MARCH 31, 2016 BY ROSE NEMUNAITIS
Jennifer Emch and Erin Heltzel paused behind their new window overlooking the heart of Chardon Square, grateful they kept their faith and did not rush fate.
“I saw the ad for the space about 10 months ago and at that time, wasn’t able to get everything to fall into place,” Emch said. “I had looked at other spaces, but kept coming back to the 205 Main Street space as I just felt the space embodied what Erin and I were trying to accomplish.
“Every time I drove around the square, I would hope and pray that the ‘For Rent’ sign would still be up in the hopes that fate would hold out for me,” Emch added.
Time ticked on, details fell into place and a lease was signed.
Chardon’s new Ubuntu Wellness will open April 1, offering comprehensive holistic care and an array of wellness services on the mind, body, spirit continuum focusing on stress management, mindful living, physical activity and nutrition.
Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn has described it as paying attention to the present moment with intention, while letting go of judgment, as if our life depends on it.
“We feel that opening Ubuntu Wellness will allow participants to enjoy the benefits of authentically connecting with themselves in an environment that is welcome to all paths,” Emch said. “We are inundated in the media with what wellness ‘should’ look like and then we place judgment on ourselves because we feel we don’t fit that mold. We want to break those self-imposed barriers and encourage that wellness is accessible to everybody. No matter what.”
Classes will include a variety of yoga, Reiki (individual and certification), meditation and other mindfulness-based stress reduction workshops, Dancing Mindfulness (children and adult), along with a variety of massage therapy options and individual counseling.
Emch, a Berkshire High School and Lake Erie College alum, is a supervising licensed professional clinical counselor, certified Dancing Mindfulness facilitator and affiliate trainer through the Institute for Creative Mindfulness, previously getting her start teaching classes at Chardon’s Bellamore Salon and Spa.
Heltzel, a John Carroll University alum, is a full-time clinical counselor at Family Pride of Northeast Ohio in Chardon and a licensed massage therapist, previously working as a municipal court liaison dealing specifically with the dual diagnosis population and rehabilitation resources and health providers.
“Erin and I are both licensed counselors in the State of Ohio, so we will be offering individual counseling with a focus on trauma informed therapy approaches, such as MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing),” Emch added.
Longtime student Sheryl Flanagan said she is “over the moon” about the new business.
“I have been following Jen Emch since she started doing Dancing Mindfulness classes and have found it to be very relaxing as well as a way to reduce my stress levels,” she said. “The stress that I let go of at class has helped in many areas of my life. It has taught me to be able to live in the moment and let go of things in life that are getting in the way of feeling relaxed and centered.”
The duo walked across the hardwood-floored empty business space above Square Bistro, once home to Chardon BrewWorks, sharing a few in-the-moment dance moves involving twirls.
“I love that you don’t have to know how to dance. It is more about free expression and reducing anxiety or whatever you need to get rid of that class,” Flanagan said. “I recommend this kind of therapeutic dancing to anyone that wants to see change in their life.”
Heltzel credits Emch as being the “brain, beauty and brawn” behind their business venture.
“I remember in grad school developing a long-term goal of opening a holistic wellness center/practice and thinking to myself ‘that would be too good to be true.'” Heltzel recalled. “Well, I was wrong. I’m so grateful to be blessed with this opportunity to give back using services in line with my beliefs and theoretical orientations.
Emch described herself as a “Geauga County gal through and through,”which is why for her, opening a business in Chardon feels like a dream come true.
“I love so many things about Geauga County, the farms, the parks, the community involvement and the love of the arts,” she said. “Chardon is a city of thriving new and long-established businesses and Erin and I feel so blessed to now be a part of this entrepreneurial community.
“I look forward to continued networking and working hard to support our local businesses.”