NORWAY – After leaving Main Street and climbing two flights of red stairs you enter a large, light-filled, empty space that makes downtown Norway seem quite distant.

Called the Center for Movement and Meditation, the quiet, seemingly faraway room at 430 Main St. above Books N Things is something of a secret in the area, known to people mostly by word of mouth.

Four practitioners of yoga and massage work here, offering weekly classes and private massages.

As yoga instructor Christopher Harris described it, “Nothing else in the area is serving as a hub for yoga and massage. We’re like a hub for all kinds of body-mind practices and metaphysics.”

But a hub suggests a lot of traffic, which at this point the center has not attracted. The practitioners are trying to call more attention to the center, and will offer an open house next week, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 9. They will give short demonstration massages and explanations of yoga, as well as sell gift certificates.

Eliza Beghé, the center’s director and a yoga teacher, said she has not done much marketing since establishing the center last spring.

“There’s not a lot of printed information,” she said, saying the center’s offerings are spread mainly from friend to friend.

At the center Beghé and Harris teach two different styles of yoga, Lee Dassler offers Thai-Shiatsu massage, and Kathryn Gardner gives Swedish, sports and neuromuscular massages.

All four said they would welcome more practitioners, like tai chi teachers, experts in the Feldenkrais method or meditation leaders, to share the space and broaden alternative healing in the region.

“One thing our area is very proud of is the Stephens Memorial Hospital,” Dassler said. “This (the center) increases the health care options by having a place that offers other wellness possibilities.”

Harris, besides teaching yoga, is also an energy healer and channeler. He said, “I think its role is promoting mindfulness, and promoting a happier, more peaceful life. It’s getting people in touch with their bodies and being well.”

Beghé has been holding yoga classes in the building since 2000 but was renting the space on a per-use basis. When Erica Jed, the downstairs bookstore owner, bought the building last year, Beghé opted to lease the upstairs floor and share it with others. She said the space is available for workshops, and this summer, for example, a belly dance class met here.

Beghé left New York City in the mid 1990s where she worked as an art dealer.

Dassler, who was once head of the McLaughlin Garden in Paris, is overseeing the Western Foothills Land Trust and has a horse massage business.

Gardner, who grew up in Minot, graduated from the New Hampshire Institute for Therapeutic Arts in Bridgton in 2000 with a license in massage therapy.

Harris has been teaching Astanga yoga for more than six years. He moved here from Old Orchard Beach two years ago.


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