LAS CRUCES – Colleen Boyd isn’t interested in yoga for the perfect body – she’s on a quest to let the world know there is yoga practice that can be tailored to suit every body.
“We started out as a spin-off of a hot yoga studio, but now, seven years later, we offer everything from restorative yoga to hot yoga and power flow. “Our emphasis is to have students come in and find a way they can move their body,” Boyd said. “I want the people who think they’re not flexible or young or strong to know they can come here, be comfortable and move their body in the way that suits them.”
Boyd came to this mission as a result of her own yoga practice. “We have this story in our culture that we must ‘move it or lose it’ and I believe in that,” she said. “This became very clear when I did yoga classes in some retirement communities. The people who were most consistent in coming were in their 90s, but in hearing their stories, I learned they had all been dancers or athletes in their youth and they just keep on moving their bodies whatever their age.” Movement, she believes, is the secret to longevity.
At the same time, Boyd was concerned about other prevailing messages people receive through the media that discourage many from healthy body movement. “We hear that if we’re not ‘killing it’ it’s not going to do it. You see it in these ads that show people who are sweating profusely, almost in pain,” she said. “That’s good for some people but not for the majority of our population.”
Perfection, in Boyd’s world, is not the ideal, yet another realization she came to out of her own pursuit of yoga. “I realized I was trying to achieve this perfect body and posture,” she said. “It wasn’t realistic.”
Instead, she has built Downtown Desert Yoga to be a haven for students of any level. Classes run from 8:30 in the morning into the evening and offer a variety of choices for beginners to experienced students. “Our instructors have advanced training to help students move in a way that is natural to their body,” she said. “We do not expect their posture or their body to look like the person next to them.”
Boyd and her staff are passionate about bringing the benefits of yoga to the mainstream community, in an approachable way. “Everyone moves differently,” she said. “What we’re trying to achieve is to help our students challenge their physical bodies without impeding their breath. That is the foundation of our practice here.”
It’s a formula that works. Since opening the studio seven years ago, Boyd’s clientele has grown to more than one thousand students, many of whom have been coming since the studio opened. While clients come from all over Las Cruces, the studio also strives to serve the downtown business community. “We offer lunchtime yoga classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” she said. “We’re also adding a midday meditation class which includes a brown bag lunch.”
Downtown Desert Yoga has its roots in the downtown area partly as a result of Boyd’s commitment to the urban part of the city. “My background is in architecture and construction,” she said, “so when we moved back to Las Cruces from San Francisco 15 years ago, I wanted to be part of the downtown revitalization that was going on.”
Most recently, Boyd joined forces with Jamie Sells of Painted Skies Health Coaching for a grand re-opening in conjunction with the Las Cruces Green Chamber. Health was the message of the day. “It’s a fitting collaboration between our businesses,” Boyd said, “We shared a ribbon cutting and a day of free yoga for everyone and free health evaluations by Jamie, followed by music, food and fire dancers.”
Boyd has created a full schedule of yoga classes to appeal to students at all levels, but she wants people to start where they’re most comfortable. “We all live such incredibly busy lives,” she said. “If you can only do yoga once a week, I still highly recommend it. The combination of movement with relaxation is a powerful destressor.”
Originally published in the Las Cruces Sun-News on March 26, 2017.
Written by Paula Heikell
Photos by Josh Bachman
Original article found here.