The goal of a new business in Tulsa is to make yoga accessible to people all over the community. They hope their location, low pricing and variety of classes can do something good and help people focus on healing.
"[I am a] Navy Vet and 9/11 vet. I was stationed in the Pentagon during all of that, so for the longest time I tried to hide that trauma," said Sun People Yoga Co-Founder Michael Ruth. "These practices helped me learn how to embrace that pain."
Yoga is more than an hour-long class once a week at Sun People Yoga in Tulsa. Yoga is a way of life. Yoga is healing.
"I have been practicing all my life. My first teacher was my grandmother," said Sun People Yoga Co-Founder Simi Burn. "I can't survive without it. It is medicine. It is healing. It is power and it is liberation."
"That is what this place is to me, a place where I can practice my own medicine," said Ruth. "Sun People Yoga is a place for people who don't have a place."
The studio is near Memorial and 41st. It is a space that came in below their budget and that was a conscious choice. They wanted to use the money they saved to pay their instructors a living wage.
“I think most of our students are often new to yoga and starting for the very first time,” Burn said. “Most people are looking for healing - this year has been traumatic - for helping with anxiety, with grief, with all the ways that that gets stored in the body and really wanting this to be a space that is for everybody- all ages, all socioeconomic groups, all people. All people. We have all kinds of cultures, all kinds of people here, indigenous teachers, black, South Asian, Latino.”
There are Curvy Yoga Workshops, classes on Egyptian Yoga, Gentle Yoga for the Working Class, Yoga for Movement and Mindfulness, Yoga for the People and Laughter Yoga.
"When we experience a traumatic event, whether it is an emotional event or something from a long time ago- your childhood or microaggressions throughout the day- the trauma from the impact of racism, all those things, it is not thoughts up in the head - it is stored from the neck down. It is stored in the body," said Burn.
Community outreach is incredibly important for Ruth and Burn.
"We just didn't feel like we fit in or belonged, like a lot of people don't feel they fit in or belong in yoga spaces," said Burn. "We do community outreach, so we teach yoga and meditation, mindfulness programs."
They also teach workshops designed to support the healing of trauma and racism.
"This is a place for all those who are oppressed who just want to be and feel safety and grow and heal," said Ruth.
For more information, visit the Sun People Yoga website here.