By Madina Toure
When Yen Yen Woo arrived in Flushing in 2006, she started looking for a space where she could publish her Chinese comic book series.
But the site she found on Farrington Street in downtown Flushing ended up being too big. That’s when she decided to carve out some space there for one of her other passions — yoga.
Yumcha Yoga is located on the second floor at 33-59 Farrington St.
The name “Yumcha” means “to drink tea” in Cantonese, symbolizing the familial, relaxing nature of the studio’s approach to yoga.
“We do yoga with a sense of humor,” Woo, 43, said. “We smile about it, we laugh about it.”
Originally from Singapore, Woo now lives in Flushing with her husband, Colin Goh, 44, and their 5-year-old daughter. She received her doctorate of education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and teaches at the School of Education at Long Island University.
Founded in May 2013, Yumcha Yoga classes have five to 15 students, who live mostly in northeast Queens. Instructors modify their teachings to the varying needs of students, who represent a variety of ages and body types.
“Because the teachers are so well trained, they will look at your body type and understand what supports you need,” Woo said.
Teachers include Heesun Kim, who teaches at Equinox; Masako Miyakawa, who teaches at The Yoga Room in Long Island City and The Giving Tree in Astoria; and Michelle Ingkavet Cavanagh, who teaches at Vitality Yoga in Bayside.
Sho Higuchi, 26, of Marble Hill, teaches the stress buster, flexibility, flow and restorative classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“I look forward to coming here and teaching and every time I leave here, I feel better,” Higuchi said. “Even as a teacher, I feel like I’ve gotten so much from the class.”
Elmhurst resident Wendy Lee, 41, has been practicing at Yumcha Yoga for nearly one year.
“I’m a mom, so this is my place to go to relax, to work on myself, to learn focus,” Lee said.
Paul Broschart, 53, a resident of College Point, said practicing at the studio has helped relieve his shoulder injury as well as his hip and knee pain.
“The moment I walked in, I knew I wanted to be part of this,” Broschart said.
Yumcha Yoga classes are held all week in the mornings and evenings and schedules are available online.
Yumcha Studios, the publishing house, is where Woo and Goh put together their comic book series, Dim Sum Warriors.
They started the series, a bilingual digital comic book series about kung fu-fighting Chinese snacks, when their daughter was born. The books exist as an iPad app, which contains text and audio in English and Chinese, and in print form.
The third volume of Dim Sum Warriors will be published later this year. The couple is also going to start working on a stage musical for the series with a composer and actors in May.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour