It's been a year of passion and inspiration, says Melissa Tungl when she speaks of the purchase of East Grand Rapids' Seva Yoga
studio and retail shop. Tungl and her husband Tobi bought the business in January 2013.
Since then, Melissa, who manages the business, has put heart and soul into adding classes at 2237 Wealthy St. SE, expanding the yoga certification school, and offering classes to benefit local charities. Next up is the 2014 sponsorship of a mountain biking team.
"Tobi is a mountain biker and, starting next year, Seva will sponsor Seva Cycling," Tungl says. "It's interesting how my passion for teaching yoga has blended so nicely with his passion for mountain biking."
The number of daily classes for gentle yoga, Hatha yoga, and Vinyasa has grown. This week, the studio has 26 classes on the calendar, which Tungl says is a typical number for any given week.
Along with an increased demand for classes comes a heightened demand for registered yoga teachers. Tungl has expanded the existing school, now offering prospective teachers the ability to become a registered yoga teacher with the 200-hour RYT program
or an optional 500-hour RYT program.
"There are a lot of opportunities for yoga teachers in West Michigan. Seva graduates are teaching at gyms, studios, and schools," she says, adding that she got her own certification through Seva Yoga and became an instructor before buying the business. "I had always practiced yoga, and getting my certification was calling to me. I took my training at Seva Yoga, so I feel that I have roots here. When I'm teaching, it's such a unique experience. I feel a very deep connection to everyone in the room."
Throughout the year, Seva Yoga has sponsored special donation-only classes to benefit specific charities. The studio donates the space for the classes and the yoga teachers donate their time. These classes generated nearly $3,000 for the Humane Society of West Michigan
, Kids’ Food Basket
, and Purple Community
"Seva means 'selfless service,'" Tungl says. "That's been one of the big highlights for me and makes it so rewarding. It's very satisfying to go to work and to just love it. I don't know how many people can say they get to show their passion to people every day."
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Photos courtesy of Seva Yoga