Ashtanga Yoga teacher David Lurey recently renovated the old carriage house in his backyard, turning it into an ecologically-friendly Yoga studio in San Francisco. Laura Cornell, founder of the Green Yoga Association, spoke with David recently.
Laura: What inspired you to build an eco-friendly studio rather than taking a more traditional approach?
David: I grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, which are beautiful and just covered with trees. I spent so much of my time outside that I’ve always had an affinity towards nature and our inherent connection with it. As I began to practice Yoga I wanted to integrate my body and mind and spirit into this environmental scope. In my teaching and philosophy I always bring the elements of our bodies into play, including earth, water, fire, and air. When I was able to create a studio in my own backyard, I knew I wanted it to benefit my own practice as well as that of my students. I have a pretty diligent environmental standpoint that’s ingrained in me, so it seemed totally natural to incorporate that into the studio.
Laura: What are some of the materials you used?
David: After leveling the floor with concrete, we laid radiant floor heating. Radiant heating is efficient and uses very little electricity. The overlying surface of the floor is bamboo, a renewable resource that grows very easily in almost all climates. The lights are low-voltage halogen lights. The wall paint is water-based and lead-free. The wall insulation is called “Ultra-Touch Recycled Denim,” and is made from old blue jeans. It has an R19 value insulation, which means it’s the same warmth, sound, and protection as fiberglass R19, but it’s made from all recycled, all natural fibers.
Laura: How has it affected you and your clients to practice in this space?
David: It’s been amazing practicing in the space. The bamboo has a really beautiful vibrational quality and a light color. The feel of the wood and floor is very natural. I hold kirtans in the space, and people will refer to the natural feel the moment they walk in. I think that it also has to do with the recycled denim in the walls.
Laura: That sounds so sweet. I’d love to practice in a space filled with pulled apart blue jeans. It would feel cuddly.
David: It does feel cuddly, very cozy. The space draws you into it. I totally credit that to the insulation, the other natural materials, and to the effort of people practicing and chanting.
Laura: What about costs?
David: Overall, I estimate it cost me about 20% more to use eco-friendly products, but the long term savings of electricity should even out the extra costs over time.
David Lurey worked in restaurant and hotel management for five years before deciding to make a difference in the world through teaching Yoga. He has studied with Mary Schutz, Clayton Horton, and David Swenson. For more info about David: findbalance.net