Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Do the Yoga: Just B Yoga

Today I took my last class at Just B Yoga until August. I've been coming here since I took my very first yoga class ever, back on January 11th of this year. In reminiscing on how much this place means to me and what it has done for me this semester, I am reminded of when I first started. People tend to have this conception of yoga as something that only thin white women do. I am a woman of color, and I am definitely not a skinny minnie. So at first I was afraid to try yoga because I assumed it wasn't meant for me. I'm so glad that I faced my fear and came to this place anyway.

Since I'll be travelling and continuing my practice in other places,  I want to share the gems I find along the way, starting with Just B. If for whatever reason you are apprehensive or afraid of trying yoga, hopefully this will assure you that there are studios out there that will welcome you.

Just B Yoga
106 Island Avenue, Lansing, MI

About Just B
Just B Yoga was founded by Belinda Thurston, who owns, operates, and teaches classes at this studio.  I don't know the exact year that it started. I do know that Belinda originally began teaching classes here and there like at Shabazz Academy, a local public charter school. She got such a positive response and demand that she opened a studio, and Just B Yoga has been in its current location for about 3 or 4 years.  It's small but vibrant, and the atmosphere is very open and laid back. The instructors and students are very kind and tend not to take themselves too seriously. You will especially enjoy this place if you have a good sense of humor and are willing to try something crazy and look crazy while doing it.

From the side

From the front door
Inside the studio

From the back door


Just B's slogan: "Community Based, Donation Driven"
"Community Based" means that their mission is to make healing arts (yoga, tai chi, mediation, and massages)  accessible to everyone. They also want to make sure that Just B is not just a yoga studio but a kind of community center for the Lansing area. This isn't just a business, but a place that belongs to everybody. They run a community garden behind the building, and do a lot of series, workshops, events, and partnerships with other experts and organizations to promote healthy living and body image/self-love. Just B also offers some unique and interesting classes for people who are concerned about fitting in or just want to try something different. There's a free Community Yoga class on Wednesday evenings, a 2eXceL class for big and tall people on Thursday nights, a Hip Hop Power Hour on Friday afternoons, and they just started an LGBTQ Yoga Flow class on Saturday afternoons.

"Donation Driven" means that there are no set fees. The suggested donation is $8, but you can pay more or less than that. Or not at all. But I'd say most people who come here benefit so much from it that they're eager to show their appreciation by paying. And Ma wouldn't abide by me taking advantage of someone's services for free anyway, so I pay too.

Me and Tara

I love this place and I'm glad that  I started my yoga practice here. I've been taking their softest classes all semester: Yoga Basics (taught by Belinda on Friday mornings) and  Yin and Ying Yoga  (taught by Tara on Monday evenings). Let me emphasize that "soft" does not always mean "easy". And the Empower Yoga class that I tried today was anything but easy. But I can say that every class I have taken here was rewarding.

Belinda and Me
I'm really sad to be leaving this safe place with kind people, but I will be back in August! In the meantime, I highly recommend that you check this place out!

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