Washington, DC Yoga Co-op


To many outsiders Washington, DC seems like a place of government employees, business suits, and networking happy hours. However, when you dig a little deeper you can find communities of people who seek to break the mold to create authentic community. Yoga Co-op DC (YCDC) is one such community. It is a non-profit group founded in March 2013 that brings yogis together for practice outside of the existing studio model. YCDC meets to practice yoga once per week on Sundays at 3pm when many yoga studios don’t offer classes.

The co-op model is unique and benefits everyone involved. The donation-based class caters to intermediate and advanced yogis looking to experience different styles of yoga by featuring well-known and up-and-coming yoga teachers on a revolving basis. The classes range from Kundalini to Forrest to Iyengar with the largest class to date led by David Kyle from It’s Yoga Puerto Rico attracting 134 students. To encourage community off the mat, there is always thirty minutes after the YCDC class and before the studio’s next class for students to mingle and make friends.

The guest teachers also benefit from the model because they are introduced to a broader audience outside of the studio clientele and have the opportunity to play outside the studio rules. The teachers get paid as the donations are divided to pay for the teacher’s time and studio space. The studios see value in hosting such a class because they attract more students by showcasing their top teachers while growing a strong yoga community in DC.

Yoga Co-op DC reminds students and teachers that yoga can join us both on and off the mat. At any YCDC class you will experience new strengths both in your personal practice and community. To learn more about YCDC contact: Zhenya “Gene” Valenrod at gene.valenrod@gmail.com

Three options for fresh, local food in Washington, DC


Washington, DC is full of food trends from homemade pop tarts to Craft Kombucha, you can find almost any specialty food in the district. District residents also love fresh fruits and veggies from around the region. While most neighborhoods have weekly farmer’s markets, there are many people with busy schedules who need more convenient options. Now there are a variety of local companies who deliver directly to residents’ doorsteps. A few popular choices in DC are:

Earth Spring Farm in Carlisle, Pennsylvania is a local farm that provides Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to various neighborhoods in DC and greater Harrisonburg, PA area. DC residents receive their boxes filled with fresh and seasonal produce one a week for 25 weeks from late-May through mid-November. There are also options to add orders of fruit, milk, cheese, meat, and eggs to your order. The CSA includes whatever produced was harvested that week, the buyer cannot choose their own produce, making it perfect for people who enjoy trying new foods and recipes.

From the Farmer offers fresh produce from various local farmers delivered to your doorstep. The order is customized by the shopper, if you hate beats you can leave them out of the order and get more carrots instead. There are three bushel option sizes: half, single, and double and there is no need to make a weekly commitment for the season, orders can be placed weekly. They also offer homemade bread and farmhouse eggs to add to your order.

Relay Foods provides local, fresh food from DC metro area producers. The local producers who partner with Relay Foods include both farmers and local business owners who sell non-produce products such as coffee and homemade pasta. The shopper can even find everyday household items on Relay Foods such as dish soap and paper towels. Getting your order is easy as there are several pick-up locations in the metro area and door delivery is available for several zip codes.

From farmers markets to fresh, local groceries delivered to your doorstep – the DC resident has many options to eat healthy and local.

Yoga Heights DC: Rooting itself in community

Tadasana-at-Georgia-Ave-MetroYoga Heights recently opened their doors at the intersection of Petworth, Colombia Heights, and Parkview on Georgia Avenue, a fairly rough but rapidly changing street in Washington, DC. When I visited and took a class at the new studio I was impressed by the attention to detail given by the co-owners, Amy and Jess. Every inch of the 2,388 square foot studio reflects their deep rooted intention to serve the community.

“I wanted Yoga Heights to be a place that serves every body, every level and every budget,” said owner Jess Pierno, “We offer deals like first class for free and $30 for 3 weeks of unlimited classes so that anyone can try yoga to see if they like it.  Then if our prices don’t fit in their budget, we find a way to make sure they can keep coming in.”

Every day the wall-sized chalkboard changes to remind students of the daily class schedule and announce new and upcoming events. The studio has a full schedule with local DC teachers teaching a variety of styles and levels from Restorative Yin to Cosmic Flow to Family Time Yoga, totaling over 15 styles including pilates.

The waiting area also hosts a small shop for yogis looking to update their gear, support good causes, and eat locally. Yoga Heights partners with Glyder for apparel and From the Farmer to support local food and healthy living. They also host events and celebrations in their large studio space to encourage students and teachers to meet off the mat. Another way Yoga Heights serves the community is by using donations from the weekly community class to create “Karma Passes” – class vouchers for members of the Yoga Heights community who cannot otherwise afford yoga.

To accommodate over 40 classes on the weekly schedule, there are two separate classrooms, one of which can be used for hot yoga. Upon entering either classroom, one feels instantly calm because of the neutral, calming colors and tasteful design. My personal favorite touches include the eye pillows wrapped in African fabric and the artfully placed mirrors of varying sizes in the back studio. If you’re looking for a unique community yoga experience in DC, check out Yoga Heights!