Yoga lab photo

Several participants stretch at Yoga Lab, located in downtown State College.

Yoga Lab on McAllister Alley is introducing a collaboration with ten other local businesses through their “Community Member model” to grow and promote an affordable network of healthy living in State College.

Classes officially started classes at Yoga Lab in Aug. 2016 and has created a community-oriented space where students can practice “safe, sustainable and evidence-based,” yoga, according to co-owner and yoga teacher Mark Agrusti.

Agrusti said the Community Member model allows Yoga Lab and other participating local businesses to exchange discounts, marketing materials and special events. The model gives local businesses the opportunity to expand by driving members to their locations, while bringing the community together.

“We believe everyone grows by supporting one another and that includes our neighboring businesses,” co-owner and teacher Kristen Boccumini said via email. “We also have a mission to engage in sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.”

Agrusti said another motivating factor for this was creating a space where the yoga community could come together and continue learning from each other,

“[A place where] we could provide opportunities for very holistic growth for people, not just with yoga, but for meditation, mindfulness, eating, awareness and social consciousness,” he said.

Being a college town, the six Yoga Lab co-owners recognized the benefits for both Penn State students and locals to have affordable and easy access to restaurants with vegan and vegetarian options, athletic merchandise stores, massage therapy and exercise classes and workshops.

“I think people want to be healthy,” co-owner and teacher Jeremy Engels said. “I think sometimes they don’t know what that means or they find it [healthy living] cost prohibitive.”

Agrusti also connects affordability to inclusiveness among community members.

“It’s not just a way of being a member at Yoga Lab, but a way of being a part of this broader community of people who are also interested in making good choices,” he said.

For Penn State students specifically, co-owners of Yoga Lab believe that the Community Member model alongside their studio can give students a needed “stress relief” and a healthy way to build better versions of themselves.

“I think just being healthy in the body, the mind and the spirit with what we eat and consume is just so beneficial, in particular beneficial for [Penn State] students,” Engels said. “All of this will make students better students.”

Owners of each business have developed a relationship among each other based on the treatment of their customers, employees and quality of their products.

“We know the people who own those places and run those places have good ethics and good interests,” said Agrusti.

Realizing that lifestyles and body posture have changed to that of modern society, Yoga Lab has adapted their classes to fit all experience levels while honoring the ancient traditions of the practice.

“We try to bring the best of traditional Eastern yoga informed by western knowledge of the body together,” Boccumini said. “Our way of teaching postures is based on body mechanics and functional movement with a focus more on stability and strength in addition to flexibility.”

Yoga Lab will also be branching out by offering movie nights, potluck dinners, teacher training and unique studio workshops, such as their Epic Yoga BOOM! that is held every Friday at 5:45 p.m.

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