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LIT Life + Yoga in Italian Village Opens Today

Nancy Alkire Nancy Alkire LIT Life + Yoga in Italian Village Opens TodayLIT Life + Yoga opens in Italian Village on Friday, December 1, 2017. Photo by Nancy Alkire.
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“I am raising the bar,” says Debra Penzone, creator and owner of LIT Life + Yoga opening December 2 at 999 N. Fourth St. “This will be yoga like never before in Columbus. Our classes will touch every one of your senses and illuminate every part of your life.”

Studio manager and teacher Babajide Ogunmola says, “There are multiple windows that open up to let in fresh air and sunshine. The lights not only dim, but change colors. I know from my background in social work that color and lighting really affect people.”

Penzone noted that hot and cold towels, as well as aromatherapy, will be part of LIT Life + Yoga classes.

Debra Penzone and Babajide Ogunmola of LIT Life + Yoga. Photo by Allie Lehman.

Debra Penzone and Babajide Ogunmola of LIT Life + Yoga. Photo by Allie Lehman.

“Every teacher will be able to add unique touches to create the look, sound, and vibe of class and heighten all the senses,” Penzone says. “This will be so much more than a traditional yoga studio. Every class will give you great life lessons to take home.”

LIT Life + Yoga has been two years in the making. When the space behind Drunch, Royal Rhino and Amaze on North Fourth became available, Penzone went to work.

“Italian Village is such a wonderful place,” she says. “The business community there has been great. My husband is part of a second generation Italian family; he was baptized in St. John’s.” For many long months, “the pieces wouldn’t come into place, but now all the threads in my life are coming together.”

“I can tell that [Debra Penzone] only wants the best yoga experience for her clients,” says Sarah Oullett-Albano, a teacher at LIT Life + Yoga. “She is super down to earth. I am super stoked to be part of the dream team!”

A walk-thru before opening revealed yards of first-class finishing materials, such as snazzy, hexagonal entry way tiles and a lovely radiant-heated studio floor all done in well-chosen colors. Everything shows thoughtful planning to make Penzone’s dream yoga studio become a real treasure.

LIT Life + Yoga is also a dream come true for Buffalo native Ogunmola.

“This is my dream space,” he says. “It breathes and feels alive.”

Even before he was hired by Penzone as studio manager, he was thinking about the 999 N. Fourth site as a studio and assembling his dream team.

“I wanted teachers who were not only good at yoga, but also excellent communicators and real game changers,” he says. “For example, Adam Wetterhan was one of the first I approached … what he does teaching yoga in prison is so admirable. And then there is Julie Wojno from Cycle 614 who can really wring your body out, but her words and attitude make you feel good about it.”

A self-described ‘fitness nerd’ who came to yoga while healing an ulnar fracture, Ogunmola discovered that yoga “by design helps with healing.” Penzone, too, found yoga made a big difference in her life. “I came to yoga as a fluke, but once I got into it, I found it so rich,” she says. “When my father had cancer, I could do breathing and things with him that helped so much.”

Penzone has great respect for yoga and yoga instructors who are luminaries. “They are the ones who inspire us to be bold, determined, compassionate, and creative,” she says. “I want them to really be lifted up as the guiding lights they are and recognized for how much they give.”

“We can do much good with yoga, and I really want to do more,” says Ogunmola. In addition to her yoga studio, Penzone has created the LIT LOVE fund through The Columbus Foundation. The studio plans to use donation-based classes and other events to fund and strengthen Columbus non-profits. Recently, the group held a class at the Re:Work Furnishings loft space in Grandview to raise money for the Jack Roth Fund’s support of lung cancer research.

Besides mat-based yoga, LIT Life + Yoga will have aerial yoga using silk hammocks. Penzone and Ogunmola recently trained with Carmen Curtis at AIReal Yoga, the only Yoga Alliance-certified aerial teaching program.

“The shavasana experience in the hammock is unreal – it’s like you have your own cocoon,” enthused Ogunmola,. “Also, working against gravity gives you an antithesis to a pose; it is intense engagement … using the silk, I got the most amazing glute stretches ever.”

Classes at LIT Life + Yoga begin on Saturday, December 2. The grand opening open house is Friday, December 1 at 999 N. Fourth St. (behind the Royal Rhino). RSVP at litlaunch.eventbrite.com. Studio manager Babajide Ogunmola, the team of luminaries, and creator-owner Debra Penzone are happy to welcome the Columbus yoga community from 6 – 9 p.m. on Friday.

For more information, visit litlifeyoga.com.

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