This January, the pioneering donation-based studio, Yoga to the People, is moving into Dharma Mittra’s former space in Chelsea, expanding its repertoire of yoga styles, and, for the first time ever, it will charge a small fee for classes.
That’s a lot of change for the populist yoga phenomenon, which famously started on St. Mark’s in the East Village, and already boasts five more studios in New York City, plus locations in Seattle, San Francisco, and Berkeley (with another almost ready to open in Phoenix).
Its formulaic classes—which tend to be packed mat-to-mat—have become a undeniable resource for students, artists, and yoga newbies looking for a no-frills yoga experience at a low cost.
“I’ve always felt that Yoga to the People was a great stepping stone for beginning students to have a good experience with yoga,” says founder Greg Gumucio.
“We have a nice vinyasa program and great hot classes, but now we need to provide an opportunity for our students to explore the broader realm of yoga,” he says.
The Chelsea studio will play that role, offering a range of classes in disciplines such as Kripalu, Jivamukti, and, fittingly, Dharma Yoga. “I’ve always had a real reverence for Dharma Mittra,” explains Gumucio. “When I heard he was moving out of that location after more than 20 years, in my heart, I thought ‘I gotta get that space and preserve its yoga history.'” (The Dharma Yoga Center moved slightly East to a new space in the Flatiron.)
Kripalu superstar teacher Sam Chase will serve as a lead teacher, and Gumucio estimates the studio will fit up to 50 yogis at a time.
As for the change in pricing, classes at the new Chelsea studio will cost (a whopping) $5. Why the shift from the donation-based model here? “There are costs we have to account for. It’s purely logistics,” Gumucio says. —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit yogatothepeople.com