Home Simply Yoga is the first yoga school in the Los Angeles area to have employed principles of environmentally intelligent design to create a studio with a very small carbon handprint. Owners Gary Margolin and wife Melissa Cooper-Margolin put their hearts and heads together to see their dream realized.
Along with the help of green architect David Randall Hertz and part owner Simi Cruz, the Margolins were able to paint an existing building green so to speak. They installed a gorgeous reclaimed mahogany floor with high efficiency radiant heat under it, keeping the practice room a womb-like 80 degrees. The glues, paints, and varnishes used in the construction of the studio are non-toxic. Eco-friendly interior designer Melissa wanted to show that aesthetics do not have to be compromised when being considerate of your environment. All of the furniture and fixtures that she chose are used, yet stylish.
Home Simply Yoga implements environmentally sound principles into their operation such as using only biodegradable cleaning products, recycled paper and vegetable based inks, and organic cotton hand towels rather than paper towels. The props that they have for students to use are PVC-free mats, recycled blocks, and hemp-covered bolsters with organic cotton fill. Plus, they have given students an incentive to be more environmentally conscious by implementing a program where they can earn “Eco Points” towards a free class. This encourages them to walk, car pool, ride bikes, or take public transportation to their yoga class.
The practice room is five-sided not by coincidence; the pentagon shape is a metaphor for not putting students in boxes. The classes offered take a modern approach to the ancient Ashtanga system, as taught by T. Krishnamacharya and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. While the principals of the Ashtanga sequence are applied, the teachers seek a therapeutic aspect at every level from beginners to advanced practitioners. They have a very different teaching methodology by giving individualized attention in a group setting. Because the teachers aim to cater to an individual's needs and abilities, the studio attracts practitioners of a variety of levels. It is the Margolins' belief that yoga should be healing and so it must be taught appropriately to each person. They want to empower their students and have them take responsibility for their well-being. For example, although there is a price list for classes, if students are having a financial slump, they are allowed to pay what they can. Gary and Melissa just want their students to continue their practice, so they rely on the honor system.
At first I wondered why this studio was called Home Simply Yoga. After taking class and spending time there the answer was clear to me. This mindfully and delicately crafted place does feel like home (pardon the clichÃ©). The classes and the studio are actually very simple and just about yoga. Since Ashtanga follows a set system of movement, the teachers are not trying to be super creative with their sequences; instead they can direct their focus to the needs of each student. I ended up inquiring about the name of the studio and Gary confirmed that what I was feeling was their intention.