Atma Center celebrates 15 years on Lee Road

In 15 years on Lee Road, Atma Center has taught health-oriented yoga and brought Satyananda Yoga to the Heights neighborhood.

“I picked Cleveland Heights because I lived here and when we opened in 1997, yoga was [new and] different for some people,” said Beverly Roberts Singh, founder and director. “Cleveland Heights is a great place for it, since it’s an open-minded community.”

Singh's husband, Raj Singh, owns Cafe Tandoor and Taste, also in Cleveland Heights.

Olga Chwascinska (yoga name Omkar), Atma teacher and marketing director, said Lee Road is a popular business district and that helps bring people in.

“We’re visible to Lee Road and many people who stopped by have driven past several times and said, ‘It’s about time I found out about it!’” she said.

The Atma Center will celebrate its 15th anniversary Aug. 13 through 19 with a week of special events. On Monday Aug. 13, Laura Santoro, Atma Center teacher, will present stories from the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Indian text. Additional events include a spiritual chanting and ancient fire ceremony, visual meditation, and a dog walk to Shaker Lakes. From Aug. 10 to 25, the Atma Center will offer discounted yoga classes and other specials. For a complete listing of events, and to register, visit or call 216-371-9760.

More than 15 merchants, from the Cedar Lee business district, Taylor Road, and Larchmere Boulevard in Shaker Heights, are partnering with the Atma Center to provide specials and discounts for its students. Participants include The BottleHouse Brewery, Brennan’s Colony, Café Tandoor, Dewey’s Pizza, Groovy Grooming, Height’s Guitars, Phoenix Coffee, Quintana’s Barber and Dream Spa, Revive, Shawn Paul Salon, Simply Charming, Stone Oven, SweetieFry, Taste and The Wine Spot.

“I walked in [to each business] and smiled,” Chwascinska joked. “We’re part of Heights Independent Business Association (HIBA) and we met with number of neighbors at a HIBA event, so that’s how we got the idea. I believe in community cooperation and cross promotion, so it’s the connections we make with our neighbors that breed healthy relationship in the community.”

Singh thinks it’s fabulous that the Atma Center is working with other businesses. “Olga has been fantastic about doing everything and it just shows how developed the community is about working together.”

Singh noted that the practice of Satyananda Yoga is suitable for all ages, body types and levels of fitness and health.

Two other businesses within the Atma Center are North American Gurukul and the Yoga Academy of North America. Singh is the founder and president of the board of directors for North American Gurukul, a nonprofit organization that’s an umbrella for style of yoga. The working board is responsible for crediting the style of yoga, managing trademarks and various other legal issues, and runs conferences and tours for educational purposes. The Yoga Academy of North America is also a nonprofit and is one of four Academies of India that train people in style of yoga.

“There’s only one in North America and we get students from all over the world,” Singh said.

“Atma Center has established strong roots and good friendships, but perhaps it’s the flexibility and accessibility of our system that attracts people again and again for yoga classes and yogic studies,” Singh said. “Time has gone very quickly,” Singh said. “It’s hard to imagine we put 15 years in already and I hope we can put another 15 in at least.”

Yelena Tischenko

Yelena Tischenko is a senior majoring in magazine journalism at Kent State University and a Heights Observer intern.

Read More on Business
Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 2:54 PM, 08.07.2012