I have been wanting to check out Balanced Yoga Studios in Clintonville ever since they went through a renovation earlier this year. All their photos made it look like such a serene and calming place. Balanced Yoga is owned by Leah Westwater and Nicole Klasa. Balanced has been around for awhile, but Leah and Nicole took over just a few years ago.
As soon as you walk in the studio, you can feel a peace. Not only is it gorgeous, but it's really clean. No shoes are allowed past the front door, making the floors extra clean and free of salt and wetness. There is an area in the back full of cubbies and hooks so you can put all your stuff away in one space without having to lug it through the studio or search for a spot to leave it.
There are two main studios at Balanced Yoga. The downstairs studio is the heated room, while the upstairs has a large room that can be split into two by gorgeous sliding wood doors. Apparently, there used to be two separate entrances for the upstairs and downstairs, making it feel less like a cohesive space and more like two separate studios. During their renovation, the built a beautiful staircase that connects the two floors--leaving one main entrance for everyone to use.
I was signed up for Hot Power Vinyasa (BPV). I have done plenty of hot yoga classes, but every style is different and I've never done a Baptiste style yoga class so I wasn't sure what the expect. The description on Balanced's website says: "The aim of Baptiste Yoga is to create freedom, peace of mind, and the ability to live more powerfully and authentically right now. The physically challenging practice is a training ground for facing emotional and philosophical challenges that arise in your life. Classes taught through the Baptiste methodology are designed to awaken you to your fullest expression physically and mentally."
Freedom. That was a word that our instructor Nicole repeated throughout class. I take yoga 1-2 times per week, but most of the time, I find myself anticipating the next pose or move, and thinking about what's happening next rather than what my body is doing now. I rarely feel like I'm able to move my body in a way the feels good without the instructor telling me to. But Nicole kept saying, "feel freedom in this pose," and that permission allowed me to move my body in a way that felt good while still remaining somewhat in the pose. I no longer was anticipating the next move. Instead, I was focusing on how I felt in the present, and that was freeing.
There were moments where music wasn't playing, and at first, I thought that was strange. We are so used to using music to move, not having it makes me feel like I shouldn't be moving. But, after about 10 minutes of music on, music off (not in a distracting way) it ended up making sense and ended up being really nice to have some silence--and the silence was full of deep breaths and movement from the people in the class.
The 75 minute class absolutely flew by, and while I was sweaty, I wasn't dripping and slipping all over my mat. The room had a nice heat that made me warm and made it easier to move into certain poses. I felt relaxed, stretched, and so happy that I had that 75 minutes to myself.
Balanced Yoga offers a ton of different classes of all different yoga styles. They also offer many workshops and events in and outside of their studio. Be sure to check out their beautiful space in the heart of Clintonville right on High Street.
Here are some photos of the space from their Instagram.
Ryan and Kelly of Sweat Local Columbus