Soup’s Off at Downtown Studio

By Steven Libowitz   |   March 19, 2020

“In fourteen years Yoga Soup never closed its doors, not once,” owner Eddie Ellner wrote in an email and note late on Monday, noting that the studio has stayed open “through fires, storms, slides, illness, locusts, bad hair days, insurrection.” The impetus was to take the line by poet Robert Frost to heart: “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in… But our mandate to serve the Santa Barbara community perversely demands we do just that.”

Ellner stressed that Yoga Soup wasn’t taking the action lightly.

“It’s during unnerving times that Yoga Soup has felt most useful in being open. As a studio devoted to providing safe harbor, to challenging fear-based beliefs and panic-driven decision-making, shutting down feels both dangerously counter intuitive and the right necessary action to take… If the only way to contain this virus was for a totalitarian country to lockdown 100 million of its people – and then for three of the world’s most free-spirited democracies to follow suit – then we’d better pay attention.”

So there won’t be any classes or workshops at the space that offers more of both than any other location in town at least through the coronavirus crisis. On the other hand, the lobby and store will remain open, at least for now, where people can pick up such items as immune-building supplements, healthy packaged food, alcohol-based sprays exceeding virus-killing recommendations, daily self-care tools, yoga props and meditation cushions for home practice, plus musical and massage instruments for extended home stays and books, perhaps the “perfect home companion” – but no fresh soup, carrots, or oatmeal – Ellner said. “Books that remind us that we’ve been through this before, books that remind us we will be okay, books that remind us of who we are. Books that inspire us.”

The good news is that the studio has geared up for an Internet presence, with an invitation to collectively practice at Yoga Soup Online ( All of the studio’s dedicated teachers will start posting online classes this week if they haven’t already. The studio is collecting and recording classes (15-60 minutes long) from its teachers and became available on Wednesday (March 18). The recorded class library will continue to grow. To attend one of the pre-recorded classes, go to Yoga Soup on the Mindbody app and click on the “Online Classes” tab.

In addition to pre-recorded classes, Yoga Soup will start offering one to two live stream classes daily on Thursday, March 19, so the community can practice in real time with their favorite teachers. Those will take place on Zoom, and students will have to have the Mindbody app connected to a Yoga Soup account. Yoga Soup will send a link to the live class to those signed up five minutes before. Students can use regular memberships or class packs to attend the live classes online.

Ellner also stressed that online membership will help keep the studio in business, so Yoga Soup has come up with three options. Those who pay the full membership rate will receive 10 class passes for friends after re-opening. A special reduced online membership ($65) results in five class passes. Or people can use already purchased class pack to take individual pre-recorded or live classes online, or buy a drop-in single online class for $7. Those who prefer to have membership paused should contact

Still, Ellner hadn’t lost his whimsical sense of humor, adding, “We’re also working hard on a virtual equivalent to oatmeal, soup, and sweet potatoes.”


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