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‘Free To Be’ studio offers yoga, movement classes, massage in Raisin Twp.

By
JACKIE KOCH

A new yoga and massage studio in Raisin Township gives those looking for fitness options a place to learn healthy body movement in a calming atmosphere, and owner Austeen Freeman is delighted to welcome others into her “culture of yoga.”
Freeman, an Adrian resident who first came to Lenawee County from mid-Michigan to earn a master’s degree in athletic training at Adrian College, opened Free To Be Yoga & Massage at 1042 Sutton Rd., Suite 2C, on May 10 after years of working at other studios and teaching privately. She also teaches yoga to athletes at Adrian College, and has worked with the men’s and women’s wrestling teams, golf teams, the women’s basketball team and more. In addition, she teaches some elective classes at the college.
“There are different kinds of yoga,” she said. “Depending on the kind of yoga you can target flexibility or mobility, which is the intersection of strength and flexibility, which you need both of to have healthy movement. There are a lot of different avenues that people can travel with yoga, but for the most part yoga is for any body.”
Freeman said any movement can be taken too far, but because yoga incorporates an awareness of the body and movement, practitioners are better able to listen to their bodies and avoid injury. She listed better range of motion and flexibility, more mindfulness and body awareness, and better neuromuscular control as benefits of practicing yoga. “It’s very helpful in a lot of different ways,” she said.
With her athletic training degree and certification as a massage therapist from her education at Irene’s Institute of Myomassology in Southfield, Freeman has the background to know what she’s talking about regarding body movement. She was also a licensed emergency medical technician for a year-and-a-half, so she has medical knowledge, as well.
She has six years experience as a massage therapist and has been practicing yoga for nine years, starting her role as a teacher four years ago. As she was working through her master’s program she began to tie all the pieces of her interests and experience together. “It really solidified after I graduated with my master’s in 2019,” she said. “That’s really when I started to merge all this and make this culture I wanted around yoga.” Creating Free to Be Yoga & Massage was the culmination of her work toward that goal.
Nine classes that include yoga, as well as mix of yoga, tai chi and dance, belly dancing, and resistance band strength training fill the schedule that she and four other instructors offer, and she hopes to add more classes in the future. 
“It’s been really amazing and the community has really been enjoying themselves,” Freeman said. “I’m getting a lot of good, constructive feedback and we’re making changes because we really want this to be a community where everyone feels like it’s their place, they can come in, be comfortable, have a space where they can kind of drop reality away for just a moment or two.”
She said the realization of her dream of having her own business is surreal. “This is my passion, movement, health, and giving people the capacity and capability and the tools to heal themselves. To be a support in that is literally what I wanted to do the last ten years. I tried a lot of different paths, and it all ended up okay,” she said. “It feels surreal and I’m really grateful for it. I wouldn’t be here without the community, and I appreciate them.” 
For more information on Free to Be Yoga & Massage, visit freetobeyogamassage.com or Free To Be Yoga & Massage on Facebook.

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