Instructors Fight Back Against Beach Yoga Ban

San Diego’s famed outdoor wellness scene has been thrown into disarray due to a revised City of San Diego ordinance that now restricts groups of four or more from holding yoga, fitness classes, sound baths, and similar activities on public beaches and parks. This past weekend, the City of San Diego park rangers actively patrolled popular class spots like Sunset Cliffs and public parks, issuing citations to instructors leading group classes. Notably, Steve Hubbard (aka @namasteveyoga), received a citation at Law Street Park in Pacific Beach, where he’s been teaching yoga classes for years.

This recent crackdown has sparked outrage from yoga teachers and participants alike. Many of these classes were offered for free or on a donation basis, serving as a vital resource during the pandemic. They provided safe spaces for community gathering, mental well-being, and accessible wellness options for those who couldn’t afford studio memberships. 

yoga instructors fight back against beach yoga ban
Photo Credit: @yoga_jawn

Taking a stand, two Sunset Cliffs yoga instructors, Amy Baack and Jacqueline Kowalik, have fired back against the beach yoga ban. On Friday, May 17th, they sent a cease and desist letter to the City, citing potential violations of First Amendment rights. Baack and Kowalik were scheduled to meet with the Mayor this Friday but the meeting has been canceled. Kowalik states that the reason given for the cancellation was because of an open lawsuit, despite the fact that it was merely a cease and desist letter.

The yoga community isn’t stopping there. Kowalik has also launched a petition to garner public support, and residents can directly voice their concerns by calling the Mayor’s office.

“I’m giving it everything I’ve got until there’s nothing left to fight,” says Kowalik.

San Diego’s reputation as a haven for outdoor wellness activities is facing a serious test. With the future of these beloved classes hanging in the balance, yoga instructors are leading the charge to find a solution that prioritizes both responsible use of public spaces and the accessibility of wellness opportunities for the entire community.

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