Making Yoga More Accessible : Donation-Based Classes at Cambio Yoga | By Selena Rodriguez

Last Updated: February 1, 2022By

Once yoga plants its roots into your soul, it’s hard to ever look back. For me, the practice was the nutrients I needed to bloom; it was a light when I was scrambling in the dark and it was the catalyst for so much honey-sweet goodness.

Yoga truly changed my life.

Yoga truly changed my life.

And it’s poised to change so many other’s lives if only they could get a chance to experience it. But, unfortunately, it can seem like an intimidating, expensive zone many feel they don’t have the means to enter.

Fortunately, studios like Cambio Yoga exist. Thanks to them, more and more people are seeing a space for themselves in the world of yoga. Since 2009, Cambio Yoga has strived to provide the people of Colorado Springs with not only an affordable avenue to try yoga, but also a place where they feel completely and undeniably welcome. Amber Richman, owner of Cambio Yoga, saw a need for donation-based yoga on a larger scale and made it happen. She sought out to create a studio where folks could come to feel they belong regardless of the body they’re in.

“Whoever you are, you’re welcome,” she said when I sat down with her over tea at the studio.  “That was really a part of the vision from the beginning”.

When you come to a class at Cambio Yoga, it’s so much more than getting into the poses and sweating it out. Inner-work is a key player. Classes and workshops are cultivated with three missions in mind: accessibility, community and education. Whether you’re in Hot Power Fusion or Restorative Flow, these core tenets are palpable in the atmosphere. Yogis of all walks are embraced and accounted for at this studio. In fact, Cambio Yoga actively reaches out to bring anyone who feels outside the “typical” yogi paradigm into the fold.

Yogis of all walks are embraced and accounted for.

“When I started practicing yoga, I was like one of three guys in a room full of women,” Austin Richman, the owner’s brother and business partner, commented. He went on to describe how drastically the landscape is starting to shift. For decades, the figurehead for western yoga was a fit, young white woman. But more and more people of color, men and bodies of all shapes and sizes are staking their claim in this arena. Cambio Yoga prides itself as a safe place for anyone to come and reap the benefits of this rich practice.

Along with a stacked queue of classes, community events and workshops, the studio offers intensive and extended yoga teacher trainings. Amber and Austin concur that this is where the real magic happens. Whether participants want to pursue a life of teaching yoga or simply wish to deepen their own practice, this program is tailored to give its students an impactful learning experience. And, of course, the studio’s core mission is at the heart it all.

“We have specific workshops on inclusion,” Austin explained, “not only on what it is but also how we can have a blind spot to our own privilege, and how to teach with language that’s inclusive.”

Teachers-to-be are constantly reminded to go beyond poses and form earnest relationships with those in their classes. This program puts an emphasis on spreading the love of yoga far and wide.

As our conversation came to a close, Amber emphasized that it all comes down to getting yoga out there for as many as possible. “It’s such a joy to share something I’m so passionate about with people,” she said.

The thread of love at Cambio Yoga is carefully stitched into its fabric by those who know what it’s like to be transformed by the practice. Amber, Austin and the rest of the community there are a testament to what wonderful things can happen when yoga is made accessible to all.

Selena is a social media manager currently based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In her free time she loves to write, travel and go to as many concerts as she can afford. Her journey with yoga only started a mere four years ago but it’s impacted her life in a magical way. She hopes to continue creating impactful art, growing as a yogi and exploring her beautiful state.

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