July 4, 2012

Even Snookie Does Yoga. ~ Toni Grates

Coming up with a name for our yoga studio was fairly challenging.

Sanskrit words were out, as were all words synonymous with breathing. Yoga poses were also out, and anything involving the words “energy,” “om,” “lotus” or “chakra.”

“Toni Grates’ Yoga Emporium” seemed like a mouthful and “Real Deal Yoga” left me tongue tied, so we decided to keep it simple and name the studio after our geographical location. Village Yoga Canada* was born.

It was only a matter of weeks before we received a letter from Diane, the owner and founder of Village Yoga on the Jersey Shore.

Dear Village Yoga Canada,

I recently received an e-mail from one of your members thinking that we were you, which we’re not, because we’re us. We are Village Yoga, serving the residents of the Jersey Shore. You need to change your name, because this is going to get very confusing for our members and that’s not cool. We had the name first and I don’t want my members getting confused.

I’m hoping you’re going to be ethical about this.



Unsure as to how anyone could confuse “Village Yoga Canada” with “Village Yoga on the Jersey Shore,” I emailed her back.

Dear Diane,

Thanks for your email. I’m sorry that you received an email from one of our members in error. We assure you that we’re not out to take members from you, especially since you’re 9-10 hours away from us. We’ve named our studio after our geographical location and I would assume that your members will know we’re not you since the word “Canada” is a part of our name. We’re happy to talk with you on the phone about this.  It is not our intention to be unethical about anything.

Thanks for your time,

Village Yoga Canada

I didn’t hear back from Diane for about two months.

Dear Village Yoga Canada,

I got another four emails from your members asking me questions about your schedule. Clearly, I don’t have time for this and it’s getting in the way of the work I need to do at my studio.

I have no other option but to take legal action if you don’t immediately change your name. I had Village Yoga first and it’s mine.


Diane from Village Yoga

At this point, for solely my own entertainment, I started imagining that Diane was Snookie from the hit reality show Jersey Shore and that all her members were foul-mouthed Jersey Shore brats who went to yoga to “pick up.”


We’re not changing our name, since we’ve legally been advised that it is available in Canada and since there is really no way that your members could possibly confuse “Village Yoga on the Jersey Shore” with “Village Yoga Canada.”

We’re sorry that our members have again contacted you. Since our email addresses are fairly similar, we will figure out a new address to go by.

This is yoga, right? So there’s no need for lawsuits.

Thanks for understanding,

Village Yoga Canada

It was another month of silence before Snookie resurfaced.

Village Yoga Canada,

I have a log of 13 people who have contacted us thinking we are you. I used to work in NYC and I know a lot of good lawyers. You will be hearing from one of them very soon, since you insist on being unethical.

I have no choice but to sue you for damages.


Village Yoga on the Jersey Shore

I never did hear from Diane’s lawyer. I’m assuming it’s because she looked at a map and realized that the Jersey Shore is nowhere near Toronto, Canada. Or maybe she took the time to reflect on the wise and immortal words of Snookie herself:

“I’m gonna do me. You do you.”

~ Jersey Shore, MTV

* While geographical locations are correct, the studio and owner’s names listed have been slightly modified because we at Recovering Yogi don’t sell enough t-shirts to pay the potential cost of legal fees. Help us out.  

Toni Grates opened a yoga studio because she thought it would solve all her problems.  After 13 months in yoga hell, she shut the doors and peacefully went back to the real world.  She’s a mom and bonus mom (so much nicer than “step-mom”) who loves all things creative.  Post-studio, she has gone back to her love of writing with more material than she ever thought possible.  You can follow her adventures at www.namastebitchesblog.com.


Editor: Brianna Bemel


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