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Feel Free to Explore the Subtle Energies of Yoga With Santa Fe's Donation-Based Yoga Program

By Kelly Church

Developed to foster mindfulness for the diverse culture in Santa Fe, NM, Santa Fe Community Yoga was opened in 1995 by Michael Hopp. The studio became a non-profit organization in 2006 to grow their mission of holistic wellness in the community. Their weekly schedule of classes include yoga for all ages, people and athletic abilities, even featuring several donation-based classes.

According to Executive Directors Anjali Davidson and Lara Bache, yoga is greatly beneficial for the body. In addition to improving flexibility, and reducing stress and anxiety, yoga can improve balance, the body's range of motion and strength. They say a lot of students come back and tell them that they experience better sleep and a more peaceful attitude. This is a large part of what inspired Santa Fe Community Yoga: "cultivating holistic well-being in our community through yoga and other mindful practices."

The Santa Fe Community Yoga class schedule includes a large variety of classes, ranging from prenatal yoga to more challenging strength-based yoga. Most classes have a drop-in rate of $12, but some are offered at a mere $8 per class. Additionally, the beginner-level classes that are designed to teach the basics of yoga poses and movement are offered on a donation basis, meaning you can drop in and pay what you please.

"We are committed to offering a diverse schedule of affordable classes, including Yoga Therapeutics, Prenatal/Postpartum Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Vinyasa," Davidson says. "Our students come from many paths of life, which means our studio is one of the more diverse in Santa Fe, something we hope to maintain with an upcoming Yoga in Espanol class. There is less of an emphasis on clothing and external appearances than one tends to find in most yoga studios, which leads to a very casual and friendly atmosphere."

The studio is described as "clean" with some modest decoration. The inclusion of a movement room with a cork floor, skylight and mural of a mandala by yoga instructor Viktoria Shushan creates a simplicity that allows yogis to reach their meditative state. The studio also has a small massage room, where Bache is a masseuse. Outside of the studio, the relaxation continues with a picnic area and what Davidson and Bache call a "labyrinth" for pedestrians.

The Santa Fe Community Yoga center is open to anyone in the area, without a membership. Classes can be purchased in bulk, or on an individual basis. Classes are held every day of the week, even on weekends.

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