(Updated at 2:05 p.m.) A Ballston hot yoga studio sparked outrage Thursday by promoting a Sept. 11-themed sale and referencing conspiracy theories.
“9+11 = 20% OFF! PATRIOT DAY SALE on Bikram Yoga,” Bikram Arlington, located four miles from the Pentagon at 4509 5th Road N., tweeted Thursday morning.
Twitter users told the company they were appalled by the reference to the tragedy.
“Kind of disgusting to promote shop sales with a Sept. 11 discount. Shame on you, @bikramarlington,” user @Melissaeweiss wrote.
Courthouse resident Angela Herrick, 32, said a Facebook post from the yoga studio about the sale appeared alongside a post remembering her friend’s father, who was killed in the Pentagon.
“A tragedy like this should never be used to promote a business, period,” Herrick told ARLnow.com, noting she had frequented the studio since 2011. “I will not be returning, ever.”
Bikram Arlington then tweeted, “The goal was to point out what date it was and associate to patriotism and to remember it. Its [sic] a shame some of you go to the negative.”
“Apologies to anyone who is upset by it!” another tweet from the company said.
That tweet was was quickly followed by a suggestion to search 9/11 “truther” conspiracy theories.
“If you want to be upset, research the term ’911 building 7′ and check the news because they are hearing ‘chatter’ about us getting hit again.”
The studio’s promotion page added more color on the deal: “Freedom Isn’t Free — And we intend to honor those patriots who have died for our country and morn [sic] the loss of freedom of speech and other rights that died day.”
Studio owner Zahra Vaezi, whose husband, Frank, wrote the tweet, told The Washington Post that she “didn’t realize people would be so ‘roar,’ you know?” over the promotion.
“It’s like that man who punched his wife,” she told the Post, referring to ex-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. “I mean, that’s upsetting. But I think it kind of gets blown out of proportion.”
Multiple calls to the studio went unreturned.
@bikramarlington You demonstrate an incomprehensible lack of compassion—in the town of the Pentagon, no less. Hoping you learn & improve.
— David Panarelli (@dpan) September 11, 2014
— Ken Nisbet (@KenNisbet) September 11, 2014
Never forget! Or pay retail! Like Al Qaeda, our prices are insane!! MT @bikramarlington: 9+11 = 20% OFF! PATRIOT DAY SALE on Bikram Yoga
— Jason Stanford (@JasStanford) September 11, 2014
Maybe they are right. Maybe Arlington actually has no soul. pic.twitter.com/6kUrbhLfBs
— ᴩᴀɢᴇ (@DannyPage) September 11, 2014
Rosslyn Holiday Market Open Today — The Rosslyn Business Improvement District will be hosting a “pop-up” holiday market today from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at 1500 Wilson Blvd. The market will feature boutique shopping, gift wrapping as well as snacks, sweets, cigar and spirits tasting and massages. Disclosure: As you can tell by the temporary site background, this event is being advertised on ARLnow.com.
New ‘Aerial Yoga’ Studio Opens — Spark Yoga, an “aerial yoga” studio, has opened at 2201 N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park. [Washingtonian]
Woman, Friends Arrested in Towing Dispute — Updated at 9:20 a.m. — A woman and her two friends were arrested Tuesday night after a dispute over towing. The woman tried to block her car from being towed from a parking lot and called police. When police arrived, the officer tried to remove her from her vehicle, and she allegedly fought back. Police say her friends also physically confronted the officer. The woman and one friend were charged with obstruction of justice and the the other friend was charged with assault and battery of a policy officer. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
Down Dog Power Yoga offers several levels of classes and workshops, all of which are are held in studios heated to 90-95 degrees. The website says “heat is primarily used to help the body get healthy by expelling toxins. The heat also makes muscles more pliable in order to prevent injury.”
Employees at Down Dog Power Yoga told ARLnow.com that the Clarendon studio should open early in 2014. No firm date has been set, however, because the lease was just signed this week. One of the employees noted that work is already in progress for the new studio and workers are excited for it to open.
Photo via Facebook
The Volunteers of America Residential Program Center at 1554 Columbia Pike is offering fitness classes to its residents and is looking for volunteers to help instruct.
The shelter is looking for qualified Zumba and yoga instructors. It describes the ideal candidates to teach Zumba as “fun, engaging and passionate,” and says all forms of yoga are welcome. The center writes in the volunteer announcements that it can be flexible with scheduling.
In addition to the fitness classes, the center is also hoping to start planting a garden in its backyard. It is looking for someone with gardening experience to work with the residents and teach them the finer points of starting a garden.
Those interested in applying should contact Volunteer Coordinator Joe Onyebuchi at 703-228-0017.
Citizen Receives Reward for Crime Tip — A tipster will get a $650 reward from Arlington County Crime Solvers (ACCS) for helping police solve a case from Christmas Day. The tipster’s information helped police arrest a suspect from an armed robbery of a 7-Eleven. “We are delighted to pay a reward to a local resident whose tip led to an arrest in an armed robbery,” said ACCS President Andres Tobar. “We encourage local residents who have information on a crime to call the ACCS tip line at 866-411-8477 to remain anonymous. If the tip leads to an arrest, a reward will be paid.” [Arlington County Crime Solvers]
Tejada Launches Campaign Targeting Childhood Obesity — County Board Chairman Walter Tejada kicked off his Moving Forward Together Campaign at a community meeting yesterday. The initiative involves the county working with a volunteer coalition and community members on several points, such as getting kids moving more at recess and in after school programs, establishing healthier vending options and training childcare providers in nutrition and physical activity. Residents are encouraged to get involved with the newly formed Healthy Community Action Team (HCAT). [Arlington County]
Construction Work at Central Library — Work has started on the Central Library’s first major interior renovations since the early 1990s, and includes painting, carpeting, new signs and new desks. Because staff needs to use the Quiet Study Room during construction, it will be closed to the public for the duration of renovations. Construction is expected to finish in the spring. [Arlington Public Library]
Free Inauguration Viewing on the Big Screen — Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) is allowing customers to stop by on Monday, January 21, to watch the public Presidential Inauguration on the big screen. Admission is free and doors open at 11:00 a.m. [Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse]
Mind Your Body Oasis Grand Opening — Saturday (January 19) is the grand opening celebration for the new Mind Your Body Oasis (1750 Crystal Drive) in Crystal City. There will be raffles and samples of the juices sold at the yoga studio and holistic center. Customers will also be able to try a free yoga class.
Mind Your Body Oasis is scheduled to open at 1750 Crystal Drive on January 12. Owner Amanda Shipe said the area has been hurting for a business of this type.
“I’ve lived here for 15 years, I own a house on South Glebe Road, so I kind of know the lay of the land really well. I’m also a realtor,” said Shipe. “There’s not a yoga studio in the area. It’s very densely populated and is really in need of something different than what’s happening with the restaurants and shops.”
In addition to yoga, the center will offer massages, facials, acupuncture and nutritional coaching.
“There is nothing else like my studio,” said Shipe. “You have your yoga studios that have just yoga and maybe massage, but there is not a center that has hot yoga, regular yoga, pilates and the spa options and acupuncture. There is no other studio that combines everything I’m doing into one in the entire D.C. metro area.”
The Crystal City location made even more sense to Shipe after she led a few outdoor yoga classes in the neighborhood earlier this year. She said the studio will be easy to get to by Metro, and customers can enjoy the renovated courtyard area at the Crystal City Shops. Shipe said customers can take food they buy at her studio into the courtyard to eat.
The food will be provided by local startup Postmodern Foods. Business owner Denise Hicks will make the pre-packaged health food that will be sold out of a refrigerator near the studio’s front desk. Hicks became more involved with health foods when she became ill a number of years ago, and she saw positive changes in her body and emotions due to a change in diet and exercise. She then attended the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York and learned about concepts such as cooking foods to keep them nutritionally intact.
“It took me to another level in terms of understanding different philosophies about food. I think food is really powerful, but it can be more powerful if you handle it respectfully,” said Hicks. “I’m really excited to be able to create food that I believe in and give it to the market. I want to make sure that people have access to really healthy foods that can change the quality of their lives.”
Although about 80 percent of the selections will be raw foods, Hicks plans that around 20 percent of the products will be cooked.
“100 percent raw is not something that you want all day, every day, especially not in winter,” she said.
Hicks makes all the items herself and plans to sell the beverages in glass containers, and the food in compostable, cornstarch based plastic containers. One of the pre-packaged dishes she’s featuring will be a quinoa and egg scramble, with an organic tortilla, corn, salsa fresca and a spicy black bean sauce.
Shipe said she is excited to have Hicks on board for the wholistic center, not just because of the healthy raw food concept, but also because she enjoys helping local people start a small business. Another business she’s helping out by selling its products is House of Steep, which is owned by Shipe’s sister, Lyndsey DePalma.
“We really play off of each other with our strengths and weaknesses. She helped me with the business plan, I helped her with the marketing,” Shipe said. “She’s a little bit ahead of me, so she gives me a future view of what I should be doing. It’s a very, very fun bonding experience for us. It’s been two years since we started this journey. We’ve been along for the ride together.”
If all goes well for both businesses, the sisters would eventually like to open a location combining Mind Your Body and House of Steep. But for now, Shipe is focused on getting out the word about her wholistic center.
“I want Mind Your Body Oasis to be a community and be a place where people can come and meet like minded people and escape the world,” said Shipe. “When you walk in the studio you have a sense of peace and harmony and it’s your little oasis to escape to for a while and forget about anything you’re dealing with that day.”
Mind Your Body Oasis will have a grand opening event from 2:00-9:00 p.m. on January 19. There will be raffles and samples of the juices that will be sold at the center. Customers are also welcome to check out the facility and enjoy a free yoga class.
Need a good laugh? Tonight’s “Laughter Yoga” session might be just what you’re looking for. The free program takes place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street).
Laughter yoga is a practice started in India in 1995 to let people experience the medical benefits of laughter. The sessions are based on medical research indicating the human body apparently cannot tell the difference between real laughter and fake laughter.
Some of the benefits reportedly include an immune system boost, increased oxygen intake, increased “feel good” hormones and reduced stress hormones. To get the full benefits, a person must laugh heartily for a sustained period of time, about 15 minutes.
The four elements of laughter yoga are clapping and chanting, breathing, childlike playfulness and exercises.
“It’s geared to anyone who can laugh… of any fitness or mobility level,” the session’s instructor, Diane Cohen, told ARLnow.com. “At a time when many don’t have a reason to laugh, laughter yoga brings laughter — for no reason — to anyone willing to laugh. It’s non-political, non-religious, non-judgmental, non-competitive.”
Update 12:25 p.m. — A library spokesman has requested we clarify that this event is neither sponsored nor programmed by the library.