Sue Pinto leads a class at her Chestnut Hill Yoga Studio, Rebel. (Courtesy photo by Sue Pinto)
by Meredith Bernstein
“Yoga is everywhere,” said Sue Pinto, owner of the yoga studio. “It’s a big trend and oversaturated.”
Pinto is spot on. Yoga is on the up, but why? It could be that yoga is a great form of exercise, mental stability, and self-connection, but Pinto was introduced to yoga for an entirely different reason.
“I got ACL replacement surgery and physical therapy,” Pinto said. “[My friend] saw me and said I should come to yoga. She said it would heal me. After taking yoga classes for a month, I was stronger in my mind and body than before my injury. “
In addition to recovering from her injury, Pinto saw the physical and mental benefits for the practice. These benefits could be why so many people are choosing the yoga train.
“When you practice yoga, it’s a full-body experience,” Pinto said. “It has helped me connect the physical body with the mental body. Finding breath through yoga has helped me cope better with different types of situations and it has given me a different level of confidence that I did not have before I was thrilled. I just wanted to keep going. “
Pinto tried to continue training in Philadelphia, but she ran into a problem. That said, no studios in Philadelphia compared to her friend’s.
“[My friend’s studio] was inspiring, fun and tough, ”said Pinto. “People laughed and encouraged each other. It was like family. When I got back to Philadelphia, I didn’t have the sense of community that I had in their studio. That was the impetus for me to open Rebel. “
In November 2016, Pinto opened her own yoga studio in Chestnut Hill and named it Rebel. A year later, Rebel was named “Best of Philly 2017” by Philadelphia Magazine. Perhaps Pinto won the award so early because she stayed true to what she knew and loved about yoga.
“One of the most important things I strive for in my studio is not to limit my teachers to teaching a particular style or class,” said Pinto. “I want you to teach the way you like to teach.”
I think if you do something that you enjoy, you will do better than if someone tells you how to do it. I try to involve a variety of teachers with different teaching styles and personalities so that there is someone there for everyone who walks through our door. “
Upon entering the store, you will be greeted with a nice selection of yoga clothing and other active clothing. Pinto says she included a selection of top branded active clothing because she was struggling to find cute yoga clothes that everyone else didn’t have.
Further down the boutique is a common room known as the studio canteen, which serves healthy drinks and snacks.
“The canteen has kombucha on tap, snacks, tea and coffee,” Pinto explained. “People come in, take a class, chat with friends, and bring their computers to do some work. It should be a common room. “
The hallway walls are lined with beautiful artwork by local artists, which Pinto is proud to do for their community.
“We find local artists and show their work on our walls in the boutique area,” said Pinto. “It was a great way to get different people involved in the community. I’ve let artists through who have never shown their work before and I see them showing them this very vulnerable side. “
Finally, make your way through an outdoor garden to the heart of Rebel: the yoga studio.
“This little boutique-style yoga studio enables smaller classes where people can get to know each other a little better and feel a little closer,” she said. “I wanted to create a space where everyone can come and feel that this place is theirs as they want.”
From the start, Pinto wanted her studio to be the birthplace of friendship. Now that great relationships are forming, Pinto prides itself on the fact that their studio has a strong community.
“People make friends through our studio,” said Pinto. “There are five yoga people who didn’t know each other before they came to Rebel, and now they come together for events like dinner clubs and baby showers.”
Others like Pinto love yoga because of its shared camaraderie and therapeutic nature. Pinto advises newbies to try different studios, classes, and teachers as each has its own personality.
“I encourage everyone to try,” said Pinto. “I think yoga means different things to a lot of people. Depending on where you go, you will find out what this teacher is likely to be most associated with. Different teachers have different styles and it shows in their class. “