Yoga studio expansion broadens hub of community

ENCINITAS — On any given day, you will find people looking exhausted but exhilarated pouring out of the Yoga Tropics studios on Highway 101. With water bottles in hand, the dozens of practitioners who range from beginners to advanced yogis descend upon downtown with invigorated bodies and minds.
In keeping with Encinitas’ growing reputation as a premiere yoga destination, Yoga Tropics has recently expanded its operations to include another studio on the corner of I and Second streets. In the heart of downtown beats a family-owned and operated business that embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship by serving the public with integrity and consistency.
“There is community here,” said Margaret Stockalper, owner of Yoga Tropics, as she sat on the benches outside of the main studio. Along with her husband, Mike and two daughters, Carla and Tracy, Stockalper has operated Yoga Tropics since 2006. Recently, the business expanded to meet the needs of the swelling number of people seeking a place to practice hot yoga.
In addition to offering traditional classes that start well before sunrise, the new studio features a collective of healing modalities. Inside Tropics West is message therapy, colonics therapy, acupuncture and an infrared sauna. “We needed a space to accommodate our posture clinics and additional classes,” Stockalper said.
With several quest speakers and meditation classes, the new studio is rounded out with donation yoga classes throughout the week and a monthly raw food luncheon served to participants at no cost. “We’ve also expanded our teacher training program with students coming from all over Southern California and we utilize that space,” Stockalper said.
The San Diego native wants students, no matter how new to yoga, to learn what it means to develop a “practice.”
“It facilitates concentration,” she said. Among other things, Yoga Tropics is well known as an inviting studio for beginners. “We want people to be comfortable here,” she said. As a result, classes include family yoga, gentle yoga and non-heated traditional Vinyasa-style.
More than a few yogis have found a home at Yoga Tropics.
“It means so much to me to have a yoga practice in my life,” said Roz Light-Meiche, who’s been attending classes since the doors of the original studio opened five years ago. “It becomes a community of friends that is cultivated in addition to a place to practice yoga,” she said. “It feels so good to have that association with people.”
Light-Meiche also appreciates the family-run aspect of the business.
“The family likes to give back to the community and I love that aspect of the studio,” she said. Others appreciate it as well, as evidenced by the popularity of the studio despite tough economic times. “Each time they open another room it fills up,” Light-Meiche said. “It’s like the ‘built it and they will come’ saying.”
Regardless of what class you choose, the instructors are trained to individualize the experience for students. Therefore, you’ll find advanced yogis practicing side-by-side with beginners. “You don’t have to know Sanskrit or want to chant to come to yoga,” Stockalper said. Rather, the most important thing in a practice is showing up.
“Just being in a heated room helps clear those toxins and rid your body of so much stuff,” she said. “It’s about what you do that hour or that minute in your practice that counts.”
Yoga Tropics has garnered a loyal following among many locals while others make the trek from all parts of San Diego County to practice. As your practice becomes more advanced, the studio offers classes that push the boundaries of traditional yoga to include a fusion of martial arts, meditation and strengthening. “I’ve been to lots of yoga studios and I like the vibe I get here,” Deena Parish said. “I don’t feel like there are a lot of holier than thou prima donna yogis that I find pretty intimidating here.”
Indeed, you are likely to find laughter and smiles with the students and staff at Yoga Tropics and the new Tropics West, making it a must visit spot in downtown Encinitas. If you don’t have a mat or towel, not to worry, there’s always a ready supply for rent.
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