Yoga in one word
Photo: Rick Lohre

Yoga in one word

Posted by: Shauna Farnell

It takes a novel to describe what yoga means to most avid practitioners, but we asked a few to whittle it down to a single word.

by Shauna Farnell

When asked to describe what yoga means to her in one word, Brittany Franke doesn’t deliberate for long before answering, “peace.”

Franke was one of about 80 practitioners in Ford Park on Thursday for Joe Joe Melone’s morning yoga class that kicked off the 2017 Go Pro Mountain Games’ stacked lineup of yoga offerings.

A Vail native, Franke took up yoga about eight years ago in an effort to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after losing her father to suicide. 

“The most concrete benefit is the connection between physical and mental well-being,” she says.

The yoga-in-one-word hot seat question also didn’t give much pause to Shannon Stokes, who is visiting Vail from Washington, D.C. and is registered with the Yoga Experience All Access pass and plans to attend all eight classes at the Mountain Games.

“If I had to describe what yoga means to me in one word, it would be ‘open,’” Stokes says, adding that she began her practice 17 years ago “as an alternative to exercising.”

“For me, the appeal was lengthening muscles instead of building muscles and also stress management and noise management,” Stokes says. “It’s the one time of day that’s just quiet and focused from all environmental noise, work noise, media noise … personal noise.”

As is typically the case with every class at Mountain Games yoga, a broad gamut of skill levels turned out for Thursday’s inaugural class. There were complete newcomers taking to the mat for the first time as well as seasoned yogis such as Joey Roberts, long-time instructor at The Vail Racquet Club.

“I liked that it wasn’t a competition,” Roberts said of the allure of yoga when she began 19 years ago. “I was always a competitive athlete and yoga allowed me to take the day off. It allowed me to embrace being injured, embrace being stressed. It allowed me to not be perfect.”

As far as a concrete benefit she’s gleaned from yoga over all of these years, Roberts says, “it has enhanced my emotional intelligence.” 

When she is tasked with boiling down the meaning of yoga to just one word, Roberts hesitates for just a split second.

“Yoga in one word is ‘lifestyle,’” she says. “No … wait. To me, yoga is ‘life.’”

All GoPro Mountain Games yoga classes take place in the Zen Zone near the Betty Ford Gardens. Classes are outdoors, open to all levels and are often paired with music with a live DJ. Instructors include international yoga star Kathryn Budig, Colorado School of Yoga Founder Gina Caputo and many others. Classes range from $5 to $35. Register here.

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