Findlay Yoga reminds me a lot of my past yoga home in Columbus, Yoga on High. It was there in a serene oasis surrounded by the busy hustle of the popular Short North neighborhood that I would attend Friday night yoga classes during grad school. It is both where I did my first handstand and bought my first book on yogic philosophy. It was where I first learned Ashtanga and received Urban Zen. It was in walking distance from my apartment, and the North Market, and was located right on High Street, an urban dweller’s delight. What I loved most about it was the dedication to the physical practice AND the spiritual and mental practices of yoga.
There are many parallels between that scenario and the one I entered a few weeks ago as I walked into Findlay Yoga for the first time. Findlay Yoga is located in OTR directly across from Findlay Market at 1810 Cambell Alley. The entrance is in the alley or walkway behind the strip of buildings including French Crust and Social OTR. Yogis can buzz to enter (response time fantastic) and then take the stairs or the elevator to the studio on the second floor. The studio space is a beautiful, HUGE open floor plan with a plethora of windows and all the natural light a human could ask for. Just like Yoga on High, while the hustle and bustle of the market buzzes outside the windows the space inside Findlay is tranquil, peaceful, safe. Oh, and the studio also has ALL the props. See below.
Safe is an important word here. Findlay Yoga was started by husband and wife team Matt Ionna and Lara Rice. Matt’s found yoga while in recovery. Matt and I didn’t actually get a chance to discuss his story, so I don't feel comfortable retelling it, but you can read more about it here. And, I’m confident based on his personality, he’d tell you more if you ask him. What Matt did tell me is that yoga quite simply saved his life. He’s had many, many back injuries and surgeries that rendered him basically immobile for a good period of time, and yoga helped him experience movement and pleasure again on many levels.
Yoga for Matt, and for all of the teachers that I know who teach at Findlay Yoga, is much more than the physical asanas. It’s a spiritual practice, it’s a way to find healing, it’s a way through trauma, and it’s a way of life. At Findlay Yoga I felt safe. I felt safe breathing loudly, closing my eyes for the majority of the class, staying in a position while those around me moved onward. I just felt safe. And as Matt describes it the studio is a “no-shame, no blame studio.” I took Matt’s class and I was impressed by the careful language used. The trauma-informed language. Matt was constantly inviting us (not commanding us) into postures, providing options and modifications, and always cueing breath first.
Findlay has twenty instructors and over thirty weekly class offerings ranging from Vinyasa to Yin to Urban Zen and Kundalini. If you don’t know what any of those words mean, don’t worry. The vibe of this studio is inclusive for all experience levels, and no one will judge, just show up. And, guys, the teacher list at this studio makes the yoga geek in me do a little flip. It’s some of my favorite characters—Anne Minter (go to her kundalini class), Trisha Durham (she’s teaching a Queer Yoga class here), Max Raphael (his healing music is unreal), and more, more, more. These teachers aren’t just instructors, they’re healers. And I think that, my friends, is what will set this studio apart from other local gems. This studio is a safe space for healing. A place for transformation. Just like Yoga on High in Columbus, Findlay Yoga is Cincinnati’s little urban oasis tucked away from the chaotic city world just beyond the (beautiful) brick walls.
To learn more and to check out a class visit Findlay's website here.