Free outdoor yoga takes a new and expensive turn. Many of us have taken part in outdoor yoga whether it’s on our own in the backyard, with thousands in the center of the universe, or along with a few other fellow practitioners led by a teacher (who is paid, or most likely not) in a local public park. For one teacher in San Diego, that last opportunity comes with limits, or very expensive consequences.
Yoga teacher Steve Hubbard has been leading regular by-donation yoga classes on weekends at Pacific Beach Park in the typically yoga-friendly San Diego. Sounds innocent enough, but last week he found himself in court fighting against the city’s efforts to shut him down and pay tickets of up to $500 and $800. Why? Hubbard’s classes have become popular enough that over 50 people attend, and therein lies the problem. According to city code, any groups over 49 are not allowed and police actually showed up to his class last summer to issue tickets.
While Hubbard believes this is ridiculous, as many others might as well, it gets a little more loopy, literally. Hubbard has been able to hold classes recently via a loophole – he breaks up the group into smaller groups under 50 people each.
“You can have three groups of 50 people, but you can’t have 150 people. I don’t think the code is serving its purpose,” Hubbard told 10News.
Tons of people clogging up space in a public park is one thing, but the fact that lots of people want to spend their weekends practicing yoga is never a bad thing. We say, step it up San Diego! Let the people yoga! Figure out how to appease everyone before you have a non-angry flash mob of protesting yogis on your hands. And please don’t make it a pricey permit matter a la Denver.
It’s not time to lie down and savasana yet. Seeing it as an issue of free speech, Hubbard plans to continue his fight in court (any court) until it’s been settled.
Photo: 10 News