Giving back to the community creates a sense of unity and encourages positive change, and a Spring Lake resident has gone above and beyond on her journey to make a difference.
When Sandy Parker, owner of On The Path Yoga, opened her first location in the Village Baker building, she taught outdoor yoga classes for the Spring Lake Village but wasn’t allowed to charge for them. As an advocate for healthy living, Parker was more than happy to provide the classes for free.
However, many who attended wanted to pay her for her time, prompting her to make her classes donation-based. She directed these donations not to her studio, but back into the community.
Parker has donated to the walkway at Mill Point Park, the Bark Park, the Parks and Rec Department, and many other non-profits. Her most recent fundraising has gone towards Spring Lake’s new Tanglefoot Park
“Sandy has made many significant contributions to the Spring Lake community,” says Tyra Jonas, communications specialist with the village of Spring Lake. “She hosted yoga classes at Central Park, collected donations, and gave all of it to the community.”
Resources for women
As a staunch supporter of women’s rights and female empowerment, Parker’s latest effort to give back focuses on educating and providing resources to local women.
“In the Tri-Cities, there’s no obstetric care. You have to go to Muskegon, Holland, or Grand Rapids,” Parker says. “I’m trying to bring together people who work in this realm to give women access to the best possible options.”
She recently organized Lakeshore SURGE: Claiming our Reproductive Power, a free community event on Nov. 6 that offered reproductive information, resources, and support. Attendees were able to meet with doulas, midwives, and pelvic health experts, experience Yoni steaming, find breastfeeding support, and participate in prenatal yoga.
Trained as health educator
As part of a family of nurses, Parker’s health education journey began while going to school to follow in her family’s footsteps. After working in a hospital for two years, she discovered it wasn’t for her and switched to pursue a degree in health education.
“I was being taken advantage of,” says Parker. “I wasn’t being treated like a student nurse. I was a kid given way too much responsibility, and I broke down and cried thinking, ‘This can’t be my career.’”
With her Bachelor of Science degree in health education, Parker has been teaching foundations of wellness to people of all ages. She has experience and professional training in yoga, biomechanics, breath facilitation, and pelvic health, and is a certified restorative exercise specialist and Body Ready Method pro, nutritional therapy practitioner, and Ayurvedic lifestyle consultant.
“I believe in information sharing, which is why I got into teaching at health clubs. I have been teaching movement modalities for 40 years,” Parker says. “Aerobics, swim teams, everything from aquatics to Zumba.”
She believes everyone can lead a healthy, radiant, and vital life. That belief has motivated her to continue hosting more free community events. Parker hopes that by hosting these events, she will not only be able to raise funds for worthy causes but also provide essential health education and resources to the community.
Anyone interested in learning more about Sandy’s free community events can subscribe to her newsletter
or attend her pelvic health workshop on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2-5 p.m.