Get your “Om” on with Akron Yoga and Wellness.
Akron Yoga and Wellness is “all about empowerment, healing and growth.” They host yoga and meditation classes, workshops, and more at two locations: PNC Center in Downtown Akron and EverGreen Healing in Tallmadge.
In the November box from Unbox Akron, members received a pass for two people to attend a yoga class with Akron Yoga and Wellness. So grab a friend and get your om on.
We spoke with AYW’s owner Tracie Zamiska to find out why it’s important for all of us to practice yoga and what makes her classes different than other ones in the Rubber City. And in case you’re a little afraid to use the class pass, she has some advice for new yogis.
UNBOX AKRON: When did you start teaching yoga?
TRACIE ZAMISKA: I’ve been teaching for about five years after completing my 200 hour certification through an Ashtanga Yoga based program. As an endurance athlete, yoga helped me stretch, become more flexible and strengthened my core when I was participating in triathlons, half marathons and 30K trail runs. Yoga also helped me find my breath: I am asthmatic and have never been very good at breathing.
UNBOX: What types of classes does Akron Yoga and Wellness offer?
TRACIE: We are a studio that offers a variety of classes for beginners and longtime practitioners. Our vinyasa classes are taught for all levels, so we offer a slower, grounded flow that allows you to breathe in the poses while holding them for several breaths. This way of moving through our vinyasa helps to build a strong alignment foundation and overall strength in the poses. Because it is accessible to more people, our classes are comprised of both dedicated long-term practitioners and many students newer to their practice. I think that adds to the students’ practice too! Everyone is supported not just by our teachers but also the class itself. It creates a great community of learning and growth.
We also offer several donation-based meditation classes and nurturing restorative classes to help people cope better with everyday stress. Our society is sort of stuck in overdrive, and as a result our nervous systems, minds and bodies never can RELAX. We have a space where you can safely and comfortably relax and let go, creating a reset for your body and nervous system.
UNBOX: What makes Akron Yoga and Wellness different from other yoga studios?
TRACIE: I think that at the heart of it all, yoga studios want to help people. So that makes them all very alike as an industry. All of our teachers are dedicated to helping each student find the right path of yoga for them and their body. The emphasis at AYW is on smaller classes so people can get the attention they need and feel safe and confident in their movements.
Our classes teach people how their bodies work so they can build a stronger relationship with their bodies. As the owner, I have specific anatomy and orthopedic based training through Yoga Medicine, and I will very shortly be completing my advanced 500 hour teacher training with them. It has taught me how yoga can help retrain the body so that it works properly and functions best for each individual. As a result, we offer classes that help people deal with the chronic sitting that often accompanies adult life and teach them how to retrain their physical body to support healthy movement. In our classes the pose is modified to always fit the person practicing — not the other way around.
Akron Yoga and Wellness also provides an extremely nurturing and healing space! Most of our teachers are trained in hatha and restorative practices, so we create a space where people can truly relax. Stress management has a significant impact on overall health and wellness. The tools that you learn in all of our classes help provide a comprehensive toolbox that can assist you when you’re trying to relax and restore your mind and body.
UNBOX: Why should people practice yoga?
TRACIE: There are ENDLESS benefits to yoga. Initially, people notice that they just generally feel better. Their stress levels are lower, they are more flexible, their balance gets better and they start to feel stronger overall as they move through their day. Over time people report sleeping better, having less anxiety and feeling more connected to themselves.
I believe that over time the relationship with self is strengthened in such a way that people become empowered. They become the best advocate for themselves by making better choices in all areas of their lives from what to snack on to resting more to examining their relationships. I have watched yoga change countless lives for the better since I started teaching. Yoga is also extremely beneficial for chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s, MS, arthritis and fibromyalgia. It can also work hand-in-hand with rehab of injuries and is a nice way to support to massage, chiropractic and physical therapy.
UNBOX: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their yoga practice?
TRACIE: My advice to someone new to yoga it is to start slow and try new things. I always recommend that people try three different classes, preferably with different teachers, to see what they like best. You have to have a comfort level with the teacher and the studio so that you will continue to come back.
Regardless of your fitness level, it is always nice to start off with more gentle classes so you can learn the names of the poses and modifications. I think the biggest piece of advice is to be patient with yourself and your body! You weren’t born knowing how to run a marathon or ride a bike. Yoga is like anything else: it takes practice. The more you do it, the better it feels.
For more information on Akron Yoga and Wellness and to find out when you can attend a class, visit their website.
All photos courtesy of Tracie Zamiska, Akron Yoga and Wellness