Downdog Yoga Center: Connecting Yoga and the People

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People stretch before their Yin Yang Yoga Class. The Friday afternoon class is mixed level class that is offered at the beginning and end of the week to relax ease people in and out of the stressful work week. Photo Credit / Emily Lewman

To most people, downward dog is a yoga position that bends the human body into a strange form to help people relax. However, in Kalamazoo, Down Dog is a yoga studio which serves as a home to a unique community of people.

Owner, Kristin Fiore first opened the doors to the Down Dog Yoga Center on April 1st, 2014. After years of teaching and working at other yoga studios, Fiore made the decision to open her own studio in Kalamazoo.

“I wanted to open a studio that would create a homebase for yoga and community in the Kalamazoo area,” said Fiore.

With many connections in the downtown area, the Down Dog Yoga Studio was welcomed into the community with open arms by members of the community actually helping to prepare the studio to open and take off running.

“Before the studio actually opened, we had to prepare and work on the space, all the walls here were handpainted by people who volunteered and helped us,” said Fiore.

Over the past decade, the number of people who have participated in yoga, has skyrocketed. According to Yoga Alliance, from 2012 to 2016, American yoga participants increased up to 90 percent for a grand total of approximately 36 million Americans who participate in yoga as a whole.

Yoga is essentially a mental and physical connection to put a person in a state of relaxation. Over 5000 years ago, Indian people of the Rig Veda tribe started doing yoga to connect their minds and spirits to reach an overall state of relaxation.

In America, yoga has evolved from the teachings of the Veda people which was initially supposed to be a process that rejuvenates the body and the soul, to become more of a routine for physical fitness and stress relief.

Due to this modern evolution, yoga is commonly misconceived to be an activity for people who are only vegan or hippies, when in reality, anyone can participate in and enjoy yoga.

“When you pick up a yoga magazine, it primarily pictures young, light, skinny, bodies, and that’s not the only community we are trying to create,” said Fiore.

The Down Dog yoga Center has many programs that reach out to people of all ages. For instance, they offer a ‘campus flow’ class specifically designed to be both physically and financially beneficial to college and high school students.

“It’s hard to navigate a teen life, and yoga can help young people become more aware of  themselves and their surroundings,” said Fiore.

The Down Dog Yoga Center also offers walk-in classes which require no appointment and massage therapy as another option to help people relieve stress.

“Community is a big part of what we do as a studio, and we love being able to be a part of the connections people make in their lives,” said Fiore.

Find out more about classes and activities that the Down Dog Yoga Center offers at their website, downdogyogacenter.com

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Kristin Fiore guides the class before they start their activities. Stretching helps loosen their muscles before they jump into new yoga positions. Photo Credit / Emily Lewman

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