Published on April 15th, 2019 | by Catherine Tingey0
Santa Monica Power Yoga
Santa Monica Power Yoga was the first yoga studio I landed in here in California.
It was January 2004 and I’d just arrived from New York. I’d practiced yoga since I was 18 – starting with Iyengar and then Bikram – but I knew nothing of this Power Yoga run by a guru-like figure, Bryan Kest.His classes were reportedly very difficult, and insanely popular.
And so I went.
Back in the day, there were lines out the door and if you loved yoga like me, this was a yoga buffet you could sample every day of the week at virtually any hour of the day.
I bought Bryan’s audio CD but intimidated by the cult surrounding him, waited another couple of years before wandering into his class.
Santa Monica Power Yoga and its then companion OG studio, PowerYogaEast, were the only donation-based yoga studios, perhaps the first in the area. When other studios tried the donation model, they ultimately found it unsustainable. That this studio was able to stay in business for over fifteen years is a miracle.
I absolutely loved this studio. In the winter, the windows would fog and even though people were inches from you, a stillness so quiet fell on the room. Bathed in sweat and smiles, you emerged a new person.
When I hurt my back (not yoga related) and had to cease all activity for a year, I longed to get back here. It’s reddish walls, spongey floor and even the faint aroma of sweat and incense were oddly comforting.
To feel so closely attached to a physical place is…bizarre. Perhaps this is how people feel about churches, even community centers that welcomed them. All I can say is this studio, and her teachers, has held me in so many beautiful, blissful and difficult moments of my life.
It’s the end of an epic era that Santa Monica Power Yoga will close on May 31, 2019. BK’s streaming will continue and I’m sure all the other teachers will find new venues.
So much has changed in the yoga world in the last 15 years. We have Instagram, YouTube and streaming yoga platforms.
In Santa Monica, we have the train and an endless supply of tourist dollars, and foot traffic.
And we have regular traffic which has made getting to this studio near the beach more unpleasant.
I’m grateful for anyone who has ever taught or subbed at this wonderful studio. I hope the new tenants realize what a special place and energy they’re inheriting.
If you’ve never been to Santa Monica Power Yoga, I highly recommend you take advantage of it while it lasts.
If there’s anything yoga teaches us, it’s that all we have is now.