Walk through the doors of Anya Yoga to be greeted with light and life — a wide open space to immerse yourself in practice. Something owner Janell Duncan was particularly thrilled about when she first moved into Anya Yoga Collective’s current space was the number of windows where she could put plants and let in the sun to form an oasis for the burgeoning community in Colorado Springs.
“We strive to offer a shala environment at Anya Yoga. We are simple with beautiful, large plants,” she shares.
Shala is the Sanskrit word for home. Duncan hopes that Anya Yoga can be a place where both students and teachers of yoga can come to share experiences, practice and grow with one another. “Our focus is community,” she says.
And, that has been the case since the very beginning. Back in 2014, the teacher Duncan had personally been practicing with moved away and asked Duncan if she’d be willing to take over for their small group. A little unsure of her abilities, she accepted. A few months later, the group lost the partial lease on their current space, opening the door for Duncan to take a leap of faith.
“I decided, with trepidation, to lease our own space, just for us,” she recalls. In 2014, her first studio, then named Aranyani Yoga, was born in Woodland Park.
“I continued studying and learning yoga, slowly began to learn to make a website and, towards the end of our six years there, began to host teachers,” she adds.
But in March 2020, they were forced to close. Due to the studio’s small, 750-square-foot size, social distancing became impossible. Unable to reopen, Duncan was unsure of what the future would hold. After five months of closure, she found a new space that had “everything I ever wished for … even our own bathroom!” she jokes. She changed the name to Anya Yoga, and the rest is history.
The studio focuses on Ashtanga and Rocket yoga styles. Ashtanga is a six-set system that progresses off of previously established moves. It is intended to build strength, flexibility and range of motion. Additionally, they hold a class called Mysore mornings. Named after the city in India, Mysore mornings allow students to receive one-on-one instruction from their teacher.
Rocket yoga, coined by Larry Schultz, was founded to make Ashtanga yoga more accessible. The three-step routines are intended to renew energy and generate more vitality in the body by focusing on the joints and all systems of the body in harmony.
Anya Yoga Collective offers donation-based drop-ins for their classes, and loves to host teachers trained in these two lineages. “We love bringing in some of the most inspirational teachers around for our community to practice with. Our teachers also are all incredibly passionate about their own practices. They all teach from this incredible place of love and knowledge they gain from their own practices,” Duncan shares.
Duncan and her teachers offer a variety of workshops and special classes through-out the year in addition to regular classes. Scholarships for their workshops are available, as well.
As we move forward from the pandemic, Duncan hopes Anya Yoga can be a source of support and renewal in Colorado Springs. Moving the studio and trusting the process through the uncertainty of it all was so rewarding. Her main goal is to give back to others as best she can.
“Everything I’ve done has been for the students to have a practice space and community,” she adds.
Photos by Thistle and Pine Photography.
Originally published in Summer + Fall 2022 Issue.