This month, we have chosen to interview Liberation Yoga, owned by Christine Burke. Liberation Yoga is based out of LA, and it is the most welcoming space you’ll find in miles.
Introduce yourself and Liberation Yoga a bit.A little bit about me: I juggle a lot of hats, including yoga teacher, meditation teacher, mindful seeker and teacher, writer, mother, animal lover, nature lover, arts and crafts fan, lover of culinary explorations, and design dabbler. I was an actress for the first few decades of my adult life, then yoga called out to me. I ran with open arms! I like to dive deep into things while also dancing on the surface.
What initially made you get into yoga?I like that the question says “MADE”, because that’s exactly how I felt at the time. My soul just really pulled me to it. I was a working actress and made my living doing something I was extremely passionate about. Although I loved my life, I felt emotionally and spiritually untethered and ill at ease a lot. My body, mind, and spirit were needing something more - or maybe something less, but something anyway that would bring me more peace, grounding, and wholeness. That was when I was pulled strongly, and sort of mysteriously, toward yoga. It replenished a battered ego, and filled me with vitality and awareness. I became a better version of myself from it.
What made you want to open up a yoga studio?My husband and I were running our own theater and managing a very iconic and historic studio in Los Angeles called the Center For Yoga. The owner at the time decided to sell it. We were crushed, all we could think of was it losing its essence and the teachers and community all being dispersed. We tried to buy it, but were nudged out by a big corporate yoga business. After many people saying we should open our own, we finally decided just to go for it! We love creating space for people, and we wanted to ensure our future and the future of those who didn’t want to lose a warm, personal atmosphere of a yoga studio. We wanted to make it a heart centered, people over profit, family owned and operated yogic environment.
How does Liberation Yoga differ from other studios in general/other studios in your area?I think it comes down to energy and history. Liberation has always had an energy that comes from its roots in the genuine practice of yoga without pretension. Another thing that makes it stand out is Liberation Yoga has its own history of trials, hardships, resilience, and transcendence. It really makes people feel at home, and gives them the inspiration on their own journey. It has always reminded me of the show “Cheers” from way back. Everybody knows your name. Liberation Yoga is also a place that will protect your privacy, and let you be while you practice. We match you, where you are. The teachers we have are real yogis, in knowledge and practice. The students and teachers alike are very comfortable being themselves, knowing they are being seen and appreciated for who they are. There is this shared sense that we are all in this life together, not in competition but rather in support of each other trying to reach our own highest potential.
How is Liberation Yoga staying busy during the pandemic?It has been a bit rough, it’s not as busy as we need it to be. Thanks to a core group of teachers and students featured in our online live Zoom classes, we are still here one year later. We have tried to secure a grant multiple times and so far no luck. One of the main things that has kept us afloat is seeing our students each day via zoom and sharing conversations about classes, workshops, and life, before and after yoga. Most studios have let their physical spaces go, but we didn’t want to risk that. After 15 years in one place, we had been pushed out through rising rents. After only 9 months of hard work in our beautiful new location we had to shut down. We want everyone who wants live community yoga at Liberation to have a home to come back to. Until we can open again, we have been maintaining the space so that hopefully we can reopen soon! We are also launching an on demand subscription version of liberation called “The Liberated Life” later this spring. Nothing compares to being together, so the goal is to keep the hybrid going.
Describe Liberation Yoga in one word, and why that word?I asked my daughter just now, and she couldn’t have given a more perfect answer. The word we decided on is “welcoming”. We are excited to meet people and we are excited to share our passion for something that is wholesome and healthy. Liberation is a warm, real, and relaxed place where you can feel good in your body and mind while also feeding your soul.
Any advice to entrepreneurs looking to open up their own studios?It’s really not the same as it was 17 years ago when we began, things are much harder now. One thing to note is that it will take over your life, so make sure to be ready for that big of a commitment. Your yoga practice will become less about your poses on the mat, and more about how to apply the philosophy of yoga to millions of details. You must have a love for people and physical space. Make sure you check your “why”, as well. Overall it’s hard, but it’s wonderful.
What would you like future potential members of Liberation Yoga to know about your studio?That we WELCOME you! No matter your age, your condition, your level, or who you are, we welcome you. We want to help you find your best relationship with yoga so that you can become your best self. We are currently holding a smaller schedule than usual, but we will expand it soon as things calm down and we can all be together again. Don’t be afraid, don’t put it off. Just come and try a class “on the house” and see what happens.
For more information on Liberation Yoga, you can head to their website at www.liberation yoga.com, check out their Instagram and Facebook pages - @liberationyoga, or email Christine at [email protected]
To get your studio featured, send an email with your studio name and the subject line: Yoga Studio Of The Month. Make sure to explain why your yoga studio should be featured! Until next month, Namaste.