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A man has been told to stop giving free yoga classes on a Californian beach

Steve ‘Namasteve’ Hubbard has been teaching yoga for free at a public beach in San Diego for 17 years, but city officials say he’s breaking the law
  • Hubbard and another yoga instructor are now taking the city to court, arguing that their free speech rights have been violated

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UPDATED: 05 Jun 2024, 7:43 am

On the face of it, there couldn’t be a better setting for outdoor recreational activity than one of California’s world-famous beaches. And there couldn’t be a more wholesome activity than a yoga class, within view of the rolling surf.

But that’s not how officials in the city of San Diego see it, according to a report by NBC. They say that yoga instructor Steve “Namasteve” Hubbard must stop giving the classes he has been teaching for 17 years at Pacific Beach because he is violating a law against street vending. Even if he doesn’t charge a cent for his popular classes.

In response, Hubbard and another teacher accused of the same violation have filed a lawsuit against the city in federal court – defending what they say is free speech.

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The city says that while the yoga classes are free, they are commercial activities because the instructors advertise their services and accept donations, and therefore can only be held in a permitted area. The beach is not one of them.

The yogis argue that accepting donations in a way that’s not “inherently intrusive or potentially coercive” is protected under California law.

“We’re going to stay,” Hubbard told media. “That’s what the public parks are supposed to be used for – for people to gather, for people to assemble, for people to work on their physical health, their mental clarity, you know, get a sense of balance.”

UPDATED: 05 Jun 2024, 7:43 am

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