Finding your center with Denver yoga

Denver studios see an increase in yoga nidra classes

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Yoga studios throughout Denver are seeing an increase in yoga nidra classes, in which participants flow through poses, breathing and flexibility — all laying down on the floor.

Katrina Gustafson, owner of Karma Yoga Center on 1705 S. Pearl St., said the awareness around yoga nidra has grown over the last several years. The classes involve a guided meditation as people lay on their backs on the floor. The meditation is meant to guide people into a rested state, through the different “layers of being,” Gustafson said.

The class helps people relax and connect with their bodies.

“It’s really effective. It speaks its own praises,” Gustafson said. “As (meditation) takes you through, each one of those layers kind of melts down.”

Alyssa Gunn, a teacher at Kindness Collective, which has studios all over Denver, said practicing nidra has helped her control emotions better.

“It’s the basis of all yoga,” said Gunn, who has been teaching the class for eight years. “It’s always bringing you back to center.”

Gunn believes more people may be taking the class because they are realizing the benefits of relaxation. People are feeling burned out and depleted, and a yoga nidra session can help combat that, she added.

“People need to learn to sit still and be with themselves,” Gunn said. “It’s a recognition that life doesn’t always need to be so dramatic.”

Gustafson agreed, saying that yoga nidra helps bring people into a relaxed state similar to sleeping.

When Gunn first started teaching the class, she said there were few yoga studios that offered nidra. Now, people can find classes at various studios almost every day of the week.

Gustafson added that yoga nidra can be a good option for someone who wants to do yoga, but has a difficult time moving.

For people who don’t want to try the class in the studio, Gustafson said several yoga nidra podcasts and recordings have similar guided meditation.

Some studios, like Karma Yoga Center, offer hybrid classes for people who have never taken the class before. These classes start with yoga postures and stretching before moving into nidra for the later half. The hybrid class is also a good starting point for people unsure about the benefits of yoga.

It’s “particularly useful for people who are skeptics,” Gustafson said. “It’s really good for the people who maybe have a hard time buying in.”

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