by Kala Stein
If you are reading this magazine, there’s a good chance that you are either in love with the Finger Lakes or anxious to start exploring this beautiful region. If you are reading this article, your curiosity was piqued by the word “yoga,” “glamping,” or perhaps the unlikely pairing of the two. Maybe you already practice yoga or maybe you are curious to start.
First and foremost, yoga is a healing practice in which anyone can partake. “Yoga is good for everything and everyone!” says Niki Januzzi of Yoga with Niki in Honeoye Falls. She discovered the meditative exercise long before its current phase of popularity. The Lima resident was studying dance at the Edna Manley School of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica when she started regularly practicing yoga at home with instructions from a VHS tape. She would drop into live classes when she could. A few years later, when Niki had some serious health issues, it was a wake-up call. She realized change was critical. Along with more mindful eating habits, she dedicated herself to a more serious yoga practice, knowing intuitively that it was right for her body.
About four years later, she earned her certification as a yoga instructor at Sonic Yoga in Midtown Manhattan. Niki was motivated and ready to share a practice that had already done so much for her. She knew right away that she wanted to keep it local, in the Finger Lakes.
“Local” is a priority. Niki values small-town living and doesn’t consider commuting to teach, or commuting to take a yoga class, in alignment with her personal “live local” philosophy. She has taught many beautiful students in many spaces during the past nine years, and is very happy with her home base on the westward side of the Finger Lakes Region. She’s committed to growing her business there and making yoga accessible to the “Little Lakes” area.
Niki’s newest pursuit is her Glamping Yoga Retreat this summer, June 21 through 23. It will be a weekend full of outdoor yoga, relaxation, and connecting to nature – immersing participants in a beautiful practice with like-minded individuals. It will be held on privately owned property between Canadice and Honeoye Lakes; a place where vintage cabins and tent sites nestle in a stand of towering spruce trees near Harriet Hollister State Park. It features a spring-fed pond, hiking trails, a lovely sunny meadow, a unique outdoor kitchen and a fire pit where evenings will be spent basking in the glow of the day.
Niki’s husband Chris Januzzi, a classically trained chef, will prepare the vegetarian meals. He shares Niki’s deep love for this neck of the woods. The former executive chef at the Rabbit Room in Honeoye Falls hung up his apron six months ago to teach at Monroe Community College. Originally from Livonia, Chris studied at the Culinary Institute of America and The New England Culinary Institute.
At the Rabbit Room he had the pleasure of working with local farmers; sourcing the bounty that we are so fortunate exists here in the Finger Lakes. He will continue that practice for the dishes he will prepare for the retreat; putting his passion for cooking with local seasonal ingredients and love into every dish he creates. What better way to come full circle than with connecting to the earth in every way imaginable.
During the retreat, participants will partake in multiple outdoor yoga classes and discover different forms of meditation. They will also enjoy essential oils-inspired spa treatments led by Amy Jane Stewart from Organica Jane in Canandaigua. She is a New York State licensed massage therapist and nationally certified holistic aroma therapist. Jane and another special guest, certified yoga instructor Donii Ritz of Ritz Mountain Yoga on Conesus Lake, will join Niki to provide a fully rounded wellness experience.
For people looking to begin a yoga practice, the retreat can be a great way to get started with an immersion experience, Niki explains. Participants of all levels are encouraged to bring a friend or sign up solo. The atmosphere will be open and easy to provide whatever participants are looking for.
During summers in the Finger Lakes, Niki has been known to lead yoga classes on the shores of Conesus Lake, the hill top in Canadice, various parks in the area and, even her own backyard. Niki and Hayley Parker, who teaches yoga in Honeoye, lead a “Wine and Yoga” class twice a year at Inspire Moore Winery in Naples. Stay tuned for information on the spring class by following the “Yoga with Niki” Facebook page. She insists that there is nothing quite like experiencing yoga and nature together. “People who do so find themselves becoming one with their surroundings,” she said. Niki invites you to join her on this beautiful adventure. Meet her under the tall trees as you connect the body, mind and breath.