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Their yoga retreats develop mind and body

Rochester Business Journal
August 22, 2014

Leslee Trzcinski (left) and Jennifer Hess say Finger Lakes Yogascapes is an attractive option. “Today it’s about balancing mindfulness and health with pleasure,” says Hess.(Photo by Amanda Padgham Photography)

Leslee Schenk Trzcinski and Jennifer Hess are familiar with retreats in which yoga teachers take their students to places around the globe.

The two yoga instructors decided to start offering their own retreats with a twist. Instead of traveling, they plan their sessions around the Finger Lakes region.

Trzcinski and Hess launched Finger Lakes Yogascapes this year in Canandaigua. The business focuses on creating retreats that combine physical activity with nature.

“We are offering people the chance to feel a world away without traveling far,” Trzcinski says.

The multiday events, called Flyscapes, blend self-development activities such as goal setting, personal coaching, meditation and journal writing with instruction in physical activities, including yoga, biking and hiking.

Canandaigua’s Trzcinski, 52, is a former professional cyclist, world medalist and owner of Tune Yoga & Training. Hess, 45, of Pittsford, is a competitive runner and yoga instructor who teaches at locations in Monroe County.

Finger Lakes Yogascapes is intended to address the difficulty people have in taking time out for themselves—and the additional problem that when they do take a vacation, it often is not as relaxing as planned and makes recovery time necessary after the trip.

The business’s multiday retreats allow participants to focus on the whole self: mind, body and soul, the owners say. There are events for people of all athletic abilities, with yoga being the centerpiece of most escapes. Yoga and other physical activities are paired with workshops on personal development and local food and wine sampling. The owners work with local businesses to promote the area’s products and services.

So far, Finger Lakes Yogascapes has received an enthusiastic response. The first three-day Flyscape in July was sold out and featured activities like yoga, hiking, ziplining and enjoying Finger Lakes cuisine at the New York Wine & Culinary Center. More than two-thirds of the participants came from this region; others traveled from Connecticut, Chicago and Indiana.

The retreats have been featured in national publications and will be highlighted this fall in an issue of Health magazine.

The business plans to offer activities all year, with standup paddleboard yoga in the summer, hiking in the fall, a combination of yoga and snowshoeing in the winter and cycling in the spring. Most of the sessions target women, but some events are being planned to include men.

A fall foliage event in November focuses on yoga and meditation as well as capturing photographs of autumn in the Finger Lakes. A session in late January hopes to help participants getting their lives realigned with their goals and features international speaker and life coach Jessica Boylston-Fagonde.

A retreat in late February for mothers and daughters will include activities such as yoga, snowshoeing, s’mores by a bonfire and spa offerings.

Those three retreats cost $299 to $680. Businesses are also in the picture: Corporate events focused on wellness and team bonding are in the cards.

Finger Lakes Yogascapes’ owners are familiar with the corporate world. Trzcinski previously worked in advertising and Hess was a graphic designer. They also would like to expand the geographic base of the events to other Finger Lakes.

The owners say Finger Lakes Yogascapes is an attractive option because it includes a mix of exercise and pampering, including tasting chocolates and shopping.

“Today it’s about balancing mindfulness and health with pleasure,” Hess says. “We offer the whole package.”

Small Business is a biweekly feature focusing on entrepreneurs. Send suggestions for future Small Business stories to Associate Editor Smriti Jacob at

8/22/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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