Karma Tribe Yoga is keeping us centered: Best of KC 2018

This month, we published The Pitch‘s annual Best of Kansas City issue. You can browse the results of the readers’ poll here. The issue also included a list, compiled and written by our editorial staff, of some our current favorite things about Kansas City in 2018. We’ll be publishing these items online throughout October. 

You don’t need to book a flight to Denver or L.A. to find great yoga. There are some exceptional offerings right here in the heartland, and among our favorites is the small but mighty (and mightily growing) empire that Lauren Leduc has built.

Leduc founded Karma Tribe Yoga in 2015 as a nonprofit, donation-based organization dedicated to offering inclusive, trauma-aware yoga education. She plans to shift to a for-profit business model in 2019, but all classes will remain donation-based (with a minimum $5 donation). This isn’t bargain-basement yoga, though. Each certified instructor brings a special focus, be it ashtanga or Chinese medicine. And there are additional offerings to be had, like yoga-and-hiking excursions, pop-up yoga at local public parks, meditation classes, and a teacher training program. Best of all, perhaps, is the open-door culture Leduc has built, the proof of which is evident in the patchwork quilt of people who keep showing up: all races, all abilities, all belief systems, all income levels, all shapes and sizes.

What Karma Tribe Yoga doesn’t offer: a pre-packaged, cookie-cutter yoga experience. You’ll sweat, you’ll twist, you’ll flow, you’ll work your core, you’ll flip endless dogs, and you’ll tackle inversions — but the emphasis is on the power of the practice, not on getting in a workout. In keeping with this credo, Leduc and co-founder Angela Cronk (of Waldo’s Hagoyah Hair Studio and Yoga Den) earlier this year introduced the inaugural Heartland Yoga Festival. A three-day gathering at Unity Village, the fest welcomed lauded yoga teachers and speakers from around the country, who offered their talents and shared their knowledge in a variety of yoga classes, panel discussions, workshops and more. When Leduc talks about Karma Tribe Yoga, Heartland Yoga Festival, and the innumerable other yoga-related projects on her horizon, she draws on the metaphor of the heart chakra. Kansas City is not flyover country, she says: It is the heartland — the epicenter of good energy and good vibes.