The yoga trend has taken on a life of its own in Highlands Ranch, and there will soon be more resources for all levels of experience.
Yoga is quickly becoming a favorite past-time among busy moms, hardworking executives, teens and retirees in Highlands Ranch. Last year, the Highlands Ranch Metro District teamed with Nancy Levenson, who owns NamasteWorks Yoga, to build a following by teaching a free twice-weekly seminar called Yoga in the Park. From 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday through the summer, Levenson draws an ever-growing number of participants to Civic Green Park next to the Highlands Ranch Library. It began with about 35 people last year, and has grown to about 200 students — about 40 percent of them new every week — on Saturdays. Levenson takes a more gentle, traditional approach to yoga and instructs her students to “experience the practice the way it was meant to,” by connecting to their inner-self and relieving the stresses that come with everyday life.
She turned to yoga full-time after suffering a nervous breakdown caused by the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. She has been practicing for 30 years and teaching for seven years. Now she is spreading her knowledge, and more people are realizing the benefit of the ancient art.
“It’s definitely something people are looking for in the community,” said Levenson, who has lived in Highlands Ranch for 15 years.
Yoga sessions are offered at Highlands Ranch Community Association recreation centers, and one particular class focuses on using yoga as a tool for reducing pain, fatigue, stiffness and stress for those who suffer from medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and arthritis.
A Highlands Ranch-based company called Yoga For Your Life offers everything from bikram to pilates to prenatal yoga.
CorePower Yoga, which plans to open this month in the SuperTarget shopping center at Highlands Ranch Parkway and Lucent Boulevard, takes a more modern approach to yoga. Whitney Gustafson, general manager of CorePower Yoga studios near Park Meadows and in Ken Caryl Ranch, said athletes are using yoga to rehabilitate injuries, gain stamina, improve balance and build muscle. The new location in Highlands Ranch will ease the demand and reduce the number of crowded classes at other locations.
Levenson, who has plans to open her own yoga studio in Highlands Ranch within the next year, said she keeps the classes in the park free of charge because “part of being in the yoga world is giving back.” Officials with the metro district were supportive of her plan, and Civic Green Park is a good venue for the classes, she said.
Local instructors expect more residents to catch on to the therapeutic benefits of practicing yoga, an activity that continues to morph as different techniques are introduced and intertwined.
One 86-year-old man who attends sessions in the park is proof that yoga does not have age limitations.
“We are blessed to have him,” Levenson said.