Kristen Batzner’s passion for yoga is just one of the many things that inspired her to open Kula Yoga.
Batzner calls Kula Yoga an inclusive and supportive environment that focuses on giving people the opportunity to take yoga classes without the worry of money or experience.
Rather than charging a set fee, classes are donation based.
“I have seen many people who benefit from yoga limited by their ability to pay for classes,” she said. “I believe everyone should be able to enjoy yoga, so Kula is about providing time to practice together and not about charging a fee.”
For nearly 13 years, Batzner has practiced yoga, and for the past five,she’s been a certified teacher. It wasn’t until May 2011 that she combined her teaching and generosity to form her yoga practice.
“People give what they can, and it is fun to see how people give in ways other than money,” she said. “We have received artwork, farm fresh eggs, honey and many other amazing gifts that are much more personal and meaningful than cash.”
In September 2011, Batzner moved her classes to White Pine Montessori, 701 E. Maple St. a school that donates its space.
“I explained what I wanted to do to the director of the school and said I don’t have a set overhead because I want to provide yoga whether people can pay for it or not,” she said.
Batzner said a cut of the donations goes back to the school. She also holds charity classes once every quarter, giving money to organizations such as Half the Sky.
Batzner said yoga focuses on balancing the mind and body, and what you put into your body affects that balance.
“Kula is also about honoring yourself, and, therefore, we should honor our bodies with good, nutritious food,” she said. “I always try to encourage people to be more healthy. A lot of our poses bring balance to your body, some work on the immune system, some squeeze out toxins.”
What started as one class a week has grown into four days a week, and Batzner has even joined forces with yoga instructor Denise Fanning, who teaches additional classes.
“People are very territorial with their teachers, and I really encourage them not to be,” Batzner said. “My goal is to get people doing yoga and to love it.”
Classes are available Monday 5:30 to 7 p.m., Wednesday 7 to 8 p.m., Thursday 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 to 11 a.m., which is a simultaneous child and adult yoga session.