2009-06-13 / Top News

Spirit of the North Offers Free Samples of Yoga Classes During Festival

By Kerri Jo Molitor

At left: Lisa Knaffla is renovating her yoga studio, Spirit of the North. She has painted the interior and was waiting for carpet and flooring to arrive Wednesday, May 27. The studio is on Yoder Dock, next to the marina.  At left: Lisa Knaffla is renovating her yoga studio, Spirit of the North. She has painted the interior and was waiting for carpet and flooring to arrive Wednesday, May 27. The studio is on Yoder Dock, next to the marina. Spirit of the North Yoga Studio opened its doors Thursday, June 4, just in time for the Lilac Festival.

Owner and yoga instructor Lisa Knaffla said she thinks it will be the perfect time to introduce her studio, on Main Street at the Yoder Dock, to the community. She will offer free community classes throughout the festival to introduce yoga.

Mrs. Knaffla has visited the Island since she was a little girl and wants to combine her love for Mackinac with her eagerness to share the yoga lifestyle with others.

"The main reason is the magic of Mackinac Island," she said. "It's very healing. People work hard, but also have fun. It's just an awesome place. I started yoga seven years ago and I never had a way to share it with other people, and now I've found a way to share it. It's my purpose in life."

She hesitated to learn yoga at first because she believed she wasn't flexible enough.

"A lot of people think yoga is physical, but it's not just physical. When you really realize that connection that's between the mind and body, everything is just easier."

She emphasized that if she can do yoga, then everyone can do yoga. Yoga is about more than getting in shape.

"Yoga is for everybody, and every body," she said. "Anybody can do yoga. If you have breath and posture, you can do yoga. Õ If you are looking for that yoga butt or those yoga arms, you're in here for the wrong reason."

Yoga teaches how to focus on the good things, rather than the bad things, she said. She wants to help people realize life doesn't have to so stressful.

"If we sit back and wallow in the bad, we're never going to get through it. That's what yoga teaches. How to move through it."

People worry too much about their daily distractions and don't pay enough attention to their inner self, Mrs. Knaffla said.

"We have so much chatter," she said. "We have so much going on outside. But when we hear that inner stillness Õ We're not human doers. We are human beings. You have to just be. People don't take the time to listen to the inner."

After leaving corporate America 11 years ago, when she was a medical software representative for Web MD, Mrs. Knaffla moved to Cheboygan. She is certified to teach yoga and meditation. She is also certified in ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic means "return to health" and is a type of Eastern medicine native to India.

Western medicine uses drugs to fix a problem like insomnia, Mrs. Knaffla explained, but Eastern medicine attempts to find the root cause of the problem. Mrs. Knaffla will be applying the Eastern method in her studio.

"We don't just ask what's wrong," she said. "We look at the whole picture, the body, mind, and spirit."

Mrs. Knaffla said she will offer Pilates, aerobics, and different types of yoga, including vinyasa, slow flow, yinyasa, kids yoga, and couples yoga. The studio is also a boutique and will offer organic clothing, homemade jewelry, yoga supplies, health and wellness books, music CDs, and instructional DVDs. She also hopes to invite other yoga instructors to teach workshops at the studio.

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