Encinitas as ‘God’s Hospital’ and the ‘American home’ of Ashtanga

People familiar with Tim Miller probably know his story of coming to Encinitas and the health issues he was dealing with when he arrived.

Turns out, this week is the 38th anniversary of his arrival; he looks back at it on his blog (as I’m 99.9% sure he has done before) and adds a few twists this time around:

I don’t remember who coined the name, “God’s Hospital,” but I think it’s a very apt name for Encinitas. Paramahansa Yogananda came here in the 1930’s when one of his wealthy devotees bought him a choice piece of real estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Self Realization Fellowship meditation gardens—just north of Swami’s Beach—are more than likely the epicenter of the healing vibrations of Encinitas. The Ashtanga Yoga system of Pattabhi Jois was introduced on American soil in Encinitas when Guruji first came to Encinitas in 1975. He liked it so much that he returned a dozen times to teach over the next 30 years. He often referred to Encinitas as his “American Home.”

Tim also notes that the last remaining Jois Yoga Center is in Encinitas (currently under construction) and that John Friend almost added to the high concentration of yoga in the town.

A few things Tim doesn’t mention outright: the surfing, the beach, the cliffs. Those are a few other pieces to the puzzle that, in my mind, make Encinitas the special place it is. I could use another week’s vacation there, with practice in the morning and surfing / hanging on the beach the rest of the day.

Posted by Steve

Changes coming to last Jois Yoga studio in Encinitas

If you are planning to stop in at the Jois Yoga studio in Encinitas, pay attention:

You won’t find classes at its location in Encinitas, on Highway 101.

Until December, Jois is temporarily located at 613 West Lake St., a little farther inland. The reason? Construction for a new juice bar and “treatment rooms.”

In the most recent email announcing this (there have been a few, I just haven’t gotten around to noting it), the shala location is referred to as the “Jois-Sonima building.” Sonima, of course, is the name of the foundation that now is attached to Jois Yoga — for all the reasons you know already. There also is a logo for the Sonima Wellness Center.

My gut reaction also suggests that when this work is done, we might see the final Jois Yoga studio fade away and be replaced by the name Sonima — it’s sure a lot easier to brand and promote around one name, rather than two. Plus, it isn’t as though there are a string of Jois Yoga studios anymore.

On the other hand, there may be a desire to keep a foothold in the Jois Yoga name, to allow for new ones, if that’s the desire.

Either way, based on what the Sonima Foundation is doing — especially with kids — “wellness center” seems a better description: It goes beyond “just” yoga. And there teacher listing has broadened beyond Ashtanga.

I also wonder what the construction is involving (I haven’t been by there in months and months). It is a fairly big space, but I don’t know where treatment rooms would fit. The juice bar could take up some of the retail space up front, certainly. In other words, I’m not sure if this involves any expansion into neighboring storefronts.

Posted by Steve

Did Jois Yoga in Sydney quietly close? — Updated

I was just looking around the Interweb for some information for a post on Sunday — quick guess on what it might be about? — and I found, if that’s the right word, a lack of a Jois Yoga in Sydney page.

If you recall, there used to be a “locations” link on the Jois Yoga site. That’s gone. There’s just Jois Corporate and Jois Yoga Encinitas.

You’ll also probably remember that the Greenwich Jois shala closed last year, and at the time there were rumors that both Sydney and Encinitas would follow. (A first Jois shala in Florida closed even earlier.) Both, at the time in early September, had full schedules through the end of 2013.

Now the schedule page at Jois Yoga just takes you to Encinitas. It has an intro to Ashtanga course listed as far off as June.

What sleuthing I can do on the Internet pulls up a few things:

  • A link from a Yelp review of the Jois shala goes to a “Page not found” at the Jois site.
  • Ashtanga Yoga Sydney does not have the same address as the Jois shala — but there may be a connection?
  • A Google search does pull up as “Jois Yoga Sydney close” — suggesting others have done that search — but there’s nothing found related to it.

So did the shala close, quietly? As we’ve covered earlier, the Sonima Foundation is definitely running at full speed. Maybe that’s more of the focus, along with the University of Virginia center?

Update: A nice reader (see comments below) forwarded us an email from mid January and, yes, the Jois shala did close at the end of December. Ashtanga Yoga Sydney effectively takes its place, and is being run by Frances Liotta, who managed the Jois studio and taught there for a couple of years.

Posted by Steve


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