Twin Cities yoga beats the recession


A fitness frenzy fueled by a Power Yoga DVD (by Rodney Yee, the “stud muffin guru”) coinciding with a couple of news stories on yoga and the recession, got me wondering about the effect of the recession on yoga in the Twin Cities. These days, to wonder is to blog, so I contacted a yoga studio owner and a yoga instructor to get their perspectives.

The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.

Mary Margaret Anderson is the director/owner of “yoga studio” in Plymouth. She’s had the business for eight years. After a slight downturn, followed by a slight uptick last fall, Mary finds things are staying even with last year. Some students who have lost their jobs are able to do more yoga. Though the business is staying steady, Mary has a conservative approach right now. She isn’t taking on any large building projects and is watching expenses. To help out people who may not be able to take lessons for financial reasons, the yoga studio has added “Pay-What-You-Can” classes.

As an independent contractor for “Bikram Yoga”, Patrice Papke doesn’t see the business’s financials, though she believes the recession has affected business. However, class sizes appear to be the same, and some classes have been added.

Patrice is passionate about the benefits of yoga. When asked about the affects of yoga on people’s stress levels during an email interview, she writes, “When your normal day is do, do do, go, go, go, yoga gives you that reprieve to focus on something other than those life details creating a much needed break in the day, not to mention improving your sleep, digestion, metabolism, muscles, bones, glands, organs etc….You just out and out feel better.”

In an email interview with Mary, when asked about her clients’ stress, she writes, “(t)here is talk more than usual about financial stress, but nothing really unusual.” Regarding the clients’ yoga practice and stress levels, “(a)lmost everyone talks about how yoga helps them relax.”

As an unemployed full-time student, my normal financial state is in recession, and Patrice has this recommendation: “Yoga is a tremendous way to beat the recession. I recommend ANY class you can get, or check out your library for free videos or dvds (sic). Taking that time to refocus your brain AWAY from the day-to-day trials, improves your overall outlook. Then the rest will follow.” Now, that’s advice a poor college student can follow, even during finals week.

And there is hope for those of you in the corporate world, as Mary is finding: “I have many requests for yoga at workplaces, so that’s fun. I think that corporations are really trying to keep their employees healthy!”

Patrice and Mary have inspired me. It’s time to be done blogging. It’s time to get the Power Yoga DVD off the shelf and into the DVD player. It’s time to beat the recession, if only for an hour.

_Catherine Whitney is enrolled at Anoka Ramsey Community College_