The ancient art of yoga was developed to achieve physical, mental and spiritual harmony. But a typical American man may say something about “silly poses” and chanting “Ohm.” A2 Yoga challenges those misconceptions. The local yoga studio offers over 40 different classes each week, including a men's yoga—humorously called “bro-ga,” a class designed just for men.
Dina Hough, co-owner and instructor at A2 Yoga, says the Yoga-MAN class helps dispel prominent stereotypes associated with yoga and gives guys a chance to actually try it. “The primary benefit is to create a healthy environment for men to learn about how to adjust their bodies without social stereotypes or physical contradictions,” she says. Dina explains that the poses and movements in the class cater to the male body, which has a unique anatomical structure and center of gravity.
The class is a challenging workout that requires firm balance and strong muscles. Though it leaves many practitioners exhausted afterwards, it also helps clear their mind of daily stresses and clutter.
Dina says the class is part of the studio’s commitment to variety and acceptance. “It honors the history of yoga and the diversity of desires students have for different styles of classes and teachers,” she says.
Variety and purpose
A2 Yoga employs 20 teachers who work in almost every aspect of yoga, including classes focused on women only, athletes, cardiac health, beginners, pre-natal and prana vinyasa (an advanced form). “We understand that many individuals want to take care of themselves physically but don’t know where to start may not be able to afford it,” Dina says.
Many of the classes are also free as part of the studio’s Community Commitment program, which supports local non-profit organizations.
The idea started with the A2 Yoga’s founder, Ana Hough (Dina’s sister), who opened the studio 10 years ago as Downtown Yoga. The original space was in the second floor of The Mail Shoppe, their mother’s small business. With the help of their parents, the sisters moved the studio to its current location, a former furniture factory on Commerce Boulevard.
“It’s truly a family-run business,” Dina says. During those formative years both she and her sister received a lot of support from the Ann Arbor community while they were training for their yoga teacher certifications. “[My sister and I] have both lived moments of great struggle financially. Not only were there services in the community that helped us to not give up but I was, thankfully, encouraged to use them,” Dina says. “I knew one day I would be able to give back.”
Through the studio’s Community Commitment classes, practitioners can donate to A2 Yoga, and each business quarter the studio gives 100 percent of those donations directly to a local non-profit. Dina says that charity is also an overlooked but important branch of yoga, and she hopes that the community will gain much from A2 Yoga’s classes and charity. “By giving back, we are supporting the community that supports us.”
Classes at A2 Yoga last 60 to 90 minutes; prices and start times vary. Sign up online or call for more information.
2030 Commerce Blvd. 734-216-4006. a2yoga.net