COVID Conversations : Danielle Barbeau, Owner of The River Yoga | By Michelle Yuma

Last Updated: November 23, 2020By

In times of uncertainty, people tend to cling on to things they’re familiar with and know quite well. One of these things, especially for Danielle Barbeau, has been yoga.

“The last three months have literally changed everything,” Barbeau shares. “How we have been running classes, what the future looks like in terms of sustainability … The industry as a whole has taken a look at what’s working and what’s not.

The River Yoga has two current locations in Five Points and Golden, Colorado. A third studio is also on the way, even in the midst of these challenging times. Outside of preparing for its opening,  Barbeau has spent most days practicing yoga lifestyle during quarantine.

While the world floats in limbo, Barbeau says she is determined to keep everyone grounded through yoga, including the teachers at her studio. She describes how this pandemic has shown that unfortunately, teaching yoga hasn’t been a sustainable job.

“Most teachers can’t really make it just teaching yoga,” she explains. “I hate saying ‘just.’ But we need to dig into our values and how we can shift things and make teaching yoga a sustainable job.”

Barbeau also knows a lot of studios that have closed due to the circumstances and expresses her gratitude that her studio can livestream and reach yogis that way. Not only are her studios running livestream classes (five to six each day), her studios have also been curating an on-demand platform for her members. She describes this as “a Netflix for yoga.” This unique experience is only available on a separate membership but gives her instructors more opportunity to teach and stretch.

Owning a yoga studio in Denver brings the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement a lot closer to home as well, Barbeau shares. Amongst all the negativity and seemingly increasing stresses, she says she is still hopeful for a growing yoga community.

“The pandemic coupled with the protest in the BLM movement has just been a really great opportunity for us to drill down our mission and our values,” Barbeau says. “And not just what we stand for but our community as well. I’m hopeful that this will up-level our industry as a whole.”

“That responsibility for what happens in our community,” Barbeau adds, “that’s yoga off the mat, you know?”

Photos courtesy of The River Yoga.

Michelle has always loved music and continues to do anything involving that element. She will graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder with a major in Journalism. As a current editorial intern for Jaunt Media Collective — YOGA + Life® Magazines and Spoke+Blossom Magazine — she works to incorporate passion with bringing people together. She spent the summer of 2019 working backstage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, getting as close to music as possible. In her free time, she’s either at a concert or putting on her own show at home.

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