Over the past couple of years, yoga classes have been popping up all over Columbia. While yoga studios may seem like the best place to take classes, local businesses are beginning to offer their own yoga classes to any and all interested.
Because businesses are doing yoga classes, they have created a space for people to come try the spiritual practice in a less intimidating place than a yoga studio. Not only are the events unique, but they are a comfortable way for people to start learning yoga while also learning more about the business that is offering the class.
“I started teaching yoga at Cyclex Bike Shop and it was a cool experience to teach yoga in a space that wasn’t a studio,” Michaela Marshall Dungey, Yoga Sol Instructor and Skylark Bookshop employee, said. “I think that it brought in a lot of students who might not feel comfortable going to a studio or to a gym for yoga.”
Skylark Bookshop opened its doors just four months ago and decided to make their mark on the yoga community through a bookshop yoga class. The class has been held in Skylark Bookshop two times already, taught by Dungey. The third Bookshop Yoga will be held on Dec. 9 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. The event costs $10 and is for all experience levels and all ages.
Dungey also teaches at Yoga Sol, a professional yoga studio downtown. Yoga Sol offers many types of classes including flow, iyengar, yin and prenatal yoga at all levels, gentle, intermediate and advanced levels. They do not offer classes for beginners but the business recommends doing private lessons to get more comfortable with the yoga practice.
“I get most excited about getting new students to try yoga and see if it is something that might actually improve their quality of life,” Dungey said. “I think it is exciting that there are a lot of new ways, forms and locations that are introducing yoga because it can make it more accessible for people. I think it is more about getting people on a mat regardless of where that is or what it looks like.”
Columbia Art League has been established for about 60 years and was the first business to offer a yoga class in Columbia, said Louise Sarver, CAL operations manager and former Mizzou student. Staying true to its roots, CAL decided to create an Art Yoga event where people of all ages can try their hand at yoga and different art projects. The yoga session is taught by Bini Sebastian, a fitness instructor at MizzouRec, and the event is $15, which includes the yoga session and all the art supplies in the art class.
“We are always looking for new ways to bring people into the CAL and to let them know about our organization,” Sarver said. “So we thought accessing this kind of fitness and health community would be a great way for people to find a cross between their interests.”
Columbia businesses are choosing yoga over other forms of fitness for similar reasons. Yoga Sol instructor Megan Hall said yoga is different than other forms of fitness for its focus on breathfulness, alignment and mindfulness.
“Some people come to yoga classes because they are stressed, depressed or anxious. Some people come for the spiritual factor,” Hall said. “Yoga meets you where you are at.”
Hall also said that yoga gives people many tools to diffuse their stressors and it gives people space to figure out how they feel and how they need to react.
“We suffer as humans because we are not taught how to deal with our feelings. Yoga creates a nice middle ground,” Hall said.
There are many other businesses holding yoga classes throughout Columbia including the Student Health Center, which holds yoga classes weekly at the Contemplative Practice Center. Yoga sessions and all supplies are free for students as covered under their student health fee.
DrinKraft, a new local kombucha business, has been offering bi-weekly yoga classes starting in November and ending on Dec. 19. The classes are held at DrinKraft on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The cost of the yoga class is $10, but the business is willing to negotiate a lower price if you are unable to pay $10.
Papa’s Cat Cafe decided to stray from traditional yoga classes and added cats to their sessions. Offered the first Thursday of every month, usually from 5:30-7:00 p.m., customers of all ages and fitness levels are welcome to practice yoga surrounded by 20 cats. The session includes 60 minutes of yoga, 30 minutes of additional socialization with the cats and a drip coffee all for $20.
“I think bringing that crossover [between yoga and businesses] to different organizations is a great way to get more people involved with those interests,” Sarver said.
Yoga classes at local businesses are not only a way for the community to get involved, but yoga is a way for people, especially students, to lessen their stress.
Edited by Janae McKenzie | firstname.lastname@example.org