PeaceLab Yoga

Sharing the Art and Science of Yoga

PeaceLab Yoga opened in 2012 as the first yoga studio in Grandville, MI.  The studio offers classes 7 days a week to students of all ability levels.  Classes fall into one of 3 categories: Lab classes, Flow classes, and ReNew classes.  Lab classes are teaching- based, Flow classes are vinyasa(movement)-based, and ReNew classes are gentle and restorative.

A dude walks into a Yoga Studio...

Hi, my name is Tom. I am a student, as well as a teacher, at PeaceLab Yoga. I teach Basics Lab every Tuesday at 6pm. When Melanie (studio owner) asked if I would be interested in writing something for the website blog, I was more than eager. 



November 30th was my “yoga anniversary”, the date I first took a yoga class. Thinking about this date made me reflect on my yoga journey. 


Before yoga I had jogged for a few years, which I did enjoy. Jogging was peaceful, my mind focused only on that it was great to hear the sounds of the city and nature around me, (no ear buds for me). After that, I started going to a gym and jogging on the treadmill as well as working out on some other contraption.   I still have no idea what it did, but I did break a sweat when I was on it! The gym was really boring, impersonal, and very unfulfilling and so I began going less and less.  I knew that some form of exercise was needed and so after searching the Internet I came across the PeaceLab Yoga site and bought a 10-class pass. I had never even thought about yoga, even less about purchasing a class pass, but the deal for 10 classes was too good an offer to pass up. If I had just bought a “drop-in” class that might have been a one-and-done thing. If you know me well, you know I’m frugal, not cheap mind you (maybe I am, but I like the term ‘frugal’ much better), but I pick and choose where to spend my money. So, whether I liked or did not like my first time at a yoga class I was going to get the most out of my investment. My first class was a Monday night Basics Lab class at 6pm.   I walked in with my newly purchased, cheap, flimsy mat.  I checked in, signed the waiver and walked to the far corner of the studio and set myself up, just trying to hide and find out what this was all about. Before class started, this blonde woman walks up to me and introduces herself, “Hi, I’m Melanie”, “Hi, I’m Tom” I reply. The only thing I remember about the rest of the class was that we did “deep thigh stretch at the wall”, and that is it!  If you know “deep thigh stretch at the wall” you understand why that is memorable. If you are unfamiliar with this unique pose, please tell me and I’ll be sure to work that into my next class plan. Class #2 on that pass was the following Saturday morning. “Interesting,” I thought,  “It wasn’t the same class as the previous Monday.   It’s not monotonous, and that’s a good thing!” Still to this day, I remember driving home that morning after class. It was sunny out and I felt great!  I told myself that I found a place to go and exercise, and after the second class I was hooked. So in one week, I had used up two passes of my ten. Once the ten-class pass was used up, I bought another, and then I was burning through the passes so quickly that I decided a membership would be better so that I could go as much as I wanted. 


The people at PL, the students, and the teachers....I have never come across a group like this. Everybody is encouraging, accepting, and respectful of one another. A true community like this doesn’t happen everywhere.


For me, yoga is mentally stimulating as much as it is physically rewarding. The idea of seeing a pose, working towards it, then eventually getting (sometimes not getting into, but getting closer) into the pose, is amazing to me! Everybody is different; shaped differently, coming from different backgrounds, different jobs, and family get the idea. Watching someone next to me get into a pose, it gives me inspiration and I tell myself, “I want to do that.” Maybe you feel that way too? Don’t get me wrong, there are many yoga poses that I can’t do at this point of my journey, but it’s fun working towards something. There may be some yoga poses that I may never be able to accomplish, but it is more about the work, the journey, than the end pose. 


From that November, I began to practice more and more, going as much as time permitted, balancing work and being a single parent. When the following September rolled around, I noticed Teacher Training began and there was a bunch of new people in the studio and there was a feeling inside of me that said, “I want to do teacher training.” 

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To be continued...