NEWS: Lansing Yoga Farm Offers Gentler Practice
BY CHRIS HOOKER
Christopher Grant is hoping to become Lansing’s next yoga master.
His new studio, Yoga Farm, which has been up and running full-time for the last two weeks, is quite literally a yoga studio on a farm. Located at 404 Conlon Road in Lansing, the rebooted Indian chimney and alpaca farm is home to the small barn-turned-studio where Grant teaches 11 classes a week. Many of those classes are built around the idea of “yoga for everyone.”
Grant said that when he first got started in studying yoga, he saw that there wasn’t a lot of it offered for the first timers.
“I was doing business and doing jobs, and I noticed that people are increasingly stressed out, fatigued and weary,” said Grant. “I started tying that together and realized that with all the studying that I’ve done, I could put together an offering for the average person. So what came through for me about four years ago, when I first started teaching, was the idea of yoga for everyone else.”
Grant says that what sets his studio a part is the intimacy of it. Class sizes are capped at 10 people, meaning that each student gets individual attention and personalized motions.
“It’s designed for people who are not very flexible, not very fit,” said Grant. “People who don’t have a lot of experience. But fundamentally, it’s all the same. The emphasis is on people who really need this, who aren’t practicing. A lot of yoga studios are aiming for the flexible 20-somethings who love yoga. But this, my passion, is to bring it to people who just don’t have access to that.”
Grant said he has been studying yoga for about 20 years and first got into it because he was looking for something that would help him “control the mind.” “I felt a little bit crazy, a little bit cuckoo in the head,” he said. “So I started down this path.”
He turned the little barn on his farm into a studio in July, offering one class. But then, two weeks ago, he decided to go for it. Now, he’s a one third yoga teacher, one third yoga promoter, and one third farmer.
His studio offers evening classes Tuesdays and Thursdays, and morning classes Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Six of those are the beginner classes, and the rest range from intense power yoga to relaxed yoga for recovery, a style that is designed towards those going through treatment for addiction.C
“My unique proposition here is that I’ve brought a form of yoga that is more accessible and easier for people,” said Grant. “I’ve created a class structure that targets middle aged or older, people who are overweight. A lot of people come to me with injuries. … There are a lot of people who could receive the benefits of yoga who aren’t able to do a high intensity fitness style yoga. I call one of the classes Easy, Light and Fun yoga. It’s very simple and an introduction to basic yoga. We stretch, we open up the body, we loosen up the neck and shoulders, we shake the stress out. A little meditation to calm the mind and people walk away with a gentle smile on their face.”
With offering a variety of classes, Grant says the goal is to have people move up into higher ranges of difficulty if possible. But he also knows that some people aren’t physically capable of doing that, which is another part of the plan at Yoga Farm.
If someone can run, dance, and shimmy around, they can move forward,” said Grant. “But then there is a woman who comes to class regularly, who is 75 years old. She’s had two hip replacements. She’s not going to move into power yoga. She’s just not. But this is a place where she can come and I can adjust and modify everything for her ability. It’s about acceptance, and letting people accept their body the way it is. If you are 70 years old, injured, and sick, you aren’t going return to the vibrancy of your youth. It’s more about acceptance, having patience with yourself, and moving into a place where you can be okay with what’s coming up against you.”