LOS GATOS (KPIX 5) -- A Los Gatos yoga studio has come under fire for promoting a yoga retreat in Tellum, Mexico as the pandemic rages in both countries.
Yoga Source advertised the retreat on the company's Instagram page, promising enchanting waves, dreamy beaches, delicious food and three yoga or Pilates classes a day.
A number of people in the Bay Area yoga community have been critical of the retreat, describing it as reckless, irresponsible and ill-timed as the pandemic rages in both countries.
"We can do yoga at home," said Eleni Ramphos, a yoga instructor who works in public health and plans to attend medical school next year. Ramphos told KPIX 5 the retreat violates a fundamental tenet of the practice of yoga in which practitioners pledge to do no harm and to think of the health and wellbeing of others and the community.
"Not only is it unnecessary, I don't think it's safe. I have a background in public health," says Ramphos.
The owners of Yoga Source declined to be interviewed on camera or to provide a written statement for the story. However, they did confirm that four couples -- a total of eight people -- would be attending the retreat.
The owner said his wife travelled to Tulum in January to check that the travel accommodations were adequate to insure participants' safety.
Ramphos has not been alone in her criticism.
"I have been working on the frontlines along with many of my colleagues since the beginning of this pandemic," said Angela David, an ICU nurse who also works as a yoga instructor.
She and Ramphos have posted messages critical of the retreat on social media.
David said there's a reason the CDC and local public health departments are strongly recommending that people avoid all non-essential travel -- especially internationally.
"In my professional opinion, travelling right now -- non-essential travel -- it isn't possible to hold a retreat safely," said David.
Yoga Source owners told KPIX that they have already cancelled two retreats abroad in the past year -- one to Paris, the other to Bali -- and were confident the planned trip to Tulum would be safe for participants.
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