Photos courtesy of Charlotte Muller/Breathe Strength

A new yoga studio that just opened for business in Astoria takes a holistic approach to healing a person’s mind, body and spirit.

Breathe Strength Yoga & Wellness, located at 31-16 36th Ave., officially opened to the public on Oct. 7, offering classes in yoga, fitness and mediation at all levels led by a team of 16 teachers, including owner Charlotte Muller.

For eight years, Muller taught fitness classes as her “side hustle,” running fitness classes in gyms and other public spaces wherever she could during and after college. Muller quickly found that this wasn’t a particularly stable way to make a living and was working in human resources after graduation to make ends meet.

“I always had an idea to open my own studio, but the thought was always along the lines of, ‘Oh, I’ll do it when I’m married’ or ‘I’ll do it when I’m more financially stable,’” Muller said. “I tried to do it out of college but it didn’t work. But it was always on my mind because I wasn’t happy in the corporate world.”

Muller ultimately took the plunge, quitting her job in the corporate sector and eventually finding Breathe Strength’s Astoria studio space in February 2019.

“Once I stepped inside the studio, I felt, ‘Yup, this is it,’” said Muller. “I knew that it was meant to be.”

If you were to tell Muller years ago that she’d be running her own yoga and fitness studio, she’d probably think you were crazy. 

“I was not athletic,” Muller said, laughing. “I hated going to the gym and gym class at school.”

It wasn’t until Muller was faced with the death of her mother that a switch flipped inside her and started her fitness journey from the ground up.

“When I was 17, I lost my mom unexpectedly,” Muller said. “I got tested and found out that I had a genetic disorder that gives me high cholesterol. I had to change my life completely, and about a month into it I had a complete change of heart.”

Muller made a complete turnaround, not only incorporating exercise into her routine but gaining her certifications to teach Zumba, high-intensity interval training and yoga, and building the Breathe Strength brand while she was in college.

“The company was originally called ‘Conquering Cholesterol,’ but the more I wrote that down, it didn’t feel right,” said Muller. “I started writing down words that felt beautiful to me and tried pairing them, and landed on ‘Breathe Strength.’ Now my studio is Breathe Strength: “breathe” for yoga, and “strength” for fitness.”

While the Breathe Strength studio didn’t officially open until Oct. 7, Muller and her staff had been teaching community yoga classes in the space while it underwent construction. The classes, which take place on Monday afternoons at 3:45, helped Breathe Strength build its following well before it opened to the public.

“Construction took about three or four months, but the space was still usable for yoga,” Muller said. “I offered six or seven community yoga classes a week, which were completely donation-based, and after two months, we had 100 people who had either taken a class or [were] in our contacts for future classes.”

Now that it’s open, Breathe Strength currently offers classes in yoga and fitness — including but not limited to vinyasa yoga, yoga sculpt and high-intensity interval training — and they are also working to add meditation into the mix. Every third Friday of the month, Breathe Strength will host a Meditation 101 class, taught by Tawn Le, that aims to teach everyone the ins and outs of meditation while cracking the mystery of why it’s so hard to meditate.

Meditation 101 will cost $10 per person. Breathe Strength also hosts a weekly community meditation every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m., also led by Le, which is run completely off of donations. In fact, Muller made sure that classes are affordable.

“We’re not in it for the money,” Muller said. “That’s why it was important for us to have donation-based community classes on top of our regular classes.”

For more information about Breathe Strength, visit breathestrengthwellness.com.

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