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Kerrie Trahan, Founder of Yoganic Flow

Using yoga as a tool, this company aims to get Detroiters healthy – both physically and spiritually.

Photo by Lauren Jeziorski

There was a point in Kerrie Trahan’s life where she says everything changed. She lost her father, found herself struggling with her weight and wasn’t making movement toward her career goal of becoming a lawyer.

The emotional and physical stress landed Trahan in a rut.

“I just didn’t know what to do, so I packed my bags and moved to Korea,” Trahan says.

But even after moving across the globe, Trahan realized the same problems with her weight, anxiety and grief followed her. So she turned to yoga as a way to manage it all. Engaging in a weekly practice, she, and those around her, started noticing positive changes in her stress levels.

“When I came back to Detroit, yoga was so expensive. I was trying to maintain a regular practice, but I just couldn’t because it was so pricey,” Trahan says. “I decided it was time to make this accessible in my community.”

Trahan founded Yoganic Flow to bring virtually free yoga classes to various recreation centers across the city. With a low-cost annual Detroit Recreation Department membership, many of Yoganic Flow’s classes are free. They also hold totally free classes in Palmer Park when the weather is nice.

Trahan believes yoga is perfect for Detroiters – the city being recently named one of the unhealthiest in the country by WalletHub is just one reason – and she hopes that Yoganic Flow can be a catalyst toward healthier people and more self-sustaining communities.

“Everyone needs yoga for so many reasons. I know that I’m not unique in my struggle of losing someone,” Trahan says. “Our crime rates are not a secret. People lose loved ones every day. The grieving process is real, and we don’t necessarily think about what that does to the spirit of a community.

“We’ve intentionally decided to be in inner-city communities. It’s very easy to just be downtown,” Trahan adds. “We’re just trying to be next to those communities that need it most. Who have the most limited access to health care and opportunities to exercise.”

One of the things Trahan is most proud of is the diversity in her classes, which she feels reflect the demographics of the city. Most of Yoganic Flow’s classes are predominately African-American, while the class at the Patton Recreation Center in Southwest is mostly Hispanic. But they also have age diversity and a mix of longtime Detroiters and new residents.

“It’s such a cool way to bring people together,” Trahan says. “I see our classes as a way to bring new and old Detroit together in a positive way, so we can humanize each other and look at each other in that way outside of what the news projects.”

Go yoga

In addition to the recreation center classes, Yoganic Flow also holds hip-hop yoga classes that fuse hip-hop and yoga cultures for a vinyasa-style class on the first Friday of every month. For more information, visit hiphopyogadetroit.com.

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