Isla Vista’s newest business aims to unite body, mind and soul – but probably in awkward positions.
Workers are putting the finishing touches on the I.V. Yoga Studio, located at 910 Embarcadero del Norte between Pardall and Madrid Roads. It opened for yoga and Pilates class registration Jan. 19, but interior construction has not yet finished.
Co-owner Steffen Feser said the studio will be completed before Jan. 27, when the first classes are scheduled to begin. The classes are geared toward a student clientele, and as a result, class times are set to students’ needs.
“We will have classes all day, eventually, but at the moment we’re going to start with a mainly 5 to 8 p.m. time frame because that’s after school and before the parties,” Feser said.
When the studio is not being used for yoga classes, Feser said the two-room space will be open to local residents to use as a community center.
“Our place is open for concerts, shows, teach-ins – for people who need space because there is nothing we have in this town like that. We want to provide a space for the community where they can have fun without alcohol and drugs, because we believe that there should be places in I.V. where students can do something other than get drunk or get laid,” Feser said. “We have a spiritual aspect to the store. We believe that there should be connection between the soul, spirit and mind and it seems like there’s nothing of it here on campus. Yoga has to do with your mind, your inner peace.”
David Baghdadi is helping Feser organize the studio’s operations as a community center.
“We’re going to have a space for people to run their projects out of, and we’d be providing them [with] a budget so if they need money, they can come and see us.” Baghdadi said.
Baghdadi said money to support community events will come from studio revenues.
Feser said the studio will not only offer a variety of yoga classes, but also Pilates and capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian combination of dance and martial arts. Members of UCSB’s yoga practicing community greeted the studio’s opening positively.
“In the intoxicated stupor of I.V., due to overconsumption of alcohol and drugs, the I.V. Yoga Studio is a great addition to the community,” said Sarvatma Das, the founder of the Bhakti Yoga Club, an on-campus organization.
Former Bhakti Yoga Club president and UCSB alumnus Parama Karuna said he was surprised no one had previously thought to put a yoga studio in I.V.
“I think it’s great that students get to practice this spiritual life,” Karuna said. “It helps students focus better and reduce stress.”
Even though classes have yet to begin, Feser said he wants to expand the list of activities offered to include women’s self-defense classes. He also wants to have space for a progressive community library. Currently, Feser rents out the studio’s reception area for the I.V. headquarters of 3rd District candidate John Buttny.
“I was hoping that with this yoga studio/community space, we could show people that there’s another way of organizing society,” Baghdadi said. “Another way of providing people to spend their lives. Not just a kind of business transaction.”