New York Basically Declares War on Yoga Studios

The man is coming to shut down your yoga studios — it's up to you to defend your sacred spaces against their tyranny.

Yoga isn't about strict lines and rules and the certification of yoga instructors. Especially that last part: three years ago, yoga studios had to stand up for their right to not force instructors to obtain licenses, because that is prohibitively expensive.

But now the bureaucratic battle is threefold.

The New York State Department of Taxation audited and fined some studios for not collecting a 4.5 percent sales tax on classes. The New York City Department of Buildings has fined at least two studios for not having a proper permit. And the state's Labor Department has audited some studios for listing their instructors as independent contractors rather than employees.

Damn you, city of New York and your draconian anti-yoga policies. You should probably do some yoga and chill out.

Look, everyone should have the right to do yoga — it's generally considered to be good for body and spirit. But as the New York Times points out, this is an industry that earns about $6 billion a year, so it's hard to feel that sympathetic.

Also, the executive director of Yoga for New York has some of the smuggest, most clearly-stated-by-the-executive-director-of-a-yoga-lobbying-group quotes in this article. In addition to the groan-worthy "All yoga studios are breathing deeply again," she argues—

Equating yoga centers with gyms or weight loss salons is a little like equating a painting by Rothko with a billboard sign.

And you should be ashamed of yourself for even considering the comparison.

Anyway, the bureaucracy is largely stepping down. The Tax Department has dropped the 4.5 percent sales tax requirement, and yoga advocacy groups are protesting the other fines and restrictions.

Fight the power. Namaste.

[Image via Flickr/footfun]