On Friday, November 2, a gunman shot six people—two fatally—at Hot Yoga Tallahassee. Now, yogis around the world are questioning whether the place they go when events like this happen (read: their yoga studios) are a safe retreat after all.
When a gunman armed with an AR-15 and handguns opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last week, yogis everywhere retreated to their safe haven: their yoga studios. Now, after a gunman opened fire in a Tallahassee, Florida yoga studio, shooting six people and killing two, yogis around the world are grieving for the victims and their families—and wondering if their sanctuaries are safe after all.
Here’s What We Know Right Now
Around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, police arrived at Hot Yoga Tallahassee in response to a call about a shooting. When the responding officers arrived, they found suspected gunman Scott Paul Beierle, 40, of Deltona, Florida, dead. Police believe he shot himself after pistol-whipping one, shooting six, and killing two people, who were identified as Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21.
“As we process the gut-wrenching act of violence that took place this evening in a place of peace in our community, we hold in our hearts everyone who is affected and lift them up in love,” officials tweeted from Tallahassee’s Twitter account. According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, which tracks shootings in the United States, the Florida yoga studio shooting marked the 304th mass shooting this year.
Where Do We Go From Here?
With gun violence reaching now reaching the places we view as sacred sanctuaries—church, synagogue, and now the yoga studio—we understand the hurt and fear the yoga community is facing as a whole.
Follow YOGAJOURNAL.COM for updates on the story and advice aimed at helping yogis, teachers and studio owners cope with the aftermath of this yoga studio shooting.
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