“Come as you are” is the governing spirit at Stone Wave Yoga, conceived of as a community space welcoming to all. The wellness, art and yoga center on Route 44/55 in Gardiner has been open since June under the auspices of artist and yoga instructor Liz Glover Wilson and landscape designer and topiary artist Keith Buesing. The two are partners in life as well as in business.
“I would call him my co-pilot,” says Glover Wilson. “In some ways we’re like co-CEOs; I’m the operations inside and he’s the visionary outside. But we collaborate on the entire concept of bringing wellness, art and yoga together and he’s my partner in the creative development of it all.”
A Gardiner resident for nearly a decade now, Glover Wilson once devoted most of her energies to a consulting career, assisting nonprofits with fundraising and event planning. But after losing a beloved sister, she was drawn toward fulfilling a deeper part of her nature. She reclaimed the artist within and inaugurated the Sunflower Art Festival in 2015 in honor of her sister, to inspire and support local artists. The event was held for two years running and put on hiatus last summer. Glover Wilson also began the nonprofit Sunflower Art Studios in 2015, launching the nonprofit in the hamlet next door to her consulting business.
Keith Buesing’s distinctive topiary designs are well-known by residents of the area, instantly recognizable as his work once one has seen a few of his other creations: the topiary lizard reading outside the Gardiner Library, the praying yogi outside Living Seed yoga studios or the iconic “stegodile” at Ireland Corners, first created at his family nursery in Rockland County and later transplanted to Gardiner.
His whimsical tree-trunk surfer and carved stone fin on the grounds outside Stone Wave Yoga attest to his ability to shape natural materials other than greenery into visually striking forms, too. In addition to setting the tone for the wellness-art center, the pieces enliven the driving experiences of those passing by on Route 44/55.
Buesing is responsible for coining the unique name of the business. One day the couple was outside the new facility looking up at the Shawangunk Ridge in the distance, Glover Wilson relates, when Buesing remarked upon the cliffs being, in essence, a “stone wave,” likening their formation in slow, incremental movement over time as analogous to the movement of a breaking wave. The two are also both surfers, says Glover Wilson, so the analogy appealed to her on that level, but as they continued talking about what they hoped to achieve in their new business, the concept of a stone wave representing the power and fluidity of a breaking wave combined with the strength and stability of stone seemed to sum it all up perfectly.
“The whole idea felt like what we want to achieve with yoga and wellness. When we’re trying to find balance, we need to create this environment where we’re strong and steady but we also need to be flexible and have creativity and movement,” she explains. “It resonated with both of us, and since we opened, it’s felt like we made the right decision with the name.”
Stone Wave Yoga is located in the building that used to house Utility Canvas. (That business is still active online and in New York City and Tokyo shops; it’s just the Gardiner warehouse that closed.) Glover Wilson says that she and Buesing are happy about the fact they were able to take the existing structure and infuse it with new life. “We like the bones, and the idea we’re bringing a new chapter to it.”
The facility offers two yoga studios, a changing room and shower facilities and a kitchen. It also houses the Sunflower Art Studios — the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization Glover Wilson founded in 2015 — relocated from its original location in the hamlet of Gardiner.
That program is going into its fifth season offering afterschool kids’ programs for kindergarten through sixth grade students. “We work closely with the New Paltz, Wallkill and Pine Bush school districts to identify kids in need of afterschool programs, and we give out more than 30 scholarships each season, fully paid for with donations.” The cost for one child to attend a five-week session of art classes is $150.
Sunflower Art Studios will remain a nonprofit, operating as it did before but within the Stone Wave Yoga space. “It just lives here now,” explains Glover Wilson. “We’re committed to creating experiences for the community and collaborating with a broad scope of local artisans. We’ll continue to provide art classes for children and adults and other creative experiences and workshops throughout the year.”
The space can be rented for kids’ parties, which help raise money for the afterschool art programs. (One hundred percent of funds raised that way go to the program.)
The two yoga studios in the building offer a range of yoga styles from Kripalu to Ashtanga and related disciplines that include meditation, Tai Chi and Qigong. “Different styles work for different people,” says Glover Wilson, adding that it’s an integral part of the concept to stay open and respect different paths. “I hear all the time from people that they think they’re not flexible enough for yoga, or they don’t want to try it until they lose weight. We want people to feel comfortable and that they don’t need to meet any prerequisites to be involved. It’s very important to us to be inclusive.”
There are classes in chair yoga for those with limited movement, teen yoga and “grow yoga,” for kids ages 5-8 and 9-12. There’s a yoga therapist in-house (“the only one I know of in this area,” says Glover Wilson) and prenatal, restorative and sunrise yoga sessions. A donation-based community yoga session is held each Friday evening at 7 p.m. with live music and refreshments included. Attendees may pay as little as $5 per session. Stone Wave Yoga also plans to offer teacher training in the future for Reiki healing and meditation.
“What’s so cool about having the blessing of being able to bring this all together is that it allows a place where community can develop and grow,” says Glover Wilson. “We’re able to have the nonprofit side, where we provide accessibility to art, and the yoga side, where we’re creating a line of classes that provide accessibility to those of different needs and levels of experience. And a lot of people tell us that they love the environment, that it’s a comfortable atmosphere and feels like a safe place. And that’s important; that feeling is a big part of being able to tap into the healing power of yoga.”
Stone Wave Yoga is located at 2694 U.S. 44 in Gardiner. For more information, call (845) 419-5219 or visit https://www.stonewaveyoga.com/