Yoga that’s grounded in social justice and marketed to bodies of all sizes

When community members walk into the Tree Yoga Cooperative, they are often surprised as they take in the spacious, airy studio filled with light.

“There is this stigma that things in South L.A. are not beautiful,” said Jenni Alvarez, one of the worker-owned cooperative’s founders. “Senoras are taking a bus down Central, and walking over to make sure this is real.”

Los Angeles is known for its wellness culture, and the practice of yoga plays a starring role. But yoga studios are few and far between in South L.A., a swath of historically Black neighborhoods where now the vast majority of residents are Latino.

Jonie Cole Thomas, co-owner and instructor, leads a class at the Tree Yoga Cooperative in South Los Angeles.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)


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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

I have 26 years of experience as a professional writer and editor and have been working as a full time freelancer since 2011. I am originally from Casablanca, Morocco, and I graduated from Qatar University with a degree in journalism. I have worked for newspapers, magazines, news agencies, websites. I speak fluent Arabic, French, English, Russian and Spanish.

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