The Well Yoga Co-Op, at milepost 5.5 in Kill Devil Hills, was conceived by Laura Martier, and spearheaded by seven Outer Banks residents who saw a need to set up a structure that was inherently different from the typical yoga studio model — for participants and instructors alike.

"One of the things that sets The Well apart and makes it special is that the origins of The Well were based upon collaborative support and creating, with an idea that the space and what happened in the space could support the original founders in a way that working for any of the other yoga studios in the area — or actually anywhere — would not be able to do," Martier says. The Well founders wanted to find a way to support wellness practitioners in a way that reflected our efforts, our education, and training, and then also our entrepreneurial spirit."

If you’re a yoga instructor, unless you open your own studio, it is hard to pay the bills teaching classes, especially after putting so much time and money into training, says Shree Fulcher, one of The Well's instructors and a co-owner.

"What I noticed coming up in the yoga world was that I spent a lot of money to get trained, a lot of money traveling, a lot of time prepping, a lot of time doing my own personal work so that I could set up in front of a class authentically, and then I would walk away with $20 each time, no matter how many people got into the room," Fulcher says. "That doesn't work for me — to feel like I'm not getting some sort of equal energy exchange."

To date, all of the money that goes into the studio goes back out to the teachers.

"At The Well Co-Op, the teachers are the ones who are banking. Much like working in a salon, you rent your chair and what comes in the door belongs to you," says Fulcher.

Instructors are also given freedom to teach what they want to teach. There are no rules or regulations, so they have the freedom to follow their passions and get creative with their classes, which allows for a very eclectic, very diverse schedule of offerings.

Some big events coming up, all are welcome:

  • Sept. 1: Wellness Market. Local healers offer their gifts for $1 a minute to make their services accessible to all walks of life. Healing modalities there will include reflexologists, reiki masters, massage therapists, mediums, card readers, and vibrational healers;
  • Sept. 3: Grateful Yoga. Scott Lawlor (aka “Pickles”) leads a Grateful Dead-themed yoga session, with music, trippy lights, and a yoga flow that usually includes a dance party;
  • Sept. 6-8: Yoga Nidra Meditative Immersion with Jeremy Wolf;
  • Sept. 19: Monthly CommUNITY Healing Circle. The event, which works to connect participants with their future self, includes meditation and reiki.

Regularly scheduled yoga classes include:

  • Funktional Flow: A yoga class filled with fun and funk music;
  • EmPOWER Flow: A healing yoga, massage and reiki experience;
  • Dan and Laura Martier's Sound Journey: A healing sound journey involving gongs and an array of other musical instruments.

The Well focuses on inclusivity — the goal is to make everyone feel welcome, regardless of age, ability, sexual orientation, or lifestyle preference. The Well’s Yoga for 12-steps and Grateful Dead-themed yoga bring in people who might not typically show up to yoga. They know there are many avenues on the path to enlightenment, whether you are there to get serious and go inward, or to dance it out and let your freak flag fly.

Like Pickles says, "There's one truth but there's so many paths. You can take the beach road, I can take the bypass, but we're all going to get to Harris Teeter somehow."

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