Kerrie Trahan needed an escape.
An escape from the fast-paced world of pre-law studies.
An escape from depression and anxiety.
She boarded a plane to Yeosu, South Korea, and found work as an English as second language teacher, where she hoped to save some money for her education.
While she was there she found a new purpose – yoga.
Trahan returned to Detroit and after earning her Registered Yoga Teacher-200-hour Certification, launched, headfirst, into the world of yoga instruction. She’s currently a teacher at LifePower Yoga and is the program and volunteer coordinator with Danaille Karmanos Work It Out (DKWIO).
The next step was to start her own yoga company, Yoganic Flow, a yoga studio found in “open spaces” around Detroit including Lafayette Greens, Roosevelt Park (in Corktown), Palmer Park, and others. You’ll also find Yoganic Flow inside recreational centers in Detroit.
“All of these organizations came aboard to sponsor our classes,” she says. “They all have something in their mission dedicated to creating a healthy community to keep these classes going for free, and allow our professional teachers to be paid and compensated. All those classes are completely free as a result of our sponsors.”
Free yoga is hard to find, Trahan says. On average, the cost can be anywhere from $10-30 per session.
“We wanted to make it more accessible in our community,” she says. “This is a place you can come feel comfortable, try something new.”
Since Detroit’s population is mostly African American, it was equally important to target that community.
“Most of our teachers are of color,” she says. “We’ve all had that same shared experience of being the only person of color in the class. One of our objectives is to make this a common thing. All of us should be experiencing the benefits.”
More people are experiencing these benefits in the U.S. According to a new study commissioned by the Yoga Alliance, yoga is on the rise. A recent article from SpareFoot, which partnered with Thumbtrack.com, named Detroit as the “best city” to open a yoga studio.
Still, as a small business trying to make yoga accessible, it’s not that easy to open a yoga studio. They’re currently searching for a dedicated studio, but also want to keep yoga classes in public spaces, parks, and recreational centers.
“We will always offer classes in those spaces, but our ultimate goal is to get a building,” Trahan says. “We’re definitely interested and looking for spaces in Detroit where we can still offer it to our target market.”
That goal attracted Anita Vasudevan, now an instructor with Yoganic Flow. A second-generation Indian American, she sees yoga as a way to connect with her “dual identity.”
“I really do feel that yoga isn’t something that people should have to pay for,” Vasudevan says. “Yoganic Flow really provides a model for what yoga should be. I think especially bringing yoga to inner city populations brings a novel way for people to explore mindfulness and stress relief.”
A free class can also make it a big incentive to attend regularly, she says.
Vasudevan’s teaching approach is rooted deeply in personal experience.
Her yoga classes are a hybrid of the classes that took place in her temple and the ones she attended in yoga studios.
“Yoganic Flow has been pretty instrumental to my personal recognition of my identity as a person of color in this space,” she says.
To attend free Yoga classes at the Detroit Department of Recreation an annual membership is required. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.