ENCINITAS — Tucked away behind a nondescript storefront on South Coast Highway 101, Yoga Swami is a beacon of serenity. Yet, the popular yoga center is in danger of disappearing as the owner seeks to sell the land.
However, founder and full-time volunteer Dawn Singer is not passively standing by. Instead, she has launched a “Save this Space” campaign to protect the land. “Our hope is that a benefactor will come forward to buy the land,” she said. “The best possible outcome would be to buy this property with the mission in mind.”
“Our mission is simply to be in the world in a different way,” she said. “Yoga Swami provides a nonexclusive community of involvement. It is a true community center.”
The volunteer-run organization operates on a donation basis for daily yoga classes and retreats. The center also offers organic gardening and composting workshops, holistic health instruction and children’s karate classes.
Approximately a dozen volunteers maintain the garden, yurt and community space. “The universal law of giving and receiving really works in this model,” Singer said.
Singer said she is not coming from a place of fear of what would replace the center should it go to a buyer bent on development. Rather, she is single-mindedly focused on preservation of the land, building and the donation-based yoga studio.
Along with the yurt that houses a thriving yoga practice and quiet meditation sessions, organic gardens surround the land that is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a mini-refuge. According to Singer, the certification recognizes the center’s conscientious planning and landscaping which allows for wildlife to find quality habitat.
Established in the early 1940s, Yoga Swami is an integral part of the heritage and history of the city according to Singer. “Preservation is sustainable stewardship,” Singer said.
Singer said the eclectic nature of the city is reflected in the center. “Every day tourists stop by to take pictures of Yoga Swami,” she said.
Despite the slumping economy, Singer remains positive about the success of the campaign. “It only takes one heart to be guided to share this dharmic responsibility to save this space,” Singer said. Dharma is the Sanskrit word meaning “purpose.”
For more information, visit www.yogaswami.com or contact Singer directly at (760) 840-1189 or [email protected]