Yoga Lovers Go to the Mat to Fight New D.C. Exercise Tax
The D.C. yoga community is up in arms over a new tax that will add an additional 5.75 percent to the cost of their sessions.
The law — dubbed the “yoga tax” — goes into effect Oct. 1 and applies to membership to a “facility for the purpose of physical exercise.”
Yoga instructors are arguing that physical exercise is not the purpose of yoga, instead it's more about spirituality.
Last week, those against the tax took their case to the city's Office of Tax and Revenue and launched an effort to lobby D.C. council members, reports CQ Roll Call.
“None of us in the yoga community think the purpose is physical exercise,” Richard Karpel, president of Yoga Alliance, tells CQ Roll Call. “Yoga is the union of the body, the mind and the spirit … The idea, when you practice yoga, is to create that union.”
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who proposed the tax, isn’t buying it.
“The yoga community was very much part of the opposition because they said [the tax] applied to them. So there’s no question they were considered to be included,” Mendelson tells CQ Roll Call.
Do You Consider Yoga Exercise?
Bethann Brennan of the highly rated Brennan Wellness in Reston, Virginia, finds the situation and the tax itself unfortunate.
“The practice is not about fitness, it is about waking up,” Brennan says.
She compares yoga to going to church.
“I can practice with like-minded individuals and strengthen my base of practice and self.”
Once the tax takes effect, if there is any lingering confusion about the law, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says he will call upon the D.C. attorney general to clarify the language.