January 13, 2010

Winter Yoga: Episode One. ~ Kelsi Coia

Practicing with a King and Transforming Yoga in Roaring Forks Valley

Part One: King Yoga

I love power yoga. Call it yobo or un-yoga, or whatever you like. I love it. It is the style of yoga I first practiced (at the Core Power studio in South Boulder, holla!). Power yoga lead me to learn about, and ultimately fall in love with, all practices of yoga. So when a few of my friends here in Aspen told me about Aaron King’s power yoga studio, King Yoga, I was so pumped to go.

Over the course of a month, I went to several classes at King’s studio to sample the studio has to offer – Power Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, and a basics class. Both the power and vinyasa flow classes were awesome “kick yo’ bootay”/ “get into proper ski season shape” experiences, which was a wonderful treat because one of my goals for my personal yoga practice is to build strength (especially core strength). The basics class I went to was taught by one of Aaron’s assistant teachers, Michael. Like Aaron, he is incredibly kind and helpful. Michael provided great tips for maintaining proper alignment for “basic” asanas, which are too often over-looked.

King Yoga was founded in Aspen in 2006 and has been a smash hit among locals and visitors. When I’ve spoken to people about King’s studio, almost every person has referenced the music King plays in class. Before beginning his yoga career, Aaron King worked in the music industry in Los Angeles. In every class I’ve taken with him, Aaron has blasted awesome playlists, filled with music of all genres. He’s played everything from Grateful Dead to Krishna Das. (Obviously, music isn’t the only reason the masses flock to King Yoga, but it does provide a nice icing to the amazing King Yoga cake.)

The best part of King Yoga is the energy that Aaron himself brings into the studio space. He radiates positive energy. In his bio page of his website, Aaron boldly states, “Feel The Good Energy”, which perfectly sums up King Yoga.

Part Two: Transformation Yoga & Fitness

There is a new yoga studio in the Roaring Fork Valley, and I am SO excited about it. Located in the “MidValley” area (in between Basalt and Carbondale), Transformation Yoga & Fitness is based out of the new WIN Institute building. As the name suggests, Transformation Yoga & Fitness offers both yoga classes and fitness classes (ranging from Ski Conditioning to Tai Chi to Pilates Mat). Yoga classes include Vinyasa Flow, Integrative Yoga, Power Yoga, and Kids Yoga. Instructors are from all over the Roaring Fork Valley (and beyond).

TYF is co-owned by two of the coolest guys around. One is Frank McSwain, an energetic ray of sunshine, whom I have had the pleasure of practicing with many times. The other is Patrick Harrington, whom some many know from the Denver area as a co-owner and teacher at Vital Yoga. In addition to being a co-owner, Patrick sometimes teaches at the studio (which requires him to drive from Denver, talk about dedication!). He is hands-down one of the most compassionate and supportive yoga teachers I have ever had the privilege of practicing with. At the end of my first class with him, I quickly walked home and straight-to-bed because I was so exhausted from both the physical and mental “work-out” I received in his class. Just one class with transformed my practice. And after the several I have gone to, I feel like a completely different person.

Like Vital Yoga, TYF is a donation-based studio. Drop-ins are a suggested $15 donation. Month long memberships are $100, which is a steal compared to any yoga studio I’ve come across in this Valley. Most classes here are at least $18, so the concept of a less expensive and/or donation-based studio is quite radical. All-around, the studio is pretty different compared to what has historically been offered to Aspen and the rest of the Roaring Fork Valley. I have a great appreciation for the studio concept, as well as the amazing teachers I have met. TYF is truly unique and I hope it continues to be successful!

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