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Find Comfort in Yoga Soup

By Jake Levin

Eddie Ellner sought a way to teach yoga on his own terms. Way back in 2001, he took the first step towards that by opening up Yoga Soup in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was renting a space within a dance studio, but it was necessary in order for him to teach the type of yoga class that inspired him.

When the dance studio closed in 2006, Ellner was able to open up his own studio on 28 Parker Way in downtown Santa Barbara. Yoga Soup is now comprised of three studios, community space and food and drinks, which are accompanied by 75 weekly classes and 20 instructors.

"Life was simple," Ellner said of his original setup. The simplicities may be gone, but Ellner seems to be just fine with that.

Yoga Soup is named of course not only for its physical workout offerings, but the delicious soup it serves three times a week. Ellner said that like any good soup, the studio is composed of nutritious, tasty ingredients: movement and meditation classes and unique books and gifts, all meant to stretch the body, heart and mind.

"We want a student to cross our threshold and feel welcomed and comfortable as they embrace the predictable and unplanned challenges of a deep yoga practice," Ellner said.

Patrons can enjoy the community space to share food and tea and socialization, but there are also quiet areas for reading and other contemplation.

One of the signature events at Yoga Soup involves a visit to the sensual aspects the Hindu gods play in the practice of yoga. Senior instructor Kelly Heath will take lucky students on a powerful asana ride that brings to vivid life the symbolic role the Hindu gods play in our yoga practice.

All instructors at Yoga Soup have life and teaching experiences for which there's no replacement, Ellner said. They harness their collective learnings and in return, students are gifted a wonderful environment to regain balance and perspective.

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