DENVER -- Yoga offers many benefits, but you don't need to invest in Lululemon yoga wear or unlimited yoga passes, thanks to a new website started by Denver resident Lynn Koves. Unlimitedyoga.com lists free yoga classes in the Denver metro area, from Core Power to Kindness Yoga. Some classes list a suggested donation or required registration, but many are on a drop-in basis.
"I started the website because I believe in yoga, in particular for stress management, and know how expensive it can be to buy packages month after month," said Koves in an email. "Once I realized exactly how many free and donation-based classes there are in Denver each week, I thought I could create something that would save people time and would be a hopefully valuable resource for the community."
Koves began culling a list of free classes in April 2014 that she emailed to friends in a newsletter. Eventually, she began posting the listing of free classes on the website, which is updated weekly. Many of the classes listed are suitable for beginning yoga students, and offer a taste of different yoga styles.
"Most classes on the schedule are suitable for beginners, especially those that have the word 'community' in their name," she said. "Usually, teachers in community classes will pause the class for a minute here and there to demonstrate a pose or two to help beginners (and everyone) make sure they are doing things correctly as to not hurt themselves."
The market for yoga is growing in popularity in the United States. According to NAMASTA, a trade group for mind-body professionals, Americans spent $10.3 billion per year on yoga classes, products, clothing and supplies in 2012.
Koves recommends trying a few different yoga studios in Denver to find one that best aligns with students. "Personally, I like to switch it up and attend classes at various studios to introduce myself to teachers and to also be aware of the nature of the classes that I am promoting," she said.
There are several different types of yoga practiced in the U.S. that emphasize different elements of the eastern practice:
- Hatha - Hatha yoga is a gentle yoga featuring slow stretching.
- Vinyasa - Vinyasa is a more athletic yoga than Hatha that incorporates sun salutations.
- Ashtanga - Also known as power yoga, Ashtanga focuses on rapid transitions between poses.
- Iyengar - Iyengar yoga is concerned with proper alignment, and uses props such as blocks and straps.
- Kundalini - Kundalini focuses on the breath as a way to center the yoga practice.
- Bikram - Also known as hot yoga, Bikram takes place in a heated room to further relax the muscles.
- Viniyoga - Viniyoga is a customized practice based on an individual student's needs. (Due to the customized nature of Viniyoga, free classes are difficult to come by for this type of yoga.)
Nina Snyder is the author of "Good Day, Broncos," a children's e-book, and "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book. Visit her website at ninasnyder.com.