May 15, 2024 - News

Outdoor yoga classes at risk under updated San Diego ordinance

People sit on mats at a sunset yoga class at a park.

Yoga with a view in Pacific Beach. Photo: Kate Murphy/Axios

Yoga classes at parks and beaches around San Diego are at risk of being shut down.

Why it matters: Yoga instructors have been forced to cancel free community classes as the city enforces an updated policy that requires permits for businesses and certain group gatherings.

Catch up quick: In February, the city revised its sidewalk vending ordinance, making it easier to punish rogue vendors, cracking down on people who used free-speech claims to avoid prohibitions and clarifying that exercise classes are not protected from enforcement.

Between the lines: City code prohibits groups of four or more people engaged in commercial recreational activities — including yoga, fitness classes and dog training — without a permit.

  • Those permits are also only available for certain areas, including Mission Bay and Balboa Park. It excludes Sunset Cliffs, where groups have been practicing yoga for years.
  • Picnics and other gatherings of 50 or more also require a permit in parks, beaches and bays, which caused trouble for a women's walking group earlier this year.

What's next: Some of the affected yoga instructors are raising money for a civil rights lawyer and petitioning the city to change the ordinance.

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