“Aesthetically pleasing” would be an apt descriptor for most yoga studios. Step inside, tranquillity slips around the shoulders like a mind-soothing cloak of meditative relaxation–but step into The River on 12th and Delaware, and you might be confused for a moment…is it a yoga studio, or a progressive design project with the end goal being the physical manifestation of “gorgeous?”

Aspen trees for support columns, beautiful wood floors, massage rooms, a waterfall, two studios with just the right amount of give underfoot…in a word, it’s stunning. And surprising. I was there a week ago and walked around the space, with dust covering everything, walls missing, flooring not even close to finished. Last night was the grand opening. I had my doubts, thinking surely it would be postponed. To see it finished two nights ago was something like a miracle, but then I don’t claim to understand fully the complexities of this kind of construction project. Maybe there were magic gnomes involved.

The idea of doing yoga at The River gives me the feeling I might be getting away with something, like sneaking into a Hollywood star’s secluded mansion while he’s away and having free run of the place with zero foreseeable consequences.

Last Monday I sat down with one of the creators, a Baron Baptiste trained power vinyasa instructor named Kendra Vanderipe, who asks compelling things like “Are you a ‘yes’ or a ‘no?’” and says with steely conviction that you must tell the universe out loud what you want, and let others hear it.

We conversed while the Broncos proceeded to make an incredible comeback in San Diego. It wasn’t easy splitting my attention, as Kendra is one of those people who brings the energy level up and you go along like a water skier attached to a jet boat.

She’s got big ideas, which is the primary reason The River–more than the amazing space and the talented teachers she has lined up–will be making a big splash in the Denver yoga community. Her teachers are encouraged to be themselves and are invited to try out their ideas–one is teaching a class with just glow sticks the night before Halloween as an example. She also is not opposed (though currently is still trying to figure out how it would work) to creating a sort of brother/sister relationship with other yoga studios where memberships at one may be good at others as well, ideally creating even more of a single yoga community.

Every great idea must have solid ground to stand on, and The River follows this by firmly entrenching itself upon the bedrock of Metta, an ancient sanskrit practice of cultivating loving kindness– radiating it towards self, friends, enemies and ultimately all sentient beings.

Heraclitus famously remarked that no man (or woman) ever steps into the same river twice. Like life it will not wait for you and in one moment is comprised of entirely different substances than the moment preceding it. Yoga and meditation go together, sisters in this tuning fork of the divine we call our “body,” and The River gives a ready-made opportunity to contemplate the flow in our lives: experiences, ups and downs, and the liquid rush of our emotions.

 

Elliot Riis is a yogi/teacher/banker/writer who spends his time contemplating the universe and his place in it while trying to maintain a productive role in contemporary society. He can be found regularly twisting himself into deeper and deeper asanas while trying to uncover that most sacred of answers, why?

One Response

Leave a Reply