One of the services that can be hard to come by in the Brookland area is a good yoga class. That’s why we were happy to hear about the launch of Brookland Yoga, a “floating” yoga studio, meaning, it doesn’t have a permanent location, and instead their mission is to partner with already existing organizations in the community. We caught up with Sharlene Bagga-Taves, the owner Brookland Yoga and asked her some questions about her new business. Interested? Check out her next class at Right Proper Brewery on Monday March 14th. Here is the flyer and go to the event page
here to sign up.
What brought you to your yoga practice?
I have been exposed to yoga ever since I was a little girl. I remember getting ready for school and coming downstairs to see my dad practicing his sirsasana, or, headstand, in the living room against the glass porch door. I never really thought of it as yoga, or really thought of it at all, until I started practicing yoga in 2002 after a nasty ankle injury. I was hoping that yoga would be a way for me to transition back into working out until I could completely bear weight on my ankle. It turns out yoga became a much bigger part of my life.
Over the first few years of my practice, what kept me going back to yoga – at least what I thought – was the physical exercise component. I love sweating it out in hot yoga and the increased flexibility it can inspire (when practiced safely, of course). As I started practicing yoga more regularly, I realized that other parts of my life were improving. Somewhat related, but not necessarily linked, I was able to get off my asthma medication and have not returned to it since. Part of this may have been just growing out of my childhood asthma, but it is likely that at some point my practice of deeper breathing and awareness of breath probably aided this remission.
I have moved around a lot as an adult and have always been nervous about whether I’d feel part of a community during my stints in different places. Having lived in Michigan, California, El Salvador, Thailand and now Washington, DC, I have discovered that yoga is really a bridge to community for me. By that I mean, it is a great way to meet like minded people and folks that share other interests of mine which include wine tasting, traveling, reading, working out, hiking, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and of course yoga
What is the story behind Brookland Yoga?
So when I took a year off after having my son in 2014, I had some time to refocus my creative energy. I rediscovered my inner artist and started painting, doing ceramics, cooking a ton, gardening, and turning my yoga teaching up a notch – both in terms of creative sequencing and also creative alliances. This is where my idea for a “floating” yoga studio grew from. I am a very proud Brookland resident and have always been surprised by the lack of yoga and athletic outlets in this part of Northeast D.C. To my delight, the first few businesses in the community I reached out to were excited to partner with Brookland Yoga, and together we are able to offer unique yoga experiences to Ward 5 residents and beyond! We have partnerships with the Historic Brookland Farmer’s Market, the Monroe Street Market (for their residential community) and most recently Right Proper Brewery. You might think of Brookland Yoga as a traveling pop-up yoga studio partnering with local organizations to create unique yoga experiences. That is our vision.
Brookland yoga is always looking to expand partnerships and we welcome interested yoga teachers to get in touch if they’d like to join our team. New opportunities are coming up every day – at least it seems like that, and it feels great. I hope to combine some of my other favorite activities with yoga and mindfulness such as art & yoga and mindful wine tasting following a yummy, sweaty yoga class! I’m working on those leads now.
I also love teaching pre-natal yoga and connecting folks within the community of new parents in the neighborhood. This summer, Brookland yoga is hosting pre-natal classes outdoors followed by a social half-hour of tea to meet and greet with your neighbors. Perhaps this will become a regular thing. When I was looking for permanent studio space, my vision was to have a half-hour of tea and socializing before the start of each yoga class. Now that we’ve become a floating studio, we’ll have to find other creative ways to do this! It’s a good thing that there are so many beautiful spots in the city to practice yoga outdoors.
How long have you been teaching yoga?
I have been practicing yoga since 2002 and teaching it since 2013. I completed an intensive 200 hour teacher training in Chacala, Mexico and am currently enrolled in the Advanced (500 hour) Teacher Training program at Tranquil Space in Dupont circle. So far, anatomy is the part I like to nerd out on the most – it is really fascinating how our bodies work!
Tell us about the types of places you are looking to hold classes and how often.
I am looking to develop a comprehensive yoga program in Brookland that offers the community regular yoga classes and unique yoga experiences that don’t require a lot of travel. If neighboring businesses and organizations continue to be receptive to partnering with Brookland Yoga, I think that this goal is very reachable. It also includes signing up some of the experienced yoga teachers (many of whom I met at my farmers market classes last summer) to join our team so that we can really cater to the needs of our students
Why did you pick Brookland to open your business?
I never thought about starting a business before I moved to Brookland, so I would say that Brookland itself is really the inspiration. When I moved here after living abroad for two years, I was amazed at the sense of community that I felt. I have lived all around the city in various neighborhoods over the last ten years, and have never felt such a strong sense of community anywhere else in D.C. Talking to people that really want to practice yoga in Brookland and meeting new local business owners that are interested in partnering with us is what gave me the final push of inspiration I needed to start Brookland Yoga.
Anything else you want readers to know?
My background is in public health and both of my parents’ careers were in mental health care, serving mostly homeless patients in the metro Detroit area. I think, without realizing the path, my background in health has led me to yoga which actually has amazing mental health benefits including finding calmness in the chaos of life, and enhancing one’s ability to cope with change and hardship, often through breath. If you don’t know what I mean, I hope to see you on the mat, even if all you want is a good workout and stretch!
What is the best way for readers to keep up with the Brookland Yoga?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will be sure to let you know about upcoming classes and events. You can also check out our website here
. If you are interested in partnering with us, we would love to hear from you as well.