Yesterday I did my first Yoga Echo Park session (through meetup.com). The founder, Steve Arcos, teaches a 70 minute yoga class at Echo Park Lake free of charge (he asks for a $5 suggested minimum donation).
I have been on the hunt for a great yoga class. I like YAS DTLA, but it’s a little pricey and if fewer than 3 people are there for a class it is cancelled, which is a massive bummer. When I lived in West Hollywood, I tried to make it to outdoor, donation-based yoga at Runyon Canyon as often as possible.
I enjoyed the class and will be back. There were about 6 of us taking the class and despite the loud noise of traffic rushing by the park, it was so nice to be outside. I had to jet off a few minutes before the end to avoid a parking ticket (street sweeping apparently…typical LA). My only other criticism was that the grass was pretty wet so my mat got slippery, but I could always get a thicker mat.
The thing that struck me as weird, though, is the amount of controversy that has sprung up about the fact that yoga is being offered in a public space, for a “charge” [for people who do yoga, $5 is pretty nominal] and without a permit. The comments on this article in The Eastsider LA are crazy to me — if outdoor yoga isn’t your thing, wait the 70 minutes for the class to end and then do whatever you want on the small portion of the lawn the class takes up.
It makes me sad that something positive for the community is being seen in a negative light. I doubt the founder is getting rich off of 3 classes a week in the park. His intentions are admirable:
“Having grown up around Echo Park, I remember when the park was frequented by gang members and derelicts. I wanted to make sure that the park never returned to this so I came up with this class.”
I am not sure what the rules are from a legal standpoint in terms of permits, but from a moral point of view I think Steve should continue to offer the yoga classes. If the park isn’t okay with it — they’ll seek him out and let him know. Isn’t the whole point of parks to allow outdoor recreation? How is this much different from runners or walkers utilizing the walking path?
I was happy to see HuffPost have a more postive spin on it this morning.
What do you think? Are your for or against yoga in the park? Give your two cents in the comments!
Favorite place to do yoga in LA?