Healing the whole person

Body Mind Being Institute guides participants into a new way of living.
The Body Mind Being Institute offers classes focused on yoga, meditation and movement. Photo by Ashley Wierenga

Every event at the Body Mind Being Institute has three goals: to get participants into their bodies, to educate them and to help develop some kind of awareness or being practice. Through a variety of classes, training and community gatherings, Body Mind Being is reaching into the community to guide people to a new way of living.

Body Mind Being hosts a wide variety of classes centered on yoga, meditation and movement, from Monday Afternoon Flow (focused on movement and alignment) to Yoga for Transformation, from Trauma-Informed Yoga to Yin Yoga. There also is Sacred Soul Sundays, a free and open-to-the-public experience of teaching, scriptures, poetry, movement and meditation drawn from the wisdom practices of Zen, Buddhism, Classical Yoga, Christianity and Bhakti.

“We’re a community. Before COVID-19, I didn’t realize how important that is,” said Raechel Morrow, cofounder of the institute and executive director of the board for Body Mind Being’s nonprofit arm (see sidebar).

Raechel Morrow, co-owner of the Body Mind Being Institute, holds several certifications in holistic health and yoga. Photo by Ashley Wierenga

The nonprofit provides free wellness, resiliency and stress management programs for individuals, families and mental health workers who have experienced trauma.

“The amount of anxiety and depression is skyrocketing,” Morrow said. “And the rate of burnout and secondary trauma is enormously high. We’re not taught how to regulate and support our internal self.”

Through the nonprofit, Body Mind Being works with hospital social workers, community care and caseworkers, and mental health workers. It also works with Kent County Youth Services, teaching young people “that their body is their home.”

Body Mind Being is staffed by practitioners with years of experience. Morrow, a co-owner, has an M.A. in depth psychology and myriad certifications in holistic health and yoga practices. Co-owner Christine Sharp is a yoga therapist and licensed massage therapist. Other practitioners are Kara McNabb, a somatic naturopath, and Andrea Sulak, with an M.A. in humanistic psychology, and a Chakradance facilitator and Reiki practitioner.

“We want to build a community. We’re not concerned about growing an empire but about growing souls.”
Raechel Morrow

All additional instructors are certified and trained in a variety of practices including meditation, holistic health, children’s yoga, trauma-informed yoga and more. Body Mind Being also offers training for those seeking certifications. Visit bodymindbeinginstitute.org for a list of instructors, training and classes. One class, Anxiety Alchemy, is a nine-week transformation approach to anxiety and embodiment to help attendees learn to thrive.
Body Mind Being began in 2017 and was located in the Grand Rapids Wellness Collective on Lake Drive. It moved to its own offices, at 1005 Parchment Drive SE near Cascade Road and I-96, in January of this year.

“We have many offerings to help people find their own way,” Morrow said. “Instructors are advanced in their journeys and all have a minimum of 300 hours of education, and all teachers have their own ways of building relationships.”

One-, three-, six- and 12-month memberships are available, as are walk-in classes, which are all offered virtually and in person.

“We want to build a community,” Morrow said. “We’re not concerned about growing an empire but about growing souls. The more people befriend their bodies, the less hurting and suffering they’ll experience.

Photo by Ashley Wierenga

The Body Mind Being Project

The nonprofit arm of the Body Mind Being Institute, which started in 2015, offers therapeutic trauma-sensitive yoga, trauma education and more for those “who are systematically left out of the conversation around wellness,” according to the website, and who are less likely to have access to these types of resources.

The Being GRACE program is offered free to those seeking guidance and recovery from trauma. The eight-week group course is taught by psychotherapists, yoga therapists, mindfulness teachers and bodyworkers and addresses:

G — Grounding
R — Reconnection to the Body
A — Awareness
C — Compassion and Community
E — Empowerment and Embodiment

Also, donors can adopt a classroom for $250, allowing practitioners to make Body Mind Being Project resources available in West Michigan classrooms, as well as make donations to fund scholarships.

This story can be found in the July/August 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here

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