Throughout history gathering places have played an important role in supporting communities. Whether swapping stories over a campfire or sharing ideas in a coffee shop, people have always had gathering places to come together and create. With yoga studios now incorporating co-working spaces, teahouses, and the like, they may be filling that role for our modern community.
A new trend with big implications
When I first heard about this trend, I was turned off. I love my yoga practice. I love my job. I love my social life… I have no desire to mix all three.
Then I visited The Center SF. The minute I walked into the room I was in love. The space had a relaxed, comfortable vibe and I was immediately handed a warm mug of organic tea. I found myself wanting to settle in for the entire day. Soon I was touring the space with Ksenia, the general manager, and every word she said convinced me this was a movement I wanted to be a part of. I asked her what the goal was in creating this new kind of space.
“The main thing we do is hold space for people,” she explained. “We ground people and help them pause and breathe.”
I asked her why she thought people were drawn to these types of gathering places and she stressed the sense of belonging people get when they join a community like the one at The Center.
“Our world is the way it is because of years of separation. Here we remind people that we actually are one. We actually have to work all together,” Ksenia said.
I looked around and immediately saw she was right. There were people working on computers, but every time someone walked in the room, every head lifted. They all smiled and greeted one another. They were not separate; they were a community: a community that had come together to be a part of something bigger than the individual work they had to do.
Where are these studios and what are they doing?
In San Francisco, The Center SF is combining movement practices with community gathering. Their stunning tea room offers a safe space for people to create and collaborate while the parlor is the ideal place to take advantage of their free WiFi to get work done. These spaces are connected to the studio where they host yoga and movement classes every day. They also host events that range from live music to healing workshops and everything in between.
Meanwhile on the other side of the country in Washington D.C., workFLOW has brought the office into the yoga studio. Like any good co-working space they offer high speed WiFi and workstations. But it looks, and acts, nothing like your traditional co-working space. The work spaces are inside a yoga studio and the tables are short enough to use while sitting cross-legged on the studio floor. When you are not hard at work, you can enjoy the daily meditation and yoga breaks.
In New York City, Primary has created a co-working space with an emphasis on yoga and wellness. In addition to 70 offices and 100+ coworking spaces, members of Primary get access to unlimited studio classes and private showers and changing areas.
This trend has the potential to change how we think of yoga studios, workplaces, and gathering spaces and to open us up to a wealth of health during the workday.