Indy Fit: Donation-based yoga hosted inside new wellness center in Riverhead

Feeling O2 Good




Independent/Nicole Teitler

Being overwhelmed with responsibility, emotion, and negativity can become second nature. But is it possible to be overwhelmed with goodness? Feeling O2 Good in Riverhead hopes to make that possible. Since its opening in 2018, owner Matthew Forrest has set his sights on changing the way locals live. He believes his spot on the roundabout on Flanders Road is a complete one-stop-shop for your wellness needs.

The vibe is a far cry from what you traditionally think of when you hear wellness on the East End. Envision “Wanderlust” — a 2012 film starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston — open minds, open hearts, and a lot of positive energy. The host of services include an oxygen bar, infrared sauna, ionic foot detox, whole-body vibration machine, full-body red light therapy, chi machine, ozone therapy, and a hot yoga studio. But that’s not all. There’s also a juice bar, kombucha on tap, immune-boosting products, pure alkaline water, açaí bowls, organic nuts and seeds in bulk, herbal remedies, tinctures, vitamins, probiotics, and teas. In being both health and environmentally-conscious, everything is sold in glass or biodegradable containers with plans to use more hemp products “as the landscape continues to shift,” Forrest said. All of this is in an inconspicuous blue building with a smiley face emoji welcoming passersby.

Feeling O2 Good wants to be a platform for making healing affordable and accessible to everyone. The company now offers 18-person entirely donation-based yoga classes, making it the first and only studio of its kind on the East End.

“We have positioned ourselves in such a way that we have the opportunity to offer such a thing,” Forrest said. “We all need to connect with each other in a way that can break through this hard shell that we have been cloaked in. Yoga is a way for us to drop our armor and connect as perfectly imperfect as we all are.”

It’s a lot of positive energy to fit into a building designed more like a home than a holistic wellness spa. But what makes the place unique is the backstory behind it. Before its opening, Forrest was just another construction worker on Long Island who went to the gym. His inspiration for change began in the summer of 2016, when being poisoned from eating chicken dramatically changed his life.

“Three days later I couldn’t breathe,” he said. “It went on for over a year.”

Independent/Nicole Teitler

His organs started shutting down, causing him to lose 30 pounds. At the same time, his father was losing a five-year battle with cancer. So, Forrest began to read, study, and research alternative solutions to traditional medicine, hoping to help both himself and his father. He fasted, went vegan, got into oxygen therapy, and juiced.

“I formulated a system of healing for myself that was rigorous and promising,” he said.

Then one day, while riding the Long Island Rail Road to Manhattan, he got the dreaded call from his brother that their father had died.

“I closed my eyes and began to pray for my father, and his face, as real as your reflection in the mirror, visited me in that moment,” Forrest said. “He said, ‘When you cure yourself, don’t be selfish, help others do the same. What you know is not common knowledge.’ And, with my head in my hands, I wept and prayed to God to never let me forget that I was blessed with that visit and that message. I knew everything was going to change, and here we are.”

Feeling O2 Good is a destination dedicated to harnessing the energy that’s right in front of you.

“I am a faith-based person and we are a faith-based project — and that is the difference,” Forrest said. “We promote hope and kindness. We are here to plant seeds, to be present with people, to listen, to care about each other, to create community.”

nicole@indyeastend.com