There’s a new(ish) yoga studio in Wallingford, Commune Yoga (313 NE 45th St., conveniently located between Kate’s Pub and the American Mary weed shop). I say “new(ish)” because they opened back in May, and even then, it was strictly new, as much as “new to Seattle”: the original Commune Yoga was opened in Los Angeles, and the owners, Patrick Beach and his wife Carling, have migrated it up to Seattle.
Before I let Patrick explain his journey from Wallingford to the wide world to Los Angeles back to Wallingford, let me note that he is a legit yoga baller. He was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Yoga Teachers by Sonima, and his Instagram account has almost half a million followers. I know, I know, there’s not a causal relationship between achieving celebrity and teaching sarvangasana, but he does have a busy schedule upcoming, teaching in Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, England and Bali. Folks wouldn’t be showing up for nothing.
But enough yogulation, let’s hear from Patrick.
Carling and I are both Seattle natives, so bringing Commune back up to Seattle with us has very much been a homecoming of sorts. Carling grew up in Ballard and I moved to Bellevue when I was seven with my family. We met in 2010 when Carling was living in a townhouse with friends just down the street from the studio, behind the the old Guild theater .
We have both been practicing and teaching for a decade and have been lucky enough to share the practice both in Seattle, and all over the world. We left Seattle in 2014 to travel and teach internationally for a few years and then settled briefly in LA and opened our first studio in East Los Angeles to run some of our teacher training programs out of and built a dedicated group of students who loved the practice like we did.
We’d always considered the idea of heading back to the PNW and in the winter of 2018 we were on a tour teaching in Europe and stumbled across a Craigslist ad for a space in Wallingford that was for lease. We contacted my Mom (Kim) to ask her to go check it out. The leasing agent told her that space wouldn’t work but he knew of one that would. We fell in love with the structure of the space and started creating plans to make it the new home of Commune Yoga. That summer we were up here visiting friends and family for my birthday and working through logistics on the space which inspired us to move back to Seattle to be around the people we love to have support while starting a family. (We just welcomed our first daughter, Harvey June, this only on July 13th!)
We moved back to Seattle in April followed by Commune opening in May 2019 and it has been a crazy journey to get to this point and took a complete team effort from our family and team members. We have been extremely lucky to still have many dedicated students here in Seattle that have been amazing founding members of our studio and true ambassadors for what we stand for. It has been a pleasure to run our space in this neighborhood and return back home.
I asked Patrick how he expected teaching in homey Wallingford to differ from urban, hip Los Angeles:
Seattle is a much more connected city than Los Angeles, many people think of LA as a massive city but it really feels more like a sprawl. There are lots of amazing neighborhoods but nothing really connects them. There is a such a welcoming sense of unity in Seattle because people are not only physically closer together, (even with the traffic there is still a path around the city that keeps all the pieces together) but also more accustomed to the community-centric nature of Seattlites. I think you see it a lot with the way the city has changed the last few years, people who live here love it. They want to do all they can to keep it together and feeling like the city they love and cherish.
Teaching in this area feels the same way, anytime someone new comes to our space they usually run into someone they already know or end up chatting with the person next to them. Our goal is to make sure everyone feels welcome and that the community aspect will build upon itself, less stoicism and more connection. We want people to feel like they have a home here and can connect with other people, whether it’s all about yoga, or the rest of life off the mat. We welcome connection and creating opportunities for people to come together.
Patrick and Carling aren’t alone in teaching at Commune: their website lists eighteen different instructors (including Patrick’s mom, Kim.) I asked Patrick about how he found people and what he was looking for when assembling the people who would teach in his studio.
When it came to hiring teachers we were looking for a diverse, dedicated staff of people who were wanted to help one another out. We see Commune as a true community space where everyone is welcome to come grow together. Our staff reflecting these values was incredibly important to us because when the teachers are willing to work together it really resonates across the community. We wanted to create an environment where our staff cared about one another and what we are trying to do at the space each day. It matters that the teachers spend their own time on the mat, practice in classes, can offer their own specialties, and create a relationship of trust with the students.
I’ll finish by saying that I went to a couple classes at Commune and found them both great but also very different. Patrick’s point about the teachers offering their own specialties was very much on display in my experience. Both were obviously very passionate about what they were doing, but very different.
If you want to give them a try, Patrick says to mention that you read about them in Wallyhood and they’ll give you a 15% off any class packs or one-time purchase.