about east side yoga
At East Side Yoga, we take a practical, secular, alignment-focused approach to teaching that really resonates with busy Washingtonians. In other words, we skip the hippie-dippie stuff while still providing all of the physical, mental, and stress-relieving benefits that yoga has to offer. And we do it all in a beautiful space that will make you feel like you've escaped the city without having to leave town. We always have chocolate, we love working with skeptics and newbies, and we work hard to make sure that every body that walks through our doors feels welcome and comfortable.
We are a new kind of yoga studio. Come visit and experience why for yourself.
we're all about community
We want to be your third place. A place where you can come to hang with like-minded people. Where you know you'll be greeted with a smile by people who are genuinely happy to see you again. A place where you can take a break from your everyday life, and dedicate some time all to yourself. And surround yourself with people who are doing the same. We've got a beautiful lobby lounge and rooftop deck with plenty of space to sit and enjoy the company of your community our many treats (nibble on some chocolate or fresh fruit from the bar, make yourself a cup of tea, or enjoy a cup of our infused water). So come early, stay late, and just relax.
we teach the spiritual without the religious
We understand that classes containing overtly religious language, music, or practices can feel pretty uncomfortable when you already have your own personal belief system. Hey, we feel the same way. So when we teach the spiritual side of our practice, we focus on the powerful, universal principles underlying the yogic teachings, mythology, scriptures, etc. We think of the spiritual side of yoga as just an additional layer that fits neatly on top of your already existing belief structure. The yogic principles that we teach, and the way we teach them, go hand-in-hand with any belief system based generally on being a good person to yourself and others.
we teach the philosophy without the fluff
Let’s face it - yoga culture in US can be a little…out there. We get it, and to be honest, we’re not really into the “hippie-dippie” style of teaching ourselves. (Chalk it up to our ex-attorney founder.) When we discuss philosophical & spiritual principles, we do so using modern-day language and anecdotes that you will be able to relate to in your everyday life simply by virtue of living in today’s world. So rather than offering vaguely poetic instructions like “become one with the earth and the light and the universe,” we’ll talk about things like practicing patience & compassion the next time you’re jostled on the Metro platform.
we believe yoga should delight all the senses
That’s why we put so much effort into our design, our playlists, the treats we offer you before and after class, and the optional aromatherapy that we occasionally offer at the end of class. All of these details combine to elevate your entire experience at our studio. After all, we know that yoga is so much more than just what happens when you’re on the mat - even when you’re still inside the studio!
about our design
Our founder Alia designed the East Side Yoga space and worked with local contractor GL Barnhart Construction to make it a reality. Using locally-sourced, salvaged materials, the GLBC team custom-built furniture, fixtures, and finishes that have truly made our space unlike any other in DC. Alia calls it her Farmhouse-Spa-Chic style, and has invested a lot of energy into making our clients feel like they have truly escaped from their everyday lives. A visit to East Side Yoga is a mini-retreat that you can treat yourself to every day!
about our founder
A native of Austin, TX, our founder Alia J. Khan is a recovering attorney-turned-entrepreneur. She began practicing yoga when she began practicing law, because she knew she needed a way to balance out the stress of her new career, and obtained her 200-hour teaching certification from Tranquil Space in 2012. After nearly 5 years of working as an associate at an AmLaw 500 firm here in DC, Alia knew that the legal world was not the place for her. She embarked on a long and winding journey to find her dream career, making stops in the worlds of food writing and real estate along the way. Through her professional adventures, teaching yoga has always been a passion that fulfilled a very important part of her. But she knew that teaching yoga full-time would never fully satisfy all of her professional ambitions, so her search continued.
Alia had always dreamed of owning her own business, though she used to think that she wanted to open a restaurant. Two years of writing about the restaurant industry rid her of that notion completely, but her entreprenuerial spirit still burned strong. Her undergraduate degree was in business, and she longed to return to her business roots after her foray into the law. While using her real estate knowledge to help her partner search for office space for his business, she stumbled across a listing for a former dance studio just five blocks away from her home.
The moment she set foot in the space, Alia knew that she had to open a yoga studio there. After years of living on the Hill and crossing town to get her yoga fix, she was convinced that her neighborhood had a real need for the type of studio that she could open and the community she would build around it. And so, East Side Yoga was born!
a little more on our teaching philosophy...
we will always give you a reason why
We believe that in order to fully tap into the benefits that your yoga practice has to offer you, you really need to understand *why* you’re being asked to do the things you’re being asked to do. So when we offer alignment cues, we’ll explain why: you’re turning your back foot in during Warrior 1 to protect that back knee; you’re stopping at 90 degrees in your chatturanga to protect your elbows; you’re flexing your foot in Warrior 3 to help square the hips to the mat and keep your back leg engaged.
Same goes for the spiritual stuff. If we ask you to do something like chant, we will always explain the reason for it. We want you to understand why you do what you do on your mat so that you can take the teachings off the mat and out of the studio with you back to your daily life. Because that’s when things really start to get exciting.
so...what's up with the chanting?
Chanting is not a major part of our teaching at ESY, but we do offer it from time to time. We’ve found that many students feel uncomfortable with chanting, and we get it - it’s not something we often do here in “the west,” so it can seem a bit, well, weird. The reason why we chant is that it offers a unique platform for connection with the people around you. Connecting your voice with a group of others in unison can be an extremely powerful experience. If you’ve ever sung in a choir or shouted your school’s fight song a football game, you’ve had a taste of that power. There’s a special thrill to raising your voice only to have it get lost in the sea of voices surrounding you. Give it a try the next time you’re invited to do it - if you don’t like it, you don’t ever have to do it again!