When practicing yoga, we think of our body as a temple. This sacred attitude should extend into our practice space. While this space isn’t always reflective of the respect with which we treat our bodies, rest assured. A green studio revolution is coming.
Welcome to Home Simply Yoga, the first “green” studio in Los Angeles. The studio opened its doors one year ago and houses organic and recycled environmental design and products. This Santa Monica venue is a leader in integrating yoga studio development with an eco-friendly environment.
The owners, Gary and Melissa Margolin, created a studio that mirrors yogic ideals of strengthening the body, calming the mind and building the spirit. They wanted a studio with a personal face, avoiding corporate identity and focusing on sustainability. A place called home.
As part of their vision, the duo utilized organic and recycled products in the construction of the studio and sell organic products in their shop. They educate their students about preservation through an overall program on recycling and sustainability they call Eco-Credit. Students can accumulate points that add up to discounted yoga classes through attending these programs as well as by carpooling, walking or biking to class.
“We wanted to create a living, breathing space because that is what yoga is about…a practice of the breath.”
The business venture is a perfect match of yogic ideals and use of space, reminiscent of the couple’s history. Gary, a native of Iowa, met Melissa in her hometown of New York while searching for his calling. He felt the effects of corporate living by day and athletics by night, and retreated to the practice of yoga, which became a method for cleansing toxins. Melissa, an interior designer specializing in sustainability, had practiced yoga since a young age. The couple practice ashtanga six days a week and have since the early ’90s. They teach this style now, along with flow and meditation classes. Creating Home Simply Yoga became their mission and they agreed L.A. was their place after feeling the strain of bi-coastal business ownerships.
Green architect David Randolph jumped on board to consult with the couple about the 1,500 square-foot space. “We wanted to create a living, breathing space because that is what yoga is about…a practice of the breath,” Melissa said. A clean and constant air system was installed that required no air conditioning and featured a sophisticated heating system to be located underneath the wood flooring. Pennies worth of energy are used, versus the average dollars.
“We have students who have allergies or sensitivities,” Gary added. “You watch their faces relax and they sigh, ‘Okay, I can be here. This is really clean.’”
“The construction of the studio had to leave as close to zero carbon handprint as possible,” Gary explained. “Meaning, we did not destroy the space because by throwing away the remains of the building, we would be adding generations of damage to the landfills of the planet. Recycling was the key. We have shown that you can make it beautiful and healthy, simultaneously.”
The mahogany wood flooring and furniture was bought from a local Armani Exchange clothing store. The office countertop is PaperStone, a sustainable composite surface made from recycled papers and non-petroleum based resins. The curtains are organic cotton, the bolsters are filled with organic cotton and covered with hemp and the bathrooms have washable towels.
Home has their own water filtration system with oxygenated water and cups made from cornstarch. They use soy candles and chemical-free cleaning products. The yoga mats are PVC-free and the clothing they sell is organic cotton.
These efforts led them to become founding business members of the Green Yoga Association, an organization based in San Francisco that promotes the greening of yoga studios through awareness and education.
Gary and Melissa are reaping the endless rewards through creating a green studio. Not only are they saving money, they are paving the way to a more beautiful practice.
Find out more information about Home Simply Yoga by visiting www.homesimplyyoga.com.
Lori Denman is a freelance journalist and former editor of 5 years for Daily News Los Angeles.