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Enfield Fitness Center Is About More Than Yoga

  • Co-Founders of Community Balanced Life, a new non-profit yoga and fitness center, Nicole Carriere, middle, and Gail Goodness, right, laugh before a class at the center in Enfield, N.H. on Jan. 23, 2018. One of the center's instructors Meg Linn, left had just taught a class. Carriere was about to teach the next class that evening. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Meg Linn brings more light into the room before teaching a yoga class at Community Balanced Life, a new non-profit yoga and fitness center in Enfield, N.H. on Jan. 23, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Yoga teacher Meg Linn helps Bob Davison, of Enfield, N.H. with hand positions after a class at Community Balanced Life, a new non-profit yoga and fitness center in Enfield, on Jan. 23, 2018. The day before Davison had taken his first yoga class. He came back the next day to sign up for a month of classes. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Nicole Carriere, right, co-founder of Community Balanced Life, a new non-profit yoga and fitness center in Enfield, N.H., leads a yoga class on Jan. 23, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Just the Facts

What: Community Balanced Life nonprofit yoga and fitness center.

Where: 502 U.S. Route 4, Enfield (across from Petro Mart).

What It Offers: Daily classes for various levels of yoga, along with periodic non-yoga courses such as beginner kettlebell, Zumba, and bodyweight resistance and educational workshops.

What It Costs: $75 unlimited monthly membership ($60 seniors and students); $12 single-class drop-in fee ($10 seniors and students); $60 for five classes ($50 seniors and students).

More Info:communitybalancedlife.org, facebook.com/communitybalancedlife, info@communitybalancedlife.org. 603-632-1022.

Enfield — Yoga has long been practiced as a way to help boost strength and flexibility while fostering a healthy mind-body-spirit connection. A pair of friends from Enfield intend to help as many people as possible experience it.

Nicole Carriere and Gail Goodness recently opened Community Balanced Life, a nonprofit yoga and fitness center with a mission to educate, motivate and inspire students with a series of classes and programs. The facility opened on Jan. 2 and has enjoyed generally strong attendance.

While both co-founders are registered yoga instructors — Carriere previously owned a pair of yoga centers called YogaPiphany, including one in the same Route 4 studio as Community Balanced Life — they kept the word “yoga” out of the center’s title for a reason. They want to be inviting for those who aren’t familiar with yoga or don’t envision themselves engaging in it.

“For whatever reason, there is a stigma attached to yoga, where some people might be intimidated by it or don’t think it’s for them,” Goodness. said “Some people might say, ‘I’m not flexible, so I can’t do yoga,’ even though that’s probably the best reason (to take it up).”

To complement its wide-ranging yoga offerings, Community Balanced Life has added classes such as a beginner kettlebell training course, led by Enfield native and KDR Fitness co-owner Jamie Crowe, and a course incorporating bodyweight resistance training with yoga by instructor Meg Flinn. Zumba, the aerobic fitness program inspired by Latin American dance music, is also on the docket.

“We want to be open for everybody and anybody,” said Carriere, 38. “We’re open to having even more (non-yoga) classes, if people are interested.”

As for the nonprofit model, that was Goodness’ idea. The financial controller at another nonprofit, Dartmouth College (many colleges and universities are registered nonprofits), she’s become accustomed to the practices that allows them to thrive while serving a purpose.

“I’ve learned a lot about the legal and compliance aspects to be tax-exempt, and I thought there was a real need for this kind of place in Enfield,” Goodness said. “It’s more of a rural area with a lower population than Hanover and Lebanon, for example, so we knew it would serve a community need.”

In 2009, Carriere opened YogaPiphany in the same studio before opening a second location near downtown Lebanon. She eventually closed the Enfield location and, in 2014, sold the business to Hanover-based Mighty Yoga, which continues to operate its own second location in the space.

“I basically just needed a break at the time,” said Carriere, a mother of two young children who has a day job as a recruitment consultant.

Since then, Carriere had occasionally taught classes wherever she could find space, such as at area schools, the Enfield Community Building and the Shaker Museum. Eventually, she began pining once again for her own studio.

“(Goodness and I) have been talking the last few years about how we needed a consistent, reliable space for (teachers and students) to have an outlet,” Carriere said. “So far, the response to being back has been great.”

Those who appreciate Community Balanced Life’s emergence includes Canaan resident Jan Kulig, a breast cancer survivor who credits yoga practice in aiding her recovery. Lisa Torres, of Enfield, is a former YogaPiphany client who’d since taken up classes at Lebanon’s Carter Community Building Association. She’s glad to once again have an option closer to home — and not only because of the shorter commute.

“There are a lot of people who are into yoga right in this general area, so it’s more of a community feel,” Torres said after a Tuesday night class of Carriere-led power flow yoga, focused on creative movement at varied paces. “A lot of us are friends and know each other.”

One newcomer is 64-year-old Bob Davison, who has taken two classes so far and said it has helped alleviate pain from leg and back injuries.

“I’d never tried yoga in my life, but it’s something I wanted to experiment with,” Davison said. “I’ve been doing a lot of stretching on my own, so I wanted to see how yoga would fit in. I think it was a great idea to open this place.”

Part of Community Balanced Life’s mission statement reads, “We realize the journey to health is not always about the end goal, it’s about the steps you take each day to get there.”

In the same vein, Carriere and Goodness are focused on incrementally improving the nascent facility.

“We do have some broader visions,” Carriere confessed. “One is that we’d like to have a have a studio on the first floor. We want to be open to everyone, including people who might not be able to get up the stairs.”

Added Goodness: “We’d also eventually like to apply for grants and provide scholarships.”

More immediately, CBL would like to continue adding to its diverse schedule, including workshops to help enhance the educational component of its mission. A workshop about essential oils and another exploring the Ayurvedic concept of the law of attraction are currently in the works.

When the weather allows, Torres — who is also a yoga teacher — would like to lead a class involving ecotherapy, which aims to improve well-being through outdoor activities.

Carriere is considering a workshop about cardiovascular health to coincide with the American Heart Association’s American Heart Month in February, and she’s looking forward to the next kids and family night first introduced during the center’s grand opening celebration on Jan. 6.

“That’s not really meditative yoga; it’s more like wild and crazy yoga,” said Carriere, whose own children are aged 9 and 7. “But we had a lot of families in here and it was a lot of fun.”

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3225.