Following a week of free classes, all-organic smoothies and juices and guided tours, Kaia Yoga Complete Wellness Center celebrated its official grand opening Friday night with a yoga class performed with live music.

More than 40 people, including children, did yoga together and welcomed owners Stan Woodman and Gina Norman and their 2-year old daughter, Kaia, for whom the studio is named.

The "Rock Into Your Weekend" class, led by yoga instructor Laurie Jordan, was followed by a reception in which everyone was invited to mingle and enjoy light refreshments.

"Thank you for being here," Norman exclaimed as she greeted a room filled to capacity with yoga devotees. "We've had classes here all week and it's been nice to finally christen the place with feet up on the wall (in yoga positions) and many headstands. We wanted to create a space where we could come together to do yoga and also get to know each other."

Norman added that she and Woodman had the opportunity during the inaugural week to meet many members of the Westport and Fairfield community. "It's been really great," she said. "We love being here."

Norman's background includes teacher training certificates from Beyoga and Om Yoga Center. Woodman's expertise -- and passion -- is for Ashtanga Yoga.

Located at 1200 Post Road E., behind Crate & Barrel in Westport, Kaia Yoga offers a variety of yoga classes, including "Hot Vinyasa Flow," which takes place on the lower level of the studio in a special room featuring a heated floor. The room's temperature will be set around 95 degrees for this class; however, Woodman noted that a "Hot Yoga" class, done in 110 degree heat, will also be periodically scheduled.

Kaia Yoga's lower level also has several private rooms for private body work sessions, such as reflexology, acupuncture and Thai massage, which are Norman's specialty.

"Thai massage is often referred to as the lazyman's yoga," Norman said, smiling.

Committed to mind-body work, Norman traveled to Thailand to learn about this specialized form of massage. She also studied Vipassana meditation in India.

Another room on the lower level is especially equipped to house a rope wall for Lyengar yoga as well as parent-child programs.

Emphasizing that their goal is to be a wellness center for the entire family, Kaia Yoga offers a supervised playroom where childcare is available. Filled with toys, books and a table and chairs designed for youngsters, a sign prominently posted said, "Welcome Little Sprouts."

Norman envisions hosting weekly mom's groups in which local women could receive support from doulas, midwives and each other in breastfeeding and parenting issues.

"This has been our passion and it's definitely come out of our needs," she said.

Noting that their intent is to use the entire facility as a "resource" for the community, Norman said that plans are underway for teen yoga, nutrition classes for families, "Mommy and Me Yoga" and special programs for children with special needs.

The main level of the 10,000-square-foot studio, which is outfitted in light hardwood flooring and soundproof rooms, opens into a well-lit reception area. It is here that clients may purchase yoga apparel and equipment and health-related books in a small retail store.

"We wanted to make things as convenient for our students as possible," Woodman noted.

Two enclosed glass waterfall structures lead to an all-organic café with indoor and outdoor seating. Although the organic juice bar was not finished in time for Friday's grand opening, Woodman said that it's scheduled to open soon. Working with local farms and vendors, he added that special three-day fasting programs would also be available for purchase.

"Our motto is `life more pure,'" explained Norman. "There needs to be more holistic support for moms."

She pointed out that her daughter, Kaia, loves to drink kale and spinach juice because it's been offered to her at a young age.

Organic growth

Having managed successful yoga centers in lower Fairfield County, including Greenwich, Norman and Woodman were looking to expand their business.

Woodman pointed out that the principals in 1200 Post Road LLC approached them about being part of the Westport complex, which they were devoting to wellness and fitness businesses.

"We feel like Westport chose us," Woodman said.

Initially scheduled to open its doors this winter, construction issues forced the couple to push back the start of their new business.

Several master classes are scheduled with well-known teachers such as Beryl Benderbirch and Max Strone.

Kaia Yoga's first special event, "Spiritual Nutrition with Dr. Gabriel Cousens," will take place on Wednesday, June 9, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. He will discuss how consuming a vegan diet containing raw foods, combined with yoga and meditation, leads to more wholesome, healthy living.

Norman and Woodman are also beginning a 200-hour yoga teacher training program on Friday, July 9. Registered with Yoga Alliance, a national organization, the course will cover techniques in Asana, Pranayama and Meditation, an introduction to Ayurveda, teaching methodology and much more.

In additon, Kaia Yoga is sponsoring its first community outreach event, called "108 Sun Salutations" on Saturday, June 19, from 9 to 11 a.m. All proceeds will be given to the Give Back Yoga Foundation. In honor of the change of seasons, the practice of sun salutations (Surya Namaskaras) provide an opportunity to cleanse one's body of toxins and honor the sun as a primary source of energy.

"Come and join us for some or all of the salutations or you could just sit and breathe with us," Woodman said.

Kaia Yoga is open seven days a week. For more information, call 203-532-0660 or visit