Opal Jessica Bogdan
SARATOGA — Families with young teens and children are welcomed to join Namaste Yoga, yoga of awareness, to help develop skills to use in everyday life.
Susan Cuda, owner of the studio, said the restorative classes are aimed to help teens and children develop skills they wouldn’t learn inside a classroom, such as breathing exercises and relaxation.
“For kids, they’re not always comfortable in the skin they are in, and they can’t really figure out why there doesn’t seem to be enough time for relaxation and regrouping,” Cuda said. “That’s what the restoratives are for. We wanted to offer this because school is mandatory and it’s hard to find your niche when you’re really not prepared,” Cuda said.
Having previous teaching experience, Cuda noticed young adults becoming overwhelmed with difficulties and big decisions. She believes relaxation is the key to figuring out those concerns and created the restoration class to teach relaxation.
“We have two different age groups that both suffer from anxiety. A lot of that [anxiety] is just the unknowing of how the future is going to unfold. There are certain expectations that their parents have. The kids don’t know where they fit in because they’re a little too young to have the background necessary to follow all of that logic of ‘what is it that I want’ and ‘what is it that makes me feel really good,’” Cuda said. “Not too many parents even know enough to ask their children that.”
The studio will offer the younger kids class on March 22 and the teen class on April 19. The children 12 and under will partake in a 90-minute class and focus on tackling restlessness. Cuda will teach alongside Tara Amazon, yoga instructor, and will use techniques such as “belly breathing.” Cuda said with “belly breathing,” the kids would each have a strap around their ribcage. The strap would expand out to show they are deep breathing and using the diaphragm to relax.
The teen class, which ranges in age from 13-17, will focus on tackling anxiety.
“It’s about noticing what’s going on with society and with the people we come in contact with. The [teens] look like deer caught in headlights,” Cuda said. “I can’t answer their career questions and I can’t navigate their boyfriend/girlfriend situations but I realize that it’s intense. Adolescence is so tough but we can at least offer them a safe environment with confident teachers that can help them relax.”
Cuda said that through relaxation and breathing techniques, young adults could take a step back and focus on what matters to them. She believes through the class the teens will realize what relaxation feels like.
“They’re facing more pressure dealing with what do you want to be when they are older and they don’t want to admit it but they’re clearly not grown up and they have to make some really heavy decisions,” Cuda said.
At school, Cuda believes the teens take on different roles to help them figure out what they want to do in life, such as what being a good student feels like or being the star athlete. However, rather than pleasing their parents through those roles, Cuda thinks they need to step back and feel what is in their heart and body.
“Sometimes if you can’t relax it’s hard to feel in your body and you get in your head. They get in their head and they’re making decisions from their head. That’s really what the restorative can give back — that just breath feeling in their body,” Cuda said.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Each morning Staci Snider opens the doors to SNIDER Fashion and is greeted by a store filled with her own designs.
Snider said her designs are about creating clothing pieces that go above and beyond the typical clothing found in a fashion boutique. Opening her doors on 18 Congress St. to the public in April 2019, Snider said she has since created relationships with not only people in her community but across the states.
“It hasn’t been a year but I have really good local customers so its been really nice. I haven’t done any marketing or PR but the company is starting to grow by word of mouth. Then the people that come in stop by quite a bit, so I see them weekly,” Snider said.
Snider said that having a store filled with her own design makes it easier to connect with her clients. Since she knows the clothes so well, styling and fitting the clothing for each customer is easier. She operates with a “hands-on” approach that allows her to tailor designs to fit each customer individually. The sizes range from women’s 0-16 on average, but Snider said her clothing could be made outside of those restrictions.
“It’s good and easy knowing that everything in the store is mine. It’s easier for styling and for helping people because I know the clothes so well. It allows me to readjust the garment to their body type,” Snider said. “It’s very different. I do in-house alterations, hemming and even if we have to add more fabric into a garment I will.”
Currently Snider is working on pushing out her Spring 2021 line of clothing and said everyone is anticipating her new collection. Due to the current health issues overseas, her production has been slowed down. Snider said the Coronavirus tied up toggles that she had included in her designs and now has to wait for them to be disinfected, shipped and then disinfected again once arriving to the states.
“Thank goodness I’m a designer that produces in the United States, because most designers produce overseas so they might not be able to ship their spring collection,” Snider said.
Along with pushing out her spring designs in mid to late March, Snider is looking to welcome students starting early summer 2020. She said a lot of her clients stop by the store with kids who approach Snider and ask about the fashion industry. She said young girls in particular approach her on sewing and design tips, which she hopes to teach them this summer.
“Now I can start getting a little bit more involved with community stuff, so my first is going to be a kids class,” Snider said. “It’s going to be fun.”
Schuylerville — Starting this week, Old Saratoga Mercantile, located at 1120 NY-29, Schuylerville, will offer growler refills and begin baking their own fresh bread, adding to the store’s organic products.
Christina Myers, owner of Old Saratoga Mercantile (OSM) will offer to fill growlers (62 ounces), growlettes (32 ounces) and grenades (16 ounces). They also currently offer a selection of 183 craft beers breweries drop off in store.
“There is no Budweiser in here; it’s all hard to find, rare, really nice craft beers,” Myers said.
They will also start baking fresh bread in store once a week to add to the bakery items.
Myers created OSM after she found herself growing tired of constantly reading food labels to find fresh, farm-to-table products to provide for her family. While searching, she found herself reflecting on the days before the commercialization of agriculture when each community had a general store and people didn’t need to read food labels.
“People weren’t adding food coloring or high fructose corn syrup then,” Myers said. “Those were the products that I was getting but I was getting them all over the place so thought I should just make a store myself.”
Since opening in August 2017, OSM has become a family-oriented one-stop shop for people in tune with where their food comes from.
“My customers, I think, have a little bit of a different thing going on. They’re here because they are incredibly in tune with their food sourcing and that’s why they come to us,” Myers said.
The converted dairy barn carries a variety of fresh produce, dairy products, meat, eggs and other goods from over 120 local venders, farmers and artists. Customers can find common names in store such as Saratoga crackers as well as non-brand items like handmade knit hats that Myers buys from a single mom once a week.
“This is how we put it together,” Myers said. “It’s difficult to coordinate and although time management is the most challenging piece, it’s probably the most rewarding because there are 120 people that are excited to be in here. We’re putting food on their table and they’re getting a good opportunity to offer their things.”
Along with the capital region farmers and vendors, Myers said she sources products from Vermont. If the products are not available locally or the local produce contains ingredients such as food coloring or high fructose corn syrup, Myers won’t bring the products in.
The family currently grows fresh produce in a 3000sq ft. high tunnel. Myers said they are big winter growers although they have farm year round. Currently they grow spinach, kale, arugula, lettuces and Asian greens, all heartier greens that can be grown in a tunnel up north. She said they don’t heat the tunnels so the family doesn’t grow produce such as tomatoes year round.
For the remainder of the year, OSM grows lots of garlic, zucchini, squash and other organic vegetables.
“We grow weird things like mini spaghetti squash and heirloom tomatoes…things that you won’t find typically anywhere else,” Myers said.
She added the family tends to take a step back during the summer because they noticed that their customers are so in tune with where the food comes from, they grow produce in their own gardens for themselves.
The family is also in the process of building a second high tunnel to keep up with the demand in store.
“This spring we will be putting in a second tunnel. That’s going to give us a little bit more growth. At the moment we cut almost every single day because we sell out in our store every single day,” Myers said.
Along with cutting produce every day for customers, OSM supplies to a few restaurants on a small scale such as Hamlet and Ghost in downtown Saratoga. With the new tunnel, Myers said they hope to support more restaurants and stock shelves in store to provide for more customers.
Myers said OSM sees a mix of regular and new clients and enjoys doing special things for them. She said one particular customer each week prefers the smallest package of chicken because she’s feeding just herself and doesn’t want to end up with the biggest chicken. So Myers saves the smallest package in the back each week for her.
“Everyday I’m talking with people that are equally passionate for good food and for supporting local,” Myers said.
For more information about Old Saratoga Mercantile visit oldsaratogamercantile.weebly.com.