Yoga may be more important than ever right now. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused seemingly unmanageable stress, anxiety and fear. But yoga is perfect in reducing such feelings.
Locally, Hollie Sue Mann recently became the new director and part-owner of the Telluride Yoga Center in replacing Kristin Taylor McHarg. McHarg, a longtime teacher in the community who now resides in Norwood, will stay on as a teacher at the center, offering weekly classes and workshops.
Mann, along with business partner Albert Roer, have had to adapt during the pandemic, especially since the Nugget Building where the center is located is under construction.
Mann explained outdoor classes under the Telluride Town Park apron have been a welcomed change, as well as popular among practitioners.
“Classes in the park have been going very well,” she said. “We've been so encouraged by the stellar attendance and community we've been able to bring back together there. Everyone is grateful for the opportunity to practice safely outdoors with their wider yoga family, and with their teachers. I think most people really missed that connection to community during our collective shelter-in-place and quarantine.”
The classes in the park are donation based. There are also plans to launch a new digital platform that will include livestreaming. Mann said with more people staying at home, especially parents who are overseeing their children’s remote learning, the online option will offer flexibility.
“Students from all over the world can take live and previously recorded yoga, meditation, and philosophy classes with local teachers from the safety and comfort of their home,” she said. “ … This is a great option for folks who prefer to take classes from the comfort of their homes during this time.”
The Nugget Building restoration includes the addition of a historically accurate watchtower, which has been nothing short of a modern engineering marvel. The timeline for completion is estimated to be sometime this winter, but while the weather is still agreeable, the center will take advantage of the outdoors.
“We’re looking forward to returning to our home in the historic Nugget Building on Main Street this winter with a full and diverse schedule of live classes,” Mann said. “For now, we plan to continue teaching in the park for as long as we are able, and we think we can do so comfortably through October; this strange weather week aside. We're also hoping to secure a temporary indoor space for small, socially distanced classes in the colder months, until we return to the Nugget. Like all businesses and organizations, we will need to assess where we are in the late fall and winter, depending on the status of COVID-19 and public health measures and guidelines in place.”
As the new head of the center Mann is focusing on more than just the practice of yoga.
“Telluride Yoga Center will continue to be a place for serious students of yoga, as well as curious beginners. We will offer a range of yoga classes, including vinyasa/flow classes, meditation, philosophy, Ayurveda, and kirtan (yogic call-and-response singing). Students can still expect rigorous, spiritually uplifting, and transformative classes. Some new and different features of the center include classes with live music, and a small retail store that will feature the work of local artists and jewelry makers,” she explained. “In terms of the center's vision and mission, the biggest shift is an explicit ethos that values equality, diversity, inclusivity and non-elitism, and actively works to overcome systemic racism, cultural appropriation and misogyny in yogic spaces and culture in the West. This will be an integral part of our mission, offerings, teachings and speakers. We also intend to hold space for local organizations, businesses and nonprofits equally committed to building and strengthening a community where racial, social and economic justice is a top priority.”