“Less is more,” is Kate Ewing’s mantra at the moment. And, like so many yoga studio owners today, Kate is mindful of these powerful words as her community moves through a pandemic. At Brick City Yoga in St. Louis, the spiritual-physical connection leads practice for yogis of all ages, all backgrounds, and all beliefs. The studio is devoted to community, and for many, practice here has become a cornerstone ritual through a difficult time.
Kate started Brick City Yoga after her own practice evolved from physical asanas to a heavily spiritual connection. The studio was recently named Yoga Pose’s favorite yoga studio in St. Louis in 2021. This is their story.
Kate’s yoga journey has evolved drastically over the decades. What once began as a physical exercise, heavily focused on more advanced balancing postures, is now rooted in mindful movement and a slow, connected flow. “I absolutely hated savasana!” admits Kate. However, after the passing of her father from cancer, her practice took a deeper meaning.
After a brief hiatus from yoga, Kate found she no longer connected with the power classes. “I found much more comfort in slow flows and restorative classes,” she says. This shift in her yoga mindset is what inevitably led Kate to yoga teacher training and the new goal of opening her own yoga studio.
“Studios I had previously felt comfortable in no longer seemed welcoming to me as I processed my own grief,” she adds. So, as Brick City Yoga began to take form, Kate took the pieces of yoga studios that she loved and incorporated them in her vision, but stripped the ideals and details that she did not connect with. Thus, an all-inclusive, welcoming, community-centric studio was born in the heart of St. Louis with the goal of making yoga accessible to everyone.
Located in St. Louis’ Benton Park West neighborhood, Brick City Yoga is on the first floor of a newly renovated 1890s building. While amenities are new, the studio still boasts the original cast-iron maker’s imprint on the exterior as a nod to St. Louis, the brick city. The entryway of the studio opens to a lobby and retail shop with beautiful exposed brick walls. The studio offers a smaller, intimate area to practice, but the focal point is a floor to ceiling mural painted by Jayvn Solomon, founder of Painted Black STL. The larger studio room has a bright natural light that shines energetically through the storefront windows. Before and after class, students gather in the locker room or retail space to talk with one another and catch up with instructors.
What We Love
Honestly, there’s a lot to love about this studio – on a physical and emotional level. One of the main things that we love is Kate’s dedication to serving her community. Brick City Yoga is the product of many local vendors sourced by Kate to energize and create the space, just like how she incorporated Solomon for the studio’s mural. “I use local vendors when possible,” says Kate. Additionally, every February, the studio selects three local organizations and asks students to write the name of one of those three charities on a paper heart for each class they attend. At the end of the month, the studio donates $1 per heart to the selected organizations. “It allows our students to share the love by picking their donation each time they hop on their mat.”
But Kate’s community especially thrives inside the studio. Classes are designed to welcome all, with offerings from Yoga Basics and Vinyasa Flow to Queer Yoga and Body Positive Yoga. The instructors set an energetic welcoming tone to the studio, arising from all different backgrounds. There’s Betsey who, in addition to her yoga experience, has a background in Pilates. She fuses her pilates knowledge with yoga to create a fun, challenging, and empowering Yoga + Barre class. There’s Andi, who has extensive training in trauma-informed and body-positive teaching. Her classes seamlessly make yoga accessible and enjoyable to yogis of all shapes, sizes, experience levels, and backgrounds. There’s Grace who is trained in India; she has a calming presence and a unique ability to lead her Ashtanga class in a way that even first-time students are comfortable with. MoMo designs their Queer Yoga in a way that is affirming to individuals who identify as LGBTQIA2S+, gender non-binary/non-conforming, and conscious allies. All instructors come together to create a culturally inclusive experience that is warm, positive, and welcoming to all.
The price point is affordable too, with week-day classes costing just $10, something that Kate vows never to change. “We focus on being economically-accessible, inclusive, authentic, and willing to grow and adapt with our community,” she says of Brick City Yoga.
Expert Advice for New Yogis
“My advice to any new yogi is to let go of expectations and the journey of the practice. So much of our daily lives are schedule and goal-oriented, yoga is truly a place where we can enjoy being in our bodies and being at peace with our bodies, completely free of expectation,” finishes Kate.
Brick City Yoga is located at 2758 Wyoming Street, St. Louis, MO, 63118. See class schedule.