Larchmont Village community saves beloved Center for Yoga
LOS ANGELES – The lotus flower is a symbol that recalls the power of resilience. It is also part of a large fresco made when the Yoga center reopened in August.
What would you like to know
- The Center for Yoga – Los Angeles’ longest and continuous yoga studio – reopened on Tuesday
- A monumental community effort has reclaimed the historic space that served as a pillar for the Larchmont Village district since the 1960s
- To celebrate the opening day, the Center for Yoga offered a full day of free classes starting with a class of all levels, taught by a group of the world’s most respected teachers: Jeanne Heileman, Joe Kara, Patti Lewis, Andrea Marcum and Lisa Walford.
- The center was founded in 1967 by yoga pioneer Ganga White and was purchased and operated by YogaWorks in 2004 until the pandemic struck
When the studio closed during the pandemic, the yoga community – including Kathy DeShaw – felt deep loss.
“To be perfectly honest, when I saw the rental sign, I felt drained,” DeShaw said.
DeShaw is one of many members who have helped revive the Center for Yoga as part of a neighborhood effort that included students and teachers who have fought to preserve the studio’s long-standing heritage.
The center was founded in 1967 by yoga pioneer Ganga White. It was then purchased and operated by YogaWorks in 2004 until the pandemic struck and the studio closed.
The impact rippled through the local economy of Larchmont Village, as the street lost the regular pedestrian traffic of 1,500 students per week.
“These businesses struggled. A lot of them closed. Some closed. They told us because our students weren’t there as customers,” DeShaw said.
Longtime Larchmont resident Diana Buckhantz has been practicing at the yoga studio regularly for years and is now one of the investors in the studio’s revival.
“We really wanted this to be owned and owned by the community,” Buckhantz said.
As she walked down the street, she was thrilled to be a part of Larchmont’s comeback as she knows the financial blow the community has suffered.
“During the pandemic, of course, they didn’t have the foot traffic, they didn’t have the customer volume, so a lot of stores here had to close,” Buckhantz said.
Locals are boosting the economy of Larchmont Village, and the closure of YogaWorks made a noticeable difference to the longtime Village Heights gift shop, where students came before and after class. While owner Louis Eafalla weathered the pandemic storm, he’s ready for the return of familiar faces.
“I hope that once the yoga center is back up and running, some of the regulars who have kind of disappeared will come back,” Eafalla said.
As the studio gets its finishing touches, some organizers and owners got a little taste of the class ahead of the doors reopening.
“Seeing him come back to life is just a pleasure for all of us who are involved,” said DeShaw.