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By Lindsay Nichols
When you hear the word yoga, there are probably many different thoughts, pictures, and emotions that come to mind. If you’ve never been exposed to it, taking the step into your first yoga class can surely seem a little intimidating. Bending your body into all kinds of shapes and poses doesn’t exactly feel natural, and it might not seem appealing to stick your bum in the air and look silly in front of a room of strangers.
But surely you’ve heard about the benefits of yoga before. It’s not only good for your physical health – it has been shown to improve your mental wellbeing as well.
Does this sound intriguing? If so, congratulations; it’s time for you to try out something new. If you laugh at the thought of a “mind-body-spirit connection” that seems more like hippie-speak than a mantra to live by, don’t be so quick to make assumptions. Believe it or not, you, too, are a perfect candidate for Get Bent: Guerilla Yoga.
Jackie Stuben, founder of Get Bent, believes that yoga is for everyone. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how often you exercise, how ‘in shape’ you are, or how much money you have (or don’t have…) – yoga can be for you. She’s started a practice of donation-based yoga, which allows people from any income or dedication level to practice yoga however frequently they want.
“I decided to offer yoga to my nearest and dearest by teaching wherever and wherever I could. Living rooms, city parks, backyards, whatever,” Stuben says.
The idea is rapidly catching on, as more and more people learn that they can access yoga without the commitment of joining a studio.
“Fort Collins is jam-packed with people trying to do right by their neighbors, and I think that this is both unique and totally awesome. There are so many affordable opportunities that this town has to offer to get community members on the track to wellness,” Stuben says.
With Get Bent: Guerilla Yoga, she aims to provide classes in a more relaxed atmosphere that is “less formal and with less pressure than you sometimes feel in a studio where everyone is more experienced.”
For those who are familiar with yoga, Stuben teaches classes that have a Vinyasa Flow style. This means that you get your heart rate up during the class – it is fast-paced, breath-synchronized movement. What sets her apart from some other instructors is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously – she’s not afraid to crack jokes during class and she aims to use comfortable, everyday language to explain the postures.
Get Bent: Guerilla Yoga is only one of many different options for donation-based, community-led yoga practice.
“There are a handful of teachers all working towards the same goal; to bring health, wellness, stretch, and strength to the good people of our community,” Stuben says.
She’s so passionate about spreading the word that she designed a website for folks who are interested in the many options: fortcollinsyogacoop.org.
Membership to a yoga studio can be a little pricey, and for beginners who aren’t ready to make the commitment, donation-based classes are the perfect introduction to yoga. If you try Stuben’s class, you’ll see why she calls herself “wild, loud, goofy and weird.” It’s already becoming less intimidating, no?
And if you’re not a beginner, donation-based classes can be the perfect way to fit yoga into your life by allowing you to pick and choose when you’d like to practice, where and with what frequency you’d like to practice, and how much you want to spend on it. Just thinking about it, you’re already getting closer to a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.
Find more information about Get Bent: Guerilla Yoga and other donation-based yoga classes in Fort Collins at fortcollinsyogacoop.org.