Lifestyle

Margaux Day
Tiiu Gennert, founder and owner of Studio 11, a yoga studio located in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, is celebrating the Studio's 5th birthday this month. Studio 11, located at 2337 W. 11th St., Cleveland, Ohio, offers yoga, pilates, and Thai yoga massage. Class offerings include: Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Capoeira, and Self-defense. The lower level of the Studio doubles as an art studio. In the spring and summer months, the walls don artwork from a different artist each month.

Tiiu has a master’s degree and a juris doctorate, and although she envisioned owning a yoga studio at some point in her life, she did not expect to own one as soon as she did. The decision to found Studio 11 in April 2005 was a result of fortuitous events, such as co-founder Kate Murch’s request for Tiiu to go into business with her, and the then-owner of the Studio 11 building wanting the space to remain a gym.

Tiiu was certified to teach yoga in February 2004. When asked what type of yoga she would teach if she could only choose one, she responded that it would be a hatha class in the Sivananda tradition. She prefers this type of practice because the Sivananda yoga tradition combines health, mindfulness, science, and peacefulness. Tiiu received Thai yoga massage training from the Lotus Palm School of Thai Yoga Massage. She has since trained 20 bodyworkers to certification and close to 50 students are halfway to being certified." Tiiu is also a professor at Cuyahoga Community College where she teaches Cultural Anthropology.

Tiiu explained that she sees teaching yoga and giving Thai massages as “grassroots dispute resolution.” After you practice yoga, she explained, you are not prone to acting destructively. It was at this point in the interview that we laughed about how logical Tiiu’s professional progression has been. Tiiu said that she made decisions with her gut, and at the time moving from earning a masters degree in anthropology to working in a hospital to earning a law degree to a job at the United Nations to a non-profit in Egypt to giving massages to baseball players during the Cleveland Indians' Fantasy Camp and Spring Training to opening a yoga studio in Cleveland, Ohio may not have seemed like a well-planned route. However, after learning about Tiiu’s dedication to grassroots dispute resolution, the combination of cultural anthropology, international law, medical training, yoga, and Thai massage seemed ideal.

Studio 11 periodically invites performers, organizes retreats, and hosts workshops. Recently, the Studio hosted David Newman, a Kirtan (call-and-response chanting) performer. Tiiu and other Studio 11 teachers have served as guides on retreats to India and Costa Rica. Tiiu teaches Thai yoga massage training at the studio; it takes two weekends or five days to complete Level 1 training and two more weekends or another five days to complete Level 2 training.

One of Tiiu’s goals for the Studio is that it continues to grow. Not only does she want to increase the number of students and types of class offerings, but she also hopes to have more events, such as the recent Kirtan concert. In this vein, the Studio is offering a Partner Yoga class on Sunday, May 2nd.

Another upcoming event, on Wednesday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m., is a performance by Antonio J. Merlo, a sound healer from New York. He created Tonal Massage, which combines the sounds and vibrations of Tibetan singing bowls with his own massage techniques.

Tiiu desires to add a class particularly aimed at the perceived-to-be-atypical yogi. "Some people are intimidated to come to a yoga studio because they do not have the stereotypical yoga body shape," Tiiu explained. So, Tiiu is planning to offer classes by teachers who do not fit that physical mold and to advertise the classes as being designed for all shapes and sizes.

In addition, some local Tremont business owners and employees have asked Tiiu to have a stretching class before the workday starts a couple days a week. She hopes to start those classes this summer.

Studio 11 is celebrating its 5th birthday one month late because Tiiu and others are in the middle of a full-body detoxification program in April and consequently are unable to enjoy party staples such as non-vegan cake and alcohol. The celebration, which is open to the public, will be on Friday, May 14th (also the date of May's Tremont Artwalk). A Karma Yoga class will be from 6:00-7:00 p.m. (cost is a $7.00 minimum donation), local artist Don Frey will be showcasing some of his work, and a DJ may be spinning tunes.

Check the Studio 11 website for upcoming events:
http://www.studio11tremont.com/events.html

See the Class Schedule at:
http://www.studio11tremont.com/schedule.html