Jois to move into abandoned Friend-Anusara HQ in Encinitas?

We continue to hear about the possible changes coming to Jois Yoga. The below is based on reports from people in position to know, but there is nothing official out of Jois Yoga as of post time.

Maybe the most eye-catching report is that Jois, which now has the Encinitas shala in the city’s downtown section along Pacific Coast Highway and a separate office suite for the foundation, is going to combine both and move farther south in town, still along PCH, into the building that Anusara was going to move into before everything imploded with the John Friend scandal. (Photo and story on Anusara letting its lease lapse is here. The listing agent mentioned in that story does not seem to have the property up now.) That space at almost 8,300 square feet would allow for nonprofit offices and plenty of yoga space if it took over it all.


In fact, it would allow for more than plenty of yoga space. We can find lots of reference to yoga studio that are 700 to 1,000 square feet. So what might go into all that extra space?

That question leads to the second item we’ve heard many, many times: the word “spa.” We heard this with the very first rumblings that the Greenwich studio would close, and we keep hearing it. We hadn’t known what to make of it: Is it going to be a high-end day spa? But with the suggestion that Jois could fill out the derailed Anusara space, which was going to have video-production capabilities, etc., it would seem as though there would be room enough for such a venture.

And what might the venture be called? We’ve already seen that the foundation side of things has changed names, to Sonima. People are expecting that to cross over to the whole organization, so there wouldn’t be a Jois Yoga and Sonima Foundation in south Encinitas (near, by the way, the Self-Realization Fellowship’s seaside center), just Sonima.

All of the above seems credible, as we said. The full name change might be the most tenuous, but it would make sense. It also leads to some further thinking:

With the foundation’s name change, there has seemed to be (and this was true during the trial brought against Jois/Sonima granting money for yoga classes in the Encinitas school district) a move away from anchoring the foundation in Ashtanga. While we all probably agree the parents who brought the lawsuit had obvious motives, it was pretty easy to find “evidence” of Ashtanga’s similarities to what they perceived as religion. Those similarities, in general, are less for yoga as it is mostly practiced in the West (if not everywhere; this is probably a point of contention that could fill blogs and blogs and books and books.) In fact, the Encinitas superintendent referred to the yoga in his district’s schools as “EUSD Yoga.” And, as we wrote after seeing the demonstration of the yoga at this year’s Confluence, it didn’t seem overtly rooted in Ashtanga.

So all this may be signaling that the Sonima Foundation will be more broadly focused on yoga (and its concurrent mindfulness and meditation practices) and less about Ashtanga. Removing the Jois name entirely would help make that clear — from both the nonprofit and the yoga studio/day spa.

What might that mean for the studio side of things? In our conversations with people, that’s the biggest question mark. How would Ashtanga fit into a, if we can suggest this, Sonima Yoga and Day Spa? Would it be on the schedule in the mornings, but surrounded by flow and power yoga classes? Maybe. Would there even be that much yoga offered? Will there be any?

Only time will tell.

What it means for the Syndey studio is pretty unclear. We think this also very well could mean that the Syndey Jois studio might continue, perhaps under the name change, perhaps not.

Posted by Bobbie and Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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