As We See It

Goodwill’ yoga and donation-based spirituality

Blue Sky Yoga Studio at The Arts Factory
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Sweaty bodies, colorful mats and hard-to-pronounce poses—or “asanas,” as they say—they're all part of the multibillion-dollar yoga industrial complex. But Las Vegans on a tight budget can practice their downward facing dog without having to shell out. Donation-based yoga isn’t just affordable; it lets you pick the price.

“I feel it’s such an important thing for the community,” says Cheryl Slader, founder and instructor at donation-based Downtown studio Blue Sky Yoga. “People have told me it saved their lives or helped them in between jobs.”

Slader also started Seeds of Peace, a free “after school peace program” that teaches yoga to kids. “Think of a place that you like to go to that makes you feel peaceful and happy,” she tells her students. “Know you can always go there even if your situation isn’t good at home.”

And the “goodwill” yoga trend is catching on. Sin City Yoga offers a free class on Sundays, as does the yoga brand Lululemon. Sin City founder and owner Angelica Govaert recently started Yoga Yolks, an organization she hopes will “help bring yoga to people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it.”

Blue Sky student Krystal Marie says via Facebook that there is

“something special about the energy and intent of a studio that works from donation. ... When I was broke and really needed some guidance, [I’d] drop a few bucks. No pressure, [just] immense gratitude for the program.”

Slader adds that Blue Sky’s community-based ethos is reflected in the origins of yoga practice in India. “They don’t charge you to go into a temple. It’s a spiritual thing. We teach it to each other to make each other healthy. It [doesn’t] cost you $22 to do that.”

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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