Introduction to Yoga


Introduction to Yoga

Below is a repeat of an article published in EP News on Friday, May 26.

Yoga is an ancient Indian body of knowledge that has been in practice for over 5,000 years. While it was solely practiced in the East for the majority of its existence, Yoga’s popularity has increased in the West dramatically over the last 30 years.

            One of the main objectives in practicing yoga is to bring awareness to the connection between the body and the mind in order to develop a deeper relationship with our selves and others. While there are some general objectives in yoga, such as, learning breathing techniques, yoga postures, proper body alignment, and deep relaxation, the primary goal is to simply practice. Yoga is free from competition, judgment, and expectations. The intention is to establish the posture, establish the breath, quiet the mind, and simply be. 

            This combined practice of exercising the mind and body provides a variety of health benefits, some of which include increased flexibility, increased muscle tone, improved posture and alignment, and the prevention of cartilage and joint breakdown. Many postures place gentle pressure on various lymph nodes, helping to boost immunity, while others apply gentle twisting to improve digestion. Pranayama, which is the practice of breathing techniques, helps to improve lung capacity, respiratory health, and plays a fascinating and interactive role with the nervous system, helping to soothe anxiety, depression, restlessness, and lack of focus. 

            Everyone’s needs are different; therefore, a variety of yoga styles exist in order to accommodate these throughout one’s life. Hatha Yoga is generally a great style for those who are new to the practice. Here, the emphasis is placed on individual postures, proper body alignment, and developing a foundational level of strength and flexibility. Vinyasa Yoga is a slightly more advanced style that has a quicker pace, with different movements assigned to each inhalation and exhalation, providing a greater physical challenge. Yin Yoga is a wonderful, gentle, restorative practice with longer passive holds that are meant to heal the body, and release tension in a very relaxed environment. All of these yoga styles are offered at Estes Park Yoga to accommodate a variety of needs and interests. 

            Many people may feel unsure or intimidated to try their first yoga class, but Estes Park Yoga offers classes in a welcoming and community oriented environment. The class schedule is available online at or by calling (970) 586-3254. We hope to see you in class this summer!



-Katheryn Sehlke



Yin Yoga


Yin Yoga


What is Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is a style of yoga wherein poses are held longer, typically 3-5 mins, in order to work on connective tissue. Connective tissues (fascia, tendons, ligaments) respond to a slow and steady load with muscles relaxed. Most yoga practices in the West are yang style practices that focus on the muscles in the body making these two styles complimentary, the yin and the yang. Many Yin poses have similarities to Yang poses but are called by different names since the focus is to relax muscles and poses will look different because of this. A typical Yin pose is passive, on the ground, and many involve the use of props.


Why bother trying to be still for 3-5 mins!?

The benefits of Yin Yoga include:

-increased mobility in the body particularly in joints and hips

-releasing of fascia (which can sometimes feel like tight muscles we can't stretch)

-lowering of stress levels

-calming and balancing to the mind and body in general

-particularly useful for people who are overstimulated or have very active minds

-helpful in learning how to sit with uncomfortable physical situations as well as emotions


What to expect in Yin Yoga at Estes Park Yoga studio?

Classes start with breath work and centering and transition into Yin poses. We spend the vast majority of class in seated or lying poses often with the use of props. Some poses are physically relaxing, others offer more physical sensation especially as the length of time in the pose increases. While we hold our physical poses we also work with our mind. We alternate between meditative exercises and silence so that we have a balance of stimulation for the mind as well as time to work on sitting and being present with whatever comes up in our bodies or minds. Class ends with a longer shivasana often with a reading and with the option for a brief facial massage to assist in relaxing. My name is Caryn I teach our Yin class here at Estes Park Yoga and I would love to bring you into the world of Yin. If you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts please don't hesitate to email us at or drop in an give it a shot Sundays at 4pm!


Ekhart, Esther. "The Benefits of Yin Yoga – Ekhart Yoga." The Benefits of Yin Yoga – Ekhart Yoga. N.p., 5 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.

Grilley, Paul. "Why Try Yin Yoga?" Yoga Journal. Yoga Journal, 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.

Maria, Lisa. "4 Tenets of Yin Yoga | Try Yin Yoga for Healthy Joints." Yoga Journal. Yoga Journal, 07 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.

Zvara, Hope. "Yin Yoga 101: What You Need to Know." Mindbodygreen. N.p., 05 June 2012. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.




Sharing Board


Want to gift yoga to a friend? Want to gift a yoga class to someone who needs a kind gesture? Either way we've got your covered now as Estes Park Yoga has a sharing board. All you have to do is come in and pay for a class, write their name on the board with what the gift is, sign your name if your choose or remain anonymous if that's your style. You also have the option to buy a class for anyone. You can write up a descriptor of your choice such as class paid for a newbie to yoga, class paid for anyone who's grieving, class paid for someone new to Estes Park, or simply just class paid for. Estes Park Yoga enjoys not only being a place to teach and take classes but a community space open to all. We are hoping this will add some fun and kindness to our community. Looking forward to seeing you at the next class!



Therapeutic Pilates

Article was published for "Prime Time for Seniors" in Arvada, 2012.

Author Laurie Grace Wood.


What is Pilates (pil-ah-teez)?

Joseph H. Pilates, born in Germany in 1880, created the Pilates method of exercise and brought it to New York City in the 1920"s.  Joe's motivation was to help improve his own health since he was a frail child suffering with asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever.  He overcame his physical limitations through exercise, bodybuilding, skiing, diving, and gymnastics, becoming a model for anatomical drawings at the age of 14.  Joe moved to England in 1912, where he worked as a self-defense instructor for detectives at Scotland Yard.  When World War I broke out, Joe interned in England as an "enemy alien" with other German nationals. While he was there, he refined and developed his exercise ideas and taught his system to other internees. He rigged springs to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance, an innovation that led to his later equipment designs.  An influenza epidemic struck England in 1918, killing thousands, but not one of Joe's trainees died.  This, he claimed, was a testament to the effectiveness of his exercise system.

Joe eventually immigrated to the United States in 1923.  During his voyage, he met Clara, whom he later married.  Joe and Clara opened a fitness studio in New York City, sharing an address with the New York City Ballet.  By the early 1960's, Joe and Clara had many clients from the dance community, including George Balanchine and Martha Graham and many of their dancers. Pilates was an underground rehabilitation system for dancers before it became mainstream.

After Joe's death in 1967, at the age of 87, many of his students began to teach the Pilates Method across the country adding their own innovations and advancements to his original work.  Joe did not leave a will or a successor to his work, but Romana Kryzanowska became the director of his NYC Studio in 1970, while Clara continued teaching.  Some of the respected teachers that were once students of Joe and Clara's are still training the next generations:  Ron Fletcher, Kathy Grant, Lolita San Miguel, Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Mary Bowen, and Robert Fitzgerald.

By the 1980's, the media began to cover Pilates extensively, and after the loss of the Pilates trademark from the NYC Studio through litigation, Pilates became a household name and part of the fitness mainstream, entering into recreational centers, gyms, physical therapy clinics, and private studios.  Joe once proclaimed, "I'm fifty years ahead of my time."  And he was right. 

Pilates involves over 500 exercises that can be done on a Mat or on apparatus specifically designed by Joe, like the Reformer, the Cadillac, the Chair, and the Barrel.  Pilates can be done in a group Mat class, privately on apparatus, or in a group apparatus class.  Many of the exercises are done lying on the back, with some side lying, prone, seated, and standing exercises.  The apparatus is designed to either assist the body in basic movements or to add resistance to challenge the body as it gains stability and strength.  The mat work uses the body's own weight for exercises and props can be added for variety.

Pilates has now evolved into two categories, the Classical and the Therapeutic.  The Classical Method maintains an advanced set routine of the original work with a one-size-fits-all approach, while the Therapeutic Method breaks down and adapts the original work into a more individualized, user-friendly, rehabilitation approach, making it easier for any population with any physical disorder to gain the benefits of the Pilates work.  The Therapeutic approach is best for the aging body, spinal, hip, and knee disorders, faulty movement patterns, gate issues, and for pre- and post-rehab programs.


Therapeutic Pilates can help:

*reduce discomfort from chronic low back pain

*stabilize and improve spinal conditions like scoliosis, stenosis, osteoporosis, degenerative disc, spondylolisthesis

*prepare and condition a body for surgery and for rehabilitation afterwards

*stabilize and improve hip, knee, shoulder, and ankle issues

*improve general balance and alignment problems

*improve the ability to get up and off the floor and perform daily activities

*gently awaken a body after a time of being inactive

*improve and maintain a tall, graceful posture

*move the body more efficiently in any sport, dance, hobby, or activity


The Pilates Method combines the best of Western and Eastern philosophy, blending the mind and body as a harmonious unit.  The Eastern approach to exercise is a path to calmness, being centered and whole, with an emphasis on stretching and limberness.  The Western approach emphasizes motion, muscle tone, and strength.  Pilates is a wonderful combination of both.



What can Pilates do for me?

*Strengthen the deep abdominals for spinal and postural support for better daily functioning and recreational activities

*Focus the mind to control the body's movement for better overall awareness and concentration

*Improve flexibility and balance through stretching and strengthening the muscle system uniformly

*Align the spine by conditioning the center of the body to support the body's overall structure, which allows for full range of motion of the joints

*Connect and coordinate deep breath work with core engagement, while purifying the blood and calming the mind

*Build one’s confidence in the body's abilities through a wide variety of mindful movements in a successful, supportive environment

*Reduce stress through balancing, breathing, and releasing endorphins

*Improve the body’s movement efficiency with any sport or dance activity

*Improve the body’s ability to recover from injury or impact faster

*Calm the nervous system and improve one’s sleep and immune building

*Even improve one’s sex life due to the strengthening of the pelvic floor:-)


"Pilates develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit."

-  Joseph Pilates


We all deserve to stay mobile and independent as long as we can, to move with ease and grace, and to enjoy our lives to the fullest.  The mind, body, spirit approach of Therapeutic Pilates is a great way for Ageless Adults to do just that.





Teacher Spotlight: Erin Ayla

Time for another spotlight! Our teachers are what make our community so vibrant and diverse. They give us the opportunity to appeal to yogis of all varieties by letting their own passions shine. This summer, Erin graced our community with a series of workshops on arm balances and inversions. Her last one of the season is happening tomorrow, Thursday, September 15! Erin is a dedicated yogi and rock climber who was was recently featured in a short film for Asana Climbing. Follow along with Erin as she takes us through the beautiful, intrinsic connection between rock climbing and yoga! See you tomorrow at 6:45 pm!



First EPY Retreat a SUCCESS!

Thank you to all who participated in our first Estes Park Yoga retreat!

The weather was a little chilly to practice outdoors, but Leslie built two big fires in her fireplaces and kept us toasty warm. Laughter and playfulness were plentiful during our partner practices and arm balances, led by Mya and Erin. We enjoyed the quieter moments too in meditation and yin practices with Caryn and Nancy. Our bellies were full with Leslie's tasty treats and we loved the company of Chrissy, our yoga dog, and our yoga fox. 

All agreed that it was an event to repeat soon. Look for another retreat this winter. We look forward to practicing with you!



New Community Class!

Here at Estes Park Yoga, we're so excited to announce a new class on our schedule! We're shaking things up a bit and offering a donation-based community class for all levels of yogis. Taught by Lauren DeLaunay, this class is designed to embrace the Estes Park community and provide a fun, safe environment to explore your yoga practice. Whether you're new to yoga, want to bring a friend for their first class, or are a seasoned practitioner, you're sure to enjoy Lauren's energetic class. You'll explore creative vinyasa flows and challenging balancing sequences in a relaxing class that will leave you feeling calm and rejuvenated. 

This class meets every Tuesday night from 7:00-8:00pm. There is a $5-$10 suggested donation, though any contribution is accepted and appreciated. We can't wait to see you there!



Teacher Spotlight: Kendra Ryan

We're so excited to have Kendra as our fearless leader here at Estes Park Yoga! Get to know a little bit more about our new owner and beloved teacher!

Hometown? The world. I’ve lived in 13 homes in 4 countries, plus on a ship for 10 months and in a tent in Africa for 4 months… but proud to call Estes my home now.

Do you have any funny yoga stories? I taught yoga on a cross-country Africa bicycle trip. We would set up camp in villages and then put up rope around the camp and our yoga site because the village children were so inquisitive as to what we were doing. They would walk over and touch us in the middle of practice, almost to see if we were real!

What's your spirit animal? Dolphin

Favorite mantra? Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu; May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

What can students expect from your classes? Students can expect to take time for themselves – to forget about the world for a little bit and just be with their breathe, their mind, and their body.



New Owner

Effective July 1, Kendra Ryan is the new owner of Estes Park Yoga!

Opened last year, Estes Park Yoga is the only dedicated yoga studio in town. “Estes Park Yoga has been a peaceful, encouraging place for residents and visitors to practice. We are excited to be a part of its community and to continue its role as a place to nurture the mind, body, and spirit.”

Kendra and her family moved to Estes full time last fall; however, her extended family has been in the area for 50 years. She started practicing yoga in 1999 as a way to balance her life in the Navy. Kendra then received her certification to teach in 2009 and has taught on board ships, on a cross continent bicycle tour, and in more traditional places like the studio. Nine other instructors of various backgrounds join her in teaching 14 classes per week. “The diversity of our instructors is amazing. We are able to offer all levels from beginner to level 3, and various styles.” Estes Park Yoga will remain in the same location, with the same instructors, and the same schedule. However, Kendra intends to make a few changes including offering an outdoor class, a monthly unlimited membership, and specials including “Bring a Friend for FREE” from July 1st – 9th.

Stop by the studio at 145 E. Elkhorn, Unit 200 (in the Park Place mall on the second floor) on Saturday, July 2nd from 10:15 am – 1:15 pm to meet Kendra and enjoy some refreshments. 


Happy International Day of Yoga!


Happy International Day of Yoga!

On December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, stated during his address, "Yoga is an invaluable gift... It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. "