The wrought-iron plaque outside the ground floor entrance on Elliott Avenue suggests a law firm. Upstairs, the unexpectedly dim room on the other side of a heavy wooden door, walls layered with preserved moss and saturated jewel tones, could be a chic cocktail bar. A jumpsuit-clad docent has prepared your favorite blend from Ballard-based Miro Tea, and is ready to guide you to a 200-square-foot room, calibrated to the temperature range and aromatherapy style you specified on an app when you booked this time slot.
Because, oddly enough, you’re here to do yoga. And you’ll do it in absolute solitude, save a screen that takes up an entire wall and plays a recording of an instructor leading class from some scenic location. Here at Sanctuary, a new studio that opened in October, would-be gymgoers make use of the studio’s Manduka mats and blankets, then indulge in a 30-minute post-session rainfall shower in a private bathroom stocked with skincare and hair products from BC-based Sangre de Fruta.
Sanctuary offers the precise opposite of what of-the-moment fitness programs like Peloton and its brethren bring to the table: Rather than join a community in the comfort of your own home, you exit that home to be completely, blissfully alone—an IRL extension of fashion and beauty’s recent embrace of customization, from Prose shampoo to subscription boxes like Stitch Fix.
“We view this as a safe space,” says Sanctuary founder Robert Martin, an alum of the local tech and finance scene who re-engaged with yoga in his 40s. “It’s a place where you can feel totally uninhibited, rather than compared or judged.” While other studios line each wall with mirrors, forcing yogis to take in every inch of their own bodies from all angles, Sanctuary’s barely lit studios contain no mirrors at all, so newcomers can learn the practice free from judgment or intimidatingly chiseled neighbors.
The minds behind Sanctuary plan to add other experiences like barre and tai chi to their already stacked library of yoga courses and guided meditations, and they’ll soon vary the cost per class based on content. Until then, alone time isn’t cheap: at $50 a class, a single session falls somewhere between the price of a single spin class and a personal trainer. Both of those, however, involve other people.
Solo or no, sweaty stretch sessions feel better in locally spun threads.
The woman-owned brand upholds its sustainability ideals when it comes to fabrics, water use, nontoxic dyes—all in the name of Mother Earth…and, okay, style too. Its latest line, Artifact, evokes a retro vibe.
Used plastic water bottles are reborn as cool-girl leggings and bras that fit every body type in a deep array of colors. The sort of style fellow yogis will want to cop.
With a motto like “sisterhood through sport,” this athletic apparel brand based in University Village makes sleek, durable clothing for women running marathon races or folding into downward dog. —Rosin Saez