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One year ago, my friend and business partner, Jess Pierno, and I put the wheels in motion for a building our dream jobs from the ground up.
It was September of 2013 and Jess and I were both ready for a change and a challenge. We started working on the concept for a yoga studio that would be more than just a place to come take classes from great DC-area teachers, it would be—we hoped—an accepting, non-intimidating community encouraging total mind-body wellness. As a nutrition coach, I came in with the idea that health coaching and nutrition workshops could and should be part of our offerings. Luckily, Jess wholeheartedly agreed.
Beyond the unique integration of yoga, pilates and nutrition for our future students, Jess and I were committed to finding a way to make yoga truly affordable for anybody that might walk through our doors one day. After countless conversations and brainstorming sessions, we came up with a concept: the Karma Pass Program (or the KPP).
The KPP is Yoga Heights' main means to achieving an important part of our mission statement, "yoga for every budget." We subsidize classes for students who cannot afford regularly priced classes because we believe that budget shouldn't get in the way anyone’s path to total wellness. Anyone who has practiced yoga with regularity knows that through mindful movement and breath work it’s possible to detox your body and mind of every day stressors to feel more calm, happiness and balance in our lives. Since yoga is a practice that requires no special equipment, every and anybody can benefit from it. It is truly a universal form of maintaining health and wellness.
Unfortunately, it’s no news that often those that need balance the most are those that cannot afford yoga studio prices. The KPP is our answer to this paradigm and was developed specifically to make sure that Yoga Heights can bring yoga to the widest audience possible in a neighborhood that has vastly different economic statuses among its residents.
In order to keep the KPP afloat, we’re reliant on donations from other students. Through donations during our weekly Donation Flow class at 6pm on Fridays as well as Donation Chair Yoga on Thursdays at 8:45am, and special fundraiser events, Yoga Heights students have donated more than $1700 for this program. To date, 31 students have applied to our KPP, and nearly 50 classes have been subsidized for students through the program within our first five months since opening. The generosity of others will keep it going. Spreading good karma from one person to the next.
One of our students recently summed up just what this program means to her: “The Karma Pass Program means that I have the opportunity to regularly practice in a warm and welcoming community of yogis. The financial stress has been alleviated, which allows me to practice without the guilt while also allowing me to give back to the studio in the ways that I can.” We hope that she and dozens of other DC residents can continue to benefit from the KPP for the duration of our presence on Georgia Ave.
If you have any questions, comments or would like to apply to be a part of this program, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to our Karma Pass Program page to start practicing at a price that will fit your budget, whatever that may be. Anyone qualifies and we review applications on a monthly basis. Students may apply to the KPP through our webpage and will then be offered subsidized classes or work study positions that offer free classes in exchange for a few hours or work each week.
Feeling inspired to donate? Please stop by the studio for a donation-based class or fundraiser, go online, or email Jess or Amy to learn more about how you can garner good karma by participating in the Yoga Heights Karma Pass Program.