RedBloom Yoga Center for Community Wellness focuses on accessibility and 'Kula'
One may not immediately associate poet Sylvia Plath with the environment of a yoga studio, but the pairing is thriving in downtown Mount Pleasant.
Kris Batzner, owner of RedBloom Yoga Center for Community Wellness, said inspiration for the center’s name comes from Plath’s poem “Tulips” that says: "I am aware of my heart; it opens and closes. Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.”
“The (RedBloom) symbol is an adaptation of the heart chakra,” Batzner said, adding the concept supports and holds a community together.
The yoga center brings in about 500 people per week since its opening in April 2016 and provides multiple different disciplines of yoga, including aerial yoga and yoga for children and expectant mothers.
“We had a community to support us,” Batzner said. “We’re a new business, but we’re not necessarily building from the ground up.”
The community began in 2009 with Kula Yoga Outreach, a donation-based yoga practice held once a week in an annex within Veterans Memorial Library in downtown Mount Pleasant.
Batzner aimed to create an environment that wouldn’t exclude anyone based on finances or ability, hoping to emulate the feeling she had during her early development as a yoga teacher.
Though Batzner has been practicing yoga her whole life, she took classes at a YMCA and after getting her certification, she became a yoga instructor.
"A yoga studio is a different environment than a YMCA,” she said. "My heart belonged in a place that made yoga accessible to everybody.”
Macomb senior Madeline Klomp has taken three Vinyasa classes, which is a type of yoga that focuses on movement with synchronized breathing.
“They put a focus on inclusivity,” Klomp said. “Everyone is at different places, and they acknowledge that and make sure everyone is going at their own pace.”
“Kula” is Sanskrit for community, and acts as the foundation for RedBloom Yoga and Wellness Center.
Each first class is free. There is a $9 drop-in cost for any class following the free drop-in, and packages for classes range in price from $40 to $475 and from five classes to unlimited.
Students are able to receive 15 percent off any of these packages, and are offered an unlimited-yoga semester package for $225. This package will begin when students return from holiday break.
For students who don’t have the funds to practice yoga, the free Kula class isn’t the only option RedBloom offers.
Mollea Davis of Mount Pleasant is one of 15 work-exchange volunteers at the center who trade their time behind the RedBloom reception desk for an hour of yoga.
“Kris has created a space where you can just come and, you know, get right with yourself,” Davis said.
Batzner said it's not just the classes students will benefit from by going to RedBloom.
"Students are overworked and super busy, and coming into a space like this, even if you don't practice yoga, is calming," she said.