'Fun and collaborative' yoga studio to open near U-M campus this weekend
Photo by Doug Coombe
What is now a cozy, one room studio with freshly painted lavender walls was originally used as storage space until a pilates studio moved in and completely converted the location about a year ago. According Chris LaBelle of SRK Investments, the space was vacant for six months before aUM owner Jessie Lipkowitz, a U-M graduate, signed the lease.
“I’m very excited to have aUM Yoga move in ,” LaBelle said. “I think that Jessie is a go-getter and she is making wonderful changes in the building already. Down the hall is Nola's Underground Salon and the combination of the two in the building is wonderful. The energy level is so high.”
Lipkowitz began working on the space immediately upon signing the lease, and she said there are still a few things that need to be done before the studio opens.
“We’ve done a lot to the space to make it our own,” she said. “It used to have a drop ceiling, which we tore out and we’ve installed new lighting, painted and decorated since moving in.”
Photo by Jessie Lipkowitz
The studio will offer about 30 classes a week, and will be open seven days a week. Classes start on Michigan Time — or 10 minutes after the hour, so students can come directly from class. The aUM Yoga website has class descriptions, which includes power vinyasa, slow flow and intro to flowing yoga, among others.
“We have a variety of classes - heated and non-heated - as well as a range of classes from easy to hard,” Lipkowitz said. “But what is really going to excite people is the price.”
Drop in classes are $12 and Lipkowitz said the studio plans to offer happy hour sessions for $6 Monday through Friday.
A package of unlimited classes from Sept. 3 to April 30 costs $500, and a monthly package of unlimited classes for people affiliated with U-M costs $95. (See the website for more on pricing)
On top of offering affordable classes, Lipkowitz plans to make the atmosphere more fun and collaborative than your typical studio, she said.
“A lot of yoga studios take themselves too seriously, which can be a huge turnoff, especially to those who are just starting out,” Lipkowitz said. “That’s why we’re offering classes with fun names like ‘Funky Jams: Power Vinyasa’ and 'This is Sexy and Slow: Slow Flow'; It keeps things light.”
Lipkowitz said she also plans to offer occasional late night classes for students stuck in the library who are in need of a break.
As a graduate of U-M in 2011, Lipkowitz said she based her plans for the new studio off of her experience as a student.
“This is where I would have wanted to come when I was a student and I hope current students will enjoy the fun atmosphere,” she said.
Lipkowitz also hopes to offer up a fun environment for local businesses to host healthy bonding events for employees. Businesses will be able to purchases an exclusive time slot or drop-in passes at a discounted rate.
“I would eventually love Sunday to be industry day and reserve time for businesses to have special classes for their employees,” Lipkowitz said.
Chelsea Hoedl I AnnArbor.com
Private classes for groups or individuals can be scheduled and Lipkowitz said she is open to renting the space out to other instructors or groups during off hours when no classes are scheduled.
aUM will staff between 10 and 15 instructors, she said.
“The instructors have full creativity,” Lipkowitz said. “We’re totally open to suggestions by clients and instructors to make the studio and classes fit their needs. Sometimes yoga can be strict and limited, but that’s not what aUM is going to be about.”
The studio will host a grand opening on Sept. 1 and 2. During those two days, aUM Yoga will offer free classes and anyone who buys a package will get 10 percent to 15 percent off and a free T-shirt while supplies last.
Lipkowitz said she is hoping to see about 100 people show up for the grand opening. Regularly scheduled classes will begin on Sept. 3.
aUM instructors will also be teaching five free classes at the new Lululemon on Washtenaw Avenue starting Aug. 31 as a part of the "Studio of the Month" program.
On Sundays in October, aUM will hold an inversion workshop taught by yoga instructor Kelli Harrington.
Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.