Three locals open new yoga sanctuary in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — “Dil,” loosely translated from Persian and Hindi, signifies “heart,” “soul,” “courage,” “generosity” and “wish.”
It’s also the name of a new yoga sanctuary that will hold its grand opening this Saturday, Oct. 13, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at its new home at 13 Washington St. in Middlebury Classes officially start on Monday, Oct. 15.
The space most recently hosted “Ollie’s Other Place,” a book, toy, game and educational gift store for babies and children.
dil (the business spells its name all lower case) is a collaboration between sisters Jennifer and Jaime Parmelee and their good friend Bronwen Kent. The Parmelees both have around two decades of experience teaching yoga, while Kent is an avid practitioner who will primarily handle accounting and administrative chores for the operation.
“We’ve put a lot of intention into it,” Jennifer Parmelee said of dil. “We want to create a place for people who have never learned about breathing techniques, meditation, movement in the body, yoga history and philosophy, and how all these yogas connect.”
The sanctuary will offer classes, workshops, “ancient wisdoms” and teacher trainings for all levels of yogi/yogini.
“We are a yoga sanctuary providing the community with a lineage of yoga stemming from Paramahansa Yogananda and ISHTA heritage,” reads a dil introductory flyer. “Our vision is to support the daily journey of cultivating peace and calm for a healthy life and happy community.”
Jennifer and Jaime Parmelee studied under some big names in the yoga field during their careers as teachers in the New York City area. Their mentors included B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Sharon Gannon.
They taught at centers such as the Yoga Zone, at corporate gigs and offered one-on-one sessions with customers.
While they enjoyed the fast-paced nature of an urban setting and teaching to large classes, the sisters ultimately felt the pull back to Addison County. They had spent their teen years in the Middlebury area, and are both Middlebury Union High School graduates. So they and they respective families recently circled back to the Middlebury area earlier this decade.
Soon after settling back in, they began teaching in rented space at the Align yoga studio in the Marble Works shopping complex. Kent was one of their students. The three developed a friendship and a commitment to opening a new yoga space they believed would complement Otter Creek Yoga and Healing Arts, an already thriving business in Middlebury.
Unlike her colleagues, Kent is fairly new to the yoga scene.
“I did it more out of curiosity; I wanted to learn more about it,” Kent said. “I had a knee injury and thought (yoga) could help me recover from that, and it did. I found the combination of the, philosophy, body movement and spirituality to be very compelling.”
From there, she decided to train as a teacher. She’ll do some of that at dil between minding the shop.
The three partners are thrilled with the dil location on Washington Street. It has around 700 square feet of space that will be able to accommodate 20-25 students at a time.
“It’s in a beautiful area, and is close to the bakery (Middlebury Bagel), the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op, Shaw’s and parking,” Jaime Parmelee said.
Passersby have been curious about the new business taking shape.
“We’ve had so many people pop their heads in to see what was going on,” Kent said. “They want to be a part of it.”
Classes will range from “New Beginnings” for those just starting yoga, to “Swat and Surrender” for advanced practitioners. There are also classes for expectant and new mothers and teens. A complete list of dil offerings and course prices can be found at dilyoga.com.
Above all, the trio wants their clients to know they can proceed at their own pace.
“Your practice as you walk through the door is your own practice; it’s not about the teacher telling you what you should do,” Jennifer Parmelee said. “The teacher is the guide, but we want (clients) to know that their practice is their own journey… and we’re not here to tell you (your practice) should be anyplace else. We’re here to provide the space for self-exploration, and to go a little bit deeper if you’d like.”
Reporter John Flowers is at addisonindependent.com.

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