After more than seven years at Union, general manager Chretienne Yalung continues to dedicate herself to group cohesion and the expansion of this arena in terms of diversity, equality and inclusion.
“It’s been a journey, it’s been a good evolution,” said 33-year-old Yalung. “It’s definitely been a challenge after COVID, but Unity has definitely built a really good community foundation.”
In addition to her managerial role, Yalung teaches spin, TRX, and Pilates.
“As the teaching has evolved over the past few years it was fun to grow with it… just to see how the group fitness was… it was fun,” she said.
After earning a BA in exercise science from EWU, Yalung focused on continuing her studies in physical therapy. However, after he began mandatory volunteer work in the field, he quickly realized that this was not the job he wanted to do.
“Frankly I didn’t like him,” she said. “It wasn’t the kind of work I could see myself doing for a long time.”
While searching for a new piece, Yalung took on several jobs at once.
“I was working four different jobs at that point,” he said, listing various service industry and fitness training positions.
While working at a smaller studio in Moran Prairie, a friend reached out to him for a managerial position at Unity. They said it would be 15 hours a week part time. But it quickly turned into a full-time job.
“I guess I didn’t realize at the time what it was going to turn into – it was just a different way I could try,” he said. But now, in addition to his love of teaching, work has become an avenue for other pursuits.
Since the coronavirus pandemic and the conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter with George Floyd, Yalung has been able to put more energy into efforts for diversity, equality and inclusion in the boutique fitness world. As a first-generation Filipino American, this topic has always been close to her heart.
“One of my favorite things… is trying to build a more inclusive wellness community in Spokane,” he said, emphasizing the importance of thinking beyond performative action and making a genuine effort to embody “what inclusivity means.”
In partnership with Lululemon, Yalung and co-founder Taylor Jaderquist launched an outreach program that provides diversity and inclusion education for healthcare professionals.
“We host workshops to bring accessible education to fitness trainers…therapists, doctors, teachers, all people who are learning to develop a holistic and diverse perspective,” he said, and talked about how attendees came from Seattle and Portland for these. free events.
“Our goal is to do everything for free and only allow education,” he said.
It was difficult to find affordable training in this field during COVID-19 because finding the right specialists was expensive.
“Obviously, it’s important that all these leaders, speakers, writers get paid for the work they do,” he said. Luckily, Lululemon was willing to contribute. Yalung is currently serving his third term as Lululemon brand ambassador.
Yalung has since hired his team at Unity to review the workshop.
“We don’t know if our endgame will be a nonprofit, but we have all the tools,” he said. At this point, their goal is to facilitate a quarterly workshop.
Passionate about health and wellness in all areas, Yalung looks forward to sharing this world with as many people as possible.
“It’s really great to be able to work with athletes, whether long-term or short-term… for them to feel empowered in their bodies and be able to say, ‘Oh my God, I feel stronger,'” she said. .
“A lot of inclusivity is challenging what society has conditioned in the fitness industry to think of looking healthy and beautiful (and) truly immersed in honoring your body, listening to what your body is.”