Yogis holding triangle pose stare straight up at the wispy clouds painted on a light blue ceiling and a large sky window in the exercise studio on the second floor of Peekskill’s Energy Movement Center several times a week.
EMC members are not accustomed to loud color schemes and mass-produced advertisements chain gyms have plastered throughout their studios. And just as EMC offers a more unique look appropriate for its many different yoga, Pilates and other classes, it also offers more holistic programs than you find at other gyms.
Over the last two years that Montrose resident Darby Melnik has been running EMC she has been striving to make her center a place for “healing arts,” and not just a place to work out.
This fall EMC will offer teen classes that focus on fitness, nutrition, drama and dance, as well as an adult six month vibrant health and wellness group and seminars that focus on finding out “the root cause for any blockages.”
Melnik has also hired a staff and increased class offerings and variety to include non-traditional therapies like acupuncture, qigong, dancing and Tai Chi. Next week a four-week Hip Hop 4 Health workshop by Christian Morel begins. EMC features two large exercise spaces, an X-bike indoor cycling room, a massage room, a Yoga room and an equipment area.
“I see this as a place where health and fitness is more than nutrition, diet and exercise. It is about feeding your creative soul,” Melnik said.
Melnik leads by example. Fit and toned at 47 years old, Melnik could be a model for the yoga clothes she often wears.
Melnik started renting a top floor of the Energy Movement Center for personal training in 2009. Over the next year other tenants started moving out and Melnik teamed up with the former owner, Paual Carbanuci, to re-energize existing classes.
Eventually Darby bought the whole center while Carbanuci continues to teach there.
Melnik had been involved with the fitness industry for 14 years working as a group exercise instructor and then as a personal trainer when she contracted Lyme Disease in 2009. She had always trying to figure out a better way to keep clients in shape and rid them of self-sabotaging behaviors that stood in their way. In her search for a cure to the symptoms of Lyme Disease, Melnik finally found an answer she was happy with. She learned Resistance Flexibility and Strength Training and in June 2009 graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she had learned from some of the world’s leading experts in the nutrition and holistic healing realm.
“Resistance strength and flexibility training gave me the tools to help myself and my clients understand the blocks and areas of weaknesses and strengths in order to lose weight, have more energy, and feel better,” Melnik said.
She has now taken that philosophy and experience and poured it into EMC.
Melnik does not want her clients to think of exercise or diet as work. “We believe there is a better way.”
So she offers a wide range of classes taught by professionals with years of experience that appeal to the artistic and sensual sides as well. She also holds self-help type seminars that explore people’s deeper problems that may lead to diet and exercise sabotage.
“It is about finding the root cause of why can’t I stick to a fitness routine. What is the blockage?” Melnik explains.
Peekskill and Cortlandt residents utilize EMC most, but people also come from Garrison, Ossining, Croton and Yorktown, Melnick said.
Right now, Melnick is offering a three-month membership for the price of two for $150. For that price, members can take any class on the schedule, which offers about six to seven classes at different times each day.
Melnik has additional plans for expansion in the coming months when she hopes to add a new hot yoga studio, commercial kitchen where cooking demonstration classes can be held, a sauna and new bathrooms and shower facilities.
The Energy Movement Center is located at 925 South Street in Peekskill. Classes are offered seven days a week. You can learn more at energymovementcenter.com or by calling 930-1504.