Among for-profit universities and sustainable building construction, Yoga is one of the top ten fastest growing industries in America with over 10 million people practicing. From Detroit to the West Michigan shoreline the mitten is making major moves in the world of yoga. Jonny Kest, founder of Center for Yoga, has established metropolitan Detroit as one of the largest yoga communities in the Midwest with studios in Ann Arbor, Birmingham and Bloomfield. Kest is also founder of the Midwest Yoga Conference and the Power of Vinyasa Conference. Kerri Reinbold, owner of Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse continues to rapidly grow yoga culture in West Michigan with her ever expanding studio in Grand Rapids’ Eastown neighborhood and a brand new facility scheduled to open in Holland this fall. To get some perspective of why yoga is becoming such a powerful part of women’s lives, I spoke with Hollywood actress and yogini Traci Dinwiddie.
Traci started doing yoga in the late 90’s via old school VHS fitness tapes. She says at that point her body was craving a new awakening. “I started to practice yoga for exercise, at first. Then it started to practice me. It became an escape to a toxic lifestyle and now my yoga practice on the mat is a metaphor for how I practice life off of the mat.” For Traci, yoga and acting are a match made in heaven. She gives yoga credit for her ability to face her profession with strength and grace. She describes her Anusara practice as the most extraordinary work she’s ever done; the ultimate spiritual, mental and physical challenge.
“I can dig free weights. I can dig a good hike. But with yoga I’m able to access new parts of my body and mind” exclaims Dinwiddie. No doubt about it, yoga pushes participants to the limits without the heavy overload and high intensity that most forms of modern day fitness offer. Yoga is more than mastering posture and enhancing flexibility and strength. It’s about relaxation, meditation and mental discipline. I would argue that there’s no exercise available that directly approaches the mind-body continuum such as this ancient practice.
When Traci isn’t acting and producing her new web series, she teaches yoga workshops and hosts yoga retreats in Southern California. Lucky for Michiganders, you don’t have to travel to SoCal to experience great yoga. We have some of the nation’s best instructors in our back yard!
Yoga In The Mitten:
• Seva Yoga – East Grand Rapids
• Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse – Grand Rapids and Holland
• Expressions of Grace – Grand Rapids
• Center for Yoga – Birmingham, Bloomfield and Ann Arbor
• Yoga Shelter – Midtown Detroit, Royal Oak and Grosse Pointe
• Yoga State – East Lansing and Okemos
Hit the web and research a studio near you. From Ananda to White Lotus there are many variations of yoga disciplines out there. If the intense heat of hot yoga isn’t quite for you, try another form. For beginners, approach yoga with an open mind. Your first session may be a bit out of your comfort zone and difficult to find flow, but that’s why yoga is a “practice.” For experienced yoginis, explore new factions of yoga or listen more closely to instructors and find something revealing in new detail. Life and yoga depend on the appropriate combination of effort and rest. Use yoga to facilitate harmony in your fitness as well as day to day functions. Female power denotes balance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dakota Shayne is a professional fitness and lifestyle coach based in Grand Rapids. He is often called upon by active business professionals and fitness enthusiasts for his expertise in functional strength training and healthy living.