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Yoga collective takes root

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Want to try yoga but just can't afford it?

Yoga teachers had you in mind when they formed the Yoga Seed Collective.

Sacramento's newest yoga studio opened Saturday to bring yoga to a larger audience. The collective takes donations of whatever each person can afford.

"I love it," said Sarah Wolfe, a 25-year-old freelance makeup artist, after taking a yoga class Monday morning. "You can relax and have a settled mind knowing you don't have to break the bank to be here."

The collective was formed by three yoga teachers: Sara Johnson, Zack Pasillas and Erin Reschke, who now make up the volunteer board of directors.

Pasillas was already offering donation-only yoga classes at the Tahoe Park charter school where he teaches math. When he and Johnson met last spring, they found they shared the same vision to provide yoga to more people through a donation system, he said Monday.

They initially planned to hold yoga classes in several spots around Sacramento. Then they found an empty space for lease at 1400 E St. in Mansion Flat’s Shine Building. The property was renovated by owner John Stricklin.

Reschke, who's also getting licensed as an architect, oversaw interior improvements to turn a 1,300-square-foot storefront into a yoga studio.

Yoga sessions are held on a cork floor. Exposed wood beams and white paper lanterns hang overhead. A donated dresser and two old benches serve as the reception area in the sparse studio. A small table is now a community alter. Pasillas painted a dandelion flower with blowing seeds on the walls.

The collective has 13 teachers who volunteer their skills and time. Deep yoga and massage wellness center owner Sukhbir, described by Johnson as "the mother of yoga in Sacramento," said she wanted to "be of service" and teach yoga to another group besides the clients at her studio.

"Yoga's not just about one studio here and one studio there," said Sukhbir, who's taught yoga for 11 years. "It's about being in community with everybody."

Individuals and Zuda Yoga have donated yoga mats, straps and pillows.

People who can pay are invited to put cash or a check in a donation jar on the dresser. No one will be turned away if they can't afford to pay.

"That's exactly why we're here," Reschke said. "We'd like people to bring what they can. Even if it's only their presence."

Yoga Seed is offering 18 classes a week, including several on weekdays and 11 a.m. classes on Saturdays and Sundays. Classes held at 6 p.m. weeknights are likely to be best for beginners, Johnson said.

Organizers are in the process of setting up the nonprofit that will own and operate the yoga studio. Suggested donations are $7 to $15 a class. Fundraisers are being planned to help cover costs. They believe they can make the collective work if they get 14 students a day who donate $5 each, Johnson said.

The idea behind the collective is to remove barriers to yoga.

"The No. 1 complaint is that it's too expensive," she said. "Making it more financially accessible is a way to make it more accessible to more people." 

 

Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.

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