March 1, 2009

Richard Freeman sells Yoga Workshop.

Yogis and Yoginis in Boulder have known this for some time, but I just realized that we’d failed to report that Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor have finally decided to pass on the management, and ownership, of his Yoga Workshop—founded wayyy back in 1988, it’s a Yankee Stadium or Wrigley Field of the American yoga studio scene—to students De West and her husband, Stephen.

I first studied with De six or seven years ago, now, and respect her as an avid student and passionate teacher, the kind who continues to take classes and take notes and learn, learn, learn. The sale of the studio will enable Richard and Mary to…well, have a life (esp now that their son is off to college, as well!)…and Richard will continue to teach at the studio as well as focus on traveling and teaching, which helps pay the bills better than running a studio probably did—the studio was always more of a community offering than a cash cow, probably, though its attendance, lineage and reputation are strong. 

Excerpt of a letter from Richard and Mary via The Yoga Workshop web site:

We are delighted to announce that as part of our continued aim to cultivate the growth and evolution of the Yoga Workshop, we are shifting the organizational structure of the Studio. Beginning January 1, 2009 Stephen and De West will take over ownership of the Yoga Workshop Studio. Richard and Mary will remain active participants in the Yoga Workshop community and at the Studio. Richard will continue to teach, to give Sunday Talks and to offer his teacher intensives through the Yoga Workshop. Mary will also continue teaching, but will no longer be managing the day-to-day operations. Stephen, De, Richard, and Mary look forward to working together guiding the Studio through this next phase of development and hopefully making it an even nicer place for our community of dedicated yoga practitioners to learn and practice together.

A recent letter from Richard and Mary

Dear Sangha Members,

Richard and I wanted to share with you news about the most recent evolution taking place at the Yoga workshop. Over the past few years our work with teaching, Richard’s travel and several writing projects have all demanded an increasing amount of our time. We also have moved into the “empty nest” phase of parenting, so we find ourselves with a less externally imposed time structure. With these factors in mind it has become increasingly clear that we should let go of the management and ownership roles we have had at the Yoga Workshop since we founded it in 1988.

Naturally, this has been a huge decision for us. We feel honored to have worked with the many teachers and staff members who’ve been part of our community over the years. We also feel deep gratitude to all of the students, local and international, who have helped to build our sangha with a clear dedication to keeping an open mind as we study yoga together. Perhaps the most difficult part in all this has been grappling with our own emotions of letting go of the studio while maintaining a commitment to the sangha.

After a great deal of thought and consideration we made the decision to hand over ownership of the studio to longtime sangha members, Stephen and De West. This will become effective January 1, 2009. Between now and January the four of us hope to work closely with our staff and the sangha to lay smooth groundwork for this transition. Neither Stephen and De, nor Richard and I foresee any big changes happening when they take over. Of course over time the studio will evolve–as it would have had we maintained ownership. But the joint aim is to maintain continuity.

We also want to assure you that Richard will continue to teach regularly scheduled classes at the Yoga Workshop. He will give Studio Talks, and will continue to offer Teacher Intensives and special workshops through the studio. I will also continue to teach and will be involved as an active member of the sangha. We have no plans to move out of Boulder, and both see ourselves being here and available.

All this said, we’d like to reiterate our devotion to the practice and teaching of yoga. We look forward to sharing this opportunity for transition together. We deeply appreciate the dedication to yoga and to finding truth in the present moment that each of you brings into our sangha.

With gratitude and love,

Richard and Mary

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