Tuesday, December 29, 2015

One Love Yoga & Boutique -- Kent, OH

I checked out two classes at One Love Yoga & Boutique in Kent this week -- I made sure to choose two different classes and two different instructors to give you the best review possible. If I wasn't so busy this week, I would have taken a few more classes to share my experience with you, but two gave me a pretty good idea of the studio.

I felt as though I was being a little biased because I take a yoga class with Christine Luketic (check out her yoga website here) at a different location every week, but Dave rarely gets to attend, so I have his opinion of that as well as my opinion of the other class.

The first class I attended was Sunday night, Christine was subbing for another yoga teacher for Restorative Yoga. The One Love website states that Restorative Yoga is for all levels of practice and describes the class as follows:

Restorative yoga is a style accessible for all levels of students.  The class has a gentle approach and focuses on breathing and meditating while being supported by props such as blankets, blocks and straps.  A few of the benefits of practicing restorative yoga include improved quality of sleep, better digestion and stress relief.  The duration of this class is 90 minutes and is usually around 75 degrees in the classroom. 

Dave and I followed the lead of other students in the class and grabbed the supplied blocks, blankets, and straps. Christine was nice enough to bring over bolsters (a large cushion) for those of us who didn't know to grab those as well.

The 90 minute session focuses on breathing and relaxation in gentle stretches, during which your body is very supported by props. Although this isn't the typical yoga class that I'm used to attending, it was lovely to clear my mind after a busy holiday weekend and to spend some structured time focusing internally.

Christine is wonderful about assisting with any modifications for poses, she also shares passages from readings that she's come across which pertain to intentions some students might have set for their practice.

Tuesday night I signed up for Vinyasa Flow with Linda Riddell (check out her bio on One Love's site here). Vinyasa Flow is considered to be an intermediate level course and is meant to build on the basics learned in other yoga classes. One Love describes the Vinyasa Flow classes as follows:

The vinyasa flow class builds on improving your foundation practice but is more challenging than basics yoga.  A great class to de-stress the busy mind and help with flexibility, endurance and fluidity of motion. Sequencing and range of difficulty vary with each instructor, so come try one or all and see which suits your style of practice!  Appropriate for all levels of experience, but some knowledge of basics yoga is helpful.  Vinyasa flow classes are 75 minutes long and the temperature ranges from 85-89 degrees.

I take a weekly yoga class and have a basic grasp of a lot of the poses -- think child's pose, downward dog, warrior 1 and warrior 2. If you understand what those poses are, then you're ready for Vinyasa Flow at One Love.

Linda has a very different teaching style than Christine. Where Christine is mellow, Linda is incredibly energetic which I appreciated on a Monday evening. Linda offered words of encouragement throughout the session about our intentions, about practicing yoga and about life in general -- she said them with truth and meaning and had me totally agreeing with what she was saying, "yeah my body can totally do this!!"

Even if you have a basic level of yoga understanding understand that this class will really challenge you , there were poses that were certainly not in my wheelhouse yet, but I wasn't alone in that. Linda was great about offering a little bit of individual instruction about modification if she saw that I was struggling. In a room of about twenty-five people, I could see that others were modifying the poses or taking a water break while other yogis were expanding into more difficult poses.

Overall, I had a wonderful work-out and a great mind clearing start to my week.

I snapped these photos outside of the yoga studio where there are cubbies for your belongings. This window looks out on the parking lot behind One Love, you can park here for free on evenings and weekends. You can also find parking in the parking garage a few blocks away or across the street in the old municipal court parking lot.

One of the nice things about One Love Yoga is that they offer a wide variety of pricing options for their classes. Dave and I were each able to take advantage of the $5 new student offer for our first class on Sunday. I had paid online prior to the class and accidentally paid the full adult drop-in price for Dave and One Love was nice enough to refund the extra money I spent and charge Dave the $5 price instead. Both days I was able to sign-up for my classes online and pay online as well eliminating the need to bring my wallet to the studio.

However, part of me was sad that I left my wallet at home, because I found several things in the boutique that I absolutely love and would like to purchase. One Love's Boutique offers products that are "exclusively Earth friendly, recycled, fair trade, or products that are made in the USA." Aside from items that I would enjoy, I saw several things that would make wonderful gifts for friends that enjoy sustainable-type items. 

I'm a little bummed that we're moving soon, because we'll be a little too far away from One Love for me to take a lot of classes, however, I plan on buying one of their class packages to use in the next few weeks while it's still less than ten minutes away. One Love offers a wide variety of classes for any yogi whether you're starting out or need more of a challenge. Everyone I met was friendly, especially the owners and the teachers of the classes that I took.

My rating for One Love Yoga & Boutique:

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet -- Akron, OH

This isn't the first time I've attended an event at Stan Hywet (check out my review of the Twilight and Flashlights event from August). Dave and I also had previously visited in June while the Bloom sculptures were in place. I've not been disappointed while attending any other events, but this time we had additional critics in tow -- we went with my best friend, her husband, and her four year old daughter.

The Deck the Hall event takes place on select evenings from after Thanksgiving until January 2nd. You can get the full schedule here. Tickets can be purchased online or at Stan Hywet on the evening of the event. We found out that the parking at Stan Hywet will quickly fill up, there is a shuttle available to and from the grounds if you park in an auxiliary lot (follow the signs). Dave was able to find parking on a nearby side street, but if you have children, it will be easier to just take the shuttle.

At 5:30 p.m. each night of Deck the Hall there is a tree lighting event. Before Christmas, Santa lights the tree; after Christmas the Gingerbread Man will give Santa a break and take over the tree lighting.

Quite the crowd gathered to watch Santa light the tree.

Sadly, I spent some amount of time fighting with my camera to get good photos of the lights, some of these photos are from my friend, she seemed to be more successful than I was.

Self-guided manor tours were included in the ticket price and both the first and second floor were open. Due to the large number of people in attendance there was a line to enter the manor, so we decided to walk around outside a little longer before taking a tour.

This area included lights that flashed along with music which played in a 20-minute-loop.

Behind the manor house...

After walking around the grounds (all except the conservatory and gingerbread land), we decided to step into the manor so that we could warm up a little.

A very elaborate gingerbread Stan Hywet.

While our guys hunted down some hot chocolate, my friend and I took her daughter over to Gingerbread Land which is the Stan Hywet play area reimagined. The decorations in Gingerbread Land were all very whimsical with a gingerbread and candy theme. 

For our last stop of the evening, we went to the Corbin Conservatory which was also decorated for Christmas.

We were a big fan of the signs Stan Hywet provided for photo opportunities in front of the poinsettia tree.

Overall, we were all very impressed with Stan Hywet's Deck the Hall event from 4 years old to 28 years old, we found the event to be magical. I think this is a wonderful holiday tradition to start with your family whether you attend before Christmas or before New Year's Eve. The grounds looked beautiful and my photos hardly do justice to the breathtaking beauty that Stan Hywet has managed to work into their light display.

My rating for Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet: