NORTHAMPTON — Yoga Sanctuary located in Thornes Marketplace has changed hands, and the new owner — a longtime studio member — has plans to revitalize programming, restructure pricing to increase access, and foster diversity and inclusion in the space.
Lindsay Pope purchased Yoga Sanctuary from former owner Sara Rose Page on Aug. 1 in a major career shift for Pope, formerly the assistant director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus and a visiting choral director at Williams College.
Page made the decision to sell after COVID-19 forced the closing of the studio in March, which caused sales to drop by a third. Page was also caring for her daughters at home.
Pope said her decision to purchase now, in this uncertain and unusual time, came because she feared Page may not have found another buyer.
“I feel like this time is incredibly liberating,” she said. “What do I have to lose? The alternate was that we could have lost this space, and instead, we’re going to give it another shot, and we’re going to try to evolve to meet the needs of the times and the next generation. That’s what we’re all being called to do right now in the chaos that’s happening.”
In addition to a new website and programming, another initiative Pope has undertaken is creating educational opportunities for students to “unlearn racism and ableism” as it relates to the practice of yoga.
She will host Dianne Bondy Oct. 17-18 for a weekend workshop entitled “Yoga for All.” Bondy is an internationally recognized yoga leader who specializes in the intersection of racial inequality and body image within yoga; she will discuss how Yoga Sanctuary can evolve into a space that is more inclusive.
Pope will also offer two new classes led by Angelica Lopez, of Holyoke, one for Spanish speakers and one for Black and Indigenous people of color.
Lopez is one of nine instructors who currently lead classes at Yoga Sanctuary. Pope’s partner, Jonathan Gregory, the general manager of PV Squared in Greenfield, a worker-owned solar cooperative, is consulting with Pope.
“We’re thinking about how we can adapt in this particular time, in terms of our virtual content and being accessible outside the physical space and using our space in Thornes in different ways that don’t involve the gathering of lots of people,” Pope said. “I also want to incorporate my creativity into the studio culture and reach more people because of that. We are restructuring the programming and culture and making it a much more viable online business.”
Pope holds a bachelor’s in music from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s in music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and a doctorate of musical arts in choral conducting from the University of North Texas.
She started her career directing the choral program at Mount Holyoke in 2011, the same year she joined Yoga Sanctuary as a member. While working on her doctoral degree, she was the assistant director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus. Most recently, she served as a visiting choral director at Williams College.
Yoga Sanctuary’s new programs include:
■ An on-demand video library platform, through which instructors will offer short yoga sequences for waking up, going to bed, managing anxiety, addressing aches from gardening, and more. Access to the platform will be included in any studio membership and is also available as a separate subscription for $29 per month after a two-week trial.
■Three community classes, which include the yoga class to be taught in Spanish and the class for BIPOC, will be offered at a pay-what-you-can rate.
■Three-tiered, sliding-scale pricing offered at $79, $99 and $119 per month. “The price will be up to the clients,” Pope said. “People can decide what price makes sense to them due to income or the frequency they might use the services. We’re giving people different access points.”
■ New drop-in pricing at $10, $15 and $20 per. “That will make yoga more accessible. You decide what will work for you,” Pope said.
■Four-, six-week yoga series, focusing on prenatal yoga, postpartum with baby yoga, yoga for teenagers, and intro to yoga. Each series will also be offered on a sliding scale from $80-$160 for the series.