We first found The Breathing Room in the late spring of 2012. Back then, the floors were still carpeted over, and the walls and closets were full of wires that had been left behind by a dotcom that had gone bankrupt a few months before. But something about the space just felt right — warm and welcoming like a healer’s living room — and we knew we had found our home.
Over the next few months, we pulled up the carpets and sanded the old hardwood floors we found below. Friends sent friends to help, and yoga teachers and poets wrote messages for us to tuck under the floors in every room, like secret beams of support for all who would come here. Tracy Rodriguez hung photographs of local yoga teachers on the walls, and Liz Kovarsky flew in from San Francisco with more art for the massage rooms. Mohammad Ali from Rikshaw Studios came to help fix a door, and then stopped by a few weeks later with an amazing charcoal print for our reception entrance, inspired by the space. When the Clear Conscience Cafe closed, they gave us their beautiful custom mirrors to hang. Local AcroYoga teacher Sandy Kalik helped us find and hang and return and re-hang all sorts of drapes and blinds. And one day, after searching the internet for a “fluffy rug of joy,” we created a texture garden of wool and hemp and jute and bamboo rugs, so guests could just kick off their shoes and feel sensation on their feet.
In the six years since, we’ve offered a variety of yoga classes ranging from Vinyasa to Pranakriya to Iyengar to AcroYoga to Kalaripayattu. Our yoga room was a sort of TT The Bears compared to the Orpheum of a larger studio; a place for intimate yoga, where newer teachers could first start their teaching practice before they became stars, and where more seasoned teachers could come home to teach when they wanted the personal depth of a smaller class.
Meanwhile, our massage practice blended techniques ranging from familiar friends like Swedish massage, “deep tissue” neuromuscular therapy, and myofascial release to more unusual forms like Thai or Cherokee bodywork, craniosacral therapy, zero balancing and reiki. But mostly, if you asked us what kind of massage we offered, we’d just smile and tell you we did the kind of massage that makes you feel better.
The Breathing Room closed on April 29, but much of the team will remain in the space we’ve left behind. Three of our healing arts practitioners, Ken Kawaji, Jen Vershbow, and Shereen Salem, will continue to practice as CsQuare Massage in the rooms we used to call our “Balance Room” and “Fluffy Room.” You can book massage and other healing arts sessions with them through this link, and, if you have a valid gift certificate that you were unable to use at The Breathing Room before the studio itself expired, Ken, Jen and Shereen will be able to honor it for you at CsQuare.
Meanwhile, most of the yoga team will continue to teach in the “Yoga Room” in what will now be behind door number one of a new studio called Five Doors Health + Wellness. (There will also still be some meditation behind Five Doors’ door number four.)
Whether this is your first time here or our sixth year together, we thank you for sharing in our journey, and hope you’ll keep returning to the space we’ve left behind to share in CsQuare and Five Doors’ first steps. Hosting this melting pot of overlapping communities — almost seven thousand people — has been an adventure, a privilege, a journey, and a joy. We are truly grateful.
“The Breathing Room is exactly that. A space that encourages you to truly breathe. You first walk in and take off your shoes to experience the Texture Garden of rugs, and if that isn’t enough to give you pause, the staff, instructors, and massage therapists consistently create a fabulously grounded, peaceful vibe. The size of the main yoga room is smaller than many studios, which means you always get a smaller class size (and the space is affordable for teachers who are just starting out). The yoga room has a full array of yoga props, including these aMAzing lavender eye pillows for your closing savasana.”
“The Breathing Room has that warm and fuzzy feeling once you walk in – literally! You are greeted by the warm and fuzzy Justin, the owner, and also massage therapist, whose massages make you feel like you have been nuzzled in bear paws. Also, check out their yoga classes – they are eclectic in variety and intimate in setting. Love love love The Breathing Room!”
“Walking into the Breathing Room makes you feel like you are walking into your home. There are fluffy carpets all over, and beautiful photographs of yogis in action. Justin is warm, outgoing, and overall wonderful. I can honestly say that I have never experienced such an amazing massage in my life – and I am VERY picky.”
“Having two parents who are 25+ year veterans of the massage therapy/structural bodywork field, I tend to be a very tough critic, so keep that in mind when I say that this massage was amazing — by far the best I’ve experienced in Boston.