by Skylar Cole
Nici Munyer was born and raised in Cuyahoga Falls, and she always hoped that someone in the community would open up a yoga studio.
Eventually, she did.
“I knew [a yoga studio] was something that the downtown community specifically could really use. Cuyahoga Falls, in general, hasn’t had a full-service studio in a really long time. And so I was kind of holding out for a while, waiting to see if anything was going to come up, and nothing did.”
For a little more than five years, Nici owned the Cashmere Cricket, a craft beer and cocktail bar in downtown Cuyahoga Falls. Between 2016 and 2018 she took a short hiatus from her career. After deciding she needed a change, she sold her part of the company and graduated from her 200-hour yoga teacher training.
“I did my yoga teacher training in 2016 and wasn’t sure if I was going to teach. I did it more for personal growth in… my practice, as well as just the journey, to kind of see where it was going to take me,” Nici says.
She says the biggest thing she got out of her training was “the connection with women and the understanding that women really need, and are yearning for, personal growth and ways that they can do that.”
Nici sat on the idea of opening a yoga studio for about a year and a half before an opportunity came up.
“This location used to be Urban Lace, which was a clothing boutique owned by a woman named Whitney, and I was doing pop-up yoga here in the summer of 2018. And [I started] just kind of feeling out the community to see if there was a need or want for yoga. And the response was really great,” Nici says. “So I held out and held out, and she actually decided to move, so I called and said, ‘I want your space.’ And so I called the landlord and he said, ‘It’s yours.’ And within 60 days, we moved in and opened a yoga studio.”
The goal of Harvest Yoga and Wellness is to teach people that yoga is for everybody and every body, regardless of injuries or physical or mental limitations.
“We don’t want you to think that you have to look a certain way or be a certain way to do yoga, and that it’s very accessible and approachable for everybody,” Nici says. “So all of our teachers lead from a space of empowerment to lean into your own instincts and listen to what your heart and your body’s telling you to do on your mat, and that there’s no one right way to do Warrior I or Warrior II, and that everybody’s going to look a little bit different because our bones and muscles are structured differently.
“And I think that’s really kind of helped. The culture here and the students that come and feel welcome from day one, knowing that… we empower them to explore their practice here and that if it doesn’t look the same as your neighbor next to you, that’s okay. It’s not supposed to, actually,” she says.
The studio doesn’t just focus on yoga. Their bigger mission is to help women empower themselves through workshops about self-development, body image, self-care, and even business. (Most Harvest Yoga events and classes are also open to men.)
The monthly women’s dinner, or Harvest Table Dinner, is another way to create community connection. These dinners are actually hosted inside the studio around two custom tables that Nici had made. There are 15 seats for women to come together. Most times there will be a focus or prompts brought up throughout the dinner to get a conversation flowing. The dinners offer a place for women to come together and connect and have an intimate conversation together and maybe even come away with a friend or two.
Harvest Yoga and Wellness celebrated six months in November 2019.
Harvest Yoga and Wellness is located at 119 Portage Trail, Cuyahoga Falls. Visit www.harvestyogaandwellness.com for class information and schedules.
Skylar Cole is a senior at Bio-Med Science Academy.
Photos used with permission from Nici Munyer.