My RI Life: Mama, Tree Hugger & Owner Of Essence Yoga, Deb Manera Cunha

I'm a mama, yogi, tree hugger, animal lover, vegetarian, and owner of Essence Yoga at 2178 Broad St., 2nd floor (on top of the old Lyndsey’s Market...RI directions), in the Pawtuxet Village section of Cranston. I am proud to say I am Providence born and raised. My family resided in the Silver Lake area for over 35 years, up until 2002. I often say that 'Silver Lake is in my blood.' And anyone who grew up in “The Lake” says the same; we sorta have our own extended family. I currently call Cranston my home; it’s where I choose to raise my children (Gabriella and Jordan) and own a business. 


Cranston holds pieces of what I find valuable in order to live, work, and play. We have great retail (Anthropologie, Barrington Books), and food shopping (Whole Foods) in Garden City. Chapel View is where one of my favorite fitness options is located. (In addition to my yoga practice, I’m a big fan of Pure Barre.) St. Mary’s in Knightsville hosts traditions near and dear to my heart yearly with the St. Mary’s Feast and Parade. The quaint OakLawn Village often has family events, plus the bike path is easy access near the OakLawn gazebo. (Perfect for me, G., and J. when we take our German Shepherd and Black Lab for a run). G. and J. are also active in Cranston youth sports. The City and Community support for Cranston’s youth sports is really awesome. G. had a successful Little League run and represented RI out of state this summer. During the softball team’s return celebration, our Mayor was asked to take a “squad pic”. Hard to say NO to a group of 10 year old girls. Being a parent, I can certainly appreciate the Mayor’s light heartedness in taking that “squad pic”. (See photo above.)

Pawtuxet Village

My favorite village is ...Pawtuxet Village! Hey, ­I may be a little biased, but it is a hidden gem, and continues to grow. It’s beautiful year round, and the view of the bay is priceless. We hold the oldest running 5k foot race in June and the Gaspee Day Parade (fun for all ages) follows. The village is full of food options. Fellini’s, Revolution, and Basta are my after work go-­to's for dinner. Basta has the most beautiful Valentine’s weekend planned - “The Night of 1000 Roses” where roses magically hang from the ceiling. Get a Reservation if you haven’t made VDay plans, it is not to be missed! (You just may see me there on Saturday.)

More Restaurants & Food

I’m an Italian and vegetarian and I can eat! So I have lots of favs. The Grange, Julian’s, Garden Grille, Rasoi, Spain, Al Forno and Siena just to name a few. I absolutely love outdoor dining and my son loves oysters so you will find us at Matunuck Oyster quite often over summer.

Summer & Year Round Scenic Spots

Speaking of summer, I am a summer lover! I’m the Mom on Roger Wheeler Beach building sandcastles, jumping waves and collecting sea shells. (Although I built a snowman yesterday with G and J, I prefer to dig in the sand. :) We are an active trio, and explore this ocean state year round. Blithewold Gardens, Portsmouth Topiary Gardens, Umbrella Factory, Audobon Society Bristol and Frosty Drew Observatory are a few fun outdoor spots. I love watching sunsets. Prospect Park in Providence and Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown are great. Do this as a family, with a friend or solo on a summer evening, you will not be disappointed!

Yoga Favs, From Mats To Clothing

I’m often asked what the best yoga mat or yoga apparel line is. We are all different, so seeing what feels best individually is priority. That being said, my favorites are:

  • Jade Yoga Mats­ are environmentally friendly­; I have the XW Fusion, which is priced around $150. I also own Lululemon and Manduka.
  • I LOVE Lululemon yoga pants and sports bras.
  • AloYoga has some great pants that cover your heel with fun colors.
  • For hot yoga, I like Teeki pants (made from recycled water bottles).
  • Glyder Apparel is a new line I’ve been wearing. The pants fit nicely and are a bit higher waisted (Ladies high waist in yoga apparel is a good thing­ - panties should not be seen in downward dog.)

Essence Yoga

I have often called Essence Yoga my third child. And in many ways it has been. Essence recently celebrated 4 years in business, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Over the years the studio has moved locations (just across the street), doubled in size, added classes and most recently, begun offering massage therapy. We have options for every level of yoga practitioner, and a team of knowledgeable instructors, most who live right in the community! There is no place like home...and for Essence, Pawtuxet Village is home.

For info about classes, workshops, and more at Essence, go to and follow them on FB by clicking here


Photo Credits: Photos of Deb and the interior of Essence are courtesy of Kerri Stowik Photography. Photos of Julian's by Ashley Farney.