race, culture, social justice & yoga: showing up on and off the mat  WITH kama tai mitchell & Lillie wolff

Date:  Thursdays in January

Time:  7:00pm - 9:00pm

Cost:  $25 per workshop (35% donated to Rooted) - no one turned away for lack of funds

Click on the links below to register for each individual workshop.

Jan 4: Social Justice, Race, Yoga and You - led by Lillie (for white people)

Interested in exploring how social and racial justice can be more a part of your life? How can this work be woven into our spiritual/healing spaces? How can yoga help us “wake up” and create a better world? How can practice sustain us on the path of racial/social justice work? During this workshop we will:

  • Engage in experiential exercises around these themes in dyads, small group, and large group formats
  • Learn and practice communication skills that help us stay in the room and connect in the midst of difficult conversations
  • Practice simple, accessible yoga as support for our facilitated discussion and exercises
  • Create a courageous environment to explore complex concepts such as cultural appropriation, white privilege, and spiritual bypassing
  • Talk about how to engage in various racial and social justice work in the community in accountable ways

Jan 11: Movement for the Movement - led by Kama and Lillie (all identities welcome)

In order to transform our world we need to commit to sustainability and resiliency practices that support us in making lasting change. This workshop will help you re-balance your nervous system so you can downshift from the stress responses that come with being part of the movement for social change. Suppressing emotions like frustration, anxiety, fear, rage, shame, guilt, and grief through working harder or longer is not sustainable and often leads to burnout and sabotaging behavior. Martyring your physical health, relationships, or personal goals for the sake of the work often undermines our collaborative efficacy and leads to reproducing cycles of violence and dysfunction. This workshop will help to counter these patterns by nurturing and cultivating compassion, creativity, stamina, and resilience. In this workshop we will:

  • Create a space of mutual care for sharing our emotional realities without hiding exhaustion, performing hope, or representing our organizations
  • Reflect on how systems of oppression, trauma, and grief are showing up in our bodies
  • Explore the boundaries and practices we need to interrupt oppression from passing through us into the work
  • Experience simple and accessible healing practices like reflection, meditation, somatic movement, and trauma-informed yoga practice
  • Nurture a community of support with changemakers and healers who share a commitment to collective liberation and healing

This workshop lives at the intersection of social change, community support, and internal transformation and is designed for organizers, healers, wellness practitioners, and newer activists ready to dive into the work of inner and outer change. The facilitators will strive to foster a space that is inclusive and supportive of all gender expressions, sexual orientations, dis/abilities, racial identities, class backgrounds, and learning styles. No previous experience with yoga, meditation, somatics, or the like is needed - please come as you are.

Jan 18: Yoga for Women of Color - led by Kama (Women of Color only space)

This workshop offers a healing space for women of color, recognizing that often when black, brown, and indigenous people show up to yoga spaces we may be the only one, or one of just a few, or we may not show up at all. This workshop offers a space for women of color because the racism that exists in our society also shows up in yoga spaces, and can be yet another source of stress and (re)traumatization.

In this workshop Kama will offer a nurturing community space to practice breath, movement, and support so you leave feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and more connected to yourself and your community. Kama aims to help women of color recognize their gifts, through safely and bravely opening their hearts, investigating what we have to offer ourselves and one another as we ground, move, and heal in this tumultuous time. This is a body-positive space. All experience levels, sizes, abilities, and ages are welcome.

Jan 25: African Dance and Joyful Movement - led by Kama and Lillie (all identities welcome)

This workshop offers an accessible space to experience African dance led by Kama and joyful creative movement led by Lillie, as a means to nurture the body, mind, and spirit during these difficult times. Gathering together around music and movement is a great form of resiliency practice and resistance in a culture that teaches us to fear expressing ourselves through our body.  

Traditional African dance occurs collectively, expressing the life of the community more than that of individuals. In this way, when we engage with this sacred movement practice, with reverence, humility, and respect for the roots of this tradition, we affirm community and counter the harmful myth of individualism. It is possible to honor our unique gifts and individual creativity, while also honoring that we are always part of a greater collective and community around us.

Joyful movement is what we’re calling the way your body wants to move organically - to shake things up, let go of tension and stress, and reconnect to your animal body and what needs to unfurl. Many of us spend much of our days being sedentary and often get stuck in our heads as a result. Many of us hear good things about yoga or dance classes, but are worried about being flexible or coordinated enough. Join us for a movement practice that gives us permission to follow our body’s lead as we allow our own expression of movement to unfold. No prior movement experience necessary. Come as you are!


A note about the audience for this series: While we know that having People of Color and white only spaces may seem counter productive to social justice, there is certain work that white people need to own and work on together, and likewise for People of Color. Our multi-racial relationships and collaborations are more productive when we also create affinity spaces to discuss and share around issues that are specific to our racial identity and the socio-political realities we face in society. If you would like to learn more about this, check out www.eracce.org for upcoming trainings on systemic racism.

Guest Facilitator/Teacher Bios:

Kama Tai Mitchell is a healer, mama, yogi, dancer, and doula. She co-founded Rootead, a non-profit cultural and healing arts organization in Kalamazoo, MI where she currently holds the position of Executive Director. She is a 500hour certified yoga teacher in the Para Yoga tradition, and has completed numerous trainings with master teachers of the African Diasporic culture. She also holds certifications in Zulu Birth Project (doula), reflexology, and massage. She is a strong activist in the areas of birth justice, racial equity, and mental health awareness.

Lillie Wolff is an anti-oppressive organizer, facilitator, educator, writer, artist, and healer. Originally trained as a dancer, she has been practicing yoga since 2003 and is a trauma-informed RYT500 yoga teacher. Lillie is passionate about exploring the intersections of race, U.S. dominant culture, whiteness, cultural appropriation, capitalism, ancestral trauma, healing justice, and accountable spiritual practice. She is an Organizer/Trainer with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training and was a Joint Regional Fellow with Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership in 2017. Lillie earned a BA in Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College in 2004.


Date:  Sunday, January 21

Time:  1:00pm - 3:00pm

Cost:  FREE - On Donation

Practice sitting, walking and guided meditation in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hahn, as well as discussing the joys and challenges of practicing mindfulness in our daily lives. This is a FREE/On Donation event led by Sara Houseman and the Mindfulness Meditation Community of Kalamazoo.  Offered once a month (the third Sunday of each month) at Down Dog Yoga Center.   No meditation experience or pre-registration necessary; come give it a try! 

FREE Online Registration for Mindfulness Meditation


Date:  Saturday, January 27

Time:  11:00am - 2:00pm

Cost:  FREE

Looking for a fun winter activity?  Warm up with Downtown Kalamazoo's Annual Chili Cook-Off!  Stop in to Down Dog to sample our delicious organic vegetarian chili made by our very own yoga teacher Bridgett Blough, The Organic Gypsy.  Bring your appetite and get ready to vote for your favorite - rides are available on the Holly Jolly Chili Trolley so you can make it to all of the fabulous stops!  The Chili Cook-Off kicks off downtown's popular Kalamazoo Restaurant Week- check out the details here and mark your calendar now for this fun downtown event.


Date:  Sunday, February 4

Time:  12:30pm - 2:00pm

Cost:  $20

Enjoy Yoga with your baby in this fun postnatal class!  The first half of class focuses on mom, stretching and strengthening with baby, and the last half focuses on baby stretches and massage.  The benefits to your baby include stimulated circulation, increased body awareness, improved sleep patterns, relief from gas and colic, and relaxation.  Let yoga and massage deepen the bond between you and explore how Yoga can support you during this busy time of caring for a new baby.  This workshop is designed for babies under 12 months or before walking.

Register online HERE for Mom Baby Yoga

candlelit Valentine's day PARTNER YOGA WITH KRISTIN FIORE

Date:  Friday, February 16

Time:  6:30pm - 8:00pm

Cost:  $15/person - please register each person individually

Connect to yourself and your partner in this special Valentine's Day candlelit partner yoga practice.  Unwind from the week as you harmonize breath, movement, and energy with the love and support of your partner.  Sign up early as this class has limited space available and sells out quickly.

NOTE: If using the online system to register for yourself and for someone else, please use the "register for someone else" option FIRST and then click "continue shopping" and register yourself second so that our roster has both names registered accurately. Thanks!

Register online HERE for Partner Yoga

Under the march full moon retreat  WITH CYNTHIA HOSS and Kristin Fiore

Location:  GilChrist Retreat Center - Three Rivers, MI

Date:  Friday, March 2 - Sunday, March 4, 2018

Time:  6pm Friday - Noon Sunday 

Cost:  $200 Early Bird, $225 after Jan 31 (registration closes Feb 16)

Under the full moon, we are aligned between the sun and the moon, doing and being. The near side of the moon is fully illuminated, while the far side is almost completely unlit. This March retreat offers us the opportunity to reflect on both shadow and light, what has been dormant over these winter months and what is germinating as we turn toward spring. As the ground begins to soften, GilChrist provides a beautiful natural backdrop for our journey inward, and Kristin and Cynthia’s gentle guidance invites us into movement, meditation, rest, silence, and connection. Join us under the March full moon.

Retreat price includes: (2) 2-hour yoga practices and (2) 3-hour yoga practices with Cynthia and Kristin, Saturday dinner and circle gathering, plus time to explore the land at GilChrist, rest, reflect and journal. 

Lodging: GilChrist has a limited number of cabins for rent at $50/night (overflow lodging is at The Hermitage). Please contact GilChrist directly to make your lodging arrangements. Friday check in can begin as early as 2pm and Sunday check out is by 2pm.

Meals: Saturday dinner is provided, all other meals will be on your own. GilChrist cabins include equipped kitchens, and The Hermitage has a communal kitchen as well as offering 3 meals a day. 

If you have any questions about this retreat, please email kristin@downdogyogacenter.com or cynthia@downdogyogacenter.com

Register online HERE for March Full Moon Retreat

seasonal gong celebration  WITH JULIE CHASE

Date:  Friday, March 16

Time:  7:00pm - 8:30pm

Cost:  $20

Equinoxes and Solstices are astronomical events that mark the cycle of the sun throughout the year, indicating change between the four seasons. Observing and celebrating these events connects us to our own inner cycles and creates an opportunity for reflection, enlightenment, and awakening. This process allows us to walk the internal spiritual path of enlightenment where we discover harmony and alignment to our own inner Mystic. Join us for a Seasonal Gong Celebration to celebrate the Spring Equinox and renew your inner light through the deep relaxing sound of Sacred Gongs. Dress in comfortable clothing to sit or lie down and feel free to bring anything that might help you get comfortable - the studio has blankets, bolsters, and yoga mats for your use.

Register Online HERE for Seasonal Gong Celebration