LOS ANGELES — The lotus flower is a symbol that works as a reminder of the power of resilience. It is also part of a large mural completed when the Center for Yoga reopened in August.
What You Need To Know
- The Center for Yoga – Los Angeles' longest, continual running yoga studio – reopened its doors on Tuesday
- A monumental community-based effort reclaimed the historic space that served as a pillar of the Larchmont Village neighborhood since the '60s
- To celebrate opening day, the Center for Yoga offered a full day of free classes beginning with an all-level class, taught by a group of the world's most respected teachers: Jeanne Heileman, Joe Kara, Patti Lewis, Andrea Marcum and Lisa Walford
- The center was founded in 1967 by yoga pioneer Ganga White and was purchased and run by YogaWorks in 2004 until the pandemic hit
When the studio shut down during the pandemic, the yoga community — including Kathy DeShaw — felt a deep loss.
"To be perfectly honest, when I saw the for lease sign, I felt gutted," DeShaw said.
DeShaw is one of the many members that helped bring the Center for Yoga back to life as part of a neighborhood effort that included students and teachers that fought to keep the studio's longtime legacy alive.
The center was founded in 1967 by yoga pioneer Ganga White. It was then purchased and run by YogaWorks in 2004 until the pandemic hit and the studio closed.
The impact rippled through Larchmont Village's local economy, as the street lost the regular foot traffic of 1,500 students per week.
"Those businesses have struggled. A lot of them have closed. Some of them have closed. They've told us because our students weren't there as their customers," DeShaw said.
Diana Buckhantz, a longtime Larchmont resident, has practiced regularly at the yoga studio for years and is now one of the investors in the studio's rebirth.
"We really wanted this to be community-owned and held," Buckhantz said.
While she walked down the street, she was excited to be part of bringing Larchmont back because she knows the financial hit the community has experienced.
"During the pandemic, of course, they weren't getting the foot traffic, they weren't getting the volume of customers, so many of the stores here had to close," Buckhantz said.
Locals drive Larchmont Village's economy, and the closing of YogaWorks made a noticeable difference at longtime gift-shop Village Heights, where students would pop in before and after class. While owner Louis Eafalla weathered the pandemic storm, he is ready for the familiar faces to return.
"I'm hoping that once the yoga center gets back up and running that some of the regulars that have sort of disappeared will come back," Eafalla said.
While the studio receives its finishing touches, some organizers and owners got a small taste of the class before doors reopen.
"To see it coming back to life is just a thrill for all of us who are involved," DeShaw said.