Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin

I would consider myself to be more of a night owl than an early bird, so you can imagine my body’s confusion when I dragged myself out of bed at 5:45 a.m. a couple Thursdays ago. I sleepily started searching for my yoga clothes and then I made a beeline for the coffee maker. Obviously, only the promise of something truly great could have persuaded me to get up before the sun even had: Sunrise Vinyasa Yoga at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

This past year has transformed me into an avid yogi and the thought of taking my practice out of a sweaty, crowded room and into beautiful gardens enticed me. Who wouldn’t want to start their day off like that? I reached the gardens around 6:45 a.m.—one perk about sunrise classes: plenty of parking. I walked around the deserted Denver Botanic Gardens searching for others groggily clutching yoga mats like myself, but I didn’t see anyone. That was when a slight panic set in and I wondered if I had woken up early for nothing. Luckily, some Botanic Garden employees were nice enough to take pity on the lost yoga girl and, eventually, I was directed to the right place—as it turned out, the Sunrise Vinyasa Yoga in the Gardens class wasn’t being held in the gardens yet, so I was guided into Marnie’s Pavilion. Once inside the building, I sat my mat by two other women on the floor of the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory and joined the class that I was a few minutes late for—don’t worry, they’re going to add signs to guide yoga class attendees from now on.

Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin

I was a little disappointed when I realized that the class was being held inside—after all, I had been looking forward to some outside yoga time, but I quickly discovered that the Tropical Conservatory would definitely suffice as a yoga spot. Picture Jurassic Park scenery (sans dinosaurs) and then imagine doing yoga there. A huge display of orchids, ferns, bromeliads, aquatic plants, a small pond, and miniature waterfalls sat in the center of the room. With light coming in through a glass ceiling, the gurgling sound of the waterfalls, and the occasional mister turning on to cool down the plants and us, it was like stepping (or downward dogging) into a tropical paradise. After attending so many yoga classes where the room is so packed that you can’t stretch your arms out without hitting the person next to you, the three-person total Sunrise Vinyasa class was a luxury.

Right now you can enjoy Kundalini Yoga every Monday at 6 p.m. and Sunrise Vinyasa Yoga in the Gardens every Thursday at 7 a.m. Starting in June, Sunrise Tai Chi in the Gardens classes will be offered every Tuesday and additional Sunrise Vinyasa classes will be added to the calendar. Either indoors or outdoors, get ready to roll out your mat for a wonderful vinyasa class in an ideal yoga setting—just be sure to set that coffee maker the night before.


Denver Botanic Gardens
1007 York Street