Michele Mangione thought she might never dance again after a car wreck smashed her skull and fractured four fragile vertebrae. By practicing yoga, she regained her mobility and acquired a new passion: helping others find health and happiness through movement. To this end, she eagerly studied the mind-body connection, earning a PhD in the topic from Ohio State and an advanced teaching certification from the Yoga Alliance. Armed with extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and philosophy, she founded WiseWays, a studio that blends Hatha yoga with healing arts, such as tai chi, structural integration, and the Feldenkrais method of somatic education. Here, students of all skill levels build strong bodies, centered minds, and spirits as buoyant as the studio's suspended-wood floor. Yoga instruction takes place in one-on-one sessions and small-group classes, where pupils hone poses that gently unlock hips, shoulders, and safes filled with middle-school-era diary entries. As strength and flexibility increase, students progress to sun salutations that cultivate balance, focus, and a pervasive sense of calm.
History pulses through Lemko Hall, a turreted brick building in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood. Over the past century, it has served as a saloon, a ballroom, and a movie set where stars Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken filmed a scene for The Deer Hunter in 1978. Nowadays, one of the space's tenants, Studio 11, channels an even older legacy: the yoga tradition of ancient India.
The studio's seasoned teachers impart moving meditations that have been passed down from generation to generation via careful instruction and epic games of telephone. Classical Hatha poses help yogis of all levels cultivate strength and flexibility as they learn to center their minds and control their breath. Students steep their minds in yoga's meditative qualities during flowing, breath-focused Vinyasa routines or explore the practice’s athletic side during Ashtanga sessions teeming with dynamic poses and vigorous thumb-wrestling bouts. Those seeking a more private yoga experience can engage in a Thai massage, in which a trained practitioner guides the body through assisted poses and stretches.
Yoga-inspired Pilates sessions revolve around centuries-old isometrics that promote balance and help chisel the core. Students seeking a full immersion in yogic history can enroll in studio-sponsored trips to India, which pair yoga classes with sunset meditations and spiritual discourses.
In the heart of Cincinnati’s business district, work ends and play begins. Here, at The Yoga Bar, bodies and minds bask in a vibe that’s both festive and calming, like a piñata brimming with ocean waves. Helmed by Rachel Roberts—an instructor who has trained in India, Bali, and Europe—this studio explores international yoga traditions such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Yin. Teeming with bends, balances, and other physical challenges, classes fill students with energy rather than draining it away. Healthful beverages such as kombucha and coconut water flow from a mahogany bar, hydrating drinkers as they take on ancient yoga poses and modern, Pilates-inspired movements. On Friday nights, classes blossom into yoga socials where live music, tarot-card readings, and fashion trunk shows punctuate deep-breathing exercises. In addition to shepherding students toward metaphysical wellness during group and private sessions, Rachel leads yoga retreats in exotic settings such as Bali’s beaches and the moon’s bowling alleys. Between classes and retreats, Rachel makes mantra-inspired jewelry and serves as a community ambassador for Lululemon Athletica.
Though the certified instructors at Zen in the District – Yoga each lay claim to different style specialties—Hatha, Vinyasa, Sanga, and Amrite among them—they share the aim of heightened self-awareness. Their classes cater to all fitness levels, focusing on introspection more than flawless posing technique or perfect nostril positioning during breath work. Whether they are inside the studio or on the courthouse lawn across the street, the teachers strive to downplay stress with caring vibes. They also apply their compassion to community projects, demonstrating yoga for interested Girl Scout troops and regularly donating to the Seagate Food Bank.
Inside The Li'l Yoga Shop's powder-blue studio, students strengthen muscles, flexibility, and mind-body connections under the guidance of certified yoga and Pilates instructors. Instructors spread themselves across three levels of yoga classes that vary in difficulty to accommodate practitioners of all abilities, easing beginners into the practice with fundamental poses and breath work and challenging decorated warriors with advanced strengthening and balancing postures and flawless 21-sun salutes. The Li'l Yoga Shop's resident meditation specialist and spirit-animal tamer, Eden Kozlowski, leads peaceful meditation sessions to help pupils calm minds and enhance body awareness. Pilates and Yogilates instructors focus on pushing students through rigorous workouts to build up core strength, alignment, and flexibility through efficient floor exercises that isolate specific muscle groups across the entire body.
Cork floors and butter-yellow walls surround Day Yoga Studio, where natural light flows in from the windows and illuminates students in practice. Whether they are taking a hot class—aimed to detoxify bodies and boost flexibility—or a gentle session, students take advantage of the expertise of more than 10 instructors. With expertise ranging from belly dancing to prenatal yoga, these pros aim to help their pupils tone muscles and relax their bodies and minds. In addition to yoga, the facility also offers sessions by a trained Ayurvedic massage therapist.