Asheville Community Yoga’s Wellness Expansion

Congratulations to YOU! We are pleased to announce that Asheville Community Yoga purchased the building in October of 2016. This special place now belongs to our entire community!

Through community fundraising, we raised the $150,000 needed to make the downpayment of the building and received a community loan of $85,000 to purchase the adjacent land at our existing location. Thank you to our amazing community for rising up to meet us wherever and whenever we need help and are ready to grow.

Now, instead of paying rent, Asheville Community Yoga will be paying off a mortgage. This will create a sustainable future for the yoga center and allow us to continue to serve the community for many years to come. We believe everyone can benefit from the healing practice of yoga, and aim to make it accessible to everyone, regardless of financial constraints, physical challenges or mental barriers.

We are excited to begin renovations on the building this coming winter and expand our offerings in 2017 and beyond! If you would like to be involved, please sign up at the front desk to volunteer and help build our new space.

This is a nurturing and safe space for so many of us to come breathe and practice. Every time you take a class, volunteer, or donate, you are contributing to the continuation and growth of the center. Thank you for being part of it!

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WHO WE ARE

Asheville Community Yoga offers donation-based yoga classes, special community events, teacher trainings, student immersions and workshops as a 501(c)3 nonprofit center in Asheville, NC. All classes, workshops and events we offer are free for people who truly cannot afford to pay. For those who can pay, the suggested “Love Offering” amount is $5 to $15 for regular classes and $15+ for special events and workshops. By making yoga available for any budget, we hope to make it accessible to everyone.

In the seven years since our inception in 2010, we’ve grown from one person offering free yoga classes two nights a week to a handful of students, to a community of more than 11,000 members and over 50 teachers offering up to 16 donation-based classes daily, in addition to other community events, wellness workshops, monthly service projects, student immersion programs and teacher trainings. Our days begin at 6:45 a.m. and our doors stay open until 9:30 p.m. for a variety of classes from kids to seniors and beginner to advanced, making yoga accessible to all.

Many of our students would not have a yoga practice today had it not been made available to them free of charge or at a price they chose and could afford through our donation-based system. The center has become a melting pot where people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures and ages come together to practice. We see students, seniors, servers, bartenders, doctors, attorneys and accountants, among others, show up and practice next to each other. We see people bringing their parents and children to practice with them, strengthening their bonds to each other and themselves. Our vision is to provide a safe, supportive space where individuals and families come together to create compassionate, sustainable community in an atmosphere where they are inspired to grow physically, spiritually and emotionally.

The center strives to be a demonstration of what service is, and encourages community members to get involved and give back. Built on the foundation of karma yoga (selfless service), the center is funded through generous donations from students, local businesses and organizations. All of our teachers bring a wealth of knowledge and years of skilled experience, yet practice karma yoga by generously teaching completely for free as a community service. We rely heavily on volunteers to maintain the center, and students give back by helping out in various capacities, including cleaning, landscaping and event support. It’s beautiful to see how creative the community has been in finding ways to contribute. Past donations have ranged from appliances to massages to construction. It takes a community to keep this place thriving.

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Our future plans include a major and long-anticipated expansion into the other half of our building, doubling our capacity and size from 3,600 to 7,200 square feet. In the new space, we plan to expand our scope as we blossom into a state-of-the-art holistic wellness center that offers programming for the whole family and entire community: parents, children, teens, seniors and everyone in between.

In two new studio spaces, we plan to offer more specialized programming geared toward people affected by trauma and grief, including veterans, cancer patients, health care providers and first responders, along with their families and friends, among others. With space to offer classes catered to certain needs, including pre-existing conditions, injuries or diseases, we’ll be able to make yoga accessible to a larger demographic of people. Down the road, we also plan outreach into local schools, hospitals and rehabilitation centers, as well as offering low-cost childcare, healthy eating and cooking classes, and support groups.

We’re building a community center that we hope will be here not only for us and our children but for future generations as well. We want Asheville Community Yoga to be able to serve this area for years to come in the same way it has served tens of thousands of students over the past seven years—bringing us together as a community to connect with one another and with ourselves in this practice and service of yoga.

The fact that we purchased the building will make our nonprofit more sustainable long term. Donations will have a longer lifespan as monthly payments become an investment in the future of the center. As we now pay off a mortgage rather than continuing to owe rent, this space is truly owned by the community.

Cari vinyasa (25)WHY WE’RE DOING IT

The expansion project is in the works due to community demand. The project is not simply the vision of one man or even a team of directors, staff, board members and teachers, but rather a demand from the larger community. We have outgrown our space.

Not only are our public donation-based classes near capacity, our teacher trainings, workshops and series classes are as well. The above-mentioned offerings represent paid programming that contribute to the financial support of the center, which in turn allows thousands of local people to gain the benefits of yoga at a price they choose and can afford. These programs also financially support local teachers who give so freely of themselves by volunteering to teach the donation classes for free.

The expansion project includes the creation of a studio classroom larger than the two we currently have. The fuller classes will be held in this space, allowing more people to join as well as more individual space for each person in the room. The newly created space will also house our teacher trainings, immersions, workshops and series classes. This space will create more opportunities for students who wish to dig deeper into their yoga through specialized paid programming. It also contributes to the local economy by creating financial support for local teachers (we have more than 50!) and the center at large, ensuring that we will never have to go to a “minimum fee” policy in regards to the donation classes.

We currently have three restrooms supporting the demands of thousands of practitioners. Need we say more? The new space will include a large women’s room with six stalls, sinks, countertops and mirrors where women can take care of their business and have the space to clean up after class before heading on to their next engagement. In addition to the women’s room, two more individual restrooms will be created.

With the current restroom lines spilling out into our lobbies, it’s a challenge to find a quiet spot to have a private conversation. The restroom lines will no longer take community space and we plan to add more areas where one-on-one connections can be made before and after class. We will also have a third lobby space furnished with comfortable seating, and a small café/library space where community members can enjoy sweet company or quiet time alone before heading back out into the world.

Additionally, the building purchase and expansion will help address parking, which has been an obstacle at the center since its inception. The capacity of our three existing gravel lots, in addition to the few spaces in the paved lot beside our building, can no longer handle the demand of our growing community, and we and the Town of Woodfin are becomingly increasingly concerned about the safety of our students walking along and crossing Brookdale Road. The upcoming purchase of our building at 8 Brookdale Road addresses both of these concerns, as we will own 80 to 100 spaces directly surrounding the center, cutting down on the number of people crossing Brookdale Road and eventually reducing the amount of rented parking space.

At Asheville Community Yoga, we believe in yoga’s transformative power and strive to make it accessible to everyone, especially those who would not pursue a practice in traditional studio settings, whether because they find the cost prohibitive or fear some pre-existing injury or condition may hold them back.

We believe practicing yoga regularly greatly enhances a person’s physical, mental and spiritual health. This produces a powerful ripple effect, which radiates through the surrounding family, community, and workforce in ways that positively influence everyone. We believe that when individuals change, their families and communities also change. We want to inspire this change by reminding people of the love, compassion and energy that dwell within them, guiding them to find their own paths toward health, happiness and well-being.

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