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Town mask guidance closes Black Crow Yoga early

Black Crow Yoga logo

UPDATED, Aug. 13: Black Crow Yoga in East Arlington opened in June 2010, just as the economy was straining to emerge from the U.S. financial collapse of 2008.

After thriving for nearly a decade, owner Dean Milite and his wife, Lucia could not get past a second major crisis, the worldwide pandemic.

"It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I write this email," Dean wrote this month. "We will be closing the studio at the end of August. We can no longer sustain the business and be true to who and what we are." Now it will be sooner.

After the town recreation department told Black Crow on Tuesday, Aug. 10, that the businesses in the parks program and all related permits must end, the owner has decided to shut down. Its last class, outdoors with Brenda, set for 9 a.m. class Sunday, Aug. 15.

A email to clients said, in part: "Sadly, the best laid plans of Black Crow Yoga have again gone awry .... With Covid on the rise -- and your safety our top priority -- we had already decided to move our classes back outside." But an email from the town said:

"'We have received a couple of calls on this but just a reminder that as of 8/15 the businesses in the parks program and all related permits are over. This program as discussed and agreed upon was set to end 60 days after the state of emergency ended, which it did on 6/15. Many of the properties in use by this program are not in the Park Commission's jurisdiction therefore any proposal to continue the program needs to be much broader in scope than just properties permitted by the Park Commission.'"

In an Aug. 12 email, Melite continued: "The town is considering extending the outdoor permits until Nov. 1, but the matter will not be heard for some time after we're required to end our outdoor classes. Since this will literally close us down until the matter is decided - and the request might be denied and close us anyway ....

"Please keep an eye on the weather. There is a chance of rain Saturday morning. If it rains, we'll need to cancel the Saturday morning class. Sunday looks good. We're crossing our fingers and hoping for beautiful weather both days."

The town had allowed Black Crow to use the Whittemore-Robbins area behind the Robbins Library, and classes had been held there since April 15.

'Grateful for love'

After closing the physical studio on March 13, 2020, Black Crow's doors were still closed for its 11th anniversary last June. The studio reopened its doors, and ran its first indoor class just last month, on July 6.

But reality sunk in, and Dean and Lucia realized the business could not continue. "It’s been very disappointing," the couple wrote in a public announcement earlier in August.

"We love our community, and we want to say thank you. We appreciate your support, loyalty and encouragement. We are especially grateful for all the love and help we’ve received during this extremely challenging last 15 months.

"We also want to thank you for joining us over the years, for yoga classes in the studio, and on our many adventures: harbor cruises, yoga on Spectacle Island, paddle board yoga, artists open studios, live music classes, Yoga at the Tavern, Spy Pond community classes, Yoga-puncture, epic anniversary parties, even ice skating in Kendall Square to celebrate the holidays many winters ago!

"Black Crow Yoga has always been about community. That was my goal: to create a yoga community. People enjoy being with other people. I created BCY to bring people together in an increasingly impersonal world, and, through yoga, to offer good health, good music, peace and joy. I think we achieved that goal. Yoga was the baseline. The community grew from there and became something bigger. Friendships developed that extended beyond the studio. Friends looked forward to the shared experience of practicing in the studio.

Covid deprived community

"The pandemic deprived us of something we needed the most: the ability to gather together; to commiserate and draw strength from each other. Part of my decision to close is because I feel I can’t restore the community in the studio, and I cannot recreate it virtually."

The last class will be Sunday, Aug. 29. The owners ask clients to "use up any class cards you have" in August. Unused classes cannot be refunded.

Black Crow is currently offering single-class drop-ins and requiring preregistration through Aug. 29.

Dean and Lucia thanked their community "for making BCY a success for (almost) 10 years. "It has been an honor to get to know you .... [They hoped] Black Crow Yoga has provided you with some measure of good health, good music, peace and joy."

Asked what they would do next, the couple responded: "We honestly don’t know. Take some deep breaths. Do some yoga. Continue to hope that things return to some sort of normal."

Aug. 20, 2020: Lotus Yoga Studio moves, but not far

This news summary was published Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, and updated Aug. 13, to add copy and change headline.

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