“This is hard,” declared 29-year-old Sara Askin last Thursday at Dupont Circle’s Tranquil Space (1632 17th St. NW). She wasn’t referring to a balance or a bind, the stuff that normally challenges yogis. Instead, her will was being tested by a thick-peeled orange that didn’t want to get studded with cloves.
She was battling fruit to help launch the studio’s newest addition: Tranquil Space Labs. Until Oct. 31, it had housed a spa, but new D.C. requirements persuaded owner Kimberly Wilson to get out of the massage business.
With the extra room, she’s decided to get experimental. “The idea is to be able to try things out in a more intimate setting,” says Wilson, who explains that even with three studio spaces, it’s tough to schedule small workshops and off-the-mat activities.
She envisions holding movie screenings, charity benefits and lectures in the Labs, which can hold about a dozen mats. The space is also serving as the set for Tranquil Space TV, weekly videos on how to do certain poses and advice on advancing your practice. That’s laying the groundwork for possible future e-courses on topics such as nutrition, detox and creativity. “I feel like innovation is so critical. It’s important to be constantly exploring,” Wilson says.
At the Labs launch, participants tested the limits of their crafting abilities with the orange pomanders, popcorn garlands and pipe-cleaner snowflakes. Prosecco and nibbles got attendees into the holiday spirit. And it helped cushion the blow of losing the spa for Askin. “I’m going to miss it,” she said. “When I got the email it was closing, I thought, ‘Oh, my God, no!’”
But when Askin and other attendees heard about the plans for Labs, the response was more along the lines of “Yes, please.” “I’d like to see some kind of cooking class, maybe Ayurvedic foods,” offered 37-year-old Sheri Willoughby. Victoria Barth, 28, was on board for watching documentaries. “This almost feels like a bedroom — it’s such a chillaxing place,” she said.
So maybe the Labs can also serve the purpose of a spa even without any massages.