Jamel Randall, owner of a yoga and massage studio in Lathrup Village, doesn’t look like the typical picture people have in their mind of a yoga teacher, but he thinks that’s an advantage.
“People might think my tattoos or the way I walk or talk is not like a yogi, but I am a yogi. I’ve been through the awkwardness of being the only black guy in a yoga class,” Randall says.
On the plus side, having known what it’s like to be the “odd man out,” Randall says he knows how to relate to people who are new to yoga and aren’t sure they’re cut out for it.
“Maybe a client is bigger, or for some other reason they don’t fit that mold of what people think a yogi should look like. I try to make them feel comfortable, because I know what that’s like. We work with whatever limits you’ve got. Perfection is not what we’re looking for,” he says.
Randall started off pursuing physical therapy after graduating from high school but stumbled into a massage class and decided to “roll with it” and became a trained massage therapist at age 19. He worked in various places for a few years, finally settling into a job at “Immerse,” the spa at MGM Grand Detroit.
After a few years, he decided to strike out on his own and did massages out of his house, building up a clientele. During that same time, he got into yoga and found that it helped with a back injury he’d sustained while lifting weights.
He wanted to learn Sanskrit and get deeper into yoga and ended up in a teacher training course, LifePower Yoga with instructor Jonny Kest. Randall says that yoga and massage are a natural pairing.
“As we get older, we get tighter muscles but weaker bones,” he says. “Yoga helps to align the spine and the rest of the skeletal system, and it opens up the hips and hamstrings. Massage complements that by soothing those muscles.”
Randall specializes in Thai massage, which involves a lot of stretching and having the therapist put the client into various yoga poses right on the table. “I’m up on the table, finding acupressure points on the body, and that release muscles and promotes relaxation,” he says.
Randall’s approach to both massage and yoga are a little different than many other practitioners, and that’s reflected in his slogan: “Mind. Body. Beats.”
When you’re on the massage table, you’re not going to be hearing those tired old nature CDs that many therapists use.
“You’ll be hearing some nice beats, but more soothing ones,” he says. “In my yoga studio, I tend to play a lot of hip-hop, but I don’t like to get stuck on any one type of music.”
Randall’s studio is located at 208880 Southfield Road, Suite #183 in Lathrup Village. To learn more, call 248-914-4020 or visit www.jamelrandall.com.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in southeast Michigan. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.