Our Story

Arlene Bjork
Courtesy Becky Eschenroeder

How did PYR come to exist?

Project Yoga Richmond originally evolved through five dedicated yogis and students of Arlene Bjork: Jonathan Miles, Dana Walters, Michelle Martello, Pam Cline, and Wendy Warren. Upon the sudden death of their beloved teacher in 2009, these five yogis came together to establish PYR as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization in 2010. We now regularly provide 1200-1500 people with access to yoga each month through our Pay-What-You-Can Studio and Outreach Programs. From the students that we serve to our Staff, Board, Ambassadors, and Volunteers, our numbers are constantly growing!

Why a non-profit?

Richmond has an abundance of wonderful, traditional yoga studios. However, our focus is different. Our goal is to make yoga accessible and affordable to practitioners of all abilities, which we make possible through the spirit of giving. Every time you unroll your mat with us, you help us unroll the mat for someone else. By drawing from the existing yoga community and support of the Greater Richmond area, we are able to provide access to yoga via our pay-what-you-can studio and outreach programs.  We are incredibly grateful for the constant support of instructors from nearly every local studio, our volunteers, and to you for making PYR possible!

What about our crazy building, anyway?

PYR’s Headquarters came about when one of our founders, Dana Walters, inherited the building from her grandparents. What do you do with a building? Rather than sell it or rent out the space, we made a few additions (the bar was already here!) to allow PYR to operate out of the location and become well established financially. What an amazing and fortunate turn of events! We’re proud of our space and consider it our greatest gift to the RVA community… And we thank you for the support and love that make it all possible!


View our GiveRichmond profile to see how we’ve grown!

The latest on classes and special events, plus an inside look at how practicing with PYR helps our community. Sign up here.