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Is Richard Gere Ripping Off Yoga Teachers?

in Business of Yoga, YD News

richard-gere_carey-lowellUh oh. Trouble at the Inn! Richard Gere’s not just a studly actor gentleman, he’s also a devout Buddhist, recent receiver of Dalai Lama blessings and a Bed and Breakfast/Yoga Studio proprietor. Great! Is he also a super shady tyrannical business owner who doesn’t pay his employees? Rumor is the yoga studio at the Bedford Post Inn, Gere’s B&B in Westchester, NY has a shala full of disgruntled yoga teachers and vendors owed months of wages! zowch. Is it true? Well, according to reports, yogis at the Bedford have been trying to get answers (and money) from business owners (Gere, wife Carey Lowell, partner Russell Hernandez: pictured) and accountants for months with very little luck. And now it’s on Page Six and Perez Hilton! Take that.

The A-list couple took over the historic farmhouse in 2008 with partner Russell Hernandez, and revamped it into an eight-room inn, restaurant, cafe and yoga studio. Room rates range from $395 to $550 a night.

According to insiders, some yoga instructors at the inn who earn up to $75 per class have had payment delayed for up to three months at a time. The yogis say multiple e-mails and phone calls to accountants went unanswered, leading them to stand outside the accounting office in a trailer near the main house to beg for their paychecks.

One of the employees adds, “I find it humiliating. It’s the exact opposite of what yoga is about — integrity, being honest.” And according to a previous vendor, “Getting [Hernandez] on the phone to get payment is like trying to get to the president.”

yogaloft-thebedfordpost0719

Just a misunderstanding? Hope so. We just received a lovely email about a workshop at the Bedford Yoga Loft this weekend – Restorative Yoga and Tea Party – and we sure hope Ms. Judi Friedman, a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher (Bedford Yoga), gets paid for her efforts. Nice place eh?

Bedford Post Inn website

3 comments… add one

  • Boooo, no YogaDawg t-shirt for you Mr. Richard Gere…

  • Hi all – the above story involved 2 teachers who in the most un-yogic way (and namelessly), went public with their grievances. Yes, even in the world of yoga, human nature, rears its sometimes ugly head.
    The Yoga Loft is a gorgeous space and, notwithstanding the story in the Post, is staffed with many happy, lovely and very competent teachers.
    My recent Workshop and Tea was well attended, and YES, I was paid well and on time.
    You can practice most any method at the Yoga Loft – 7 days a week. Our celebrity owners take classes, and meditate alongside all the non-celebrity yogis who make up our wonderful community. Namaste! –Judi Friedman, Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher

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