Connecting with the community is a key concept in yoga practice, so as her studio has grown, OV Power Yoga owner Laura Hitchman and her staff have sought ways to reach out.
As COVID restrictions began to ease this spring, she floated the idea of an outdoor yoga class in a communal space. It would be a way, she said, to provide yoga to more people. What’s more, class fees would be on a donation basis, with the proceeds benefiting a local charity.
With the support of staff and clients, OV Power Yoga launched its 21-week Giving Tuesday series in May at Wheeling Heritage Port. Classes are 6:30-7:30 p.m. every Tuesday and will continue through September.
Hitchman said the community has been receptive to the classes, which are taught by a recent graduate of OV Power Yoga’s teacher training program, Donn McCombs. McCombs’ classes embody a medium intensity flow that is accessible to people with no yoga experience.
“We love this both for our community as a whole and for our clients who will benefit from the donations. The kindness of OVPY is a prime example of how amazing our community truly is,” Terra Crews, YSS development director, said.
Hitchman said benefiting YSS was a group decision. Staff couldn’t decide on a charity, so they put it to their clients.
“We actually polled them on social media and hands down, they picked Youth Services System. That made me realize that a lot of people connect to the mission and purpose at YSS, so it was an obvious choice for us to move forward,” Hitchman said.
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YSS provides an array of behavioral health, prevention, treatment and supportive services to children and families. Programs include therapy, school-based mental health services, the Youth Mentoring Network, transitional living for youth aging out of foster care, services for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness, and the YSS Recovery Homes for adults recovering from substance use disorder.
“Laura and her team did this all on their own because they have a heart for helping others. We are thrilled to have them a part of the YSS family and have them on our mission to create better futures for children, families and our community,” Crews added.
Hitchman is an Ohio Valley native who opened OV Power Yoga in November 2019 and currently has four part-time instructors and four Energy Squad members who clean the studio on a trade basis.
OV Power Yoga offers a variety of medium to high intensity heated vinyasa flow classes that focus on functional movement, stability and balance. It offers 15 public classes a week at their studio in Elm Grove, private lessons and group corporate programs. The studio also partners with local businesses to offer fun yoga events around town to help foster a fun, community-focused atmosphere.
OV Power Yoga offers the Ohio Valley’s only 200-hour teacher training for students looking to dive deeper into the mechanics, philosophy and teachings of yoga or those aspiring to become yoga instructors.
“My personal philosophy aligns right along with our philosophy as a business. … At the end of the day, my main philosophy is to move from my heart,” Hitchman said.