The Yoga Studio opens doors to new location in East Hills' Blackport Building

For The Yoga Studio instructor and owner Kat McKinney, leading the transition to a larger studio space was a lot like putting together a puzzle. 

“The space, the location, it's lovely. It reminds me of being up in a little tree fort,” she says. “The one drawback is that it's second floor and it's not accessible.” 

However, after persuading the Blackport Building landlord to install a fully functional lift to make the entire building ADA accessible, McKinney says the final picture was pretty clear: The Yoga Studio had found its new home. 

“I thought, ‘Okay, that's the last piece of the puzzle,’” she says. “It all works out. The universe said go.” 

With a background in physical therapy and a teaching certification in the Iyengar tradition, McKinney was able to equip The Yoga Studio’s new space in 959 Lake Dr. NE with a rope wall, which acts as a tool for a host of exercises, ranging from simply providing a source of extra support for beginners to creating an avenue for more advanced students to explore more complex stretches.

“Overall — in both Grand Rapids and around the country, too — yoga continues to become more and more popular,” says McKinney, who, after a deliberate transition nearly five years in the making, is now the sole owner of The Yoga Studio, taking over for founder Carol Heines. 

“Once, many, many, moons ago, Carol was only the game in town but now there's a studio pretty much on every corner. We’re pretty classic, pretty traditional, in how we function. That has not changed.”

When all is said and done, McKinney says The Yoga Studio’s new space, complete with its rope wall upgrade, serves to support an idea as simple and understated as the tradition practiced within its walls — yes, you can do yoga.

“What we find often is folks who come in and are a little apprehensive because they've tried a class somewhere else and found it was just too much,” McKinney says. “…They’d find us and realize, ‘This is what I've been missing.’ They realize, 'Yes, I can practice yoga.’”

“That’s the best thing ever,” she says. “When someone is thrilled with what they can do because we’ve taken the time to actually provide instruction — we don’t simply lead classes.” 

The Yoga Studio is offering free classes to the public July 6-10 to break in the new space, but will also host an open house on July 24 to show off its new digs to the East Hills community. To learn more about The Yoga Studio, or to learn how you can enroll in free classes, click here or visit The Yoga Studio on Facebook

Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Kat McKinney/The Yoga Studio 

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