When the news that Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital would close hit the valley, OV Power Yoga owner Laura Hitchman wanted to do something that would alleviate some of the pressure those 1,200 employees and their families would experience.

Hitchman decided to offer free yoga to all employees at both hospitals until the end of September.

“The struggle is really real when it hits home, and you feel it more when it affects one of your own people,” said Hitchman.

One of OV Power Yoga’s teachers, Lauren Newton, and her husband, Jim Newton, an OVMC resident, have been forced to relocate to Florida. Lauren Newton is scheduled to give birth mid-September.

“The Newtons invested in the valley, they bought a home, chose to start their family here and became part of the community. Unfortunately, they will have to uproot their lives and start new somewhere else. New baby, new state, new home, new job, new community; it’s not easy to leave especially when you’ve just begun lay down roots, let alone start a family,” Hitchman said.

When Hitchman released the information about the free classes on Facebook, many employees reached out in gratitude.

“It was a big shock that both would be closing,” shared Denise Paxton. “I’ve worked at EORH for 42 years; I only need to work four more till I can retire.”

Paxton is devasted, as are many, however she knows the benefits of yoga will help her and plans to take advantage of the kind offer from OV Power Yoga, Hitchman said.

“It breaks our heart to witness people struggle through hard times, and yoga at its root is about community; about union,” says Hitchman who opened the studio in November 2018.

“It’s this safe place for people to just be themselves through the ups and downs of life. A place to connect through sweat, movement, laughter and even tears. When we are struggling, we are at our most vulnerable, and it’s human nature to crave belonging and support. OVPY, as it’s been dubbed, is that supportive platform for the people of this community to come together on their yoga mats and face life’s struggles (and the happy stuff, too) together. Come to sweat, come to breathe, come to laugh, come to cry; just show up and they will do the rest. All are welcome,” she said.

“A few focused minutes a few times per week with friends can alleviate that strain and help those that practice yoga keep their cool when life heats up unexpectedly,” she added.

Those wishing to take advantage of the offer can register in person during studio class hours. Employees must show hospital identification or proof of employment to receive free yoga.

OV Power Yoga is located at 2210 National Road in Wheeling.

The studio boasts a small, but talented crew of teachers who are capable of providing instruction to everyone, regardless of skill. Beginners to advanced practitioners are welcome. Studio doors open 15 minutes prior to class.

To find out more about OV Power Yoga, view the live schedule and class descriptions, visit OV Power Yoga’s website.

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