Yoga with Elyse @ Detroit Bookfest!

Yoga with Elyse @ Detroit Bookfest!

Elyse Thulin and Tamu (photo courtesy of Elyse Thulin)

The Detroit Festival of Books (aka: Detroit Bookfest) exists as a conduit for community wellness.

As such, we were thrilled by Elyse’s offer to teach a yoga class at Detroit Bookfest. Books and yoga and then you can buy beer at the cash bar inside Shed 3 afterwards? Sounds like a lovely combination!


Yoga with Elyse @ Detroit Bookfest


Right now, Elyse Thulin and her beautiful dog Tamu and I are sitting inside RoosRoast Coffee Works in Ann Arbor. I’m drinking a deliciously dark coffee called Rich French Neighbor, while Elyse sips on a cappuccino.

In my mind, until recently, the thought of yoga just conjured up images of human pretzels chaturanga-ing on narrow swaths of carpet to be trendy. I now realize this is not the case. Yoga is ancient. It started in India in 3,000 B.C.

Having never practiced yoga myself, I’ve been asking around about it, especially after my own doctor recently recommended it for a healthier lifestyle.

My friend Leonard, a daily yoga practitioner for over 50 years, said that yoga is excellent for Interoception, which is becoming aware of your posture and muscular/emotional tensions. He said to remember that yoga helps you develop the ability to relax your mind and muscles. Relax into the asanas (postures). It cannot be forced. Yoga is not like the typical attitude of contracting your body via weight-lifting and calisthenics.


Getting to Know Yogi ELYSE THULIN

Yoga (photo courtesy of Elyse Thulin)

Elyse is a doctoral student at the School of Public Health at UM. She moved to the Mitten in 2018 for graduate school, after living in sub-Saharan Africa for five years working on aid and development work with populations that have faced complex trauma.

Although her yoga practice began almost a decade ago, her need for the practice deepened over the past few years as her need for a safe space where she could be present grew in relation to the settings she was living and working in.

Coming back to the U.S., Elyse had the goal of completing a formal yoga instructional course (YTT) so she could share the benefits of the practice with friends, colleagues and the populations with whom she works.

Elyse grew up in Jackson, Wyoming, where most of her family still resides. She recounted fond memories of skiing and snowboarding the double-black diamond trails in Jackson Hole during her youth.

She went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD for undergrad, before taking a gap year to volunteer with grass-roots organizations in rural western Kenya. She returned to the U.S. to complete a master’s degree in Global Health at Duke University, before spending a few more years working in Kenya and Sierra Leone on human development and trauma research.

Tamu (photo courtesy of Elyse Thulin)

Elyse returned to the US with her pup Tamu (Swahili for “sweet”), a “village dog descended from jackals,” to join the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Presently at the University of Michigan, she works on domestic and global intimate partner research projects.

For Elyse, her yoga mat is a place to center. A place where she can tune into her body, move it in different ways, and connect with her emotions.

One of the reasons she is drawn to yoga is that her mat serves as a vacuum in which she can examine the way her mind reacts to different physical and emotional experiences. In her work abroad, she has found some of her best friends through the practice of yoga.

Yoga has been a great way for her to build and participate in community across a variety of settings and situations. She has enjoyed diving into the expansive yoga community in Michigan and connecting with fellow practitioners.

In her free time, Elyse loves to drink dark coffee, be on the lake, and travel to Oceanside towns for snorkeling. She is invested in promoting community health projects like public yoga classes and has been a coach for Girls on the Run, volunteered as a Turkey Trot organizer, and most recently participated in the Paczki 5k in Hamtramck.


Yoga with Elyse @ Detroit Bookfest

Yoga (image courtesy of Online Yoga)


Yoga with Elyse @ Detroit Bookfest


At Detroit Bookfest, Elyse will be teaching Ashtanga-based Vinyasa yoga.

She will guide students through a set of postures, then give them some time to explore their motion and flow on their own. Her training has had an alignment focus, linking breath and movement, and she will be giving verbal adjustments and cues throughout the class.

When asked, she explained that she hopes to embody her vision of yoga as:

A multi-point practice intended to bring people closer to a peaceful and integrated life. It pairs movement and breath with your thought-process. The practice of the asanas (postures) on a mat is giving yourself a safe space to explore mindful breathing, how your mind reacts, and physiologically it helps create endorphins and cleanse your nervous system.”

By leading community-based classes, she hopes to make yoga accessible and inclusive.

She encourages anyone who is interested to stop by and check out the class. If you don’t own a yoga mat, bring a beach towel or woven rug, or practice on the grass!


Yoga with Elyse @ Detroit Bookfest


Yoga with Elyse @ Detroit Bookfest


Sunday, July 21st, 2019

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

1401 Division Street

Detroit, Michigan

This class is FREE and will occur weather-permitting.

We will meet just outside Shed 3 on Division Street. Elyse will be holding a sign that says Yoga.

Once everyone is gathered, we will walk as a group up to the Grassy Knoll (outside of Shed 5) and our yoga class will be held there from 11am to 11:30am.


Bring your own yoga mat/beach towel or practice on the grass!

No experience required.

All ages. Under 16, please have a parent present to sign a waiver of participation!

Yoga (image courtesy of Online Yoga)


Buy yoga mats on Amazon


Buy yoga mats @ TJ Maxx


Buy yoga mats @ Target


Buy unusual yoga pants here


Buy psychedelic yoga pants from Om Shanti

Yoga (image courtesy of Stock Free Images)

Yoga (image courtesy of Online Yoga)