Want to be happier and healthier? Then head to downtown Hartford.
TJ Clynch, the owner of Downtown Yoga and Cycled Energy at 57 Pratt St. is on a mission to promote health, well-being and civic mindedness.
Clynch, 27, opened Downtown Yoga a year ago with his own health and happiness in mind. In April of 2010, he and another person were hit by a car while they were walking on Boulevard in West Hartford. Clynch suffered a concussion and back injury and turned to yoga as part of his physical rehabilitation.
“I found other yoga studios really unapproachable for guys, and they weren’t really affordable at 20 bucks a class,” he says. “And then they weren’t convenient.”
So he decided to open his own studio. “I wanted to build a yoga studio that was affordable, approachable and accessible,” he says.
The most challenging part was finding a following. While most yoga teachers build a clientele by offering classes in more than one location, Clynch decided to open his studio on the second floor of a building in downtown next to an Irish pub. To build the following he wanted Clynch needed more programs. So in March he opened Cycled Energy, a studio with a unique spin – exercisers harness energy for the electrical grid as they pedal. The program was made possible by a $15,000 grant from the Hartford Innovation Challenge, which was awarded by the City of Hartford and the Connecticut Science Center in 2011. Clynch invested the money in electronic components that attach to the exercise bikes. The energy generated also helps him power his studio.
The concept of exercising for the greater good went viral and soon Clynch had the following he was looking for. His clients include people who work and live in downtown Hartford, as well as escapees from the suburbs who prefer a non-suburban exercise experience. The studio’s vibe is definitely young, hip and student-friendly.
Cycled Energy Movie Night is held on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 pm. Other night cycling classes feature a disco ball, pulsing lights, and DJ music in a room with light blue walls and recycled Astroturf flooring. Clynch also has added Zumba and Salsa dance classes, as well as the latest exercise trend, Bollywood dancing, to the roster.
He’s also converting a back room into a café and has opened another room as a collaborative work space for community groups, artists and non-profit organizations. He calls this space CityZen.
Prices for the classes are $14 for drop-ins ($10 for students) and $120 for a 10-class card. There also is a $25 two-week trial offer for first-time members. Check it out at downtownyogastudios.com where you can find a class schedule and download a parking coupon.