“We want to be a shining light in the community to guide clients toward a better practice,” said yoga instructor and co-owner of Yoga Savi Ryan Besler, whose physique more resembles that of a weight lifter than the false stereotype of a lanky yogi.
He and his wife, Stephanie Besler, built the successful downtown studio Yasa Yoga and sold it several years ago. Now they are back with Yoga Savi (yogasavi.com) at the same location at 22 West Mission Street. “It’s like we never left,” he said of their plan to continue their tradition of mostly vinyasa-based classes, which focus on movement and breath.
However, Besler recognizes that class postures and physicality are very subjective. “We like the organic nature of teaching to the room as opposed to teaching a style or teaching to a teacher’s opinion,” he said of the way he approaches his students’ individual needs, which have a surprising range, from ultra-athletic to meditative.
Indeed, yoga has long stripped its label as a fad for “hippie” women in stretchy pants and is now practiced across the spectrum, from NBA players and firefighters whose bodies are their business to seniors searching for holistic energy and movement enhancement. It also has proven health benefits and can increase balance, strength, and daily good vibes.
Besler credits the success of his family-run business on the community, and he likes to keep things local by training his own teachers. “We’re a teacher-based studio as opposed to a brand-based studio,” he said, touching on the business models of large, branded studios like YogaWorks, which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with 2016 revenues upward of $55 million. Besler hopes he can provide a very different service by connecting with clients through personal relationships.
Yoga Savi is also run with Besler’s added philosophical foundation that is meant to push a client’s practice forward. He calls it the “four pillars and equal parts of learning anything,” and it includes putting equal weight on the teacher, oneself, peers, and time. “The aspect of the practice is learning to be responsible for your own well-being,” he said, and he invites all his students to learn to make good decisions for themselves and their bodies along a refined yoga path.