Category Archives: Newsroom

Happy 10th Anniversary AASY!

On Saturday, April 22, 2017 the Ann Arbor School of Yoga celebrated its 10th anniversary with a party. Each Spring Laurie celebrates the schools anniversary with food, art and entertainment. This year the food came from Jerusalem Garden, the cake from Zingerman’s, the art was Quilts by Pat Holly and the music was Indian Fusion played by John Churchville’s group, Sumkali.

The Asana hall was decorated with large quilts and Indian fabric. Laurie greeted everyone and led the Invocation to Patanjali. She then produced an easel and a marker asking the group for suggestions describing what yoga has meant to them. The responses were: Quiet, Community, All Encompassing, Discipline, Gratitude, Focus, Resource, Spiritual, Balance and Gear-Head. A woman drew applause using all the words in a sentence right away.

Laurie introduced this years exhibiting artist, Pat Holly, who spoke to us briefly about her works.

Then we headed down for dinner. The entry passage downstairs had more small quilts which were beautifully intricate and colorful.

Circular tablecloths spread on the floor with elegant place settings, flowers and an anniversary post card greeted the guests. The post card is lovely every year and some yogis have a card from all nine of the previous anniversaries! (Upstairs, in the outer room, there is a framed matted assembly of all these cards made by Alexa Lee!)

Diners enjoyed falafel sandwiches, hummus, pita bread and salad. A large cake for dessert was off to the side. Students, instructors, family and friends, and the musicians who’d play later, all ate together. The room rang with chatter and laughter.

When it was time for dessert the cake from Zingerman’s garnered a LOT of attention. A trained panda would not have enjoyed a more attentive audience. The cake perfectly depicted the practice room upstairs, in detail, complete with wood floor, teaching platform, and a human figure executing Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog pose) on top! Yoga mats, blocks, and bolsters rendered in sugar were present and the teaching figure looked a lot like Laurie! It was almost a shame to cut into the cake. Almost.

While the guests finished dinner the musicians went upstairs to prepare for their performance and were playing their welcome music when the congregation headed back upstairs into the hall.

The 5 Piece Group, Sumkali, led by John Churchville, played Indian Fusion Music using the teachers platform as a stage. Large beautiful quilts hung to each side of the stage and fabric draped the wall behind the musicians. The lights were dimmed except for the stage. Perfect. The group performed as a 5 piece with Tabla, Violin, Guitar, Bass, and a Vocalist. They played one piece that used the Beatles “Come Together” as a theme in the middle. Fusion indeed.

Mr. Churchville said Musicians enjoyed playing to an audience interested in Indian culture and really enjoyed playing in the great room.

The band played 9 songs that went by all too quickly. Party guests helped clear the great room as they do after every yoga class and the evening was complete.

Ann Arbor Chronicle covers AASY event

The Ann Arbor School of Yoga community is interested in learning to live artfully, and also supports the arts!  We’ve enjoyed supporting different arts groups in our community.  Recently we had a stimulating evening of yoga and film.  Local online magazine  Ann Arbor Chronicle sent a reporter.  Read her account of our event at

Cinema & Yoga on August 14th – Expand Your Boundaries

from the Ann Arbor Film Festival:

Cinema & Yoga is hosted by the Ann Arbor School of Yoga, as a summer fundraiser for the AAFF. The event includes an all-levels yoga class taught by one of the most in-demand yoga instructors in the U.S.: Laurie Blakeney. Following the hour-long class, enjoy light fare and beverages (non-alcoholic) and a screening of some mind-bending favorite short films from the 47th Ann Arbor Film Festival.

What: Cinema & Yoga
When: Friday, August 14th from 7:30pm – 10pm
Where: Ann Arbor School of Yoga (420 W. Huron, Ann Arbor)
How: $25 suggested donation ($20 AAFF and A2SY members)

826Michigan Conferencees De-stress

826 National, which is a family of seven nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students, ages 6-18, with expository and creative writing, is holding their national meeting here in Ann Arbor (at 826michigan) next week.  This event is where staff members from all the  826 centers meet in  one location to learn from one another and share their experiences.

As part of their gathering, Laurie Blakeney, the director of  the Ann Arbor School of Yoga, has invited them to participate in a free yoga class as part of AASY’s commitment to supporting local and national arts-related non-profits.

The group really enjoyed their complimentary class.  Check out this link.

Yoga Is U-M Men’s Rowing Team Secret Weapon In National Championship Win

 Coach credits yoga conditioning at Ann Arbor School of Yoga with fine-tuning team performance

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 10, 2009 – The University of Michigan Men’s Rowing Team dominated the recent American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championships in Oak Ridge, TN. The club won all four men’s heavyweight eights events and took a bronze medal in the varsity lightweight 8+ on its way to winning the Men’s team championship.

Associate Head Coach Charley Sullivan cites an exceptionally helpful new training tool: yoga studies with Ann Arbor School of Yoga Director Laurie Blakeney. Team members requested the new conditioning, Sullivan said.

 “Working with these dedicated young athletes was a pleasure.  They are bright and committed, and appreciated the depth yoga training added to their mind/body awareness,” Blakeney said.

The team practiced Iyengar yoga asanas or poses with Blakeney for eight weeks in the early morning to prepare for the national competition.  The workouts focused on strength, flexibility and balance.  Iyengar Yoga is based on the teachings of Shri B.K.S. Iyengar, the revered living yoga master.  Before they began yoga classes at AASY, Coach Sullivan had already began teaching the team yoga based on his own training as one of Blakeney’s students.

 “On a very basic level, it helped rowers increase flexibility and control, particularly at the extremes of range of motion where the boat is most tippy and most unstable. It allowed them to understand better the connection of their bodies,” Sullivan said.

Laurie’s such a good teacher, helping people realize that certain things are connected internally (lifted support) and externally (bracing support.) – body awareness around balance and core strength.”

 AASY is one of the Great Lakes region’s longest-running yoga venues. Its spacious, light-filled studio and study center in downtown Ann Arbor offers a full schedule of yoga classes and cultural events.

 Free 90-minute trial classes are offered regularly.  For trial class dates and the complete class schedule, please visit

 Members of the media are cordially invited to attend a sample class or view the studio at their convenience.  Please contact Laurie Blakeney, 734-663-7612, or email to arrange a visit.

 About Ann Arbor School of Yoga

AASY welcomes serious as well as recreational students for the practice and study of Yoga.  AASY is one of the Great Lakes region’s longest-running yoga venues.  Director Laurie Blakeney, a personal student of BKS Iyengar, holds one of the few Advanced Teaching Certificates conferred directly by the renowned yoga master.

 She brings a uniquely personal and direct style of teaching to her students. She focuses equally on strength, flexibility, stamina and balance with an emphasis on correct alignment. Iyengar Yoga is based on the teachings of Shri B.K.S. Iyengar, the revered living yoga master.  His writings (including Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama and Light on Life) have popularized yoga throughout the world.