controversial yoga in the park?

25 Oct

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).

not taken at 9 am, but another cool view of EP lake

not taken at 9 am, but a cool view of EP lake

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.

source: Facebook Yoga Echo Park -- YEP

source: Facebook Yoga Echo Park — YEP

IMG_4054

Echo Park Lake

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? 

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4 Responses to “controversial yoga in the park?”

  1. Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A. October 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    I love yoga in the park!!! I’ve been doing the free yoga at Runyon Canyon for years. I think it’s crazy that people have a problem with yoga instructors charging a nominal fee for a class. That’s way better than the $20 they charge at most studios. Let us enjoy our cheap yoga people!

    • gillian October 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      I loveeeee the yoga at Runyon! Beyond just for the money-saving aspect, I love yoga in the park because being outside is so much more fun than being trapped in a studio somewhere!

  2. GiGi Eats Celebrities October 27, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with people doing yoga in the park! It actually makes me happy to see that as opposed to drug dealing or homeless people trying to pick-pocket people!!! More yoga in the park = less of that other crap! So bring it on 🙂 I mean, obviously I would prefer FREE YOGA, but $5 is not really all that expensive. And well, hey… If no permit is required, then perhaps I should hold some $5 exercises in a park closest to wear I live! LOL!! Wanna help me teach it?

    • gillian October 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

      I am totally with you! I could see it being annoying if it were super loud, but it’s yoga…too bad spin bikes are tough to transport, because that could be fun, haha!

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