Friday, March 4, 2011

A place to nurture one’s spirit

YMCA raising funds for new yoga and Pilates center

Express Staff Writer

Pilar Tumolo, the new YMCA yoga coordinator, teaches a class at architect Susan Desko’s Lake Creek home, north of Ketchum, to benefit the new Spirit Center, a yoga and Pilates center at the Wood River Community YMCA in Ketchum. Photo by Tim Pleasants

The Wood River Community YMCA in Ketchum plans to renovate the northwest corner of its building, a 5,000-square-foot space on the second floor, to become a yoga and Pilates center called the Spirit Center.

YMCA Donor Relations Director Mike Wolter said the Y hopes to open the new facility for the 2011 winter solstice.

Wolter said yoga is a national trend and YMCA members want more of it, as well as Pilates.

"We want to schedule classes during the hours when parents are at the Y for kids classes," he said. "It gives them a chance to take a class."

In addition, Wolter said, the Y plans to offer more no-fee classes for yoga and Pilates once renovations have been made for the Spirit Center. He said the decision to create the Spirit Center was to use the former Lee Pesky Learning Center space, which is now vacant, and satisfy a community desire to have a yoga and Pilates center.

"We can bring more workshops, teacher trainings and retreats with the facility," he said. "We want to fill a void. This is for everybody."

The Y wants to raise $500,000 with the help of a dollar-for-dollar matching grant of $250,000 from the Springcreek Foundation. The Y has raised $125,000 toward the $250,000 challenge.

Assisting with fundraising efforts are award-winning architect Susan Desko and Gallery DeNovo owner Robin Reiners. Pilar Tumolo, the Y's new yoga coordinator, and Margie Cooper, its Pilates coordinator, have also been helping to raise money.

Cooper and Tumolo, as well as several other yoga instructors and practioners in the Wood River Valley, joined Desko and Reiners for a gala benefit on Saturday, Feb. 19, at Desko's Lake Creek house north of Ketchum for an event called "Bending Over Backwards." A weeklong series of group and private yoga and Pilates sessions followed the event.

"Bending Over Backwards" featured Desko's work and design of the Lake Creek home and the artwork of six internationally recognized artists represented by Gallery DeNovo.

"The architecture and art combined with the fourth dimension of movement at the gala featured poses by various yoga and Pilates instructors and practitioners in the Wood River Valley," Reiners said.

Catalonian artist Augusti Puig was one of the six featured artists. His work was included in Woody Allen's film "Vicky Christina Barcelona."

"The movie's tagline, 'Life is the ultimate work of art,' was a source of inspiration for our event," Reiners said.

Desko's Lake Creek home received the 2010 AIA Idaho chapter Award of Merit.

"The house and art are soul mates," Desko said.

Desko was invited by Y board member Theresa Castellano Wood to design the new Spirit Center. She's not only donating her design services, but also splitting the sales commission of the Lake Creek house with the Y if a sale comes from the "Bending Over Backwards" event.

"Like the Lake Creek home, the Spirit Center will use sustainable materials and the work of local craftsman," she said.

Desko said children, too, should be able to take part in the Spirit Center.

"It will be like new PE classes for the kids," she said. "The rooms will have special ceiling features."

Desko said a rooftop terrace will serve as a small yoga or meditation space.

"Fresh air is important," she said. "It will be an outdoor movement and mediation space."

In addition, Reiners said she will donate 10 percent of sales from any work sold at the "Bending Over Backwards" event and from any ongoing activities at the home.

"Bending Over Backwards" will continue through March. To schedule a viewing of the art at the home, e-mail To schedule a house tour, e-mail

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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