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All You Need Is (Tough) Love

The yoga studio starts donation-only community classes in Historic Fourth Ward Park

“Part of yoga is to give back. The basis of my training is 'drink so you can pour;' you do this so you can serve others.”

This sentiment comes from Neda Honarvar, owner of the city’s adored Tough Love Yoga, but shared by yogis everywhere.

Tough Love has officially started donation classes (read: pay what you want), a series happening every Thursday evening through October 20, and hopefully continuing after.

The basic karma yoga classes are outdoors in around the scenic amphitheater and are taught by Tough Love Yoga apprentices Ashley Bohanon and Samantha Ownby. Donations go to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where Bohanon works as a web content editor.

“We’ve always wanted to have a community class, but just haven’t had the time or space to get it going,” Honarvar said.

“We were trying to encourage the apprentices to teach, so we said, ‘Why don’t you teach a free class in the park?’ Ashley works at Children’s Healthcare so that’s why we picked that. It just naturally evolved.”

Bohanon, who lives in the Grant Park area, has been practicing yoga for six years, and has been an apprentice since July.

“Yoga helps me get a sense of calm. It’s something you can focus on and take the rest of the stress out of life during that time,” Bohanon said.

“If you get into a pose you couldn’t get into before, you can apply that to your life. Like, ‘Maybe if I have more patience, I can get what I’m working towards.’ I want to help others learn and practice the same thing.”

Bohanon looks at the classes as a way of sharing her energy and practice, and essentially, serving others.

“As a yoga teacher, offering a class for free or donation to the community, is the perfect way to give back. You can bring [as little as] $1 or if you’re totally broke, that’s fine, too.”

It goes without saying that Bohanon feels strongly about the nonprofit these classes are benefiting.

“Children’s [Healthcare of Atlanta] is amazing because it’s such a kind atmosphere for parents and families. And they give away millions of dollars in services each year — just because you can’t pay doesn’t mean you won’t be treated.”

Through the goodwill of others, you can benefit even if you don’t have a lot of money. It seems to be a common theme here.

The donations series takes place every Thursday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Historic Fourth Ward Park by the amphitheater steps. The instructor will have a few extra mats on hand, but you’re encouraged to bring your own.

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