I heard through the grapevine that another donation based studio was opening in Santa Monica and I was intrigued. So I asked Ally Hamilton of Yogis Anonymous to share her story with us - what inspired her, what makes her studio different and why open one now. Enjoy! Carmena
The last few months have been very eventful for me and for my family. On July 14th, I had a baby girl, and on the same day construction began at our new donation-based yoga studio Yogis Anonymous . Two births at once. It’s funny in a way that it takes longer to grow a person than it does to build a studio. (Although the argument could be made that the studio has been years in the making). That journey began in the middle of April when we started looking at spaces. It might seem like a funny time to take on a project like that while six months pregnant and already a mommy to a 2.5 year old very active little dude AND teaching full-time.
I had such a clear picture of the kind of studio I wanted to create, and with the economy being the way it was, I kept seeing “For Lease” signs. Finally my curiosity got the better of me and I found myself pulling over in front of a space and calling the number. I made an appointment. I didn’t really think I was going to open a place, I just thought I’d educate myself a little bit. If I were to do it, I knew I was committed to the donation yoga studio model, so I knew we needed some decent square footage (we being myself and my husband, who is now also my business partner). This quickly became a situation where the right people started showing up at the right time.
I called a number on a space that looked promising and began talking to a broker who happens to have his name on almost every building in Santa Monica. He immediately told me of two locations he thought would be perfect and we went to look. One of the locations was ideal, ground-floor in the back of a courtyard, (so it’s also quiet), right next to a big public parking structure. As soon as we walked in. I thought, “This is it.” I could see in my mind’s eye exactly how it would be. My main premise is that I want to have the teacher-friendliest studio in town. I think that’s the way to attract the best, most experienced teachers. (So far this theory has proved true–our schedule includes Ashley Turner, David Romanelli, Annmarie Solo, Brock and Krista Cahill, John Sahakian, Felicia Marie Tomasko, Tommy Rosen, Jorgen Christiansson, Daniel Stewart for monthly kirtan…and me:)). I also think if a teacher feels appreciated, supported, promoted and celebrated, s/he is going to be very psyched to walk in the door to teach, and I think practitioners will also feel that energy and feed off of it, plus they will benefit from a teacher’s years of experience in the room. It’s a win/win.
I’m also excited about having an impact on the community, both locally and globally. Most Saturday nights have been blocked out for fundraising events ( aka awesome parties), where we can raise money for local non-profits like Heal the Bay, or global causes. In October we’ll host an event for the Africa Yoga Project. In addition to using the power of yoga for good, this also creates an environment for practitioners to meet each other in regular clothes and have a chance to talk and hang out. I want our studio to be a beacon of positive energy, something you can feel when you walk through the door, and take with you when you walk out. I think the possibilities are limitless and I couldn’t be more excited.
Yogis Anonymous is located at 1221 2nd Street right next to a large public parking structure. We open September 1st with a full schedule. All classes are run on donation, the suggested donation is $14. Our website www.yogisanonymous.com will be live on August 25th, in the meantime, please find us on Facebook.