For the fourth iteration of their signature daylong yoga retreat and community market, H.E.A.L. Bflo founders Cheryl Erbacher and Jocelyn Kowalczyk have added a new element: included with the full day of yoga classes will be a restorative room, which, like a spa, will offer a restful and soothing atmosphere, plus acupuncture, massage, reiki or Pilates sessions.

Erbacher and Kowalczyk founded their organization—whose initials stand for health, energy, art, love—to share yoga and build community. In addition to organizing the annual retreat, they offer yoga gear through their website, healbflo.com.

Both the organizers note that, as always, attendees can stop by the retreat simply to shop and listen to music—there’s no charge to enter the market space, where 50+ vendors will be set up, offering a wide range of goods, from gear to fruits and vegetables to jewelry.

If someone would like to partake of any of the offerings in the restorative room, there is small fee for each service. And a pass for the full day, which includes any or all of five yoga classes plus access to the restorative room, is $60.

“Our original objective with H.E.A.L. Bflo was to share yoga with people who normally couldn’t afford it,” said Erbacher. “Yoga’s benefits can work with people of any age, any physical capability—it can give confidence and insight on your life.”

“We also want to give back—that became the inspiration for our yoga retreat, which each year has made a charitable donation,” said Erbacher. “In the first three years, we’ve donated yoga equipment to the East Side community center where I work; in honor of Jocelyn’s aunt, we started a project to build a meditation room at Roswell; and we donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.” This year, the donation will be going to the WNY Women’s Foundation.

As for the yoga itself, there will be teachers from Toronto, and from a mix of studios around Buffalo; Kowalczyk said that the retreat is a chance to try something different for both beginners and people who have done it before.

“Many people get comfortable in what they know and where they go; it can be hard to break out of that shell,” she said. “At the retreat, they can take a class with a teacher from a different studio; you’re meeting other yogis. We all share space, and we’re in the same movement together—into yoga, into health.”

“There are many kinds and forms of yoga, some more relaxing and restorative, and some that focus on flow or strength,” Kowalczyk continued. “You don’t have to be flexible to start—everyone can do it. And don’t give up if you didn’t like the first time you tried it! I didn’t.”

Beginners are welcome, and, said Erbacher, as with any new activity, trust your instincts. “Yoga is more than exercise. Mindfulness can transform your life—exercise is the second benefit of a yoga practice,” she said. “To get started, go in with an open mind, listen to your body. And talk to people. Another part of yoga’s benefit is the community around it: the people, the connections, the vibe.”

The event takes place on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Templeton Landing, 2 Templeton Terrace, Buffalo, NY 14202, from 10 am to 5 pm.

To purchase an advance ticket for the retreat, visit [LINK: http://www.healbflo.com/store/c11/YOGA_RETREAT_TICKET.html

To make a donation in support of the WNY Women’s Foundation, visit: http://www.wnywomensfoundation.org/donations

With questions, or for additional information, email cheryl@healbflo.com.

Jana Eisenberg is a frequent contributor to WNYMedia.net and publications locally, regionally and nationally.

(Editor’s Note: Look for regular contributions from Cheryl and Jocelyn to WNYmedia.net in the upcoming weeks)