Just feet from the hustle and bustle of Hellertown's Main Street, Stephanie and Chris MoDavis believe local residents will find a sanctuary from stress and worry.
The MoDavises have opened their new yoga studio—YogaMos—at 410 Main Street, and they hope to attract health-minded individuals to the business, which is housed in a turn-of-the-century former residence replete with inlaid hardwood floors, leaded glass and a fireplace.
The first floor of the building was last home to VM Mackenzie Interior Design, which relocated to another Hellertown property, and before that it was home to a consignment shop.
Now it will serve as a haven for postures, movement, meditation and relaxation.
The MoDavises have already welcomed current students to classes at their new location. They stressed, however, that in addition to experienced yoga practitioners they hope to welcome beginners to their classes, which can include up to 12 students.
A first class at YogaMos costs just $5, and private sessions are available for $65.
"Anybody can do yoga," said Stephanie, who also teaches holistic nutrition and performs massage. "If you're looking for more peace and relaxation in your life, you can do yoga."
Weight loss is sometimes a side benefit, but a trimmer figure shouldn't necessarily be the main goal for someone beginning a yoga regime, both said.
"We like to focus a lot more on the mind and the soul," explained Chris.
Before they relocated to Hellertown (their apartment is above the new studio) the MoDavises were living in Bethlehem, which was where they initially planned to open their business.
Bethlehem already has several yoga studios, however.
After they were were told about the Hellertown property by an acquaintance "it kept drawing us back," said Stephanie, who said they are happy to be a part of an evolution in downtown Hellertown that has included the opening of a number of health and lifestyle-oriented businesses in recent years.
At 36, she said she has been practicing yoga for 17 years, and she credits her devotion to it with the good health she enjoys today.
She is appreciative and mindful of her health, she said, because eight years ago her life was in jeopardy.
After she was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 22, her health continued to deteriorate until her kidneys failed in 2003, and she spent two years in a wheelchair while on dialysis and awaiting a transplant, she said.
Ultimately, a life-saving kidney donation was performed at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, but it was yoga that helped keep her mentally nourished during the most difficult days of her illness, she said.
The MoDavises explained that they share a special bond with each other—as well as with another couple, with whom they participated in a couples kidney swap.
In other words, another man donated the perfectly-matched kidney that Stephanie now has, and Chris donated a matched kidney to that man's wife.
This "direct husband and wife swap" was apparently a first for the hospital's donor program, the MoDavises said.
Stephanie explained that she believes yoga can help others who are suffering with or recovering from serious illness, and that her own survival was a major motivation for the opening of YogaMos.
"Both of us thought, 'We need to get this (story) out there to share with other people,'" she said.
More information about the MoDavises, their story and YogaMos is posted on both the YogaMos website and the Facebook page for the studio, by calling 484-895-8429, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In spite of being especially popular with women, Stephanie and Chris stressed that yoga is important for men too, and said they would like to see more men participate in their classes, which are listed online, along with pricing.
"Men need yoga just as much as women," Stephanie said, adding that "yoga actually started with men" thousands of years ago in India.