I recently relocated to Salida, a small town about two and a half hours south of Denver. High on my priority list before moving was finding a yoga studio to call home. My first stop was Yoga Olas, and I didn’t need to look any further. When you open the door to Yoga Olas, you’re greeted by an unsuspectingly large room — expansive and bright. The beautiful wood floors back up to a full brick wall and in the mirrors are reflections of a dozen students, moving with their breath. Located on F Street in the heart of Salida, a town with a population of about 5,000 people, Yoga Olas welcomes 1,000 to 2,000 students each month.
Megan Kahn, founder of Yoga Olas, details the origins of the studio. “After teaching yoga classes in the Denver area for many years, in 2012, I moved to Salida and desired to keep sharing the yoga magic. I whipped up some fliers and tagged the town, rented a dance studio one day a week and launched what was the very early stages of Olas. For about a year, one to three people showed up. The entire focus of the work was seva-driven, any profits were donated, mainly locally. I loved guiding yoga and wanted to share and give back in any and every way possible,” she shares.
Kahn realized the demand for vinyasa style yoga in the Salida community, and in a serendipitous sequence of events, the dance studio closed abruptly, leaving an opening to be filled. Shortly thereafter, she signed the lease on the studio and hired a few teachers.
“The day after I signed the lease, I found out I was pregnant with my third child. I was also a full-time practicing attorney. But, timing is never ‘perfect.’ We started with five classes per week and three guides,” Kahn recalls.
As classes caught on and the community grew, she realized that Salida was home to an immense pool of like-minded talent, like certified yoga teachers and wellness practitioners, and they all needed a place to share their offerings. Kahn recalls, “Teachers began reaching out regularly wanting to come on the team and offer a class or two. I gave everyone who reached out a chance to teach.”
Since that time, Olas has moved into a space downtown, their teachers have birthed over a dozen children and they now have a staff of 25 and about 35 classes per week.
“We remain heart centered, focused on community and serve as a space for our guides and visiting teachers, musicians and artists to share their gifts. We are about to run our fourth international retreat, have held two teacher trainings and hundreds of workshops and programs,” she shares.
When asked what it means to thrive as a yoga studio, Kahn thoughtfully explains that, “To thrive as a studio means to always stay intentional with our why — to adapt to changes and go with the flow, to take risks and experiment and learn from mistakes, to dream big and aim high, to remember, at our heart, we are a community center, to stay student driven and hold supportive and nurturing space, to have fun and not
take ourselves too seriously, to support and not compete with other local wellness businesses, to stay inspired, to collaborate, to practice great communication, to ask for help when we need it and to strive for excellence and continue to grow and learn as teachers.”
“Since moving to Salida, I’ve established a foundational community through Yoga Olas,” she adds. “The people I’ve met in this space are some of the kindest, most welcoming folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of crossing paths with. Now, I have the high honor of teaching yoga in this beautiful space. The mission of Olas resonates deeply and through this community, I find myself thriving in a new town. Olas’ story is a true reflection of what it means to thrive. The studio seed was planted in a random way, but with a continuous demand for yoga and mindfulness, a dedicated community and a dedication to their mission and values, Yoga Olas can expect to thrive for many more years to come.”
YOGA + Life Ambassador + Contributor