Cranbrook House hosts yoga sessions in famed gardens

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 15, 2015

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — For those who enjoy a good yoga session, Cranbrook House and Gardens is offering visitors the chance to bring some real sunshine to their sun salutation.

The estate’s auxiliary has been offering yoga classes in the famous gardens since late June, and they’ve recently decided to extend the serenity through Aug. 29.

“Seeing the interest and excitement guests had for the yoga sessions during National Get Outdoors Day (June 13) is what led the auxiliary to the idea of creating an ongoing Yoga in the Gardens program,” said Eric Franchy, who handles communications for the estate. “Since yoga is all about being flexible, we thought the program should be, too, which is why we now offer individual sessions for making scheduling easy.”

Each session begins at 9 a.m. and lasts an hour, and reservations can be made a la carte for $18, or $15 for auxiliary members. Classes are typically held near the reflecting pool or at other suitable locations in the vast gardens.

Leading the sessions are instructors from Belightful Yoga mobile yoga studio, based in Royal Oak. Owner Lisa Ballo said the outdoor scenery makes for a refreshing change from studio sessions.

“Honestly, I just love that setting. It’s phenomenal,” said Ballo. “There’s just a naturalness of tuning in with nature and really connecting with the elements that can help a person tune in and connect with the natural rhythm of their own body and mind.”

Ballo said the program is designed for practitioners at any skill level, and instructors will provide modifications for those who want to take it up a notch or bring it down a bit to accommodate an injury.

“This is appropriate for all bodies, but I’d say it’s more of a slow-flow type class,” she said. “But everyone will really enjoy it. Naturally, even the body chakra systems benefit from being outside, where you can actually connect with Mother Earth. When you actually feel your feet on the actual ground, it can be very centering and calming to a person. And the sun, the sound of the birds, the smell of the flowers — it’s all good for the body and mind.”

Participants are advised to bring their own towel or yoga mat and wear loose, comfortable clothing. Pre-paid registration is required and can be made online at

In the case of inclement weather, sessions will be held in the gym at Cranbrook Kingswood Middle School for Girls.

Cranbrook House and Gardens is located at 380 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Hills.