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Meet the Owner: Mindful Turtle Owner Builds Center Focused on Wellness

Danielle Goldstein's yoga and wellness studio has been in business three years.

Danielle Goldstein says she has been practicing yoga for about 15 years, but it was only fairly recently that she turned her love of yoga into her full-time profession as the owner of in Stony Brook.

"I get to do what I love every day. I love teaching yoga, I love practicing yoga. It’s a gift and a privilege to be able to teach it and share it every day," said Goldstein, 40, a Ward Melville High School graduate.

She established Mindful Turtle three years ago, after previously working as a guidance counselor in the Port Jefferson School District and as a gifted-and-talented teacher in Half Hollow Hills. Goldstein, who lives locally with husband Ian and sons Harrison and Ben, says she believes her education and counseling background complements teaching yoga.

"A lot of stuff comes out when you’re teaching yoga," she said. "... There’s a lot of work that goes into the yoga practice. It’s a lot of self-discovery."

Mindful Turtle offers more than a dozen different kinds of classes, including Hatha, Ashtanga, Kripalu, Vinyasa, Mysore, prenatal yoga, gentle healing yoga, and more. The 2,500-square-foot facility features two main yoga studios. But as a wellness center in general, it also its customers a host of other services, including massage therapy, rolfing, acupuncture, reflexology, and counseling.

Goldstein also facilitates charitable efforts several times per year, including food drives, pajama drives, and fundraising for the Morgan Center, a non-profit preschool for children with cancer – a cause close to her heart, as her son Harrison, now 11, is a cancer survivor.

While some competition exists between a few other yoga studios in the Three Village community – and more, if you include Port Jefferson and St. James in the mix – it is healthy for the local yoga community in general, Goldstein says.

"We’re just working to build a stronger community and spread yoga, and we all have something different to offer," she said.

Goldstein says while many people immediately think of flexibility and fitness as the main benefits of practicing yoga, the true benefits of yoga go much deeper than that.

"If you can learn how to pay attention, you see more things in your life and then you start to reap the benefits," she said. "The stress reduction, the slowing down of your life, greater concentration. ... We’re really looking to help you grow and change and help you to live your best life."

Jennifer August 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM
I had purchased a 10 pack of classes from the previous owner right before Danielle took over. She wouldn't honor it so I was out a lot of money. That's not a good way to start a small business in the community in my opinion!
Jackie August 21, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Hi Jennifer, An instructor who was there during the transition (and remains a part of the Mindful Turtle staff), I can attest to the fact that Danielle handled that as gracefully as she could have. The previous owner (of "Holistic Wellness") sold many class packages and then left the studio. This means Mindful Turtle - as we know it - did not ever see the profit from those sales nor did its teachers. In order for Mindful Turtle to have honored every class card that was sold under the previous owner, those teaching the classes you would take could not have been paid (unless it was out of the owner's pocket). "Community" ought to include instructors as well as students of yoga; and all absolutely deserve to be supported. It is a frustrating situation, I understand, and had the profits of the 10-class cards that were sold under "Holistic Wellness" gone to "Mindful Turtle" in the transition, I am certain it could have been handled differently. In my opinion, Mindful Turtle and Danielle make an earnest effort to the support the community and make yoga accessible to all who express an interest, especially accommodating those who communicate honestly and openly if they have personal struggles but demonstrate sincere commitment to the practice. Communication is important and one of the fundamental components of community. I am sorry for your loss, though I wanted to make it clear that it was not a "gain" for Mindful Turtle.
Jennifer August 22, 2012 at 10:10 AM
I understand your point but it turned off myself and a lot of my friends, we now take our business elsewhere.
Debbie August 23, 2012 at 12:11 AM
I've been with Mindful Turtle since it's beginning. Danielle honored ALL classes that were sold before the previous owner left the business. Through Danielle's hard work and dedication to the practice of yoga, Mindful Turtle has grown to become a wonderful community where people come to connect with each other as well as practice their yoga.
Steve August 23, 2012 at 02:07 AM
I was also there for the transition and specifically remember Danielle honoring my purchases, even though she didn't get any of the money. Without Danielle we all would have shown up to a locked door and been out our money as well as 3 years of great yoga classes since.
Susan August 24, 2012 at 01:05 AM
I, too, was there for the transition and although my full 10 card was expiring, Danielle graciously offered a couple of private lessons to me instead. I had no prior yoga experience at the time and I feel so fortunate to be learning the practice of yoga through Mindful Turtle and through Danielle. In addition to the asanas, I have learned that the joy and love of yoga cannot be experienced and obtained just anywhere. And it all transpired for me because of Danielle's generous patience, support & encouragement…………….and her initial, kind gesture to honor a credit I held with the previous ownership. For this, I will always be grateful. Danielle is a gifted and effective teacher on every level and provides a wonderful resource of wellness for the community.
Allan August 27, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Jennifer, I have been an unlimited member with the Mindful Turtle for 1.5 years. I would like to tell you that Danielle and her staff have been nothing short of wonderful ever since I joined. It is quite evident that Danielle's love of practicing and teaching yoga infiltrates the way she runs the yoga studio. This love of yoga is also obviously present in each and every instructor at the studio resulting in a great atmosphere for learning and practicing for all students. Since practicing at the studio, I have never felt that the Mindful Turtle was all about collecting money. In fact, I have felt quite the opposite from the beginning, starting with the fact that the prices have dropped since I joined. Sure Danielle needs money to run the business, but I can assure you that she gives plenty back to the community and provides and excellent value to all students. Judging from the time I have known Danielle, I feel it would certainly be out of character for her not to work out a mutually beneficial arrangement to help you to continue practicing yoga.
Chris August 29, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Seems that everyone got free classes from Mindful Turtle for classes they bought from the prior business. Since these weren't bought from Mindful Turtle, that seems more than fair, don't you think? Hard to believe that you were denied this since no one else was. Maybe there is more to this story that you're not admitting. Maybe you are just more interested in telling people that you go to a different studio. You got taken advantage of by another studio that went out of business, and 3 years later you are mad at Mindful Turtle for that?
harriette rovner August 29, 2012 at 02:50 PM
As both a student and a mental health practioner at the Mindful Turtle, I can say with comeplete honesty that Danielle is committed to establishing a community center where students are treated with respect and no matter how young or old they are or how experienced a student is, she opens her heart and shows her love and patience to all that enter. I have observed instructors show those with no prior yoga experience, the value of being patient with one self as they slowly discover that yoga is not only about a physical experience, but a spiritual unfolding as well. Danielle has worked hard to hire insturctors that value their profession and encourage all of us to grow in our practices and in our lives. Harriette Rovner Ferguson, LCSW

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