Dragonfly's owner, Katie O’Connell, first took an interest in building a studio when she was an English teacher at Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith, NH. “I think [my English students] were my first real group of people who were validating me as a yoga teacher outside of my regular adult students,” says O’Connell, who was already teaching some yoga classes locally at the time. “I had mostly juniors and AP students, and they would come into class and say, ‘Mrs. O’Connell, could we start with a little breathing exercise?’ or ‘Could we start with mediation?’. They were very stressed out, all thinking about colleges and getting good grades in school, and they didn’t have time to relax or decompress from their studies. Those kids, I remember, made me realize how much people really need yoga, and so I got interested in having a studio.”
After moving a house and a barn up to their property in North Sandwich on Bennett Street, Katie, along with husband Declan O’Connell, began looking for another barn to become the studio. After some searching, they found one about to be burned down due to land subdivision. After talking to the owner, they moved the structure up to their property, and with some restorations the pre-1780s barn was perfectly situated for visitors to take yoga classes while enjoying the beautiful view of Mount Whiteface.
A variety of classes are offered at Dragonfly Yoga Barn, from gentle and beginner’s yoga to more vigorous and restorative classes. “There are classes for every level, every age,” O’Connell says, “sometimes I have students that are high school age come in and take classes, and I have students all the way up into their seventies, and so they pick and choose the classes that are right for them.”
In addition to classes, the yoga studio offers a variety of restorative retreats as well. Katie offers retreats as the yoga teacher, and has had other yoga teachers bring their classes up, often from urban communities, to experience the serene nature of the region. “They create their own retreat, and then Declan and I help facilitate the retreat. They might be teaching most of their classes, and I might teach one public class while they’re here. And then we also feed them, and there’s a hot tub on the back porch where they might spend time, or they may go hiking. There’s lots of different kinds of retreats.”
is one of Discover Sandwich's intern reporters.