Citizen Yoga is a studio that specializes in traditional Hatha yoga, restorative classes and workshops. It has the ability to bring the latest trends into your home or classroom with their online experience. They offer 20% off all packages by using our code YOGA20 at checkout!
Citizen Yoga is a studio in Royal Oak, Michigan. The studio has been around for over 10 years and has helped people get back into the yoga lifestyle. They offer classes of all levels and they also have a lot of special events happening throughout the year.
Kacee Must created Citizen Yoga in Detroit, Michigan, in 2013. This company and its founder are active leaders in the mental health movement in order to realize their purpose of empowering all individuals. Yoga teaching, access to wellness specialists and outreach initiatives, and a new On-Demand platform are all part of this mission’s execution. Tune in to Home Practice with Halle: Yoga Tools for Every Body on your preferred podcast platform to hear the entire conversation with Kacee. Follow @iamcitizenyoga and @citizenyoga on Instagram, listen to Citizen Yoga’s After Class podcast, or visit Citizen Yoga’s About-Demand Platform for more information on Kacee’s work and Citizen Yoga Studio. Halle: Hello, everyone. Kacee Must, the creator of Citizen Yoga, joins me today. Welcome, Kacee. You launched Citizen Yoga in 2013 with only one location and have since expanded significantly. You’ve been leading your company through a worldwide epidemic for the last nine months. Take us on a brief tour of your travels.
Kacee: My path has been winding, and to be honest, I never saw myself running a yoga studio, much less teaching yoga. This was not at all in my game plan. I believe that when I first began my own search, it seemed jumbled and incomprehensible to those on the outside looking in. It’s as if dharma takes you by the shoulders and says, “Go this way!” Allow me to take you!” [laughing] It seemed like teaching my first yoga class was a breath of fresh air, as if “this is what I was born to do.”
Halle: What was your path to become a yoga teacher like? When you initially started your profession, how did you find it?
Kacee: A lot of individuals I know come to yoga during this Life Moment and say things like, “I have no idea who I am or what I’m doing.” My experience was somewhat different—at the age of ten, I was pushed into a class with my mother and three sisters. We were this strange family 26 years ago, and there were seven individuals in the class, the room was carpeted. We went as a family to do something fun. It evolved into this little rectangle of treatment over time. We got into yoga by resting on our own lily pad, gazing out at the world, and attempting to process the ups and downs of adolescence and college life. Yoga became my small home away from home, no matter where I was in the globe.
Halle: How did you decide to open a yoga studio? What drove you to turn your own interest into something bigger?
Kacee: The worst reason to create a yoga studio, in my opinion, is if you like teaching yoga [laughs]. These are two quite distinct jobs and hats to wear. They aren’t interchangeable. Because there was only flow-how-you-feel-yoga in Detroit, I decided to create a yoga studio. Yoga’s spiritual concept is to evaluate oneself, identify a greater ideal, look beyond yourself, and harmonize your mind, body, and intellect. Consider how you fit into the totality, rather than how you fit into yourself, your preferences. So one element of my job was to teach alignment-based yoga. The objective of Citizen Yoga is also to prevent suicide and promote mental health. In 2007, my sister committed suicide. I was already on a spiritual path, but it prompted me to delve more into the question, “Why do we all suffer so much?” What exactly is this anguish? Is there a way to genuinely be free of it, and if so, what does it look like and how can I achieve it?” We live in such a disjointed society. I went through a really trying time in my life. And I’m not sure what will happen one day. “I need to start a studio,” I thought as the concept came from the cosmos. I had a vision of a true community where people felt noticed, where I knew their names, where they weren’t just a number in the room, and where I wasn’t just another yoga star trying to make it in Yoga-Land. ‘I’m a genuine person, I’ve done a lot of research, I care about this profession, and I care a lot about you,’ it’s as simple as that.
Halle: Your ability to bring philosophical notions down to earth and anchor them, to go beyond spiritual jargon and into spiritual practice, is something I love in your teaching. What more do you have to say about it?
Kacee: Find out what your fundamental tools are. You have a moving body, a reacting mind, and a directing intellect. This black box on your head isn’t the only thing on your head. In a lot of spiritual jargon, it’s “body-mind-spirit,” but it leaves out the intellect, which is known as the vijnanamaya-kosha in ancient philosophy. It’s the closest to the causal body, which functions as the Individual You’s seed. So, if you skip and simply imagine you’re a mind, all you’re left with is the response rather than the direction. So, when we speak about an alignment-based practice at Citizen Yoga, we’re not simply saying, “Here are your hips, legs, and arms, and they have to be perfect…” That is not the case. It’s like this: how effectively do you match your higher mind, your heart, and your body? Do you live up to what you consider to be your greater ideal? And, presumably, the asana practice will assist you in determining this for yourself and making necessary adjustments.
“Irritability is caused by a lack of vision,” you mentioned in your On-Demand Yoga for Irritability Class (which I’ve done about four dozen times, thanks). What tools do you use to fine-tune your vision and mission?
Kacee: I’m a growth-oriented person, and 2020 threw me for a loop. My eyesight was obstructed—what could I see for myself out there? What do you think I should do to expand Citizen Yoga’s platform and discuss what we’ve been up to? The year 2020 has been a deep dive into how to regain eyesight in a stressful situation. That, to me, is the spiritual seeker’s journey—reminding oneself to answer the question, “Why are you doing this?” inside the ebb and flow of profound tidal waves. “How do you improve your business?” isn’t the only question. “However, where do I belong in this world?” What is the point of my existence? How can I connect it to something bigger than myself?” Arrive on time. The most important lesson of entrepreneurship is the need of consistency and responsibility. If you’re doing acts that connect with your higher ideal, you’ll experience that breath of fresh air when the deed is over, no matter how much your mind throws a mental tantrum. That, I believe, was my stance this year. Show up and be consistent, and your vision will become evident. (Start listening at 33:55 for a series of questions to help you identify and find your own goal.)
Halle: This year, the yoga business has seen a lot of changes. What have been some of Citizen Yoga’s most noteworthy reckonings?
Kacee: Oooof, oooof, oooof, ooo [pauses] There were a lot of them. It’s difficult for me to speak about in certain ways. One thing that was significant was that we were able to keep the folks that really believe in our purpose with us this time. People who chose to teach with us because of our principles and what we stand for, rather than because of the opportunity, chose to remain. Also, with the revival of Black Lives Matter… as inclusive as Citizen Yoga was, there was and is still work to be done. It wasn’t about doing the right thing ‘in-the-moment’ in the yoga business, because I believe that was what everyone did. When the dust has cleared, it’s about doing the right thing. What exactly are you doing now? This is a reckoning I’m still working on. How can we make a significant difference in the lives of citizens? I believe the solutions will come over time and with a lot of work. Finally, everything comes to a close. In a time when we didn’t believe we’d be able to develop anything, we established an On-Demand platform. “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the morning is still dark,” says one of my favorite quotes. That, I believe, is the perfect statement to define the year 2020.
Halle: Was your On-Demand platform a direct reaction to COVID, or has it been in the works for some time?
Kacee: It was a complete reaction to COVID. [laughs] I was opposed to an On-Demand platform. I hate admitting it. “Hey, you could definitely develop an On-Demand platform,” said a businessman who was looking to collaborate with us a while back. “No, we’re a suicide prevention firm,” I said. I need to see people in front of me so that I may have an influence on their hearts and remind them of their significance. We will not be launching an On-Demand platform; thank you for your poor suggestion; see you later, Sir.” Okay, I’ll put my foot in my mouth and say, “If only we had done that!” [laughing] Yoga is a component of your mental health journey, but it isn’t the full trip. We offer asana courses, mindfulness tools, breath-work, life-coaches, recordings, and discounts from BLND Health Group therapists on the site. Allow me to serve as a link! Our On-Demand platform, in my opinion, completed the loop, enabling us to achieve our purpose of being a genuine mental health resource in a manner we couldn’t previously. I’m feeling a lot better now.
Halle: Kacee, I’ve enjoyed learning more about your goal and company from you. We are really delighted to have you as a Manduka studio partner. Is there anything more you’d want to say before we wrap up?
Kacee: I’d like to thank you for supporting us during the early stages of the epidemic by sponsoring one of our yoga programs. It was so much fun that 500 individuals pre-registered. We’ve developed a steady stream of students who attend our programs and even our teacher trainings. That workshop was a lifesaver for our studio at a time when we were stressed and afraid of the unknown. It was incredible to have someone reach out to us and trust in us at that difficult time.
Halle Miroglotta is the author of this piece.
Citizen Yoga is a yoga studio that has been around for 3 years. They offer classes of all levels and are open to people of all ages. Their mission statement is “Yoga as a way of life.” Reference: citizen yoga login.
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