On a rainy Saturday morning seven years ago, I took my novice, YouTube yoga-practicing self to a class at an actual studio with other people. As I walked into Tranquil Space’s Arlington location, I remember fearing that my loose T-shirt and soccer shorts attire or my lack of high-end yoga mat would scream, “She’s got no clue what she’s doing here!” But something about the warmly lit studio space with twinkle lights and soothing lavender aroma, gave off this cozy vibe, and along with the welcoming staff, helped easy my beginner’s anxiety.
For 18 years, it was this sense of comfort and familiarity at Tranquil Space that would build a dedicated community – one where staff made everyone who walked through the door feel special, and rightfully so. Personalized touches lent itself to the experience; after class attendees would stay to chat with each other, sipping the studio’s special tea mix and cookies. Teachers carefully curated their playlists to the studio’s signature vinyasa flow. Book clubs and special events in the evenings that went beyond the yoga mat. To this day, I have yet to find the same level of detail and care that made Tranquil Space such an incredible yoga studio and community.
In September 2017, Tranquil Space was purchased by national studio brand YogaWorks, and gradually, the personalized touches guests had grown to love began to fade. The continuity in class offerings the community came to expect, the signature lavender scenes and touch of color accents around the studio, the aroma and lighting, and even the cookies, would change. The national corporate brand cared more about luring in Groupon and ClassPass holders than maintaining the studio’s personalized attention to detail.
Then the pandemic hit, and in September 2020, YogaWorks would be forced to shut down the former Tranquil Space Arlington and Dupont studios. Soon after, YogaWorks would close all its physical studios and file for bankruptcy, laying off most of its teaching staff. Former teachers began posting memories of Tranquil Space on social media, with students responding in the comments of how much they missed the studios and the community.
Yearning for a way to connect former teachers and students and reinvigorate the Tranquil Space community, the former teachers created the Tranquil Space Teachers Collective: an online directory of Tranquil Space-trained teachers, including a schedule of upcoming classes and special events.
“One of the nice things about the Collective is that people are teaching mostly online, so students who move to North Carolina, Washington, wherever, can reconnect with old teachers or vice versa,” says Alyson Latham, former studio manager at Tranquil Space/YogaWorks Arlington.
Latham says that the response so far has been amazing. “We’ve been reconnecting our community but have also had the ability to expand our reach to a wider group. One teacher said she had someone she didn’t know who was able to join her online class because they stumbled on the collective.”
She noted that teachers were also excited to have that community again where they can converse, learn, and grow from one another.
“[The Collective’s] teacher directory has helped support independent yoga teachers too, not necessarily the big yoga studios, which I think is really important, especially right now.”
Described on its website as “neither a for-profit entity nor a nonprofit entity, the Tranquil Space Teachers Collective is accepting donations to support maintaining the online directory and hosting monthly benefit classes.
“We are letting it be a living entity and seeing ultimately what direction it takes,” Latham says.
Beyond the goal to rebuild the Tranquil Space community, the Collective is also looking to engage in conversations around important issues such as inclusivity, anti-racism, fair labor practices and cultural appropriation. Each month, the Collective hosts an online, donation-based class, supporting aforementioned causes and more, including an upcoming June event supporting Covid-19 pandemic relief aid to India.
Looking back on the Tranquil Space studio, Latham explains there’s so much more to the Arlington and Dupont studios than what was taking place within their walls.
“It was about taking what we practiced and learned, into the outside world, and not just necessarily keeping it in the studio,” she says.
Notably, at the end of Tranquil Space classes, teachers would frequently recite the studio’s mantra, painted across the front wall: “May our bodies and minds be healthy. May our thoughts be filled with love. May our practice be free of obstacles. May we carry its benefits into the world.”
For more information on the Tranquil Space Teachers Collective and to see the directory of teachers, and upcoming schedule of classes and events, visit www.tranquilspacecollective.com and follow @tranquilspacecollective on Instagram for the latest.
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