The Yoga and Movement Sanctuary: New Yoga Studio Opening in Brewerytown

The view from the not-yet-finished Yoga and Movement Sanctuary

The view from the not-yet-finished Yoga and Movement Sanctuary

The first time I took a yoga class with Emile Sorger at Amrita Yoga & Wellness in Fishtown, he told a joke in the middle of the class that involved a penguin and a highway, if I recall correctly, and he closed out the class with an Imagine Dragons song. In other words, he’s not your typical yoga teacher — so it only makes sense that the yoga studio he’s opening in Brewerytown with fellow Philly yogi Noah Julian won’t be your average yoga studio.

And the story behind it isn’t really your typical business-opening story, either. As Sorger tells me, about a year ago, he was out and about in Brewerytown, where he lives, when someone shouted at him from across the street. The person shouting turned out to be Aaron Smith, one of the guys behind Brewerytown real estate development firm MM Partners. His wife took classes with Sorger at Amrita, and he wanted to chat about the idea of starting a yoga studio in the neighborhood. That was about a year ago, and now, the studio, called the Yoga and Movement Sanctuary, is slated to open in March.

Like, can someone scream at me from across a street and ask me if I’d like to start a business? Preferably an avocado-toast business? Thanks.

As Sorger tells me, the studio, located at 2623 West Girard Avenue, will be a yoga studio that “leans into other traditions and skills” — think: dance, gymnastics, martial arts, and so on — to offer yogis a more varied practice. What’d I say? Not your average yoga studio. And they’re designing their studio membership and schedule so that, rather than rushing in a minute before class and rushing right back out the minute you open your eyes from savasana, the studio — and your practice — become a larger part of your life.

How so? Well, a membership (a monthly membership will run you $120 a month, or $108 for auto-renew) will get your more than just classes: When you sign up for a membership, you’ll get a yoga journal where they’ll ask you to write achievable goals for your first month. So Sorger explains it as one goal and one “shift” (as in a shift in your behavior), which they’ll try their dardnest to help you achieve. A goal might be “I really want to master a handstand,” and a shift might be “I really want to stop hitting snooze and skipping my morning workouts.” There will be open studio sessions, where members can drop in and practice on their own, with an instructor on deck to answer questions. Then, every member will also get one private session when they start, plus a monthly private meeting with an instructor to check in. Because as Sorger explains, “A lot of the time, the difference between getting stuck somewhere and getting somewhere is just another set of eyes and 10 minutes.” In the same vein of helping students keep track of where they are in achieving their goals, they’re also developing a system to help their really committed students track their progress in the classroom.

Oh! And one more thing they’re doing: They’re partnering with other studios in the area to allow members to take classes outside of their studio, like dance and meditation, to mix things up. Because as Sorger says, “For Noah and me, yoga is not enough.”

It’s all very yoga college-y, right?

“We are asking people for a little bit more commitment,” Sorger says. “In general, the only way to get a deeper understanding of yoga is to become a teacher, which I think is really a shame. Not everyone is meant to be a teacher.” So essentially, they’re hoping to give folks the tools they need to soak up lots of yoga knowledge without, you know, forcing them to sign up for a teacher training.

And while they will cater to a more committed crew, the studio will be accessible to the just-want-drop-in-every-now-and-then crowd, too, thanks to a slew of $5 community classes they’ll offer throughout the week.

The studio, which as you can see in the photo above is still in the building stage, will fit about 30 students. They don’t have an exact opening date yet, but Sorger says they’ll definitely, definitely be opening their doors in March. Until then, you can keep up with the studio on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

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