Monthly Archives: February 2012

Today’s must reads in Yoga – on Sex Cults and Anusara

When I set up this blog, I had visions of book reviews, occasional insights and musings on the DC yoga scene.  But then the NY press declared war on Yoga and Anusara blew up.  I’ll get to those other ambitions later, but for now, let’s try to keep our attention on this fascinating developments.

Anusara - Here is there just one article to read, Doug Brooks letter explaining why Anusara should simple disolve instead of trying to reinvent itself.  He is responding to the announcement by the new Anusara CEO announcing a 50/50 split with JF.  I tend to agree with Doug Brooks, but as we can see Anusara is big business, and while it may be the right thing to do, many people will cling to existence of a nice big branded tent, and (?) who knows how much money is flowing in the form of royalties, product sales and endorsements.  Like I said earlier, it is starting to look like all these resignations are just step one in what will be remembered as the great Anusara Fire Drill, everyone out, and then back in.

NYT/Sex Cult(Sorry about the graphic, I just thought it was too perfect, maybe they put Broad up to this?) William Broad’s article in the NYT drew fire from me and others yesterday, but today I read three great responses, if you have the time here are they are any why you need to read them:

  1. Please join my sex cult is just entertaining and does a more thourogh job than I did of pointing out how absurd that article was.
  2. Yoga and Tapas speaks directly to the ancient obscure origins of yoga and reminds us that there is not one core text, despite some teacher training progam’s penchant for telling new students that the Sutras are that.
  3. Sex and Yoga: A Broad distorted view of Yoga history offers a useful primer on Tantra

Happy reading!

Thank you Dr. Broad, that was amazing. (Re: Yoga as a sex cult!)

In one feel swoop Dr. Broad has made amends to the yoga community.  I offer my gratitude.  Yesterday’s NYT article makes up for the silly injury article you wrote earlier and that book you wrote where you evaluated “Yoga”.  About that book, I thought Cathryn Keller said in best in the Post when she wrote:

At the big-picture level, Broad loses his footing. His de facto definitions of both yoga and science are too narrow for the complexity of his subject. He announces early on that he will not explore “meditation and mindfulness, liberation and enlightenment,” leaves the brain science of meditation for others, ignores Ayurvedic medicine, and does not analyze the complex historic relationship between science and yoga in colonial and postcolonial India.

Sorry she was tough on you Dr. Broad.  But for this article, thank you.  You have not only discredited yourself in one stunningly absurd sentence but you have also given us yogis advertising we could never afford.

Your litany of studies showing how yoga improves sex lives is dead on.  Generally, we don’t put this in the marketing materials, since we don’t want to devalue the sacred and useful teachings we are sharing, but your article will surely get this poorly kept secret out.  I look forward to more new students.  Thanks for the press.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed in you after the whole book thing.  It is good of you to fall on your sword by saying something as idiotic as “Yoga teachers and how-to books seldom mention that the discipline began as a sex cult…”  Wow.  Can I please get your source on this?  Because the last time a student asked me how yoga began it took me 3 hours to explain that nobody actually knows.  The best I could do was point to the chart below from Alison Hicks.

Dr. Broad, don’t be hurt by the angry blogs out there.  (I mean Naomi seems mad, but she still has a sense of humor she does mention her awesome… -ness)  I see what you are up to with this and I appreciate it.  Most everyone who reads this article will surly see how you have taken gross oversimplification and simply making up ancient history to new heights.

Have you considered staying with science?

 

Updated: See more responses described here.

AnusaraGate’s impact on DC and my favorite article so far…

What does AnusraGate mean for DC yoga?  Well three things at least.  First, two of our better teachers have stepped out of the tent.  Second what was the biggest Anusara studio in the US is now no longer exclusive to Anusra.  Third, Douglas Brooks is getting some more air time, and as usual–if you get through it all–it is worth it.

1. Two DC certified teachers resign. A week ago, a couple of my favorite teachers (both of whom featured in my list of what I consider a rockin’ week of yoga in the District) “resigned” from Anusara.  Jordan Bloom posted to his mailing list and Naomi Gottlieb-Miller posted this brief statement to her facebook page:

Today, I am taking the leap and walking away from my licensing with Anusara, Inc and John Friend. While I will always hold the method of Anusara in the highest esteem and continue to teach it’s brilliant, effective and empowering principles to my students, I cannot in good conscience, continue to align with John Friend.  Today and every day, I will continue to offer the yoga I love to the students who inspire me guided by the teachers I admire.

Both statements came out on the 15th and the list of Anusara teachers who are leaving is long.  You can see a timeline and list of teachers at the SF Anusara blog.  There are likely other teachers who resigned, but these are the only two certified teachers I know of in DC, please feel free to let me know who I’ve missed.

What I’m curious about is, what actually changes?  What changes for these teachers when they step out of the drooping Anusara tent?  Or is this like a fire drill, everyone outside, and then when we get the all clear we can go back?

2. Willow Street goes “beyond.”  As I read their letter, it seems like they are taking  a step away from John Friend as it is a timely thing to do.  It doesn’t sound like there will be any major changes at Willow Street, other than that they can now have non-certified teachers teach.  (Which is good, because at least two of them just resigned 3 days before this letter came out).  The letter is signed by Joe and Suzie, who according to the timeline are in slightly different places.   Joe resiged, and Suzie is on the committee to rebuild Anusara.

But quite frankly, little needs to change.  It is a great studio teaching a powerful system.  Distancing themselves from John Friend seems like the right thing to do, it will reduce the guru adoration of JF and that is not a bad thing.  This is their leading paragraph, underlines are my own:

Regardless of whether they are maintaining an official license with Anusara, Inc., every single one of our yoga teachers is highly trained in and committed to the elements of Anusara yoga: its principles of alignment, its heart-oriented method, its therapeutic approach, and its underlying philosophy. Indeed, we have the deepest respect and highest regard for the teachings of Anusara yoga, and are grateful to both John Friend and Anusara’s many senior teachers, including our own Suzie Hurley, for this yoga method that inspires and heals bodies and hearts.

3. Doug Brooks get a louder voice. It feels like a each teacher has written eloquent goodbyes, and the leading formerly-Anusara teachers, like Elena Brower have had some revealing commentary.  But, if we want to get past the “what happened” and learn something from all this, then the best thing I’ve read so far is Doug Brooks statement on Elephant Journal.  DB left the Anusara tent a long time ago and continues to teach.  I have more of his stuff on my shelf than official Anusara materials.  He writes about the Guru, as usual he is verbose, but also–true to form–he’s good.  Watch this space, I am still reflecting on what he wrote and will be adding my take soon.

WaPo article about Living Social shows Yoga studios not alone with their concern…

Two days ago, the WaPo published an article about another small business put of by Living Social’s new space at 918 F, in downtown DC.  It resonated with my post about Living Social’s new model as it was applied to my home studio, Yoga District.  The whole thing is as fascinating to me, as it is unnerving to small businesses.

Fascinating because Living Social has invested heavily in a truly fabulous space.  It is beautiful, and that costs money.  So they are going to be putting on events there all the time.  Yoga, food, dance, this class or that.  Count on it and take a few the space is really impressive.  This change in business model might give them an edge on their competitor, Groupon, but will it edge out their partners?

To put together hot new events at the pace they need to, they need lots of ideas.  New ideas aren’t easy to come by, so you need to copy sometimes, or better get someone else to come in and use their idea.  Painting and wine, yoga, salsa and mojitos, whatever.  What we are seeing in the WaPo articles and what we saw with the YD event can be thought of as the small businesses seeing what they saw as a marketing partner suddenly becoming a competitor.  People are nervous.

LS will say what they have always said, this will give small businesses amazing visibility.  People will leave wanting more of this restaurant or that studio.  I really hope they are right.  A better point, they have made and should probably put forward first, is that when people do deals, the sheer volume can overwhelm the capacity at a restaurant or yoga studio and by hosting events in their multi-level, multi-purpose, period-designed, centrally-located space, they are eliminating that problem.  I agree here, my first blog on LS focused on how I knew they had just done a deal because the studio was suddenly packed with unfamiliar faces.

So LS has taken a bold step and they are making people nervous, this will play and I’m sure they will find a way to make it work.  They have to, they need to pay a downtown lease and show a return for large capital improvements.  Let me focus on the Yoga…

In my last post, when I talked about them hosting classes, I had not understood what they were up to.  That this was an early step in a very new direction.  Are they opening a studio?  Are they competing with the studios they were just marketing for?  I don’t think so, in the deal they did, 917 people bought in.  Let’s say their space takes 50 people, that means they will host ~18 one hour classes followed by some wine and music.  That isn’t going to put studio out of business.  But it did bring in $17,423 so odds are they will do it again.  And again, and again.  Will that put studios out of business?   No.

But it will be fascinating to see how the “Living Social Yoga Shala” evolves.  Anything that gets people to Yoga is good by me.  Mixing it with wine, may not have been the best call, and as we saw in my earlier blog, communications can improve, but all said and done I wonder if Groupon has more to worry about that the small businesses do.

With our heads clearly from Shivratri, let us remember Yogis: change is a constant.  Shiva has another new dance hall.  As always, we have no choice but to dance.

Living Social, cutting out the studio, but using their brand???

Really?  Who is teaching this?” was the email I got, forwarding me today’s living social deal.  Not only was I amused to see wine and yoga paired up, but I was surprised to see that the studio running this deal was the one I teach at, more surprised to see that we now had a studio at 918 F St.  Yoga District is growing fast, we have four studios and may open another.  918 F, however, is downtown and prime real estate, it didn’t make sense.  But there we were, headlining this deal at our new (?) address.

So I googled the address, turns out it is Living Social’s office!  Maybe they typo’d?  So I called the studio owner.  She was asked to provide teachers for a class at their studio and she did so.  She loves to share yoga and make it accessible, good for her.  I love her leadership and I love Yoga District, as you could probably tell from my earlier post.

Turns out, when they asked her for teachers they left a few details out, details like

  • This will be a public class.
  • We will use your name (as well as your teachers).
  • We’ll throw in some wine.

I find that disappointing.  It almost feels like the studio I call home was kind enough to furnish some teachers (for a fixed price) and in suddenly found themselves endorsing a Yoga/Wine class that will profit Living Social, not Yoga District.

Then I read this blog which explains how Living Social doesn’t view itself as being in the “daily deals business” but rather “we view ourselves as a local commerce business”.    Good for them, but bad for the people who they are reselling, while using their brand and resources.

I blogged before how Yoga studios using living social was a bad idea.  Now they seem to be getting into the business directly.  This is bad news for Yoga studios.  To the 575 people who bought this deal (as of 5 pm the day it came out), please go, there will be great teachers.  But you could have spent half as much and gotten 3 intro classes at the actual studio

Support Yoga, not Living Social.

UPDATE: See next blog about Living Social space at 918 F and WaPo coverage about similar concerns!

Have you hugged your yoga teacher lately? A guest blog by Cara George

My Dad introduced me to yoga in the mid-90s when I was an angst-y teenager who refused to wear anything other than my maroon Doc Marten boots. It was a big deal for me to be barefoot in spandex and co-mingling with hippies, but I loved it too much to allow the hippies to ruin it for me (I love hippies now, by the way!). Fast forward 17 years and here I am today, having just finished a Yoga District Teacher Training. It was teachers like Mike who intensified my love for yoga and inspired me to finally do a training after all of this time. I had taken Mike’s class a gazilion times before doing the training, and he was kind enough to allow me to observe a few of his classes as part of my training requirements.

Observing a yoga class was new territory for me. Honestly, my expectation was that I would grow frustrated as I sat idle watching fellow yogis sweat it out over a few rounds of Eka Pada Koundinyasana. But that wasn’t the case! At the risk of sounding like the recent “Shit Yogis Say” youtube video, watching a yoga class unfold is a wildly illuminating, psychedelic and energetic experience. One that will make you rethink the power of collective energy, and further acknowledge the intense appreciation you have for your teacher.

Teachers are the train conductors. And by train, I’m not referring to the civilized Amtrak quiet car, but rather Ozzy Osbourne’s crazy train going off the rails. Think about it: there they are with a room full of passengers ready (or not) to be taken on a trip through breath and posture, and perhaps even feed their spirit along the way. They all differ in body, mind, experience, and attitude, but all of them hope the conductor will get them to where they need to go. In addition to ensuring that the train leaves on time and all are, indeed, aboard, teachers are also conducting the sequencing, music, timing, demonstrating, people who aren’t listening, people who aren’t thinking, and people who are thinking too much. And once they have a handle on all of that, they, of course, also need to make sure that no one is going to break any one of their 206 bones (a number I learned in Teacher Training!). This requires intense preparation, or an uncanny ability to innovate and improvis

But there’s one more thing that they do. As you already know, there is an intense amount of collective energy in a yoga class. Up until I observed class, I experienced this energy from my own mat. Always grateful to my fellow yogis for their energetic contributions, I still internalized it and channeled it for my own body and mind. The energy can be uplifting, intense, sad, filled with joy, or some combination of them all. Watching this energy evolve was fascinating, and it’s the teacher who plays a vital role in the evolution. The energy is the constant. When that many people get together to breath, reflect, practice asana and meditate, a build-up of energy is simply unavoidable. The variable, however, is the power we give to it and the methods we use to channel it. And this is where the teacher comes in.e on the spot. Or both.

The power of collective energy is palpable. I’ve observed two classes thus far, and each one had their own energetic identity.

The first class was filled with an intense joy and lightheartedness, but only after about 30 minutes of intense asana. People arrived to this class quiet and almost somber, but strangely the energy shifted and joy was all around. Mike played a major role in this by allowing the energy to evolve naturally, but also guiding it, knowing when to let it ride, when to make a joke, when to talk dharma.

The second class was practically the opposite. People arrived jovial and giggly, to the point where it became necessary for Mike to do a longer centering practice in the beginning that included pranayama and chanting. This set the energetic tone and there was an undeniable intensity in the room. Yogis seemed to be entranced by the music and the collective breath was loud and full of life. As the class progressed, the intensity continued to build and it was impossible to ignore. Mike, once again, knew when to let it build, when to take it down a notch by cracking a joke, and when to bring people’s attention to it. At the end of that class we sat together, riding high from the collective energy. We listened as Mike spoke about the energy in the room, guiding us to tune-in to it, internalize it, share it, and use it for powerful transformation.

I suppose this blog post is a really, really long-winded way of saying that it takes a lot to be a great yoga teacher. So….have you hugged your yoga teacher today?

About Cara Her dad introduced her to yoga in the mid-90’s and…wow! what a gift. Since then, Cara has moved around a lot, but has never forgotten to bring along her yoga and meditation practice. From Pittsburgh to Prague to New York and most recently to DC, Cara has been incredibly lucky to have found amazing yogis along the way. Yoga and meditation have allowed Cara to see that the divine is truly everywhere. She has a fondness for aesthetic, artistic and visual expression, which is what inspired her to go to architecture school and what makes her job as a designer really, really fun!

Ayurveda: Augusta’s picks on books to learn more

When I read Augusta’s blog, I knew people would want more, so I asked her for some recommended readings, here you go!

The Path of Practice, A woman’s book of Ayurvedic Healing by Bri. Maya Tiwari, this is where I got the Ayurvedic seasons, the energy and the focus (she calls them mantras) come from this book. The rest is my interpretation and experience on what I think these seasons mean to me. She also has recipes for each of the seasons. I highly recommend this book.

Optimal Health for a vibrant life, by Tiffany Cruikshank. Tiffany combines Ayurveda, Acupuncture and kick ass yoga together. Great information and a good book to reference for detox. You can do the full detox method or you can do as I do and incorporate parts of it into your lifestyle. I don’t really do full fledge detoxes generally, I like to keep myself pretty clean as a general rule. She also has recipes, they aren’t linked to the seasons, but you can look at the ingredients and figure out which ones are best for each time of year.

Ayurveda Revolutionized by Edward F. Tarabilda, a lot of good information on Ayurveda and a good reference. I would emphasize, getting to know yourself is the most important part of Ayurveda, so it’s good to experiment and try different things. There is a saying is Ayurveda, “one man’s exlir, is another man’s poison”

The book of Ayurveda, by Judith H. Morrison, this is good if you are knew to Ayurveda and/or you like pictures. There is some information but it does not go into depth.

The Vegan Muse and Friends by Charlie Pinkston, this is a great cookbook, lots of really good recipes. She doesn’t link any recipes to Ayurvedic seasons but you can look at the ingredients and figure out what is best. (Isaac Pena is in the book!) FYI, I don’t really “follow” recipes, I use them for inspiration and then I just make something along those lines. (I think that’s a myer’s briggs question, I think I’m perceiving)

Yoga International, generally always has an Ayurvedic article and recommendations for seasonal eating. The Spring magazine has a great article on Field of Greens and there is a picture of fiddleheads!!! I love fiddleheads, ate them a lot growing up. Spring is one of my favorite seasons for eating. Great magazine, highly recommend.

 

Do you know your six Ayurvedic Seasons? A guest blog by Augusta Hemann

As an East Coast New England girl I’ve always loved the changing seasons, enjoying each one as it came for different reasons, and always being a seasonal eater, enjoyed the different types of food that became available each season.  As an analytical project manager I’ve always enjoyed breaking things down into manageable iterations, things like New Year’s resolutions never really worked for me, I’ve always needed much smaller time periods to focus on change in my life.  As a naturalist and someone who loved to run around naked outdoors as a child (this is easy to do when you don’t really have neighbors), being in tune with my natural surroundings and the rhythm of life has always been a part of who I am.  All of these things made it easy for me to adapt the Ayurvedic seasons and use it as a framework to pay attention to particular areas of my life that make sense and align to the natural rhythm of nature.

The Ayurvedic seasons are broken down in two month increments which allows even the most Vata types a small enough time period to focus on particular areas of your life.  Each season has an associated energy and focus.

Late Winter: 15 January-15 March
Energy=Reprieve, Focus=Rest and Reflect 
A good time of year to start a meditation practice if you haven’t done so, or look at your current meditation practice and different techniques you want to apply.

Spring: 15 March – 15 May
Energy=Rebirth, Focus=Regenerate and Transform
A good time to clean your mind, body and even your surroundings, your deep thoughts and introspection from Late Winter now begin to transform into action.

Summer: 15 May – 15 July
Energy=Play, Focus=Celebrate and Rejoice
A good time for catching up with friends, planning and having events with friends (wedding), looking to see if we have become obsessive in our habits, it is a time to experiment with breaking the mold, stepping outside the norm, being creative and getting outdoors.  We are all kids at heart.

Early Fall: 15 July – 15 September
Energy=Celebration, Focus=Reorganize and Revitalize
A good time to get away, explore, go on vacation and see something new.

Autumn: 15 September – 15 November
Energy=Surrender, Focus=Harvest and Simplify
A good time to look at new projects, focus on accomplishing goals and using the new found energy from creative play and vacation from the previous season to get a lot of things accomplished.  You are planting seeds and you are steady and determined.

Early Winter: 15 November – 15 January
Energy=Gathering, Focus=Gather and Contain
A good time to go back to your roots, a good time to spend with family and take appreciation for the good fortune you have.

Since we are in Late Winter, I’ll elaborate a little more on this season.  Take your cue from the sun and use this two month period as an opportunity to rest.  I try to schedule one day a week where I go to bed early…much earlier than usual.  It is best to do this during the week as opposed to the weekend for the most benefit.  It’s a time to slow down and evaluate your life  Are you doing too many things? Are you worrying too much?  What is really important?  Where can you find space, slow down?  These are the things to look at during this time period and find ways where you can add relaxation into your life.

Meditation: If you don’t meditate, this is a good time to start incorporating meditation into your practice.  If you do meditate, this may be a good time to increase the amount of time spent on mediating or looking at new techniques to add to your practice.  This is the time for lots of introspection, time to spend a lot of time with yourself and a good time to learn to enjoy being alone.  Journalling is also very powerful at this time, the thoughts and ideas you write down will become actions later on in the year.  The stack of books you have been meaning to read are a great way to spend the evening; that Tolstoy novel you have been meaning to read would be great on a windy night with a cup of ginger tea.

Diet: Diets are very individualized, so I will share some of what I do, the specifics may not apply to you but the general concepts are good to follow.  This is a good time to rebuild muscle, tissues and strength in the body, so diets with lots of protein, omegas and amino acids are very good.  For me foods that cut down on inflammation (such as Walnuts) are ideal.  This is a good time of year to focus on breakfast and having a hearty, healthy breakfast to start your morning.  For me, this time of year I like to make eggs with freshly ground black pepper, Nori Krinkles or Arame (seaweed) and freshly grated turmeric root (I LOVE fresh turmeric, there is nothing like it, it’s really hard for me to go back to ground turmeric).    I also really love Sea Buckthorn as it is full of Vitamin C and Omegas.  Genesis Today does a 100% pure Sea Buckthorn which I really like.  Whole Farro is really good, I cook it in Mushroom broth and a little wine and eat it with tempeh cooked in coconut oil and nutritional yeast.  I add Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar to the Farro and sometime capers as well. A good vegetable dish to try, is take a bunch of Brussels sprouts, cut in half, roast in coconut oil and then toss with pesto and pomegranate seeds.  This is very filling and a hearty vegetable for this time of year.

I hope you find the time this season to rest and reflect.  Stay warm and enjoy being with yourself!
About Augusta:
Having lost her father and sister when she was young, Augusta has always had a focus on health from a holistic view.  She continually looks at the many aspects of her life and how they contribute to her well being.  She is also a yoga enthusiast and teacher who believes you are the yoga you do and the food you eat.

Yoga injury data is important, are you counted?

I had the privilage of working with some cutting edge social workers in high school and the early college years.  They explained to me how all the cutting edge work normally happened in California first and then spread out to the country.   It seems Yoga isn’t terribly different.

When I wrote about university offered teacher trainings, I found an very established program over at LMU in California.  Well they are at it again.  Now they are offering a Yoga Injury Survey.  I just took it and I can’t wait to see the results they get.  Yogis will find this very interesting, and with all the crazy press (NYT, NPR) being generated by Dr. Broad’s recent book, this data matters more than ever.

I’ll keep this blog short, go take the survey, the more people who click through the better the data will be.

Still here?  This is what the survey authors write on the first page if you are still not sure:

Dear Yoga practitioner:You have the opportunity to be part of the following special survey study designed by an integrated, Yoga-oriented team of doctors and healthcare professionals. The goal is to better understand modern Yoga and asana practice in order to keep people healthier when practicing their practice.With all of the buzz these days about Yoga and injuries, it´s time to ask the practitioners about their experiences. This is where YOU can play an important part! In only 5 to 10 minutes you can fill out this quick, anonymous, multiple choice survey and contribute in a meaningful way to the study and evolution of Yoga.

The intention behind the study is to learn why people are getting hurt and where additional education is needed in the Yoga community to ultimately help people stay safer when practicing. The results will be published through various media outlets and websites and it will be available worldwide to the Yoga and scientific communities – as well as to you and me.

Honestly, we’re all kind of curious to see how many people we can get to share their story. The more people that tell us about their injuries from Yoga, the more valid it makes the study and the closer we get to the truth about how we as a community can collectively improve. As Patanjali said in the Yoga Sutras, “Heyam Dukham Anagatam…prevent the danger before it arises.”

The survey is only running for 108 days so we need you to do some Karma Yoga and forward this to your friends, email lists and social media pages and help us spread this like a wildfire! Let’s all be the change!!!

Please fill out the survey by clicking on the link below and sharing your experiences now.

Thank you in advance for your contribution that will help to further the study of Yoga.

NAMASTE

The Yoga Injury Research Team

Eden Goldman, D.C., E-RYT500 (Co-founder of Yoga Doctors)
Terra Gold, L.Ac., E-RYT500 (Co-founder of Yoga Doctors)
Larry Payne, Ph.D., E-RYT500 (Founding President of IAYT)
Felicia Tomasko R.N., E-RYT500 (President of California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine)
Matthew Taylor, Ph.D., P.T., RYT500 (Former President of IAYT)
Michael Brandwajn, L.M.T., E-RYT500 (Owner of Akila Yoga)
Edward Goldman, M.D. (Co-founder of MDVIP)

Share your experience, take the survey.

Why I’m voting Yoga District the best of DC studios… (by March 1!)

“Best” yoga studio is a bit of an odd thought, isn’t it?  Like teachers, each studio has a specific vibration that connects with students and doesn’t with others.  When students find their studio or teacher they stay there.

Grouping Yoga studios in with pizza places and bike shops seems to support this trend of thinking of Yoga as something we consume; something else we’ve commoditized and need to get the  best price for.  I wrote strongly on how LivingSocial deals were a problem in this regard.

So why would I spend a blog suggesting that voting for one studio is a good idea?  Because we practicing an Eastern tradition in a Western setting and this Best of DC designation has an impact.

When YD wins this award (which it  did last year after taking best new studio the year before) people are more likely to give it a try and I think that matters.  People may think “this is too good to be true, only $10, it can’t be very good.”  But it is very good, indeed it is unadulterated.  There is a single pointed focus on sharing Yoga, that’s it.  I’m voting for YD because I want them to win so that more people come and see for themselves.

This is why I teach at YD.  It is where I see the fewest compromises being made between teaching Yoga and running a business.  Their success challenges the Yoga establishment to stay focused on this issue.  I have the privilege of knowing everyone from the leaders to the teachers to the students and everyone cares first about one thing: Yoga.  And making Yoga accessible.

YD opened in 2006, both classes and intro passes were $10.  Six years later, classes and intro passes are still $10.  That makes it the only studio I know of where, in real terms, classes are getting cheaper every year.  And they are the cheapest in DC.

They are not only surviving but they are thriving, they have 4 busy studios and rumor has it that another may be on the way.  They have managed this by putting almost every penny back into the studios.  No tea lounges or first floor retail experiences (I am actually begging them to start selling mats and food, at least, but this is another discussion), just Yoga.  As much as they can give.

Don’t take my word for it, read their blog, drop in and take a class, meet the teachers and then instead of buying a Google deal to this or that studio, keep the energy in DC and spend about the same (or less) at YD.  Come to class, see for yourself: it is a vote for affordable quality yoga run by a community of Yogis.  That gets my vote.