40-YEAR-OLD DOWNTOWN YOGA CENTER FORCED OUT ... It's the final namaste for Palo Alto's oldest yoga studio. The California Yoga Center, 541 Cowper St., has lost its lease and will close on June 30, 2014. The 800-square-foot yoga studio has been in its current location for nearly 40 years, but the building's owner has decided to remodel. The studio is considered a Palo Alto institution by some. It has gone through a few name changes, but the current name, California Yoga Center (CYC), has stuck for eight years.
"In a way, we've been expecting this, but it still comes as a shock," said Larry Hatlett, a popular yoga instructor who looks far younger than his 69 years. Hatlett has been a part of the center since 1975 and estimates that he has taught more than 10,000 classes in the Palo Alto studio.
"We've seen a surge in the popularity of yoga over the years. There was a time in the 1970s when we were the only yoga center between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Now there are thousands," he said. The yoga center has developed a dedicated following, with an estimated student population of 300. Hatlett is trying to find a new space for his own students, many of whom have been with him for 20 years, but admits, "This could easily be the end. It's all about money."
One of Hatlett's devotees is Sunnyvale resident Bob Roberts. "I started here because of a back injury 36 years ago, and I never left," Roberts said. Although there is a second CYC in Mountain View, Hatlett, who currently teaches five classes, said there are no times available for him in the Mountain View facility. Looking back, Hatlett said his mother came to Palo Alto in 1920. "I have lived in this area my whole life. But this is now a place for the wealthy. A city that has only high-tech offices, financial institutions, restaurants and chain stores is a city without charm. Clearly, Palo Alto is headed there," he said.
FOURTH CHASE BANK TO OPEN IN PALO ALTO ... Chase Bank apparently loves Palo Alto. It recently opened its third branch in this town last month in the renovated Edgewood Plaza and has scheduled an April opening for its fourth in Town & Country Village. The other two are on Middlefield Road in Midtown and Hamilton Street downtown.
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