Since 1990, Eva Julia Grubler has been director of the Dharma Yoga Center, the oldest yoga school in New York City, founded by modern yoga master Sri Dharma Mittra.
Three years ago, the building we were in was purchased, and in 2019 we were told we had to be out in three months. It was destabilizing. We had to keep running our business, not knowing what the future held. We had to put our programs on hold, and scramble to find a new place.
In tumultuous times, when you get knocked down, you just need to keep going and stay positive—and that’s what we did. We found a space we loved in the Masonic Hall that was available, miraculously. We moved there without missing one day of classes. Dharma Mittra leads by example. He’s 81 and he has never missed a class he’s teaching—not even on 9/11.
Right after we moved into our new location, the pandemic hit and we had to close indefinitely. But we had the same mindset: keep going. We moved to Zoom and that’s been going strong with six classes a day. Dharma is teaching his regular schedule, and we added lessons on breathing and meditation because people need those tools right now. We’re offering free virtual classes to companies too.
For the first time, you can access our classes from anywhere, which has been great because we have a widespread following. People have been coming from around the world to our teacher trainings for the last 20 years. We plan to continue offering virtual classes even after we are able to open again, so we can stay better connected with our global community.
The pandemic has shone a light on the benefits of yoga. It’s a type of non-talk therapy. We have a phrase, ‘Go within.’ It teaches you to move away from the craziness of the external world and find internal peace. We also teach healthy vegetarian diets that help you feel better and think more clearly. At the same time, we have a communal philosophy. People who take classes or do the training become part of a family. Helping other people be positive helps you be positive, and everyone feels good.
These are all ways to cleanse yourself and not be attached to material stuff—and they are very useful to help you persevere through tumultuous times.