Yoga in San Francisco is its own culture. From the young to the old to the wildly eccentric to the very disciplined, the city by the bay does not disappoint in terms of a vast array of teachers, styles and personalities that bind the community together.
Tim Dale and Tara Dale co-founded a tiny studio on Stanyan Street 15 years ago. They now have eight additional Bay Area locations, so they are thrilled to celebrate this milestone with the community in a free party in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, Oct. 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a yoga class, live music, entertainment, samplings, and giveaways.
THE HISTORY OF SUCCESS
Approximately 20 years ago, Tim Dale, with a background in the restaurant and nightclub business, started practicing yoga. Class sizes were increasing during the years he practiced, and he recognized an opportunity. While scouting for a restaurant location, he discovered a small cozy space on Stanyan Street. Something clicked. This would make a great yoga studio, he thought.
At the time, Tara Dale was teaching yoga in her Marina studio when she learned that a restaurateur wanted to open a yoga studio, and that he was looking for a partner. They met, and the rest is history.
Yoga Tree held its first class at the Stanyan Street studio in October 1999. It now hosts 30,000 students per month in nine studios through classes, workshops, trainings, and events throughout the Bay Area.
What’s their secret? “We hire the best teachers in the country and give them the resources to study with senior teachers and mentors, allowing them to continually grow and evolve. The best teacher is a great student,” said Yvonne Schellerup, general manager.
Yoga Tree is known for its diversity of top-notch teachers and yoga styles, which is core to the studio’s founding philosophy. It was out of a personal quest to understand and practice all facets of yoga that Tim Dale and Tara Dale’s vision for Yoga Tree was born. Rather than a studio devoted to one yoga style, they envisioned an inclusive home where the best teachers from every branch of yoga could come together; a place where all students could find the practice they needed regardless of age, gender, physical ability, or health status.
The Dales’ passion for yoga diversity inspired Yoga Tree’s teacher training program, which began in 2005. The program is designed to educate and inspire the next generation of yoga teachers and the growing yoga community.
Approximately 200 teachers graduate each year from Yoga Tree’s basic 200-hour program, and an additional 150 teachers are currently enrolled in the advanced training program. Hundreds more take continuing education courses. “We’re especially proud of our training program because through teaching teachers, we are creating a legacy that is spreading throughout the world,” said Tim Dale.
This year Yoga Tree launched a majors program, the first yoga studio in the country to do so, which allows for even more in-depth specialization into teachers’ interest areas. Majors include Yoga and Psychology, Therapeutic Yoga, and Gentle and Restorative Yoga.
Visitors in the teacher training and continuing education program include Rod Stryker, Ana Forrest, Judith Hanson Lasater, Shiva Rea, Tiffany Cruikshank, Kathryn Budig, Katchie Ananada, Noah Maze, Eoin Finn, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, and many more.
Yoga Tree’s newest location is the Richmond District’s 6th Avenue (182 Sixth Avenue) studio, in the former Brighton Beach Antiques space. It retains the former establishment’s iconic sign, and offers over 25 classes per week in vinyasa, hatha, pre- and postnatal yoga, restorative, and kundalini yoga.
Located in the vibrant neighborhood scene of Hayes Valley, the Hayes (519 Hayes Street) intimate and skylighted studio, is graced with a beautiful mural of Krishna, and offers a diverse range of yoga styles.
The Castro (97 Collingwood Street) location is in a former World War II ballroom with windowed walls and lofted ceilings and offers mostly vinyasa and flow classes. The studio has also hosted a variety of events from dance parties and record releases to prayers, vigils, meditations, workshops, and more, which have charged the space with a palpable energy.
In the Mission, the Valencia (1234 Valencia Street) studio is in a former church, which lends to its sacred feel. Its offerings include vinyasa, hatha flow, yin, restorative, yoga nidra, gentle hatha, prenatal, and mom-and-baby classes. The little-known Mission (24 Shotwell Street) location hosts one public donation-based class per day. The remainder of the time the space is devoted to teacher trainings and workshops, and it’s also Yoga Tree’s business office.
The Potrero (1500 16th Street) location has two studios, a large one for public classes, teacher trainings, workshops, and events, and smaller one devoted to regular classes as well as therapeutics and other specialized classes like Yoga for Cancer Patients (offered free of charge) and Wall Ropes.
Yoga Tree has also reached east across the bay with its Telegraph (2807 Telegraph Avenue) studio in Berkeley and north to Corte Madera (67 Tamal Vista Boulevard).
Yoga Tree: 415-387-4707, yogatreesf.com