Practice yoga studio

This week, longtime yoga practitioners and teachers Jess Fertig and Naani Sheva opened Practice, a yoga and movement studio on the east end of Main Street. (Courtesy photo)

The clutter of everyday life has a way of accumulating steadily in the nooks and crannies of one’s mind, and the knots and tensions of a busy lifestyle have a way of accumulating in one’s body. To still the noise and release the pressure, practice is key.

For this, Practice, a new yoga studio on the east end of Main Street, offers a clean, bright space for yogis of all experience levels. Practice opened its doors to the public earlier this week, and owner Jess Fertig and founding yoga teacher Naani Sheva are looking forward to offering the space to the community for yoga and movement classes that showcase the talents and passions of experienced local instructors as well as guest teachers.

Part of the duo’s vision for the studio included creating a welcoming, inclusive space that would offer more than simply a selection of yoga classes.

“We want teachers to feel empowered to really teach what they know,” said Sheva, whether it is a particular style of yoga, or even a creative writing class, for example. “We’re really open to people coming to us with their ideas for movement, workshops, and classes because we all connect with the body in different ways.”

For Fertig, movement has always provided a way to connect with her body and mind, even before she discovered yoga living in Telluride in the late 1990s. In 1998, when a friend suggested they attend a class in a studio by Lift 7, she agreed without much sense of expectation. The class, however, proved a deeply moving experience. Later, upon moving to New York, Fertig continued her practice by studying at the Jivamukti school in New York, a method that focused on incorporating yoga’s Eastern philosophy tenets into the practice.

“It’s a style of yoga that really emphasized that anybody could come and have an experience of yoga,” she said, recalling her days at the school. “You left really feeling like you had tools that you could then apply to your life.”

By coincidence, Sheva also found her way to the Jivamukti practice of yoga, though as a young college student staving off the stresses of life she only knew that she found the classes powerful.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” she said of those early classes with her Jivamukti teacher, “But I would leave feeling moved, capable, like I could handle what was coming at me. I felt that there was something bigger than the experience I was having in that moment.”

Though both women initially had no intention of teaching yoga, eventually the seeds planted were nurtured over time by their continued passion for the practice. Last year, after many years of teaching yoga, a seed for bringing their own studio to life began to sprout.

“We had a strong shared vision of what we wanted to create,” Sheva said, to which Fertig added, “We wanted to capture people who maybe didn’t even know if they liked yoga.”

The seed of that vision is now in full blossom at 317 E. Colorado Avenue, where current classes range from different styles of yoga to Pilates. Additionally, there’s a class called “body tonic,” and yogis can expect expert guest teachers to drop in for special offerings. There are classes in the pre-work hours and in the post-work hours, and participants can choose between $25 drop-in pricing or purchase a 10-class package for $180. In alignment with Telluride’s seasonal lifestyle, the studio’s schedule will fluctuate seasonally. More information on schedules, classes and current COVID-19 requirements can be found at practicetelluride.com.

Yoga at Practice, Fertig and Sheva said, is decidedly unpretentious, and decidedly for everyone.

“It’s not about putting your foot behind your head,” remarked Fertig with a chuckle. “It’s all about the tools it gives you — and how to apply those tools to your life — to get more organized, have better relationships, be more easy going and have more joy in your life.”