Yoga Vita

Musings on Yoga, Life, and the Yoga Life

A Socially Engaged Studio


My last post and all the comments on it have me thinking about why two of my major passions- – social justice and yoga- – are so distant from each other. They certainly shouldn’t have to be, yet most yoga studios are so disengaged from the communities around them–they simply fit into a classic business model (whether they like it or not) and that’s that.

But what would it look like to have a socially engaged yoga studio? What would that entail? Would it work? What are ways plain old yoga studios can become more engaged with the community?

I’ve seen a few examples of yoga studios becoming somewhat more involved in the community, but not many and not much. What can we learn from them?


5 thoughts on “A Socially Engaged Studio

  1. I’m wondering – how many students in your studio come from the community? That may be a starting point – perhaps free or reduced tuition introductory classes for low income students? David Miliotis used to run a free ashtanga program for disadvantaged kids when he used to teach in Santa Barbara.

  2. i enjoyed your previous post. many moons ago when i lived in seattle, the thing that incensed me more than anything was the complete refusal to discuss blatant racial and cultural disparities. instead everyone seemed to pat themselves on the backs for being so liberal. it drove me *crazy.*

    but, anyway, back to the issue at hand.

    what about the shala organizing and overseeing various karma yoga activities? these don’t have to be asana-related, but could be directly related to neighborhood involvement/improvement (perhaps park cleanup, needle exchange, providing a free meal once a week, etc).

  3. Yes–I like the ideas.

    As of now, pretty much all of the students come from other more wealthy neighborhoods, and that’s kind of a bummer. Maybe I can offer to teach a free/by-donation community class once a week.

    Organized karma yoga would be fun as well as useful. And Rew, I hear what you’re saying on Seattle! Ugh.

  4. actually, the Samarya Center here in Seattle offers a free class every Saturday and they have reduced prices on all of their classes to $8. They have pictures of all different types of folks on their website and they really do work with all populations. They are truly living the message–they are a wonderful non-profit yoga studio.

  5. I checked out the Samarya Center website and it looks fantastic! I’ll have to take a class or two there some time.

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