This month, we are featuring Anasa Yoga, based out of Oakland California. Anasa was co-founded by Jean Marie Moore, one of the hardest working individuals I've had the pleasure of speaking with.
Introduce yourself and your studio a bit.
"My name is Jean Marie Moore, and I was born and raised in California. I am not only a studio owner, but also a wife, mom, and a grandmother. I have been practicing yoga since 2004, and teaching yoga since 2011. I opened Anasa Yoga in 2013, and retired from my construction management position in 2015 to run the studio full time. I started with 2 business partners, Zola James and Crystal McCreary, but now Zola has scaled back managing to focus on her teaching, and Crystal got an amazing job opportunity so it’s just me! It is a bit of a challenge at times, but I absolutely love it."
What made you get into yoga?
"I found yoga while going through quite a bit of personal and emotional trauma. I had started going to the gym regularly, and sort of accidentally wandered into a yoga class one day. It must have been meant to be, because immediately my whole nervous system shifted from constant fight or flight to feeling an overwhelming sense of calmness. I had felt better than I had in years. The teacher and class were both amazing, so I went back for years before expanding to different studios and classes."
What made you want to open up a yoga studio?
"It was something I wanted to do since I started practicing yoga. As a construction manager, I always wanted to build a community center. I didn't always know a community center I had wanted would take the form of a yoga studio, but as soon as I started the practice I knew it almost immediately. I wanted to teach, and to share the practice with as many people as I could, which led me to opening a studio. I am a woman of color, and meeting other women of color in class also pushed me to want to open my own studio to encourage other people of color to join in on the practice of yoga."
How does Anasa Yoga differ from other studios in general/other studios in your area?
"It differs from the majority of yoga studios because it is more than just a yoga studio, it is a community center. There is only one location, and it is in an area where no other studios are present. We really turned things around in that area, it was not thriving before we got there. A big part of what we do (our mission) is emphasizing that everyone should feel welcome in our studio. People who feel marginalized often do not feel welcome in other studios, so we want to be an atmosphere where everyone (any body type, people of color, any gender, lgbtq+ people, etc.) is welcome and included equally."
How is your studio staying busy during the pandemic?
"Everything is online. We got the shelter in place order on March 16th, so we closed on March 17th and everything has been virtual since then! It is pretty up in the air currently on how/when we will return, but until then we are fully up and running online!"
Describe Anasa Yoga in one word, and why that word?
"Sanctuary. The studio is located on a busy street that is super traffic filled and noisy, but as soon as you walk inside you are washed with a sense of quiet and peace. Since I have my degree in architecture and am a certified green builder, the design of the space contributes to the sanctuary feel."
Any advice to entrepreneurs looking to open up their own studios?
"My advice is to find reliable partners that will be in it for the long haul with you. This is very difficult to do alone, but with help it can be a lot more successful. There are so many working parts you cannot do it alone."
What would you like future potential members of Anasa Yoga to know about your studio?
"I would say that along with promoting inclusivity and diversity among our clientele and students, we are really encouraging a broad base of folks to find their way to Anasa. We offer a wide variety of classes for a wide variety of students."
To get your studio featured, send an email with your studio name and the subject line: Yoga Studio Of The Month. Make sure to explain why your yoga studio should be featured! Until next month, Namaste.