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Massive Midtown Yoga Studio Aims to Help Troubled Teens

By Alan Neuhauser | October 16, 2013 9:44am
 Bikram Yoga Herald Square, located at 139 W. 35th St.,  is looking to support 30 adolescents with behavioral issues and other challenges with a new "30 Days for 30 Lives" initiative in November.
Bikram Yoga Herald Square
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HERALD SQUARE — They're looking for a few sweaty young men — and women.

Bikram Yoga Herald Square — a less-than-year-old yoga studio that claims to be the largest in the five boroughs at 5,000 square feet — is launching an outreach program aimed at teaching troubled teens positivity through posing.

"We're looking to get 30 adolescents that either have behavioral issues or are challenged in some way," said director Greg Weglarski, 32, of his "30 Days for 30 Lives" program set to start Nov. 1. "A big part of the practice is you're learning to love yourself, to just work on yourself."

As part of the program, teens ages 14 to 19 would be paired with Bikram Yoga Herald Square members, and together the duos would attend classes and work through the stretches. The studio is also seeking to raise $30,000 for the program that it would put toward yoga clothes, water bottles and further classes for the teens.

"Yoga is effective in general at keeping people calms and more focused," Weglarski said. "This is kind of a twist, that you have someone else that you're supporting."

The studio has approached the nearby Satellite Academy High School to recruit students for the program, and also reached out to major retailers for potential sponsorships, marketing director Adriana Echandi said. The search for more students and supporters remains ongoing.

"We are still in early stages," Echandi said in an email.

Weglarski, who lives in Long Island City, opened the studio in December with his mother, Elizabeth Weglarska, 62. He is a former art designer and architect, and she is a former construction manager. They designed the space themselves, placing soft green mats of fake grass at the entrance, and using dark planks of reclaimed barn wood for the desk, furniture and walls.

The studio currently has about 120 members, said Weglarski, with single classes costing $30. He eventually hopes to turn Bikram Yoga Herald Square into a full-fledged brand.

"The SoulCycle for Bikram," he said. "A place at that level, and also a place where people can come to meet and have the community."