Walk through a door at the back of Washburne Cafe and yoga-oriented folks can be seen practicing with Benjamin Wilkinson or a member of his team of instructors. Common Bond shares a building with the café, where people are often bustling about, reading newspapers while the smell of fresh coffee wafts through the air.
This shared building in the Washburne District of Springfield — recently revitalized — is key to Wilkinson and his community-centered mission. “To me, yoga is the ability to share our common story by stretching and maybe a little bit of sweat and breathing and suddenly we feel better,” he says.
Wilkinson is Common Bond’s principal owner and lead instructor. He says the recently opened Common Bond Yoga on Springfield’s Main Street emphasizes community as a core aspect of its mission. “I’d been hanging out in The Washburne Cafe for a while,” Wilkinson says. “I felt that rich history and story attached to this historic building, and felt that we would be able to bring an intention to the space that would allow people to feel that vibe too.”
He says he felt called to open a yoga studio in this space; he knew it needed to happen.
The yoga studio and its waiting rooms are designed for people to be able to relax and talk with others. Wilkinson says students will be encouraged to bring some coffee in from the neighbors next door and hang out.
He adds that, because of how the space is divided, “it makes sense to have a lounge that is comfortable for people to hang out in. We want to be open before classes, after, in between for people to come and hang out.”
The studio reuses wood left over from previous tenants, repurposing old materials to create a unique space that nods at the history of the storefronts that once occupied Springfield’s Main Street. The yoga studio itself has an open feel, repurposing old wood in creating a space that is natural and earthy.
Because the owners didn’t want to cover up the wood, the yoga studio has a unique trait: There are no mirrors.
Wilkinson’s business partner, Jacob Billings, tells EW on a recent visit to the studio that the lack of mirrors leads to an increased focus on the students themselves, also helping to alleviate the self-doubt and insecurity that can come from staring at yourself while doing the downward dog.
Wilkinson emphasizes that he wants this space to make people feel comfortable, and that the yoga curriculum is designed for the average human. “Everyone is capable of improving their bodies and they can do that in a well-orchestrated yoga class that doesn’t have to fly a million miles a minute,” he says.
Common Bond aims to showcase the new studio and its community-oriented aspects at an open house bash on April 28. Catering will be provided by some of Common Bond’s neighbors on Main Street, including The Washburne Cafe and Plank Town Brewing.
“We want to open the doors and have an open house for everyone who’s curious or interested in seeing downtown Springfield,” Wilkinson says. “We’d love for people to come down to witness and experience this new studio that we have.”
Common Bond’s Grand Opening Bash is 5 to 9 pm April 28 at 326 Main Street, Springfield. They have a variety of classes every day. More details can be found at commonbondyoga.com.