Phong Cao wants to make yoga available at the lowest price possible. His studio Greenway Yoga, tucked off a Whittier neighborhood alley, offers some of its classes for free in exchange for donations that go to local charities.
“The goal is to make yoga classes accessible to all while giving back to the community and the environment,” he said.
Cao said he ran the business for a few months last summer as part of a post-graduate sustainability project. He works as a Vietnamese translator and yoga instructor at other Twin Cities studios, and decided to relaunch the project as a permanent studio.
“When I was in school, it was difficult to come to yoga classes because the price was so high,” he said.
Cao teaches candlelit vinyasa flow classes that incorporate influences from traditional Ashtanga yoga.
Single drop-in classes are $8, which he said is the lowest possible price he could hit.
One Thursday class is free, with donations going to local charities. In the past, Cao has raised money for low-income housing and a 19-year-old cancer patient overwhelmed with medical bills.
The studio is located in the former Hudson Map Company storefront, a century-old business that closed its retail store in 2011 and continues to operate online.
The newly remodeled studio holds sustainable hardwood flooring, a shower and changing rooms.
Classes start Sunday, Sept. 24. The studio is accessible through a back door fronting the alley at 2510 Nicollet Ave.