Tara Salay is a big believer in the natural healing aspects of yoga.
The former physical therapist turned yoga instructor specializes in teaching yoga to those with chronic pain and pelvic health issues. Recently, she opened a business in Setauket.
The St. James resident said working as a physical therapist for five years she regularly advised patients with chronic pain and pelvic issues to take yoga classes. Unfortunately, many patients couldn’t find a class that helped them. Before the pandemic, she began to think about opening a yoga studio that would cater to these individuals, but as businesses had to shut their doors due to state mandates, Salay took to the virtual classroom to introduce her business.
“It was the push that I needed in a way because I had all the plans before, and then I was, like, I have the time now let me just do it,” she said.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, Salay eventually was able to rent a space part-time and then a month ago began renting full-time and opened up her studio in the Port Jefferson Chiropractic building on Route 25A near Washington Street. Right now, she doesn’t have a name for the studio and operates under her name. Her goal is “to bring awareness of how yoga can help people who are dealing with chronic conditions.”
Chronic pain and pelvic issues are common. Salay said issues in the pelvic area range from problems for both women and men with the bladder, actual pain in the pelvis, sexual dysfunction or even bowel issues. She added some people will go to physical therapy with pelvic pain and will feel better, but then will face a stressful situation and the issues will return.
“That’s why yoga is really great for it, because it works on the mind-body connection and teaches them how to relax those muscles so they’re not tensing up every time that they’re stressed out,” she said.
“My teacher training was just so transformational for me personally that I just wanted to transition. I just want to dedicate myself to doing yoga. I’ll use my knowledge as a PT but this is what I’m doing now.”
— Tara Salay
The instructor said yoga is more than different poses but also about breathwork and meditation, and many are hesitant because they think they can’t handle the poses, which sometimes look difficult.
“We can make it work for your body,” Salay said. “There’s more to yoga that I think people aren’t aware of, and they think that you have to have a certain body type or be flexible or be able to get into these crazy positions to do yoga, and that’s definitely not true at all.”
With her physical therapy experience, she said she has a deep understanding of the body, and she can guide her clients to help keep them safe. Salay has been practicing yoga for more than 10 years, and when she decided she wanted to open a yoga studio took the classes to become a teacher. Originally, she thought she would incorporate her yoga training into her physical therapy, but the reverse happened.
“My teacher training was just so transformational for me personally that I just wanted to transition,” Salay said. “I just want to dedicate myself to doing yoga. I’ll use my knowledge as a PT but this is what I’m doing now.”
In addition to opening a yoga business, the 30-year-old is planning her wedding to her fiancé, Scott, later this year. She said to balance everything she has some help with planning the wedding that she is keeping on the small side, and she meditates every morning to center herself for the day and stay positive. For those trying to open a new business while juggling life’s responsibilities, she has advice.
“Take one step at a time and have a set schedule and try your best not to overwhelm yourself,” she said. “I was trying to do two blogs a week. I had to do one a week. It was setting my priorities on where I really needed to spend my time and making that clear.”
Currently, Salay offers private lessons or classes for small groups by appointment only. She said, as her clientele grows, she would like to offer set classes targeted toward certain conditions such as pelvic pain or osteoporosis.
The studio is located at 416 Main St., Setauket. Classes are still available online for those who may not be comfortable practicing in public just yet or may not live nearby. For more information, visit her website: drtarasalay.com.