New Yoga Studios on or Very Near the Hill

East Side Yoga's rooftop deck opened for regular classes on Monday, August 24th, making it DC's first rooftop yoga studio. Photo: Teresa Wood/Courtesy East Side Yoga

Are you interested in channeling the Grateful Dead, who practiced rocket yoga taught by founder Larry Schultz in San Francisco in the 1980s? Have you ever thought about taking a yoga class outside on a rooftop? Would you like a nourishing and grounding practice that gives your muscles a break and stimulates the deeper tissues in your body through restorative yoga? Maybe you prefer practicing asanas with your child? Capitol Hill has five new yoga studios that offer all these classes and many more. There’s no excuse now for not trying a kind of yoga that appeals to your unique taste, physical ability, and interest.

If you are practicing yoga you are part of a growing trend across America. About 21 million adults (nearly double the number from 2002) and 1.7 million children practice yoga in the United States according to the results of a 2012 National Center for Health Statistics survey. The increase has occurred across all ages and racial and ethnic groups.

Be Here Now Yoga

Be Here Now Yoga is one of the few new small businesses open on Barracks Row that is not a restaurant. When I climbed the stairs to the second floor the energy changed from the hustle and bustle of frenetic 8th Street to one of calm and tranquility. “We want Be Here Now to be accessible to everyone,” said general manager Maddy Bortes. “We offer a variety of class styles and prices for that reason.” Several classes are donation-based including a daily lunchtime meditation, yoga nidra (yogic sleep), yoga flow, and yoga in Lincoln Park on Saturday mornings at 9:30.

Owner Sherri Ta, who opened Be Here Now last March, was inspired by her spiritual teacher to return from India where she had been studying yoga, to open the studio. Her focus is “yoga beyond asana,” explained Bortes. “We operate as a community space so student input is very important to us.” Most classes include some kind of mantra, chanting, or meditation. Be Here Now also offers health and wellness services that include Reiki, acupuncture, Thai massage, yoga therapy and life coaching, and shamanic healing and workshops. New students can receive a $45 pass for 30 days of unlimited classes.

Breathing Space – Yoga for the Whole Family

Jen Mueller has been teaching children and family yoga classes for years. “I got into teaching yoga by becoming a parent,” she said. “I had been practicing yoga for years. When I became a parent I took teaching training because I wanted to do yoga with my daughter.” Mueller, who is proud that she owns the only childproof yoga studio in the area, opened Breathing Space this past January. “I want to be able to create the space for other parents that I enjoyed from doing yoga.”

Breathing Space yoga and Pilates classes are alignment-based progressive instruction in a welcoming community environment. “We have classes for beginners and experienced students (without kids) as well as pre- and postnatal yoga,” said Mueller. This fall Mueller will be offering an after-school program on Mondays for first, second, and third graders and on Wednesdays for preschool through kindergarten children. Breathing Space is also available to rent for children’s birthday parties.

East Side Yoga

Alia Khan, who likes to describe herself as a recovering attorney, has created a space above 10th Street Auto that reflects her respect for the environment, her talent for design, and her thoughtfulness for the community. “I wanted to create a space where the community could escape from the stresses of their daily life.” When renovating the space some of the salvaged wood was taken from Frager’s Hardware Store. Bordering the rooftop are beds where Khan plants vegetables and herbs that she offers students.

Khan was a practicing attorney for five years, and now as a recovering attorney she has created East Side Yoga to appeal to those living the lifestyle she used to lead. “I teach the spiritual aspect of yoga without the religious.” She believes yoga ought to be a fully sensory experience. Khan offers infused water to students and always has chocolate and fruits or vegetables to snack on. “They add to the total sensory experience here.”

East Side Yoga focuses exclusively on flow to offer consistency across classes. However, Khan said it is very important to make everyone feel welcome on the mat: “Classes range from beginner to challenging as well as relaxed. Every other Friday we have class. We have DC’s first rooftop yoga class where we hold our happy hours.” In addition two on-staff doulas teach pre- and postnatal yoga classes. East Side Yoga offer $25/week of unlimited yoga for new students.

M Street Yoga – Southwest’s only Yoga Studio

Pamela Fierst-Walsh, the owner of M Street Yoga, Southwest DC’s first yoga studio, is celebrating her one-year anniversary this month. “We’re comfortable, contemporary, and community-driven,” said Fierst-Walsh. She opened M Street out of a desire to share her inspiration with others. A graduate of the National War College, Fierst-Walsh works for the State Department in foreign policy. “While I’m passionate about my work I had to find a way to balance my life. I found it through yoga. My colleagues and I used to joke about running away to open a farm that made goat cheese and had a yoga studio. Well, I didn’t quite get to the farm, but I was able to make the yoga studio happen. It’s so important to do all the things that make you happy.”

Her ground-level studio has huge windows looking out onto a large grassy area with sidewalks and trees, unusual for a studio in the heart of the city. M Street offers a variety of classes including gentle yoga, restorative, vinyasa flow, yoga plus, and Pilates. Both she and her husband (retired from the Army) are ardent supporters of military personnel and veterans. M Street offers a 10 percent discount to veterans and their families. Fierst-Walsh is excited about her fall workshops. A beginners’ yoga series starts on Sept. 20. Yoga for runners will be offered on Sept. 23, and yoga for healthier, happier, calm children on Sept. 11. M Street has a new student discount of $30 for 30 days of unlimited classes.

405 Yoga – DC’s only Power Yoga Studio

Merideth Van Sant wants to create a hometown feel in her power yoga studio. She’s been living in DC for three years, but she is from Oklahoma whose area code is 405. Hence the name, 405 Yoga. She is in the process of turning a rundown liquor store on the corner of West Virginia and Florida avenues NE into a neighborhood power yoga studio that will have classes accommodating deaf yogis who are studying across the street at Gallaudet University. “I’m excited to be partnering with Gallaudet to have ASL teachers for noon and evening classes,” said Merideth, who lives in the neighborhood. “I want to bring master teachers from all over the city to 405.”

405’s opening weekend is Oct. 3. Van Sant said she was looking forward to supporting local businesses such as Vigilante Coffee that will be part of the opening festivities. Even though 405’s primary focus is athletic, endorphin-releasing yoga such as power, vinyasa, and rocket – a San Francisco-based yoga that is based on the Ashtanga primary series with a lot more variation and playfulness – she also will offer restorative classes. “Later in the month we’ll have themed classes such as black-light yoga. It’s loud and rowdy with Top 40s music. We want to bring fun and laughter back into yoga.”

405 Yoga is offering a $69 unlimited month of yoga in October.

As a yoga student for 40 years and a teacher for 11 years I have always turned to yoga to center myself. I continue to learn how to combine physical exertion, breathing with awareness, patience, and inner calmness with energy – tools I use in everything I do. We are fortunate on Capitol Hill to have such a variety of quality studios from which to learn.


Yoga on or Very Near the Hill
Be Here Now Yoga, 411 8th St. SE;
Breathing Space Yoga, 1123 Pennsylvania Ave. SE;
Capitol Hill Yoga, 641 Pennsylvania Ave. SE;
East Side Yoga, 518 10th St. NE;
405 Yoga, 1000 Florida Ave. NE;
Hot Yoga Capitol Hill, 410 H St. NE,
M Street Yoga, 300 M St. SW;
Results Gym, 315 G St. SE;
St. Marks Yoga, 118 3rd St. SE, 
Washington Sports Club, 214 D St. SE;
Yoga District, 526 H St. NE,
BHNY offers a variety of asana classes ranging from Beginner's Yoga to Advanced Dharma Yoga. All of the classes are accessible to every student regardless of experience or condition.
Breathing Space - The group in the studio A toddler yoga class
M Yoga Street Owner
405 Studio Owner


Pattie Cinelli is a health and fitness consultant and writer. Her columns, which she has been writing for more than 20 years, contain information about leading-edge health and fitness topics. Pattie works with individuals who want to change their lives in a holistic and gentle manner. Email her with fitness questions or column ideas to

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