Rachel Roberts traveled around the world for two years and visited 27 countries before opening her business, The Yoga Bar. Today, she runs two yoga studios – one in Newport and the other in OTR – while also coordinating yoga retreats and local events.
“The Yoga Bar studios have done just that,” she says. “The Yoga Bar hosts the wildly popular Yoga on the Green series in Washington Park during the summers and holds classes around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky in historically and artistically important locations like the Krohn Conservatory, The Taft Museum and the CAC.”
The Yoga Bar studios opened in downtown Cincinnati in 2010 and in Newport’s East Row district in 2013. Last year, in January 2015, the Cincinnati location was moved to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood at 15 West 14th Street.
Before opening the Yoga Bar studios, Roberts first found yoga in 1998. A naturopathic doctor suggested she use asana and pranayama as a way to control her troubling asthma. “In 2008, I left my home in the U.S. to travel the world through yoga, studying under great yogis throughout Europe and Asia,” she says. “In 2009, I continued my learning at Sri K. Patabbhi Jois’ Ashtanga Research Institute in Mysore, India, and attended the Mandala teacher training in Bali with Shiva Rea.”
Now, her studios host workshops, guest teachers, cultural events and live music. Package discounts are available for those who would like to be more active at the studios. Private and corporate lessons are also available.
Through the Yoga Bar, Roberts has been able to also share her travels with others by leading retreats in some of the most beautiful, spiritual and naturally inspiring places on the planet. Roberts hosts local and international retreats on yoga and meditations.
“My classes meld all the limbs of Yoga into practices that are invigorating, inspiring and challenging physically, spiritually and emotionally,” says Roberts.
In addition to her Yoga Bar studios, Roberts is the founder of The Bija Yoga School and Bija Retreats. She holds annual yoga retreats as close as Hocking Hills and as far away as Bali, Indonesia.
The annual retreats are also hosted in revolving locations including Cooper Island in the British Virgin Islands and Tulum, Mexico.
“The retreats range from a three-day weekend to a full week,” explains Roberts. “The themes revolve around the time of year, like a recent New Year’s retreat and March’s Bali retreat, which coincides with their lunar new year and a festival called Nyepi – a day of silent reflection for the entire island.”
The local retreats Roberts hosts in Hocking Hills start at $375 while a week in Bali for a solo traveler will cost around $2,250.
Roberts says the intention of the retreats is to take away the burden of decision making and to provide a sanctuary for guests to experience renewal, restoration and rejuvenation.
“Retreats are completely planned from the moment you arrive; meals, transportation, excursions are all included and are also all optional, so that participants can enjoy down time if they choose or hike to natural wonders, whichever fills their cup on that day,” says Roberts.
The yoga classes at retreats are held in the morning and afternoon. According to Roberts, morning practices are generally Ashtanga/Vinyasa, a more invigorating practice, and afternoons are Yin or Restorative yoga, for relaxation and meditation.
“Each retreat is different depending on the group, season and location, but all include expert yoga instruction, gourmet meals, high-end accommodations and local excursions,” says Roberts.
Roberts says that an increase in demand means there will be four retreats in Hocking Hills this year in January, May, August and November. She will also be hosting the Dia de Los Muertas retreat in Tulum, Mexico, and hopes to hold a retreat in Europe in 2017.