Venice is different than Santa Monica ... real different. Yet lots of Venice people I know still haul over to Santa Monica for their Yoga classes for some reason. I'm here to tell you, no need. Studio Surya Yoga is smack dab in the middle of Venice (right off the Windward Circle next to Bike Attack), and is as serene and lovely as could be - a pure reflection of its owner, Yonnus Becker.
Yonnus is a California girl, born and bred. She grew up in Laguna Beach, the daughter of some fun sounding hippie parents (setting up their first Sawdust Festival booth naked but for hats), that made up her interesting name, and gave her the freedom to do what she loved.
That meant traveling, majoring in Classical History at UCLA, getting every kind of license available (Contractor's, Teacher's, you name it ...), and generally being a bit of a wild child. She moved to New York (because she felt like it) and it was there she really both got into Yoga. Walking home from an NY class one day, she decided that would be her next big endeavor - opening her own studio. In Venice, California.
Venice appealed to her because there really wasn't (and still really isn't, besides Studio Surya) a great yoga place in Venice. She felt that it was the only place that made sense to her (as so many of us feel), and as she said, "I want people to be interesting", and they certainly are in Venice. She sold everything and went for it, because life is short and you need to do what makes you feel good. The current location was the first place she looked at, and after re-doing the entire space herself (laying the hardwood floor (!), painting, hanging things, all of it), Studio Surya opened in February of 2009.
And there Yonnus, along with a team of hand-picked teachers - "smushy love balls" all - have been teaching Hatha Yoga classes seven days a week ever since. I've only been to Yonnus's Vinyasa Flow class so far, but can't wait to experience the evening Candlelight Flow class ... or any more of them, for that matter. Yonnus is a great teacher, super kind-voiced and positive, reminding you to (well, for me, to breathe) have gratitude, and realize that "The gift is to slow down and appreciate yourself." - always good advice. She gives you options for the easier or harder you want your positions to feel, and gently helps you to be better than you thought you could be at it all.
Yonnus is so warm to be around, and it made total sense when she expressed that she wants to be YOUR Yoga Studio for VENICE ... for, as she put it, "Non-Showbiz Yoga." You know exactly what she means too ... the packed classes with the fragile looking trophy wives and dudes that like to pick up on them. The Scene-y yoga. Blech. This is nothing like that. Studio Surya is again, a gentle Yoga. Yonnus doesn't subscribe to a lot of the usual Yogi dogmas - she's not vegetarian, she likes music other than sitar, she doesn't make students brush her hair during class (Weird, Mr. Bikram), etc ... - feeling that to each, his or her own. The best part is just that you know she actually cares. She'll come around and soothingly reposition you. The class ends with her placing a lavender eye pillow over your eyes, relaxing you with a little massage on your feet, and a delicious aromatherapy spray shows up somewhere in there ... but that all could've been a dream, so chill was I then, after the trembling legged earlier part of the class. Oh, and very importantly these days, she keeps it extra affordable.
Yonnus said that when she set out to create her own studio, she wanted it to be with no ego or pretense, and serve as an environment where students can feel cared about. "People in Venice WANT to be connected, the polished and unpolished all together ... we can raise each others' vibrations." Now doesn't that philosophy sound perfect for here?
Yoga aficionado that lives in Venice? Well, you're stoked.
Studio Surya Yoga
1501 Main Street #106