ROCKLAND — It’s been a long time since someone had to give the secret knock before entering the once famed and former speakeasy in the basement of the Thorndike building on Tillson Avenue, but this May, Earth Flow + Fire, a hot yoga studio with an adjoining vegan juice bar named Earth Candy, will transform the space and open its doors to the public.
Leslie and Bob Fillnow have leased the space, which has been long dormant. At one time in the mid-1930s, after Prohibition ended, it became a local’s tavern called the Rainbow Room. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was called the Circus Room.
The couple, who moved to Maine in 2009, has turned Leslie’s natural passions —hot yoga and healthy food —into a combined new business and have been renovating a portion of the basement space all winter.
When patrons enter the door on the side of the road that leads to the parking lot, they will be met with a curved custom built juice bar and several tables that will be set against the exposed brick with plenty of natural light from the windows.
“The juice bar is meant to go with the healthy living atmosphere of the studio, said Fillnow. “I call it Earth Candy, because you can get all of the nutrients you need without any animal products from the Earth.”
The juice bar will not only have juice and smoothie drinks, but also salads and soups.
“I love to cook for myself and other people and have traveled all over the world, so we’ll also be offering special dishes from Morocco, South Africa, Isreal, Italy, France, Argentina, Columbia, Russia, Japan, Thailand, and China,” she said.
Earth Candy will be Rockland’s first all-vegan juice bar, something Fillnow hopes will position Rockland, not only as an arts and foodie destination, but also as a health and welllness destination. It will be open to the public, not just to members of Earth Flow + Fire.
Moving on through the narrow building, there will be a similar curved front desk for Earth Flow + Fire, before opening up to a large room designed for hot yoga. The Fillnows kept much of the original architecture, including the exposed brick and the original black and white marble floor. In the center of the room by the street-side wall, will be a small platform for the yoga instructors.
Fillnow, who is certified in 26 +2 (aka Bikram yoga), plans to offer the studio to both paid members and drop-ins.
Hot yoga is practiced in a studio that is heated to 105F, has a humidity of 40 percent and is suitable for all levels, all ages and all body types.
Its program offers 26 Hatha postures, which are done in a standardized series to move the body from one posture to the next at a slow pace and two prana (breathing exercises.) They have focused on the importance of a properly and evenly heated room that maintains a constant temperature and humidity. The walls in the room are well insulated and covered with moisture board to reduce any chances of mold and mildew. The heating system has controls to monitor incoming fresh air, humidity and it has specially designed filters to enhance air quality.
“When the room is that hot, your muscles stretch better and it’s also good for your joints,” said Fillnow.
The humidity and heat help assists the body's largest organ, your skin, with removing impurities from the body.
The studio will include a women’s and a unisex/men’s locker room with an additional gender neutral shower that is handicapped accessible. As a tribute to Louise Nevelson, whose brother once owned the Thorndike Hotel, Fillnow plans to have a framed photo of Nevelson in the women’s locker room.
“Louise used to come down and mingle with the regulars of the Circus Room bar,” said Fillnow. “And keeping with the arts theme, we’ll also have a photo of Blackie Langais in the men’s locker room,”
Leslie Fillnow ‘s background is in chemistry and mathematics with a master’s in business. Originally from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, she worked in the lighting industry for 31 years before retiring four years ago. She has been practicing hot yoga for 10 years. Before deciding to open her new business, the Fillnows were involved in a variety of local nonprofits, serving on boards and cooking for fundraisers. “We’re very community minded,” said Bob Fillnow.
Classes will start at 6:30 a.m. and be offered at various time throughout the day until 6:30 p.m.
“During that time, if you are a member of the Hot Room/Circus, which we’re calling it as a tribute to the old local’s bar, you’ll be able to use this room throughout the day,” said Fillnow.
Beyond the yoga and food offerings, there will also be guided mediation, retreats, and a special program for sober yogis, that is, yoga for people who are recovering from addiction.
“It’s a perfect spot downtown,” said Fillnow. “You can get healthy here, go across the street, grab yourself some flowers or a bottle of wine and really treat yourself.”
The businesses are set to have a soft opening the second week of May with a grand opening scheduled May 26.
For more information visit: earthrockland.com/home-2/
Photos by Kay Stephens
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org