Gratitude Yoga is an oasis in the center of downtown Princeton. Gemma Farrell, who opened Gratitude Yoga at 27 Witherspoon Street in January, 2012, sought to create a space where someone could gain not only the physical strength and flexibility of a rigorous yoga practice, but also become part of a community willing to cultivate a spirit of compassion for oneself and each other, and a sense of gratitude for the people, the gifts, and even the challenges we meet daily.

Ms. Farrell, a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, began teaching in local studios about two years ago, and immediately saw how powerful a community of like-minded people could be. The energy of compassion which is palpable in her classes has inspired her to reach out to important causes in the Princeton community and beyond.

Through the generosity of the Gratitude Yoga students, the studio has been able to contribute thousands of dollars to local organizations and causes in the community including Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK), WomenSpace, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, Homefront, as well as the Somaly Mam Foundation. Farrell believes that creating tangible benefits to those in need is vital to the studio’s role.

“For me” says Farrell, “yoga is essentially a form of giving thanks. When others join in that expression, the result is something uniquely positive. We are so lucky to have a family of truly inspiring people –– both our teachers and students –– at Gratitude Yoga. It is a great privilege to practice in their presence.”

The studio employs the age-old yogic tradition of donation-based classes and offers a full roster of classes including Vinyasa Flow, Gentle Flow, Yin Yoga, Hot Flow, Iyengar Style, Baptiste-Inspired, Kundalini, Hot Flow, Meditation, Pilates, and Tai Chi. There is even a 45-minute lunchtime yoga class for folks needing a midday respite. The complete schedule of classes and events can be found at gratitudeyoga.org.

In addition to the daily class offerings, Farrell also offers a semi-annual 21-day mind/body/

spirit cleanse at the studio based on her book Gratitude Cleanse. And most recently, Farrell introduced Gratitude Juice, several delicious and remarkably healthy organic juices that support a healthy lifestyle.

So what’s next for Gratitude Yoga?

“I don’t really think about what’s down the road,” said Farrell. “I’m just incredibly thankful for the beautiful community that is growing here at the studio in this present moment. I pinch myself every day.”

Sounds like a serious case of – you guessed it — gratitude.

Gratitude Yoga, 27 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. 732-642-9721. www.gratitudeyoga.org.

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