Photo: Candace Moore
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Candace Moore, 35, was introduced to yoga at age 15. Twenty years later, she has made a name and a career for herself in the yoga space, with her most recent endeavor being a yoga studio in Ridgefield, Conn. called Namaslay Studios.
The studio has five instructors, including Moore, and features “funky” yoga classes like hip hop yoga, strength training and donation-based classes. She also offers personal training and one-on-one yoga.
“It’s just fun yoga flows to really great music,” she said. “All our night classes have ambience mood lighting, and instructors have the freedom to create themes around lighting or chakras. It’s a funky vibe, chill and laid back.”
But Moore’s yoga career actually began on the Internet rather than in a studio. Her YouTube channel, Yoga by Candace, which features instructional videos, has 264,000 subscribers and her Instagram page has 50,5000 followers.
The Danbury resident grew up in Falls Village, Conn. with a mom who she calls “the original cool girl.” She was into health and wellness before it was trendy, Moore said. And her mother “dragged” her to a world-renowned yoga spot in the Berkshires at age 15, which was Moore’s introduction to the practice.
As she grew up, Moore kept her interest in yoga but went to college to become a Spanish teacher and planned for that to be her career. When her ex-husband’s job took them all over the world, it became hard to hold a steady teaching job. But the real catalyst for Moore’s career in yoga, a discipline focused on mental and physical wellness, actually began with a devastating illness. Moore became ill with Lyme Disease to the point that she lost some mobility and mental capacity. It was then, bedridden, that she began to dream “What if I get better? What will I do?”
She did get better and graduated from yoga teacher training in Thailand in 2012. Then she started a blog about yoga, health, beauty and general lifestyle. From there she started posting short instructional yoga videos on YouTube and monetizing them. This led to a book deal and teaching yoga retreats in places like Santorini, Costa Rica, Morocco and Ibiza.
“A really amazing full circle movement for me was two summers ago when I led yoga teacher training in Thailand at the exact place I did mine,” she said.
In 2016, after getting a divorce, Moore moved back home to Connecticut to be close to her family. She started dating her boyfriend and moved in with him in Danbury. She originally rented her Namasaly studio space in Ridgefield as a place to film her YouTube videos with no intention of turning it into a studio.
“I just didn’t want to work out of his condo,” she says. “And then I decided this would be the cutest little space for a small studio, and that’s how it came to be.”
Namaslay officially opened this past summer, and has attracted many of her YouTube followers who want the chance to learn form her in person. In fact, Moore said she had a fan from Detroit fly all the way to Connecticut for a two-hour workshop.
She hopes her studio will be a “safe space” for people to enjoy the ancient practice of yoga in their own way.
“I try to encourage people to just do what they can with what they have. Wear what you want, be who your are, take the pressure off,” she said. “My goal is just to foster a safe space for people who are interested in yoga, create a sense of community and get to know people.”
Namaslay Studios is located at 159 Danbury Rd. in Ridgefield, CT