COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A group of people raised $50,000 in a matter of weeks to keep their beloved yoga studio open in Columbus.
Among those who helped include: former prisoners, human trafficking victims and veterans.
Yoga On High is just one business finding itself replaced by new housing in the Short North. Some patrons say the studio and its instructors changed their life, so they wanted to help them change their address.
“The support here has been great,” said ex-convict Mo Jalloh.
Looking at him now you would never guess he was in prison six months ago after serving a six year sentence for felonious assault.
“I was not dealing with my insecurities, my anxiety’s, not dealing with my fears. Not dealing with…I come from a broke home. Not dealing with that.”
In prison he was introduced to yoga and the tide started changing.
“I’m a black man right, and I see yoga as a thing that addresses a lot of mental issues in the black community.”
It’s something Yoga On High co-owner Marcia Miller said can help anyone.
“I was aware at a young age that not everyone had the same opportunities that I had. So, once I became a yoga teacher I wanted to ways to share yoga with everyone.” Miller said.
That includes helping human trafficking victims, veterans, and former inmates like Jalloh. “It leads to alternative lifestyles to being in the streets or not wanting to take care of ones physical or mental health or well-being,” he said.
When Jalloh heard the studios doors on High Street were closing, he, along with many others, wanted another door to open. They came together and raised $50,000 in a matter of weeks.
Miller was shocked at the support. “I wondered how we were going to do this. It turned out to be more expensive then we imagined and people gave us checks and we were just like, oh my gosh.”
Yoga On High is now two blocks away from where it once stood on Dennison Avenue. While it is a new location, it holds the same mission they always have.
“It’s their center. It’s our center and they get to be a part of it,” Miller said.
Now a studio that has helped a lot of people can continue to make a difference in Columbus.
“It is definitely spreading out into different various areas of my life. I am grateful to take this experience here and share with my family, share with my friends, share with people that I meet daily,” said Jalloh.
He also hopes that other prisons, like the one in Marion, introduce yoga programs so other people can experience what he has.