terra sol sanctuary: A Return to Spiritual Roots
When I sat down with co-owner Jackie DeConti on a dreary Wednesday morning, she talked to me about a lot of things, but one that struck a chord was how she described terra sol sanctuary’s new home: “A shell that needed a new life.” It seems incredibly appropriate that a former antiques store and 115 year old church would now be a yoga space.
Just as yoga seeks to deepen the connection to body by strengthening the mind and spirit, terra sol sanctuary has reinvigorated a spiritual vessel with a dedicated team of professionals committed to a conscious lifestyle.
It wasn’t long ago that the church, located at 507 Castle Street, sat vacant. And then co-owner Becca Niamtu decided to peruse Craigslist.
Jackie tells me the story of how three friends’ (Jackie, Becca, and Alexis Abbate) daydreams began to become a reality.
“We had always thought about the possibility of having our own space, not necessarily a yoga studio, but a space where we could have our training and classes, and the people that we know could come together and do yoga, hold workshops…
Then randomly I remember getting a text from Becca with a picture of a Craigslist ad saying, I think this is the space. I’m going to go look at it today. So she went there and she said that it felt so great, and from there it was a domino effect…We went and saw it and it just kind of spiraled into this amazing, fast-moving, passionate thing that happened. Within a month, we were open. We said let’s not delay this passion and joy. Let’s go for it.”
We continue talking over Luna Café’s cold brew, and my co-worker Drewe joins us because we’re all a little bit eager to know more about terra sol. Drewe tells us she got stuck behind the train, and then we exchange horror stories of train whistles echoing through the South Front apartments at 4am. Jackie tells us how excited she is to pump up her bike tires to ride to work. Her voice is how you might imagine a yoga teacher’s voice, serene but passionate, exuding a quiet might.
I want to know how these three powerful women who started terra sol are in each other’s lives. Jackie credits Yoga for the Planet teacher training. All three have practiced and led sessions in the 5 star, 200 hour teacher training program and also been a part of the yoga circuit in Wilmington for various lengths of time.
“We wanted to bring together all the aspects of other studios we’ve worked in,” Jackie tells me. “For example, Becca has experience traveling to Costa Rican studios, so there are things from those spaces that she’s incorporated. Alexis and I have both traveled to different studios locally and out of state, so we kind pieced together what we like.”
I ask her to elaborate.
“One thing Becca brought back from Costa Rica were these wooden bolsters where you lay back on them and they are heart openers, so props are one example.” Jackie makes sure to credit their handyman and unofficial family, Uncle Denny, for the bolster construction. She continues.
“Another thing is that all of our classes are open to beginners…Our teachers are accommodating. We’re trying to avoid the feeling that you walk in and there are people levitating and everyone is doing handstands. Everyone practices at their own pace.”
I tell Jackie that I’ve always been hesitant to participate in a yoga class for those very reasons, seeing as how my levitation and handstand skills are pretty much garbage, and I’m more comfortable practicing at home. She laughs. I like a yoga teacher with a sense of humor. It’s practically a must have if you want to see me attempt Crow Pose.
“On Wednesdays from 12-2:30, we have a middle point for students as well as teachers. It’s a self-led practice time where you can come in and you just lead yourself… With this you can hone your practice in a space where you’re not
thinking about the laundry or the cat. It’s a haven.”
This train of thought explains the diversity of classes as well as the desire to give back to the community. Take a look at terra sol’s classes and you’ll see a wide variety of offerings from Align with Becca, to Kids’ class with Karlin, who Jackie describes as having “incredible patience and creativity,” to a Saturday practice where a portion of pay-what-you-can rates are donated to local non-profits.
I notice that quite a few of the classes are music based. There’s Hip Hop Asana and Reggae Flow with Alexis, and Jackie leads a Vinyl & Vinyasa class every Friday at 4:30.
“I’ve always had a record collection since college, so I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be cool to have records playing throughout class, and how neat would it be to coordinate with Gravity Records and go there every week and get a suggestion or purchase a record. And then we just play the whole album straight through and give voice to that love of music I have and combine it with my love of yoga.”
As our conversation comes to a close, Jackie takes Drewe and me across the street to see the new digs. We say hello to Becca, who is finishing up a class, and take a tour of the space. We walk barefoot across the warm wood floors polished with age, and the sun filters in through the pink and purple stained glass window at the heart of the space, mirroring the jewel-toned decor and altar items. Jackie’s record player sits in the back of the room.
With the promise of good music, positive people, and a welcoming yoga practice, I’ve been convinced to give my first yoga class a try this coming Friday. If you want to join the Vinyl & Vinyasa class, it will begin at 4:30, but if that doesn’t fit into your schedule, visit terra sol sanctuary’s website for a full list of classes, prices, and to learn more about their wonderful teachers. Namaste, y’all.
terra sol sanctuary is open Monday through Friday 7:30am-5:30pm and Saturdays 9am-10am. The space is open to private events, community gatherings, and boutique weddings. Class attendees are encouraged to bring their own mat and park on the street.