Anasa Yoga, co-founded by Jean Marie Moore and Katrina Lashea, is a yoga studio and wellness center in Oakland’s Laurel District that welcomes new and experienced practitioners and offers a variety of classes and levels to serve their students’ needs. Anasa Yoga is proud to create a welcoming and inclusive space that is home to a diversity of students.
Anasa Yoga opened their doors in December 2013. They now have 23 teachers, including Jean Marie who teaches two of the donation-based classes. Anasa Yoga was originally conceived with two main goals: to help address stress-related health disparities in the African American community through the healing practice of yoga; and to bring a yoga studio focused on serving the community into a neighborhood without this resource. Anasa Yoga is truly a community space where students of all backgrounds and body types are welcomed at the door. “We’re learning to pay attention to what weekly classes our community wants, and we’re mindful when planning special weekend events & workshops to expand our services to the broad base of student needs in this community,” explains Jean Marie.
Before Anasa Yoga, Jean Marie owned a construction management company for ten years and is a LEED accredited professional with a green-building interest. As she was thinking about retiring from that field, she decided she wanted to combine her long-time goal of opening a community center with her passion for practicing yoga. With two business partners, at the time, they developed a business plan with the help of the Alameda County SBDC and East Bay SCORE, both organizations that referred Anasa Yoga to Main Street Launch. “At our first meeting with Main Street Launch I had a strong sense of relationship and felt Main Street’s desire to partner with us to help make our dream come true. That was the type of funder we were seeking for our business,” remembers Jean Marie.
Anasa Yoga’s loan helped with the buildout of their studio space. The building was originally constructed in 1926, and needed many upgrades to make it the type of yoga studio Jean Marie was aspiring to open. The upgrades include various energy and water saving methods, non-toxic finishes, and rapidly renewable materials such as the bamboo floors. Currently Anasa Yoga is the only green-certified yoga studio in Alameda County.
Jean Marie advises new entrepreneurs decide early on who is on their team. “Knowing who is helping you with everything from legal advice to website building to the cleaning service is so important to launch and grow successfully,” Jean Marie says. “Having committed business partners with clearly defined roles is also critical for success.”
“I’m a multicultural person with a very diverse background, and I really wanted to create a multicultural space,” says Jean Marie. “Anasa Yoga is what I hoped it would be.”
Click here to see the classes and services offered at Anasa Yoga and drop by for your first class!