Moksha Yoga Thunder Bay and its affiliation with Lakehead University
By Brady Coyle, Staff Writer
Debbie Zweep and her son, Myles Ball, opened Moksha Yoga Thunder Bay on April 14th 2015, in Lakehead University’s athletic facilities. Although Moksha Yoga calls Lakehead’s Fieldhouse home, the business is an independent franchise separate from the school. When the squash courts in the Fieldhouse had minimal use, Zweep saw an opportunity to build and began discussions with the school on opening the yoga studio.
Despite being on school property, Moksha Yoga Thunder Bay does not want to be exclusive to Lakehead students. “We want to bring everyone together,” says Zweep, owner of Moksha Yoga Thunder Bay. “Not just for students or just for community; we want to pull both together.”
Moksha is a form of Canadian hot yoga that was developed by Ted Grand and Jessica Robertson, distinguishable because of its specific sequence. While the studio primarily focuses on the practice of Moksha, they do offer other forms of yoga as well. The studio offers a myriad of unique classes, suitable for any experience level. From beginners to seasoned yogis, there are practices for everyone.
The studio’s instructors are very innovative, offering yoga experiences that are quite unique to Thunder Bay. Yogassage, for example, mixes the practices of yoga and massage together to create an experience that is ideal for relaxing stressed out students and faculty members. Moksha has also taken the time to venture out of the studio and into the community, offering classes over the summer at Hillcrest Park. Supyoga was another summer venture, with yogis going to Boulevard Lake to practice a unique form of stand-up-paddleboard yoga.
An issue amongst some students at Lakehead is that Moksha Yoga, being a separate entity from the university, is not included in tuition fees. This has left some frustrated, as students pay fees for access to the athletic facilities. “I think if we are paying for access to the athletic facilities at Lakehead, we should have access to all of the athletic facilities,” says Becca, a fourth-year Outdoor Recreation student.
While access to Moksha Yoga is not free of charge, Zweep maintains that LU students do get discounts from the studio. “The students get very good rates from us,” she says. “If you’re a Lakehead University student this year, you get two classes free and all the students get preferred rates.”
A “drop-in pass” for LU students, which includes five classes at times of your choosing, costs $35 – half the cost of what the general public pays.
Moshka Yoga Thunder Bay offers options for those students at LU who would like to practice yoga without paying for it, as well. “We have an ambassador program,” explains Zweep, “where people come and help us clean, help us check students in, and for that they can do unlimited yoga.” Many students around Lakehead already participate in this energy exchange program and have found it deeply enriching to their student experience. For exchangers without the financial resources, this program is a great way to be able to access the practice.
Some students may feel entitled to yoga studio access; however, a hike in tuition prices in order to accommodate this desire is not a universally loved solution. “I wouldn’t want tuition rates to go up, because I don’t practice yoga,” says Sofi Czich, a fourth-year Outdoor Recreation student. “I don’t want to pay for facilities I don’t use.”
While opinions may differ on accessibility to Thunder Bay’s Moksha Yoga studio and willingness to pay for it, staffs are interested in finding a happy medium with students. “We would love to work with the university to, at a minimum, have the option for students to get connected to us through their registration fees,” says Zweep. The Moksha Yoga Thunder Bay studio can be found in the basement of the Fieldhouse.