Friday, July 6

Flow Yoga | Plainwell, MI

Some would get that the classes are flow based on the name, not this girl! Which was for the best, because I was so sleepy I may have talked myself out of the class if I thought it was going to wonderfully challenge me as much as it did. 

LOCATION: There was major construction going on in Plainwell, so my Waze app came in handy as I ignored its instructions and followed detour signs. But it obviously got me there eventually. Signage wasn't blatant, but all the yoga students walking in were :)  
STUDIO:  Before I walked in I realized this studio was on the river... two classes in a row on the river, big fan of that. Entering, there is a small little area to kick off your shoes, a desk for check-in, some yoga props on the back wall (no rental fee), and a nice open space for class. Near the props was a door to the bathroom, which was clean and with plenty of space to change if someone needed to. The walls are a calming Tiffany blue with a focus on the front, center of shelves with candles and music. The ceiling had fabric draping across it, which only added to the over all theme of flow (the river, the class style, the fabric, the day... for that matter. How did they know? lol).  
CLASS DESCRIPTION:  All levels welcome. Students will move through asanas (poses) designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles in a flowing format. All levels welcome, including beginners. 
**it notes a $12 drop-in fee, but I paid $14. Normally they accept charge, but with phone issues checks and cash were the only options for today. 
INSTRUCTOR: Betsy Vermeulen Young's yoga journey began in 1999, when she was in desperate need of stress relief from the struggles of being a single working mom with two small kids. After taking classes for several years, Betsy's instructor urged her to attend a Yogafit teacher training. There was no looking back. What began as a way to unwind has become a career. Betsy has completed her 200-hour teacher training with Yogafit. She lives near Plainwell with her husband, two teenage kids, three dogs, and a cat. 
CONTACT: Flow Yoga

I found this studio because today I planned on checking out the Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary in Otsego, MI—so I looked for studios nearby. What a sweet town to experience for a wee bit, and with a charming yoga studio to boot. I do have to admit, my personal issue with flow classes is there is no stopping to talk about alignment or do any adjustments. Some people love that, and of course, to each their own... but I like the detailed instruction involved in a yoga class. Also, for this class specifically, I assumed I was going to experience a beginner class. Possibly because Betsy knew everyone in the room and knew my experience from my sign-in sheet she pushed it a little more, but I can't comfortably recommend this for beginners. Again, I'm quite sure if a newbie was in there the class would have been a little different.

We started in a sitting position for a little meditation and bring our focus to the mat. After warming the body a little with twists we immediately went into some standing flow. This is when I discovered how sore I was from yesterday—these Michigan classes are challenging my core a little more, and apparently I need it, lol. Most of the standing flow revolved around Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I), working through to Utthita Parsvakonasana (Side Angle and Extended Side Angle) and connecting it all with Vinyasas (nice, quick article pointing out the vinyasas are not just chuturanga—up dog—down dog... but that's what I'm referencing in my blog) in between. Eventually we were back closer to the mat and did some a pose I hadn't done in a while, it was nice to revisit it. Betsy called it the Wild Thing (Camatkarasana), which you gotta love, and I guess it is normally referred to that... shows how much I don't do this pose and therefore hear it. 

We never really slowed down, even during back work we were challenging the core. So when Sivasana (Corpe's Pose) hit, I was about ready to take a nap. Some people seek out classes like this, so I would highly recommend it. I, the lazier yogi, can easily talk myself out of classes like this... so I'm grateful that I didn't know what I was getting into. Because it always feels amazing when it's done. 

Thank you Betsy, for a wonderful class—I hope you enjoy your yoga retreat in Italy (so exciting).

Pavilion Next to the River  (Next to the Studio)
Yoga Flow Studio (Betsy in the Background) 
Hey, I remember to look at the bathroom!
Front Door to the Studio
View From the Pavilion (Fly Fishing in the Background)
Watching the Plants Flow with the River

After class I headed to the Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary in Otsego, MI. I wanted to include this because when I showed up it was clear they weren't open to the public anymore. But there were so many animals, and I was just curious I stopped anyway (maybe they wanted to reopen, maybe I could offer some help). The owner was so kind to spend a few of her busy minutes with me to reflect on her work at the sanctuary. After 20+ years of rescuing she has retired that business, but tends to the animals she still has. Her words of reflection included this, 
Make sure, if you have a partner, they're in it 100%, because this ended my first marriage... Start with a specific animal—only rabbits or chickens & ducks. I saw a lady who only rescues blind cats, so smart... And there are a lot of stupid people out there, which you'll get to meet because you're rescuing their animal. You need to be strong.
Thank you for sharing your time with me—and your past 20+ years of service to all life on earth.  

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