From 2013 through 2020 Anasa Yoga proudly served the community as a Black-owned/Woman-owned, green-certified, wellness center located in the Laurel District neighborhood of East Oakland. During these precious years, our team of 20+ gifted teachers led thousands of students in the holistic diversity of yoga, Feldenkrais®, Nia®, dance classes, plus 253 workshops and trainings until our last gathering on December 20, 2020. We supported each other through obstacles and milestones as one beloved group of beings.
The vision for Anasa began with 3 yogini co-founders in the summer of 2011: Crystal McCreary, Jean Marie Moore, and Zola James. Shortly after our business formation, Crystal moved to pursue great opportunities on the East Coast leaving Jean Marie and Zola to search for a studio location. This loss opened a new door that led us into the beautiful space that opened on December 7, 2013 where our community blossomed and grew.
Then, toward the end of 2015, Zola shifted from managing the studio part time into grad school. Our dear teacher and friend, Annabelle Teleki, moved her thriving yoga retreat business, Satya Retreats, into the studio until the summer of 2019.
In June of 2019, Anasa was blessed to find a Studio Community Manager, our student Gaia Esensten! Gaia, a wise young soul, breathed millennial spirit into our hearts. Gaia and almost all of our teachers stayed with Anasa as we moved into 2020, the most challenging year for Anasa Yoga and millions of small businesses around the world.
January 1, 2020 we transitioned all 20+ teachers and our manger from independent contractors to employees in compliance with the year’s new State law, AB-5. The co-founders also began plans to retire at the end of 2020 and transfer the studio to new owners entrusted to continue with the legacy we built. Then the unthinkable happened. In March of 2020 we moved the studio online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic shelter-in-place orders.
Between March and October, we held onto hope while pursuing the vision of transitioning the studio into an ideal scenario - a worker-owned cooperative with a core group of 10 Anasa Yoga teachers. We asked and received overwhelming community support through a GoFundMe campaign in August when financial challenges and the pandemic were impacting our ability to finish the year. Then sadly, in October 2020 we learned that the co-op transition would not happen in time to meet our committed retirement goal. So we made the difficult decision to let go of the studio.
Reverend Zenju Earthlyn Manuel sang and spoke us through our last offering on December 20 - a closing ceremony entitled Peace With Impermanence. Friends shared tears, and laughter. Shakira reminded us that, “the spirit of Anasa will keep going”. Yes!
We hope that you'll continue practicing in community with your teachers and friends.
Thank you for 7 years of beloved community ~ you made it possible!
Please continue to share the healing benefits of yoga, meditation, Nia, dance, Feldenkrais®, Reiki, and wellness with all beings.
With deep love & eternal gratitude,
Jean Marie and Zola,
Anasa Yoga Co-founders