Good things on the horizon for Lakeside wellness center


Photos by Donna Schillaci except the last one Courtesy of Blue Horizons Wellness

By Donna Schillaci

After years of planning and a somewhat tough start, Blue Horizons Wellness (BHW) is off and running, beginning with its official grand opening in Lakeside last week.

Vicki Schneider, owner and director of the BHW center at 1991 Lakeshore Drive, first dreamed of starting her own yoga and meditation studio almost eight years ago when she and her husband, Bill, were living in Columbus, Ohio. “I  had been doing yoga off and on for a long time,” Schneider says, “but I just fell in love when I started teaching it. People started telling me how good they felt, and from that point on, I knew I wanted to open a studio.”

But the Schneiders wanted to do one other thing first: move to Muskegon, a place they had come to love while visiting relatives here, and enjoying the beautiful lakeshore in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. Schneider, who grew up in Fraser north of Detroit, says they were also growing weary of the congestion in Columbus. So they made the decision to relocate and spent two years house-hunting here, finally buying a home in Norton Shores.

As they searched for a new residence, they were also looking at commercial properties that could serve a dual purpose, as the new yoga studio and as an office for Schneider Risk Management (SRM), an environmental consulting firm the couple has operated for several years. After looking at potential sites downtown and elsewhere in Lakeside, the Schneiders signed a lease on the Lakeshore Drive property last March, opening the BHW center in mid-April with SRM in an adjoining office.

Shortly thereafter, Schneider’s 88-year-old father was seriously injured in a fall, and she spent much of her time traveling to the Detroit area to take care of him. With her change in priorities, it was necessary to close down BHW for a short time. Sadly, her father passed away in September.

Last week’s grand opening marked a new beginning for BHW. With special free classes offered Monday through Wednesday, the studio hosted an open house and ceremony last Thursday evening. The Schneiders (with scissors) are shown at center in the ribbon-cutting photo above, along with his sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Jim Hopper of North Muskegon. Dawn Johnson, Membership Vice President at the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, and Michigan State Representative Terry Sabo were on hand to celebrate the opening.

During her remarks, Schneider said,  “It takes a village to start a business.” She was referring to the many people who helped her along the way, including Mabel Lara, Jen Wolffis, Krissy DeVries, Tari Follett, and others.

Schneider says she has learned that “she can’t do it all.” As a 500-hour registered yoga instructor and level two integrated restoration meditation teacher, she leads most BHW classes, but she is aided by a few other instructors and is looking to hire more. Also, she’s thankful for the vendors who have given her merchandise to sell on consignment. In a room adjacent to the studio, BHW sells yoga accessories, soaps, essential oils, and books.

As the name implies, BHW classes and events encompass a variety of subjects and practices that promote health, healing, and well-being. In addition to many targeted yoga and meditation sessions, the classes focus on mindfulness, breath, movement, and inspiration. A new class starting next month will speak to the benefits of essential oils.

Special yoga and meditation sessions for veterans, first responders, and their families are held each Wednesday evening, 5:30 to 7 p.m., led by instructors trained in an integrated restoration program called Warriors at Ease. These classes are designed to improve the response to stress, reduce chronic pain, improve quality of sleep, and decrease symptoms associated with PTSD and trauma.

Schneider is pleased with how her business has evolved and hopes to expand even more in the future. “What’s nice about our studio is that it’s always welcoming. We don’t turn anyone away. We let you do what you need to do to heal.”

To that end, some of the BHW classes (including the veterans’ programs) are offered on a donation basis, meaning people can pay whatever they want or can afford. For a complete listing of classes and upcoming events, go to