For five consecutive years, I’ve headed out to Austin for Free Day of Yoga. I drove out the night before to rise early enough for Kundalini sadhana and cram in eight hours of yoga, of all varieties, into my yoga sponge of a mind, body, and soul.
Now, the Union of MBS and The Union yoga studios, are filling the yoga void on Labor Day in San Antonio. In honor of its tenth anniversary, The Union (www.theUnionSA.com) will open its doors on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1, with nine complimentary 60- or 90-minute hot yoga sessions for the first Free Day of Yoga in San Antonio.
Free Day of Yoga
The free activities attract thousands of participants in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Corpus, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Guam, and now, San Antonio. Back in 1999, when some yogis in Austin came up with the idea of a smorgasbord of classes for Free Day of Yoga, Stevan Falk was testing the waters with the ancient Indian practice.
“I was the seven-year-old in PE class that couldn’t touch his toes,” admits Falk. “At age 25, I would roll out of bed every morning thinking I’m not supposed to feel like this. One month after I gave yoga a shot, I woke with no knee pain or back pain. Plus, I was missing about 15 pounds of fat with no change to my diet. Fast forward two months and I had lost 40 pounds. Yoga allows me to do the things that I really love to do like lift heavy weights, CrossFit, compete in the highland games, marathons, and triathlons.”
About the same time, Falk’s friend Lisa Ingle-Stevens had dabbled in yoga and was seeking an exercise plan to help a friend with migraines, brought on after four concussions.
“The minute I walked out of my first Bikram Yoga class I knew that not only had I found something I was going to do the rest of my life, but felt this burning desire to make this my life’s work,” recalls Ingle-Stevens, who at the time was planning on attending law school. “I remember like it was yesterday, walking out of my first class in the snow (in Denver) and feeling on top of the world. I wanted to become a yoga teacher and expose and help as many people as I could to this life-changing practice.”
Ingle-Stevens and Falk applied for an SBA loan. After getting many doors slammed shut, they opened a Bikram Yoga studio in the spring of 2004. Ten years later, 400 people practice Bikram, Hot, or Power Yoga at The Union’s three locations each day, and they also manage Bust a Move CrossFit.
If it’s Good Enough for Madonna…
Liz Peters was one of the first employees at The Union. Ten years later, she teaches both yoga and CrossFit. “All I knew about yoga 10 years ago was that Madonna did it and she looked pretty darn good,” says Peters. “Yoga definitely made me a better person. It has made me appreciate what I have in front of me. People will pay out the wazoo for handbags, shoes, clothes, electronic equipment, why not spend that money on yourself? You are worth it.”
Falk and Ingle-Stevens want to spread their love for wellbeing with area residents as they celebrate their ten years as Alamo City health and fitness advocates.
Free Labor Day classes include yoga at Alamo Heights (Broadway) at 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., in Hollywood Park (Northwoods) at 5:45 a.m., 9:00 a.m., noon and 4:30 p.m., and at Huebner Oaks at 5:45 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
To complement Free Day of Yoga classes, Bust a Move on North 281 will offer free Labor Day classes at 7:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.
Beyond the free Labor Day classes, The Union is offering and the Get Hot Challenge, which is any combination of 60, 60-minute, or 90-minute yoga or CrossFit classes in 60 days, and unlimited yoga and CrossFit classes at all locations are reduced to just $99 per month.