Jois Yoga in Greenwich is closing

We mentioned a few days ago we’d heard a rumor. We keep hearing it, and now have gotten several people — who understandably want to stay anonymous — passing it on to us, having heard it first hand.

And, the kicker: We’re seeing mention of it on Twitter.

We also know some other websites have heard the same.

Our goal in getting this out there to treat this respectfully. The word is going to get out, and we’d like to have established something akin to “facts.” Right now, we’re hearing that the Jois Shala in Greenwich is closing toward the end of the month.

Beyond the words of some trustworthy folks (no truth we met them at the Watergate parking lot), there’s also this: The Greenwich shala’s online schedule ends on Sept. 27, which is the date we’ve been told the shala is closing. The only thing ongoing is a Friday Led class. But every other day has nothing scheduled.

Some folks also have heard that the Encinitas shala is closing; that doesn’t look to be the case, as it has not only a full schedule still online through the end of the year but events scheduled in October. Same for Sydney.

Why is this happening? Well, that’s still very unclear. We’ve heard that the folks behind Jois, and by extension we suppose, the Sonima Foundation, are going to focus more on the nonprofit side of their work. (Remember, it also is involved at the University of Virginia and is expanding its yoga in schools program.)

Other people have speculated that Greenwich just didn’t have enough of a student base. The same lack of students, we assume, was part of the reason behind the first Jois studio, in Florida, closing a year and a half ago.

We sought comment from the Greenwich shala on Friday, but we haven’t heard back. If and when we do, we will post it. Also, if anyone is a student there, let us know what you’re hearing, if you are comfortable doing so.

There you have it.

Update: Monday 7:15 a.m. Pacific time: Probably many of you got the email from the Jois Greenwich shala that confirms it is closing but doesn’t provide too much additional information. Here’s a link. All it offers is what the three teachers are planning to do next. One, Megan, plans to continue teaching in Greenwich. There is a link to her website, but it looks to be under construction. We can’t help but notice it has the same top of page design as Ashtanga Yoga New York. So maybe there will be a connection there, or maybe that is coincidence.

Posted by Bobbie and Steve

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theconfluencecountdown

Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

54 thoughts on “Jois Yoga in Greenwich is closing”

  1. Wow! That’s sad news. Maybe Sharath needs to do a US tour to remind people of the true meaning of Yoga. The way that Yoga has been commercialized, sensationalized, & sexualized in the US is very sad. I love Ashtanga because of the focus on the 8 Limbs & teachings of Patanjali. I pray for a World that practices those principles. Namaste’

  2. This is what happens when you think you can steal the client base of competition offering the same product at the same price. There was no differentiation in the product or brand and as we know Ashtanga Consumers are honorable and have great integrity when it comes to their teachers. To think you could walk into a market place and compete when karma plays such a huge factor. The universe has a way of working things out doesn’t it!

    1. “Money can’t buy me love”~ The Beatles The whole thing stunk from the start in my books. Opening in places competing directly with the teachers that have been working in earnest since the 70’s to spread the word of this method, it stinks! “Yoga is universal not one man’s property.” ~ Patthabi Jois

  3. Here’s part of their why we are closing statement…
    We have decided to focus our resources and attention on the not-for-profit yoga in education element of our organization. The yoga studios have existed as for-profit business entities and will be closing at the end of September.

      1. There’s a good point! I know that in NYC anyway ashtanga has been in decline since the big crash of 2009 at least. Medium sized shalas with amenities cannot stay afloat. Small, private teachers who are available between 2 and 3 hours a day – minus Saturdays, moon days & whenever they travel for workshops or vacation & whenever they’re sick – charge between $220 and $250 for the most part. Eddie’s is the most expensive. No amenities & $265.

        There are just less & less people who can devote the time & money to such an expensive practice. Also the days of gyms offering ashtanga is OVER. Crunch used to have 3 led classes a week and a small yoga program. Now? Nothing.

  4. I have been practicing & sharing Yoga for 33 years. I have never charged for this because i love Yoga & want others to experience its benefits.

  5. One wonders why they are being so quiet about it? There wouldn’t be a legal issue with profit vs non-profit if they separate the entities which I assume they have with the name change. It’s just so odd that they are not just saying “we’re closing and this is why”.

  6. I practice at Jois in Greenwich..yes that was all the information given to the practitioners. I have been greatly blessed to have had the pleasure and privilege to learn from such amazing instructors at Jois. Regardless of the corporate ruckus going on behind the scenes, the shala has been a beautiful place to be. I say this not because the facility was stunning, though it is, but because of the community of ashtangis…the energy and devotion has been wonderful. Sadly just as we were truly all enmeshing in that glorious way that happens over time in the Mysore room through learning about who we are and what each has brought and struggles with, we will now have a change that was not anticipated. Our community will gratefully be held together by the lovely and highly skilled Megan Reilly…but we will be missing others very much. The instructors at Jois all made sacrifices and moved to the area to be a part of this for Sharath..the upheaval I feel is nothing compared to the changes and stresses this must be imposing on them. Please have compassion for your fellow ashtangis from this shala…we are grieving and yet continuing. Disappointment obviously exists, of course I’m upset, sad..you name it… but the anger will get us nowhere except poison.

    1. They should have tried to partner with all the certified teachers in some way and been inclusive and build the existing community rather than directly compete. I find it all very interesting from a purely business point of view. The thought I guess was that practitioners would abandon their teachers for “Jois.” As I said they should have reached out to all the certified teachers and somehow create some kind of stronger organization with what exists and then expand on that and open new markets not compete in existing markets What i find interesting is the Brand and how it isn’t taking and why. Maybe the programs offered weren’t diverse enough and the Ashtanga community is too small to support just Ashtanga. There were a lot of tremors when these stores opened. I guess what it shows is that it really isn’t one man’s/woman’s yoga it’s universal. Maybe the jois organization will help all the teachers that sacrificed moved to CT and to make the store a successful business?

      1. The nearest ashtanga yoga from Jois Greenwich is a good 45 minutes away without traffic..the monthly at Jois was 160..less if you paid by autopay on a 3 month renewal..there was no competition…there a quite a few other yoga studios in the area, just not ashtanga…I can’t say I ever heard anyone gunning for failure of any yoga shala…that aspect is pure conjecture and ridiculous. Many students at Jois were entirely new to ashtanga, the ones that were not, for a variety of reasons, Jois was a good fit.

      2. I am shocked at the insensitivity here… It doesn’t feel at all like yoga, in fact quite the opposite. I too practice at Jois. We are going through a huge loss, some of us left without a shala to go to. I made my 1 hr drive in traffic, each way, part of my practice. We all sacrificed, teachers and students, and came together as a community. And it was my original teacher who told me one morning to go to Jois just as they were opening. I couldn’t be happier today for having done that. I’ve learned a great deal from terrific teachers. There is no competition to speak of with regards to ashtanga or yoga… there’s plenty of room for everyone. More importantly, and in my humble opinion, there is a moment in the practice when you make a real connection with a teacher, where you finally just surrender to him or her, and cease to question, but instead trust in their abilities to move you along. That connection is so rare. So yes there are plenty of great teachers, but you can’t have a deep connection with all. Blessings _/\_

  7. $265 a month!! OMG. I thought the $150 I pay was a lot. And I DO feel terrible for the teachers and hope they get severance and help. My old teacher in Santa Barbara was approached but declined. I am sure he is glad he did.

    1. Yes… especially when you consider there is no towel service and no showers. There is ONE, but it’s in the middle of the changing rooms & is one of the bathrooms so no one uses it (I’m told). I’m not alone in feeling Eddie’s is for rich people and yoga teachers (who can at least write off the monthly fees). Who else has the time & money to either do a double commute – go to the shala, practice, return home & get ready for work – or can go to work unbathed?

      I used to pay $240 a month at yoga sutra, and that was like 6 years ago now. BUT you had a senior teacher in the room from 6am to noon, and there were other classes available all day. Plus there was a towel service & two showers each for ladies & gents. And it was located in a place convenient for people with jobs. So that was worth it. Paying that much for a private teacher is another story & too much…

  8. Here’s the fee list from Eddie’s webpage, since that seems to be becoming a benchmark. I do think you get a lot for the monthly (more than just morning Mysore):

    12 classes in one month, $210
    Everyday for one month, $260
    Seniors and students may subtract $50 from the monthly fee
    One week (6 days) $90
    Drop-in class $20
    Under 16 years old drop-in class $10

    S

    1. Is this what Patthabi Jois meant when he said, “the rest is a circus.”? LOL. This is all sure a long way off from committing yourself to a Guru. Once business gets mixed in spirituality sure takes on a whole new twist. Is Ashtanga Yoga a business? This all reminds me of the politics in running a church or synagogue.

      1. Guruji also encourage Tim, at least, to make sure he had a Hanuman in the shala — for “external prana,” aka money.

        I don’t know where there’s a prohibition on yoga teachers making a living. Success during householder years is one piece of dharma, right?

        S

      2. There is no prohibition on making money, success from anything I have read. I’m just talking about competition in general, making money selling what you have learned from another, who has the right to sell the product etc. There is no judgement what so ever. I just find it interesting how the decisions were made to open Jois in certain areas and why with that name etc. It’s interesting when business or power gets involved with the spiritual. The brand itself and the most humble of beginnings then evolved into a world wide phenomenon. Why was the decision made to create Jois Yoga in America? I’m very interested in why businesses fail and or become succ essful. This is even more interesting because white westerners spread the word and really brought it to the West. Besides Ashtanga i’m also interested in how lulu lemon has used the yoga word/spiritual element as a vehicle to market their brand. There is so much to this from the factory workers creating the product to the final consumer. I’m talking about the nerve that has been found that fulfills the need for the product. As far as the prohibition of success and dharma i have no problem with that I agree I guess i’m more interested in the intent ie the initial business plan and model.

      3. I don’t think anyone’s opposed to yoga teachers making a living. The economics are all supply & demand. If something’s too expensive for most then it’s going to be a small, non inclusive thing. Take polo for example! Not many of us can afford a stable of four polo ponies, tack & trainers.

      4. I don’t disagree with any of that — perhaps I just mean, probably most yoga always has been “a business,” if you look at it a certain way. And Hindu traditions, as I understand them, don’t demand one be poor.

        Aside from the initial controversy with the openings, I do think there might have been better areas to open new Ashtanga studios. And, I too am interested in the whole yoga as business issue.

        S

      5. Steve I really have no connection with the Ashtanga world other than a photo of Guruji in my room near my mat. I’ve read all the books and stories etc. I have always wondered why a large organization like Jois would open in Encinitas 3 miles from Tim. I don’t know Tim or any of the Jois’s but I did find this an interesting business move and it urked me even though I have no connection with either party. In the grand scheme of things none of this really matters except I guess for those without a shala and the teachers without a job.

      1. Maybe it’s a break up between Sonya & Sharath. As one person had said, there were 30 people. In the past five years that I’ve been practicing, it’s been rare for a well-regarded, independent teacher to get more than 14 in a room per day, except if you’re Pure & you’re the cheapest game in town that comes with a binding contract.

      2. The reason for Jois’ beginning is maybe as irrelevant as it’s reason for ending. People choose their practice environment for very impractical reasons. Mostly through gut instinct and intuition, I will venture to say, If let’s say you choose Eddie or Jois for it’s celebrity wattage, I predict your practice history will maybe be cut short for ahem “unavoidable” circumstances. Manhattan has several shalas/ authorized teachers and I know students who shlepp east to west and even cross boroughs like crazed groupies ( I kid, I kid!) long story short you gotta love your teacher. It’s not all efficiency driven, si o no?

  9. I am another Jois Greenwich student and I second the comments of my fellow practitioners. The usual explanations just don’t apply in this case. In a little bit more than a year’s time, Jois has become a very dynamic studio. I saw about 30 people coming and going during my morning practice today. I don’t think lack of popularity or “client base” has a single thing to do with it. Jois has a dedicated community and we are fortunate to have Megan, who will continue to support us. It does, however, mark the third time that a local studio has ended a mysore program — most, very abruptly — in the decade or so that I have been practicing. Each time, it is a very difficult transition.

  10. I thought Stan Woodman taught ashtanga in Greenwich, and had been for years prior to Jois opening up. I believe his studio is only about 10 minutes from the Jois studio, although I checked and don’t see ashtanga listed on the schedule now.

    1. I certainly don’t want to speak for Stan, who is a wonderful person and remarkable ashtangi…he has his own beautiful yoga studio space in Greenwich and Westport Ct that offers all different types of yoga. I have been fortunate to take some great workshops and training at Kaia, his studio. However since Jois has opened he has primarily practiced there as well as his former ashtanga students.

  11. For ten years now there has been a wonderful Shala that so many call home in CT. Its longevity speaks to what happens when things are kept pure and simple. No fancy anything but an exceptionally clean, well-ventilated, pretty space with great energy. No greedy pricing or boutique shopping. Welcoming and genuine in all ways is the owner who is selfless and totally dedicated to her students and to maintaining the purity of the practice the way she was taught by Guruji and Tim Miller. For some of us who practice there, there was never any competition. Heck, we’ve even had workshops with Tim, Kino and Manju without a lot of fanfare and we do community service too. It is also a place where no one cares whether you are wearing Lulu pants or are one of the beautiful celebrity-like practitioners. It is after all, all about the yoga.

  12. It’s worth mentioning that Jois also serves Westchester County (NY)- there is no Mysore program in Westchester County (nearest is in Harlem NYC or in Montclair, NJ). I feel very fortunate and excited that Megan Riley will be staying to continue the teaching and the community.

    A note on Eddie’s fees- his shala is located in some of the most valuable commercial space in the US- last I read, retail space was renting up to $350/sqft on the Bowery. Big Nick’s (24-hour diner) on the UWS just closed because their rent was increased from $40K to $60K/month on 1000sqft- and this is the ‘less desirable’ UWS. Steinway (the piano company) was sold this summer to a Kohlberg (a private equity firm) and they’ve already sold Steinway Hall across the street from Carnegie Hall. Gone, sold for condos. It’s happening all over NYC.

    I have no idea about Eddie’s actual space situation, but the cost of doing business in NYC is astronomical, especially if you are independent, and doubly if you are not selling merchandise. He is keeping clean, sacred space available for people to practice. That he’s able to do this at his prices in his neighborhood is actually pretty amazing, and takes huge courage. That goes for any of the area studio owners, esp the NY-area Mysore program studio owners, IMO.

  13. Megan Riley is a wonderful authorized Level 2 teacher and she will open a shala in the area. Detailed information will be posted at http://www.ashtangact.com. The hours may or may not work for some, but that will be a nice option for those who can make the hours work with enough time to complete their practice. For those who are starting a home practice as a result, it is advised to check in with a teacher on a regular basis, and I’m sure she will be more than happy to work with these students and guide them through. I will be one of those students. Ashtanga is not about money, or how much we pay for the practice. I find reducing the practice to money rude, quite frankly. Like everyone else, teachers need to live, never mind travel back to the source in order to move along in their own practice and convey what they’ve learned to their students. (Unless you have your own daily practice, you shouldn’t be teaching.) If that isn’t dedication and selfless, I don’t know what is. It is apparent that they take their practice as seriously as they take their students’.

    1. Nobody is debating dedication of students or teachers or even running a successful shala business. We are talking about business and why this all happened in the first place. In a way this closing should be an opportunity for someone willing to start a shala as the client base exists. This brings up a whole other question of who would start the shala the quickest to retain the customers. Any way you cut it this is a business. You’re right Ashtanga isn’t about money and b

      1. Ooops darn computer. and you can practice for free at home. The proliferation of Ashtanga yoga and yoga in general has brought the spiritual mixed with business and in business there is competition. You can’t open a studio without a lease, build out the space etc it costs money. Often you are competing with others in the area. I guess many of us are interested the billionaire behind the business, the ethics of starting these shalas, where and why these shalas were located where they are etc. Hell i’m interested in the relationship between the family and the billionaire. There’s power and responsibility with money. I wonder what kind of businesses this hedge fund manager invests in? We should look into that that might be interesting.

  14. a home practice brings on a whole new set of challenges. For one keeping up with it. Secondly not having your teacher on hand to rely on when you are working through a posture is a huge lesson in non-attachment. All of this an opportunity for growth for sure, but not without some kind of pain. How far to push yourself? When to stop? All of these learning curves for sure. As far as the owners/business relative to Jois, you might want to review the 1st limb (Yama), including ahimsa (non-violence in act, word, etc…). Gossip is frowned upon as far as I know, not to mention a total waste of time and energy. Better to spend the time on your mat.

    1. Asking questions doesn’t equal spreading gossip. Making blanket statements based on assumptions might. What is wrong with asking questions of an investor that also runs an 11.5 billion hedge fund? That money is invested in a gun manufacturer and a broad range markets. Are you saying it doesn’t matter how or where money comes from it only matters how it is used afterwards? So if a legit arms manufacturer wants to open or finance yoga shalas this is ok doesn’t matter? I’m not saying Tudor Investment Corp is doing anything like this but it is one of the worlds most powerful firms with many subsidiaries. I’m all for business and I think it’s commendable that some of the profits are used for charity work instead of being paid in taxes this is fine. What my question is here is though is there an ethical and moral obligation when investing in a spiritual house like a shala, church or synagogue?

      1. I’ve read all your posts and from the first, you’ve been negative, lacking compassion for those involved. That you want to focus on the who what where and tearing it all to pieces, go for it. This blog post has gone sideways. What could have been positive and supportive has turned into silliness at best. It’s all yours… enjoy!

    1. I think it is important to ask how the money that was behind Jois Yoga was initially made. And I think it is a better thing to focus on than whether or not one quite prominent NYC teacher’s shala charges too high fees, which does seem irrelevant to this discussion (and I would agree as against the yamas, niyamas).

      But focusing on the ethics of running a shala, including the source of the money used as capital to start the shala seems like a crucial point. I think it is consistent with the yamas and niyamas to ask that question. And it is a question that is particular to our age–Guruji didn’t need to ask that question about Krishnamacharya since there were no hedge funds back when he started practicing (although perhaps this is a historically naive point to make since there were of course connections between colonialism and capitalism around the time Guruji started practicing, so it is impossible to think of that period as “purer” somehow in relation to money).

      1. Just to be clear, my point in bringing up the high prices of shalas (and specifics in some cases) was just to illustrate the fact that it’s a niche market, especially in light of the fact of the economic crash. I fail to see how that is a violation of any yamas, niyamas or yomamas.

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