You might know Bob Doto from The Castello Plan, or simply from bumping into him on a nearby block or other local establishment. He loves the Ditmas Park/Kensington area for its small town feel–how many people he recognizes on a walk down the street and how the business owners here all know their neighbors–and now, he’s going to be one of those business owners.
If you haven’t seen Bob behind the bar at Castello recently, it’s probably because he’s been working like crazy on Church Ave Yoga & Bodywork Center–opening tomorrow at 338 E 5th Street (between Church Avenue and Beverley Road). Ahead of the opening, Bob told us about his personal practice, his motivations in opening, and what neighbors can expect from the CAYBC.
“I grew up in a scene with bands where there were always Hare Krishnas floating around,” says Bob, “so the spiritual component of the practice has been a part of my life for a while. But I resisted actually doing yoga for a long time because I had a feeling I’d like it and it would become all-consuming.”
Bob initially started practicing at the urging of his ex wife. “I moved to city for a desk job in publishing, but it made me feel unhealthy,” he says. “So I did yoga.”
Bob says he thought he’d secured space for a studio several years ago on Coney Island Avenue, but the deal fell through. Still, it was important for him to open his own place.
“From a business standpoint, I want to work for myself,” he says, “but I also love this area, and I want to share this practice that’s important to me with the area.”
And really, interacting with neighbors in a business setting sounds like a bit of a calling for Bob–he’d held onto one shift per week at The Castello Plan for a whole year, up until the week before last, because he so enjoys chatting with patrons. Even now, he’s keeping his ties to the bar–owner Ben Heemskerk’s dad helped renovate the Church Ave Yoga and Bodywork Center.
Multiple types of yoga classes will be offered at the CAYBC seven days a week (schedule here). Bob says the center is starting with all level classes and shorter summer hours, and plans to find out going forward what the neighborhood needs. Massage services offered will focus on sports-oriented bodywork, and appointments will be available from approximately 12-7pm.
Aside from regular classes and bodywork services, neighbors can look forward to special events–Bob says he wants to make the studio as versatile and vibrant as possible. Until then, get updates about the CAYBC on Facebook, stop by during opening hours, or call 929-251-3831 to learn more.