Above all I want a studio welcoming to all those people I have come across who said Yoga is not for them.
Over the past couple of years my primary places of yoga instruction were local breweries. Often my classes were filled with couples, men, people of color, chubby folks, and beer advocates admitting to not exerting themselves aside from tipping the pint glass or Mug Club mug back more than a few times through the week. These classes invited a very different demographic than most local yoga studios. That excited me. I was told again and again that my relatable demeanor and the comfortable brewery setting brought in students who would have never thought to give yoga a try. And that too excited me.
I began teaching more and more brewery yoga reaching about seven Breweries in the greater Grand Rapids area. The more I spoke with newbies, brewery yogis, beer-tenders, service staff, etc the more I would hear disheartening stories and accounts of studio yoga gone wrong. Students feeling uncomfortable, put down, unwilling to try certain spaces all together, unable to afford drop-in costs, etc. (This is NOT the case for all local studios-honestly! There are people and spaces doing great work with inclusivity, adaptability, accessibility, and affordability.) I spoke to light workers, healers, empaths, and kind friends-all of whom I assumed had a regular self-care yoga space and most of whom said they never considered setting foot in a local studio. I started getting the feeling that many GR studios had a bad rap with those outside a certain…. demographic & the more I talked about yoga around town, the more this became evident. I myself had become disillusioned with many of the spaces around town. I either couldn’t afford them, access them realistically, keep up with the extreme flows, etc. And I almost always felt like an outsider to the Tribe. By opening myself up (see past blogs about my intensely private demeanor) and creating a dialogue, I realized that feeling like an outsider to the GR Yoga scene was not a feeling exclusive to me. At this point, my practice was ten years strong. I couldn’t imagine how intimidating, uncomfortable, unreasonable, or just plain unwelcoming this experience would feel to a newbie. Or to someone outside of the marketed demographic….
The GR Yoga Co*Op was formed of a group of local community-based and yoga outreach instructors looking to network, offer teacher reciprocity, develop a teacher sub/backup list, and generally unite and support marketing efforts of our community events. Usually such events were offered as free or donation only, and offered in unique community service agencies, community centers, parks, and out of the ordinary local business store-fronts.
I wanted a space for a community crowd to feel comfortable. I wanted to feel proud and charged-up about the diverse crowd in attendance or the amount of newbies coming to try a relatable and accessible class for the first time, I wanted the student-base of the Brewery Yoga and other Community Outreach Yoga in a quaint and unique studio. A crowd comfortable with the cost, the energy-space, and with not knowing what they’re doing. Maybe a place to rest and recharge rather than feel pressure to push themselves beyond comfort or reason. A place to explore the dynamics of yoga, breath, meditation, lore and study & a place for imperfect yoga and imperfect people.
I stumbled into this space, accidentally. The energy was palpable. Likely leftover from the previous Hip Hop recording studio group-who referred to themselves as the “…..Co-Op” Without question I knew this was the space I was(n’t) looking for, but felt called to manifest Grand Rapids newest yoga energy space. With the help and support of family and friends we created a beautiful, calming, so called yoga den. Through the process, I found a new collective of community-based teachers and yogis with serious (and somewhat blind) confidence in me and support of my ideas-it really kept me moving forward! THANK YOU “GR Yoga Co*Op”
So here we are with this energizing space great for lightwork, energy healing, yoga and meditation sessions or a private meeting space-open to rent by the public. Like my passion to empower a new group of yogis through accessibility and affordability, I want spiritual entrepreneurs to feel empowered through this accessible and affordable meeting space. If you have a yoga, mindfulness, holistic counseling/coaching, artistic expression, energy healing, or lightwork business and would like to partner on your next class, workshop, meetup, etc please contact me at email@example.com
I’m at the space most mornings and would love to meet you if you want to drop-by.