Princeton Center for Yoga & Health Celebrates its 20th Anniversary with Reflection and Celebration
When Deborah Metzger opened Princeton Center for Yoga & Health back in 1996, it was the first yoga studio in the area. On a recent sunny afternoon, sitting in the serene setting of the studio in the Orchard Hill Center on Orchard Road, the founder and director reflects on her journey to open her own yoga studio and the evolution of it over the past 20 years.
“We were the first studio in the area,” she says. “We’re proud of planting the seeds of yoga in the community. We set the tone. We are a more traditional studio, not the latest fad.”
When Metzger first envisioned her studio, she wanted to create a place where she could be surrounded by likeminded people, learn about herself, and give back to the community. Trained at the renowned Kripalu Center in Massachusetts, Metzger saw that there was nothing like that kind of facility in the community. After teaching at various area locations, she wanted her own yoga home and opened her doors at the current location in 2012. She used Kripalu as her model for a peaceful serene place, a place where she could learn and grow and help others to do the same.
Today, the studio is housed in part of a vintage farmhouse on Orchard Road. The two-story studio is modern, peaceful, and warm; light woods and windows light the space. There are artifacts and artwork at every turn, many brought in by clients and some from local artists who lend their work to the studio. Several outside spaces are used for classes, gatherings, and reflection. All of these combine to emit a feeling of quiet serenity and welcoming.
Princeton Center for Yoga & Health offers something for every “body,” every age, and every lifestyle. The myriad of class offerings range from classes for children through older adults, cross the various yoga specialties, and include every fitness level. All instructors at the Center are certified with extensive experience. According to Metzger, they love what they do and each brings special gifts and teaches from the heart, “in that place of passion,” and with the intention to share and pay it forward.
Metzger wanted to learn more herself, so she started a program to bring in internationally-known master teachers to run teacher trainings and workshops. The classes range from children’s yoga to restorative yoga to prime of life yoga and beyond. Bringing in these masters, she explains, offers the Center’s teachers, as well as others, the opportunity to train.
“We know how to teach people how to teach,” says Metzger. “We choose (the masters) very carefully and are very excited about our teacher trainings. People have come here from all over the country to train with them.”
The underlining theme in all of it, explains Metzger, is mindfulness; it is the key behind yoga. It teaches to listen to your body. The body, she says, gives messages, from illness to anxiety to injury; many signs that will whisper. You just need to listen.
“When you get quiet,” she says, “you can get your answers and your special gift. Research is showing what the ancients knew — there are health benefits to it, even changes in the brain. It’s a way to come back home to yourself. It’s about finding yourself. All these tools bring you into the present moment and that’s where wisdom is. Here (at Princeton Center for Yoga & Health), we give you the place to do it.”
Metzger is all about giving back, which is part of yoga’s tradition. The Center supports local artists, does fundraising, and offers special classes as part of their outreach. Their Community Class is open to the public for a small suggested donation. Those donations help support local charities and organizations. Past fundraising efforts have helped Womanspace, breast cancer research, local EMS, and area schools.
One of the newest additions is an outside labyrinth. Labyrinths are thousands of years old and found in many different cultures. There is only one path in or out, and following the route is said to balance the hemispheres of the brain. Metzger says she has always been intrigued by them and has wanted one since she first started yoga. She wanted to honor the tradition, so she researched and found a woman who is a certified labyrinth builder. Together they designed and created a classic 7th circuit labyrinth that sits outside on the serene grounds of the Center.
“We offer a lot of fun and different things,” Metzger says. “Come, try something!”
Princeton Center for Yoga & Health is located at Orchard Hill Center, 88 Orchard Rd. in Skillman. For more information and to check on upcoming special events, call 609-924-7294, visit princetonyoga.com, or find on Facebook.