Recently I hiked Mount Huron, a Colorado Fourteener, featuring a climb ascending from the ghost town wilderness of Chaffee County and up to stunning views of the Collegiate Peaks. Summiting after a couple of breathless hours, I was surprised to see a gentleman - older than the typical Fourteener hiker - dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt, sitting on a rock enjoying the view.
Driven by collective curiosity, a small crowd soon gathered round and began to question him. This 70-year-old man had just climbed his ninth mountain in nine days, and was on to Mount Massive next. We learned his haste to see Colorado's highest peaks was not the race against time we presumed, but a result of onset ocular degeneration; he was already blind in his left eye, and his right eye was close behind. With no cure for his condition, he decided to see the world while he still could.
That night, I posted a comment about my awe-inspiring encounter on Facebook. By morning, the story had received dozens of "likes," comments, and even "shares." A simple story about the human spirit had captivated friends across the globe.
It is these stories of hope, strength, abundance and authentic human vibrancy that characterize an incredible healing style of yoga, called Anjali restorative yoga, that has taken root in Vail over the past couple of years. Anjali is distinctly devoid of sweating, chanting, even the ubiquitous "downward dog." When you walk into an Anjali restorative yoga class, you'll be met with thoughtfully arranged blankets and bolsters, glowing candles and soothing music. You will lie down and be guided through the spinal series of nine supported poses using nourishing visualizations and meditations intended to replace feelings of lack, anxiety and depression with thoughts that return you to the belief that you are more than enough to surmount the mountains of challenge life presents.
I brought Anjali restorative yoga to Vail after training in Denver at Om Time yoga with founder Shannon Paige. Paige discovered yoga after surviving cancer, and Anjali was the culmination of years of studying the scientific healing effects of intentional rest. The training was life-changing for me and my students; within months of offering a weekly class at Vail Vitality Center, one student reported a weight loss of 16 pounds, while another began sleeping after 10 years of insomnia.
Anjali restorative yoga is a healing modality that meets people in the space of the heart. The stories, images and meditations used are a deliberate tool to replace the constant chatter of worry and hurry that we've become accustomed to. The poses are accessible to every body, from restless teenagers to 70-year-old hikers. The sequence of poses was created with an intelligent understanding of how posture affects breath, and how breath determines cortisol levels. The core results include stress and anxiety reduction, a sense of worthiness, weight loss and insomnia relief.
Join me for a weekend-long teacher training in Anjali restorative yoga at Vail Vitality Center, Oct. 26-28. You do not have to be a yoga teacher to take this training; it is perfect for all health and wellness professionals, as well as anyone interested in improving their own wellbeing. This foundational training certifies 25 continuing education hours with Yoga Alliance, and will leave you confident to teach, if that is your goal. We will cover the guiding principles of Anjali restorative yoga.
In addition, a regular Anjali restorative yoga class is offered each Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Vail Vitality Center. For more information on the training or the class call 970-476-7960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julia Clarke is the yoga coordinator and a yoga instructor at Vail Vitality Center. She moved to the U.S. from Scotland 11 years ago and made Colorado her home in 2009. Clarke's classes are soulful and dynamic and stir a deep sense of embodiment and self-participation.