We are so grateful to The Studio Cleveland for its generous support of our programs and sponsorship of our summer YOGATHON! Read on to learn more about this amazing studio and its owner, Sara Syed.
ZWY: How did you become involved with yoga?
SS: I was first introduced to yoga at Cuyahoga Community College as a high school student. I took the course out of pure curiosity and the lessons really resonated. At the time I wasn’t ready to delve into a serious practice, but when I was finally ready a couple years later, the practice was there waiting for me. Since its introduction in my life, the greatest benefit yoga has had is that it provided me with tools to manage and overcome anxiety, depression and addiction.
ZWY: Why did you decide to open a yoga studio?
SS: Although I took my first class in 2008, yoga became my life in 2014. I travelled to Costa Rica to study how to be a yoga teacher. Upon my return to America, I began teaching as much and as frequently as I could purely for the experience. I taught free yoga classes at The University of Akron to students and faculty to gain experience with teaching throughout my Masters program. My Masters thesis was about yoga; I integrated yoga into everything I did because it just made sense to me. I later traveled to India for three months to study and practice yoga there where it originated.
I did not specifically decide to open a studio, as cliche as it sounds, it just happened. I was offered to purchase The Studio Cleveland last year and I have not looked back since. Since the beginning, my intention in owning The Studio Cleveland has been to help as many people as possible by offering loving and healing classes and services offered by caring and compassionate individuals. I think my journey into studio ownership happened this way because I was too stubborn to get a job doing anything else because I knew I only wanted to practice and teach yoga with my life—the universe met me halfway.
ZWY: What makes The Studio Cleveland unique?
SS: The Studio Cleveland is unique because we do our best to stay true to the authentic roots of yoga and meditation. We honor the ancient science and art of yoga and our staff does a great job of spreading the teachings in a respectable way. The Studio Cleveland also offers healing therapeutic and relaxation massages, Thai massages, and Reiki, which balances people’s energy centers. The Studio Cleveland offers aerial silks classes, we have an infrared sauna, and a metaphysical gift shop full of crystals, clothes, sage, incense, supplements, books and more!
ZWY: Tell us why the ZENworks Yoga mission resonates with you.
SS: ZENworks Yoga specifically works with underserved children in the inner-city school districts—definitely one of the most at-risk populations. I feel that children are sacred beings on this planet and they have all of the potential in the world; when this potential is cultivated right, amazing things happen. However, not all children are given the same tools, love, or even safety. ZENworks is working to ensure that the kids who need guidance the most receive it through the offerings of yoga. I taught with ZENworks right before purchasing The Studio Cleveland and hope to continue working with ZENworks.
ZWY: What do you like to do in your spare time, besides yoga?
SS: I practice aerial silks, which is a circus style art that you would see at Cirque du Soleil. I also LOVE nature! I love hiking, walking, biking, canoeing, swimming; basically doing anything outside! During the winter seasons you can find me reading or writing. During the summers I can be found laying on the beach at Edgewater with a book!
Visit www.thestudiocleveland.com for a yoga class schedule and other service offerings!