— Local man switches careers and discovers his passion.
William Hufnagel lives in Jefferson County and recently started his own body work practice:
Align Massage and Yoga.
Based in Shepherdstown, Align specializes in 90-minute Swedish massage, beginner and intermediate Hatha yoga, and the ability to receive body work either in-office or at home.
Originally interested in improving his own upper-body strength and cardio a few years ago, Hufnagel eventually reached out to Jala Yoga (Shepherdstown) owner Christa Mastrangelo Joyce to inquire about her cardio class. Though that particular class had already started, he went ahead and purchased a month pass, and began yoga. “Early on, I really just wanted to be able to do a sequence, like everyone else,” he said. “At the time, I’d also planned on spending my summer out in Colorado, but Christa called one day, and said she had an opening in her first yoga teacher-training program. I jumped on it.”
That summer, fall, and winter, Will immersed himself in the 200-hour program, and shortly after, started (and eventually completed) an additional 300-hour advanced training course in Baltimore. “And then I took a little break, and went back into the school system, where I’d been working in Jefferson County Schools as an educator since 2005.”
While he returned to teaching with JCS, Hufnagel continued to practice yoga, and then, during spring break last year, he heard a commercial for a massage therapy training program on the radio (in Frederick, Maryland). “I called and said, when can I stop in,” he remembered. “People talk about the universe clicking—I feel like this is the essence of that … a bunch of life events have allowed me to be where I am.”
Now a full-time Registered Massage Therapist, and one test away from having completed 500 total hours of yoga teacher training, Hufnagel wants to offer his clients a dual service, if that’s what they desire. “I want to take the massage therapy and private yoga practices—one on one (either in the office or at their home)—and I want to teach folks that through proper care with massage, and by doing basic stretching sequences, they can not only maintain their muscle tone, but they can give their body a chance to align itself where muscles are antagonizing other muscles.”
Hufnagel operates out of a private practice above The Mecklenburg Inn in downtown Shepherdstown, and believes that his ability to offer both in-office care, and make house calls, distinguishes him.
“What I’m looking for initially with clients is to do an assessment—to find out why it is their body is doing what it’s doing—is it overuse, underuse, posture?” he noted. “And in some cases, it’s just more practical to have someone come to you, essentially.”
Each session is tailored to meet a client’s specific needs, and Hufnagel can develop stretching sequences that target specific parts of the body, focus solely on massage, or both. “At the end of the day, I want to be able to use my knowledge to help people develop a path to wellness—whether that’s through massage, range-of-motion stretching, or a combination of movements and treatments specifically tailored to their needs.”
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