When the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing shutdowns took a toll on the fitness industry, a group of yoga, fitness and dance instructors banded together. 

Yoga instructor Raija Nalepa opened MI Fitness Community at 1016 E. Sibley St. in Howell earlier this month. 

Thirteen other instructors, almost all women, joined Nalepa and are sharing the approximately 1,200-square-foot studio, which features a multi-purpose yoga and workout space with a studio in back where Reiki master and healing arts practitioner Martina Fenech sees clients.

“I really wanted to provide space where people can feel uplifted and support each other,” Nalepa said. 

From left, Martina Fenech, Joy Echlin, Aliisa Carter, Raija Nalepa, Korie Parent and Amanda Asaro are some of the yoga and fitness instructors who have banded together at MI Fitness Community, shown Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

She said some of her instructors were practicing at studios that closed during the pandemic. 

“I connected with each of the women in a special way. I wanted to give them a space to be themselves,” she said. 

She said she also wants to bring the community together in a place where people can motivate and encourage each other in person. 

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