BY Eileen Z. Fuentes

Bread and Yoga (4951 Broadway @ 207th Street, 2nd Fl) opened its doors in September 2009 and is fully dedicated to providing a multi-layered approach to wellness. Marcela Xavier, Founder/Director, aims to create a community-oriented space that is inviting and promotes health. They offer a schedule of diverse classes, nutrition, and art programs for all ages. She has successfully brought together her extensive background in yoga with her passion for food in order to serve the residents of Upper Manhattan.

As I made my way through the long narrow hallway, I was pretty skeptical about where I was going and how this dated building could be the place where a yoga studio called home. When Marcela opened the door, it felt like she was Saint Peter letting me in through the sacred pearly gates. I was shocked when I entered the space and was greeted by an open spacious kitchen and a large table that seats many. The studio is airy and full of natural light, the colors just brought an immediate sense of serenity and the high tin ceilings provided that unexpected artistic flare. I was blown away by what she has done with what used to be cluttered office space.

We discussed many topics beginning with her myriad of classes including different yoga styles, Chinese martial arts such as Qi-gong and Tai Chi, Pilates and Meditation. I was most excited about her summer park series where she is taking her class outdoors beginning on June 22 at 6:45pm. Right in time for the summer solstice, Marcela will offer FREE classes every Tuesday at Inwood Hill Park at the Indian Road Lawn where attendees will practice to the beat of live drums. She has ongoing special events and workshops. To bring in the new spring season, she offered a guided cleanse and most recently she created a new mom support group. The future looks bright as she is looking to teach cooking classes. And by the way, she prepares what she defines as “mindful meals”, consisting of mostly vegetarian, local and organic meals. Her objective is to show busy New Yorkers the art of creating healthy habits and establishing rituals around cooking food…and empowering skill indeed and one that is quite the rarity these days.

In addition to these programs, she has a comprehensive art and afterschool program for children. I was very impressed to hear that Bread and Yoga was part of the 2010 Uptown Arts Stroll! The classes are taught by Sasha Schwartz, a local art teacher who the children just adore. As a member of the community, Marcela knows that these programs can exclude some of the lower-income residents. It is for this reason that she is working with local guidance counselors to recruit and provide free classes to children who may otherwise not afford it. This is possible via donations from existing clients and friends.

Marcela Xavier is a great role model and a strong businesswoman who is setting herself apart from the other yoga studios in the area. Her focus is on bringing people together. She is providing a wellness community right here in the Washington Heights/Inwood area. A visionary that is creating that small town feel in the big city.

Bread and Yoga

4951 Broadway @ 207th Street, 2nd Fl


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