About Us

Move. Be moved.

That's our mantra here at Birchwood. Each day we welcome our community to be part of a moving experience at our center, which is nestled in the heart of lovely Nyack, New York. We believe regular yoga practice and massage offer innumerable benefits for healthful living.
Nyack Yoga, Birchwood Center
Dedicated to providing a safe and nurturing environment for self discovery, Birchwood Center is committed to promoting awareness of regular yoga practice and massage. Our vision was inspired by the intention of creating a sacred, uplifting space for individuals, families, and people of all ages in the community. All are welcome here.

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Our History

Betsy Ceva & Charlene Bradin, Birchwood Center Co-Directors
We started Birchwood Center and the Wonder of Touch Massage Therapy in our home in September 1996. Betsy taught five yoga classes each week and Charlene had a private massage therapy practice. During this time, Charlene obtained her yoga certification and began her Wednesday night beginner's class.

In November 1998 we moved into 85 S. Broadway in Nyack after renovating the space. What was most important to us was preserving our original vision: a beautiful, peaceful space — a sacred place where we could embrace the needs of each student and client. Over the years the Center was enlarged, adding three serene massage rooms and two large yoga studios. Our vision has now grown to include 14 teachers, 38 classes weekly and six massage therapists. We are fortunate to have acquired a wonderful office staff whose intentions and commitment to yoga and massage resonate with ours. We also feel especially grateful to the students and clients, without whom we could not continue to do this work, for the healing we all receive, and for the gathering of energy that fills our space each day.

We look forward to the continued evolution of Birchwood Center, to our own growth nourished by the energy of our students and clients, and to the fulfillment of each and everyone's dreams and visions.

Charlene Bradin & Betsy Ceva, Co-directors


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras, authored by the sage Patanjali sometime between the fourth and second centuries BC, is an exposition of the essential philosophy and techniques of Yoga. Sutra means "thread" or "string"; the Yoga Sutras bind together the essential aspects of Yoga as a thread binds the beads of a necklace.

The first chapter of the Yoga Sutras begins:



Now the teaching and discipline of Yoga is explained.



Yoga or union is the cessation of the movements of the thinking mind for the time being in order to feel "Who am I?"



Then the witness is established in its own form, pure Self-awareness, that is, I-AM.  "Be still and know I am That I-AM"

Meet the Directors

  • Betsy Ceva
    E-RYT 500
    Betsy Ceva specializes in Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Hatha Yoga for beginning through advanced level students. Her experience as a professional dancer, choreographer and dance instructor since 1970 has helped shape her unique style of yoga. Betsy's classes challenge her students to go deep, to investigate the body and mind and the spirit expressing itself. Her classes have been Continue Reading...
  • Charlene Bradin
    E-RYT 200
    Charlene Bradin E-RYT 200, has studied yoga with Jeffery Midgow, Paula Heitzner, Betsy Ceva and others and has taught Hatha Yoga to beginners and advanced beginners since 1997. Charlene also co-directs Birchwood's Yoga Teacher Training programs, offers one-on-one yoga training and is responsible for the running and management of the studio. Additionally, Charlene is Birchwood's Yoga and Massage Advisor, guiding Continue Reading...

What is Yoga? Why do we do it?

The goal of yoga is to alleviate suffering, to live a life in balance and peace. So we must first ask the question, "What is the cause of suffering?" The mind is the cause of suffering. Yoga, as described in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, is a system of experiential techniques and controls designed to teach us how to get out of the thinking mind, which is always asking, "who am I, why am I here?" The thinking mind always lives in the past and future, planning and remembering, bringing us pleasure and its opposite, pain.

Yoga teaches how to master the mind because if the mind becomes the master we become miserable. We need our body and our mind since together they are the vehicles through which we see, feel and experience; but we need to drive our car, and not have the car drive us. Through the practices of raja yoga, right living, asana, pranayama, and meditation, the mind can eventually be stilled.  Then we become the witnesses, established in awareness of the pure Self: I Am, without identificationwith the body and mind, the cause of all our suffering.

In other words:
Be still and know I am that I-AM.

At yoga class, you will...

  • Learn breathing techniques for relaxation and calming the mind
  • Stretch, tone and strengthen your body
  • Improve your stamina
  • Learn movements that can help to soothe chronic conditions
  • Learn how to evoke the relaxation response
  • Experience the state of “inner watchfulness”
  • Learn how to quiet the chatter of the mind through meditation
  • Learn tools for stress relief
  • Acquire a state of general wellbeing, peace, and joy
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