Lawrenceville’s Dual Wellness Enterprises

    It was serendipitous that I was asked to write this article. Usually, I pitch story ideas; but not knowing anything about the subject of the piece, I was just told, “It would be a fun article for you. It’s a garden shop in Lawrenceville and their sound therapy is really interesting.”

    My publisher was right! This was a fun article to write, and a fun place to visit, too. Gardenalia / Rooted in Sound, Lawrenceville’s fairly new “sustainable living center” located on Butler Street, isn’t just a garden shop or yoga studio. It’s so much more!

    My first surprise upon entering the store was that it wasn’t just a place selling plants and flowers, although they do sell those too. Actually, it’s two separate businesses: Gardenalia, whose staff designs, builds, and maintains sustainable gardens for customers; and Rooted in Sound, which offers unique group and individual classes in sound therapy, yoga, and more. Both businesses are connected in the same building and interconnected in concept. “We have two businesses under one roof, offering many options for sustainable living and holistic wellness,” notes the owner, Wyatt Melius. “We are a community-driven, wellness-driven place. It’s important that my staff and I offer a sense of community to the area.”

    Gardenalia

    Gardenalia
    This is the part of the business where landscape designers, architects, and gardeners create sustainable outdoor spaces for customers. Some background first. Melius grew up on a farm in Indiana, PA, and left the field of IT years ago to pursue his interests in health and wellness. He subsequently joined Gardenalia as a business partner when it was in Shadyside, and now is sole owner at the current location in Lawrenceville. He has certificates in Master Gardening from Phipps Conservatory and in Arboriculture from Penn State. “At Gardenalia, we offer a sustainable living center and help people learn how to interact with their yards. I am very interested in holistic wellness, as many people today are. We can set up gardens for sustainable living and health and wellness.” And, if you have a small yard in Lawrenceville or elsewhere, and want to have a garden, Melius assures, “My staff and I love to work with small spaces.”

    Rooted in Sound
    Sound healing and sound therapy? What are those, you may ask? I wondered this myself, since sound therapy is something I never heard of before and, according to Melius, is relatively new to the Pittsburgh area. I learned that sound therapy is one of the world’s oldest wellness practices. Melius and his staff offer customized individual and group sound-therapy sessions in their unique, serene sound room and studio space, where they use bowls, gongs, bells, and more to help with relaxation.

    Melius has traveled all over the world to learn how to use singing bowls for sound therapy. He had two teachers, one from India and one from Germany. The person from India “makes” the sound bowls, and the German individual actually invented Sound Massage, where bowls are placed on various parts of the body for a holistic massage to aid in healing.

    Experiencing the Sound Bowl and Gong
    I had the opportunity to personally experience some things I never had before that were rather unique. To explain how sound and touch work with the body, Melius had me stretch out my right arm, where he placed a golden sound bowl with a bit of water in it onto my right hand. Slowly and softly he tapped with a mallet around the sides of the bowl for about a minute or so. When he finished, he asked me how my right hand felt, and if there was now a difference compared to my left hand. Well, I can tell you that my right hand instantly felt relaxed, and this affected my entire right arm.

    Shortly after, with my relaxed right arm, Melius proceeded with another experiment. He had me stand sideways in front of one of the large hanging gongs. He then tapped a large mallet all around the gong for a short time. It was very pleasant sounding—musical in a sense—and peaceful. Once again Melius asked me how I felt. And of course I felt relaxed, and quite honestly amazed! He explained, “Not only does one hear the sound of the gong being hit, but the body ‘feels’ the vibration from the waves. These waves disperse out into the rest of the studio space so participants can feel it where they are.” It was such a powerful experience for me in such a short time that I can only imagine what a longer class session would do for the body, mind, and soul.

    If these kinds of experiences interests you, check the following offerings.

    Sound Therapy and Sound-Guided Meditation
    Group Classes: Classes for group sound therapy are two times a month. A one-hour session is $25. Participants should bring a pillow and dress comfortably (for example, yoga pants). Note that there are only about 25 spots, so reservations are recommended. Group parties can be arranged as well.

    Private Sessions: Sound-therapy private sessions are more detailed and are for one hour every week. Appointments are necessary. Customers usually participate in anywhere from 6 to 12 sessions and then they take a break and come back for more sessions.
    Singing Bowl Workshop

    The singing bowl workshop is two hours and $45 per person. Reservations are recommended.

    The Shop
    Gardenalia showcases numerous handmade items, including: pottery, jewelry, essential oils, singing bowls, terrariums, and organic teas from a local tea blender, to name a few. Of course, they have flowers and plants, and always carry the top 30 purifying plants to have in a home. In addition, other flower and plant requests can be ordered.

    Studio Space Rental
    Keeping in line with his mission of offering the sense of a community and wellness-driven place, Melius offers studio space for rent. Yoga instructors rent the space for classes, and musicians have rented the space for performances. The studio space holds 25 for yoga classes, and 40 chairs fit comfortably for events.

    For an experience like no other, I highly recommend visiting Gardenalia / Rooted in Sound, where you can learn more from Melius and his staff about sustainability and wellness. Or, perhaps you might want to participate in a group or individual sound-therapy session, yoga class, or one of the many various workshops/tours offered—such as the “Essential Oils for Your First Aid Kit” workshop or the tours of city parks, where you can learn about the health benefits of plants and more.

    For more information contact:
    Rooted in Sound: 412-609-8999
    Gardenalia: 412-871-5445; open Mon.-Sat. 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; closed Sunday.

    3709 Butler St., Lawrenceville
    rootedinsound.com; facebook.com/rootedinsound
    gardenaliapgh.com; facebook.com/Gardenaliapgh 

    Denise S. Artman is a staff photographer and regular contributor to The Strip! See more of her photography at fb: denisesartmanphotography.

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