the end of class, when I say some blessings and ‘om,’ we are there in yoga, in truth, in the place of being present together. And it’s like a spell that nobody wants to break.”
With vaccinations now making the rounds and the state beginning to ease capacity restrictions, Wyle tells me that she’ll be rolling out a hybrid schedule this coming June, continuing on with her virtual classes, while also teaching some live ones at another one of Saratoga’s long-running yoga studios, Yoga Mandali. “I’m really looking forward to this association and expanded new chapter of my teaching,” says Wyle. It’s a major homecoming of sorts, too; Yoga Mandali is just a few blocks down from where her old space used to be. “I so love being a part of the Saratoga yoga community,” says Wyle. Welcome home, Judy!