Village Yoga celebrates 10 years with a book release and more
Ten years of gratitude, love, community, change, physical and emotional balance, cover the pages of Village Bikram Yoga Santa Cruz’s original new book, “Bend a Little.” The collection of heartfelt testimonials and photographs of the Village Yoga community is set for release just in time for the studio’s 10-year anniversary party this weekend.
“It is a bit overwhelming for us to have this compilation and this testimony of what we’ve been doing for the last 10 years, and to have it in a book where people have poured their hearts out and been really honest and truthful,” says Sally Adams, who co-owns the studio with Amy Mihal. “It’s allowed me to actually see and experience the gratitude that people feel. They are always saying thank you, but I don’t normally take the time to actually feel that gratitude. This book is changing me, I think. It’s really having a profound effect on me to take the time to feel that gratitude.”
At 27 years old, the two owners, self-described as wide-eyed and naïve, came from full-time yoga teaching positions in San Francisco to introduce the Bikram Yoga Practice to Santa Cruz—before their arrival, the area didn’t have a Bikram practice, which is a series of 26 postures in a heated room. They imagined the ways in which yoga has blossomed and not only changed their lives, but the lives of others.
“I know one woman we’ve had as a student for years,” Adams says. “She wrote her testimonial, and [it said] before she came to yoga she was going to take her own life. All of these years, we had no idea that was what was going on with her. To have people be that honest, and to be able to express that to everybody is really a gift. It may help somebody else that is in pain to hear about how yoga helped this person.”
The pages on “Bend a Little” feature members of Village Yoga with their bodies twisted and contorted in incredible positions—and also glistening, their smiling faces shining through the black and white photographs. The striking images, captured by local photographer Poppy de Garmo, display the breadth of the Village Yoga’s community. Children, elderly, college students, pre-teens, even cats and dogs smile up from the shots.
From day-to-day stress, to ruptured disks, to catastrophe and trauma, “Bend a Little” uses individual experiences to reveal overarching ways in which yoga mitigates problems and provides spiritual and communal connections. Many entries speak to themes of change and growth.
“Everything we do is about a process of change, and opening and growing and learning and becoming a better person,” says Mihal. “When that happens collectively like it’s happening in the studio, it’s incredible. It’s a day-to-day, gradual process. Over 10 years, you add those little, daily changes up, and it’s pretty profound.”
The release party for the book is set for Friday, April 1 at the downtown Santa Cruz Village Yoga studio, in conjunction with the celebration of the studio’s 10-year anniversary.
Also in observance of the anniversary, a number-10-themed sale will take place all day on March 31-April 1. Customers will receive 10 percent off all class cards and retail items. There will also be an introductory offer for first-time students to the studio, 10 days for $20.
The celebration is open to anyone who has walked through the Village Yoga doors in the last 10 years.
“We would not be who we are without the students who come through the doors every day, and without our amazing, amazing teachers,” says Adams. “We are so grateful for everybody who walks through those doors. Like the book, it’s collaboration. It takes everybody. It takes a village.”
The 10-year anniversary celebration and sale takes place from 6:30-10 p.m. Friday, April 1 at Village Yoga, 1106 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (enter on Front Street.) Admission is free. Copies of “Bend a Little” will be available and will continue to be sold at Village Yoga. To order copies online, email Village Yoga: [email protected] Contact “Bend a Little” photographer Poppy de Garmo by sending an email to [email protected] Pictured (From top): Amy Mihal, Sally Adams, McKinley Alvarez.