George Maggini, Jim Ollier, and Hank Burwinkel and their many friends with significant expertise — thank you Dan Bruewer Electric! — had already worked their magic on our Norwood space…a process that required hundreds of hours of love in a 1920’s storefront, about 1000 sq ft that had had no tenants for at least three years before we showed up.  It was a mess, with no electricity and a pile of leaves (!) in the middle of the floor.  Not exactly sure how they got there…but our master-craftsmen made it beautiful for sure for our January 2011 opening party.

In March 2011, Jack Lennon and I hosted a meeting of anyone who wanted to explore a 200-hour yoga training that included Healing Touch.  We were going to call it a “Yoga/Healing Touch Internship”…where participant-interns would receive their yoga certification and Healing Touch training in exchange for their volunteering at our programs and sharing their new knowledge.  

Interns would offer Healing Touch at our weekly sessions, and teach yoga once they felt ready…one night a week at our center.  Interns learned what hospitality was all about, of how to befriend whoever walked through our door for our donation-based drop-in classes and sessions.

About six people joined us for the March 2011 conversation, two of whom joined the internship that Autumn.  

It was a leap, this idea.  Yoga certification at this point in time averaged $2000 in Cincinnati, more in other cities.  A weekend Healing Touch class cost $365 in 2010 too.

And as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, our founding group wanted to find ways of welcoming people who ordinarily could not afford such trainings to make them accessible and affordable…doable.  



The March informational meeting ended with a massive storm. After everyone left, Jack and I stepped outside and saw a full rainbow over Norwood…a sign to us that this Yoga/Healing Touch Internship could be a beautiful thing.

Well, Jack sold some of his art (including this John Lennon drawing above, available for purchase at Saturday’s Open House) and many friends pitched in with fundraisers of all sorts and people donated at our programs and we paid the rent and all bills and eeked out the funding to host our first Yoga/Healing Touch Internship.

Five incredible teachers graduated from that first internship — and then 125 more people after them through 12 more internships VITALITY hosted, the most recent class pictured below. Check out our who’s who of famous yoga grads by clicking here.

Incredible teachers and friends have offered their gifts, especially Cynthia Bedell, Tonia Smith, and Carol T. Yeazell who mentored most of the intern-teachers over the years. CJ Pierce lent much support to our more recent groups too. Over the years, Becky Morrissey and Cynthia Allen offered very different takes on what ‘yoga’ could be too…something that really helped our program and our teacher-graduates to grow through the years. Maybe ‘yoga’ is much bigger than a bunch of memorized shapes?

Many studios and yoga-circles in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky continue to be enlivened and enlightened by our VITALITY Yoga/Healing Touch graduates. Some have even taken their learnings as far as Alaska and Africa…all over the world.

We are incredibly proud of these 130 people and all the ways they share themselves to grow human-life — health — on our planet Earth. They teach me what ‘yoga’ is all about, and I am grateful.



Yoga used to be so expensive when we began in 2011…at least $15 for a drop-in class at a studio and $2000+ for yoga certification training.

Today, you can get trained as a yoga teacher online for $99 and in most cities you can find a free yoga class every night of the week almost year-round.

Yoga has become affordable for sure — and available in nearly every neighborhood community center and park.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I transitioned to teaching more Bones for Life than yoga. Opportunity opened up thanks to Future Life Now’s global reach and people came running by the hundreds via Zoom.

And rather strangely, last year was the first year we didn’t host a yoga training since 2011. Someone would reach out every week about our yoga program but no one could get their toes to the starting line.

Maybe we are being invited to a new way of exploring ‘yoga’ — maybe we’re being invited to be flexible with what we consider ‘yoga’ to be. After all, as CJ demonstrates in the photo below as she holds the book in which she contributed so wisely, Yoga is THE ALL!

I listen to those who complete a full 3-immersion Bones for Life training or even become Bones for Life teachers and they often talk about life and movement and learning self-care in ways that the heart of the yoga-tradition invites. It has made me curious, for sure, if things like Bones for Life and Healing Touch could be our newest ways to bring forward what the ancient teachings of yoga talk about.

Who knows what goodnesses VITALITY’s 13th year might invite…perhaps you’ll help us to to imagine new possibilities this Saturday at 3pm at our Open House conversation!

Brian Shircliff