Destination: Boulder, Colorado
Seek Retreat’s Katherine Peach connected with Boulder yoga teacher, Rob Loud, to chat about the yoga, outdoors and vibrant wellness community in the city that Elephant Journal, Pangea Organics and Yoga Journal call home.
by Katherine Peach
Yoga in Boulder with Rob Loud at Yoga Pod
Rob Loud grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and for a yoga teacher best recognized by his sometimes technicolor hair, it’s not hard to see why Loud still calls the “yoga mecca” home. Loud co-directs a SEVA teacher training at Yoga Pod in Boulder, just one among more than 40 yoga studios in Boulder nestled at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Loud calls it a “blessing” to have such a large offering of teachers and styles. In Boulder, everyone has his or her own style.
“The level of consciousness in Boulder is so high in terms of wanting to be healthy in all ways, shapes and forms,” Loud said. “I feel blessed that I can go to any style of yoga I want to, and at any studio, there will be someone with a unique offering.”
This city is known for its diverse history of settlers evoking images of the Wild West or the 1960s hippies for the free-thinking, liberal influence. Both have left a lasting impression on the culture of Boulder. A distinct college vibe permeates the community as well since the University of Colorado Boulder first opened its doors in 1877.
The Shambhala Center
Another learning institution in Boulder is Naropa University, a private liberal arts college founded in 1974 by the Tibetan teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche along with Allen Ginsburg. At Naropa, Rinpoche combined traditional Western academics learned during his time at Oxford University with Buddhist teachings and meditation practices. Rinpoche became widely recognized for teaching at meditation centers throughout the country. Today, the small university is known to attract a wide range of creative young minds with distinctive undergraduate and graduate offerings in Art Therapy, Contemplative Psychology, emphases in Body Physiotherapy or Somatic Counseling, Environmental Leadership, Creative Writing and more.
is another storied learning institution founded under the guidance of senior Ashtanga practitioners Richard Freeman and Mary Tyler. The Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga lineage is direct from Sri. K Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. Freeman is renowned in the worldwide yoga community for his technique.
In Boulder, Freeman is part of an eclectic community of yogis who understand that yoga has the power to spur change. This same tight-knit yoga community joined with the Hanuman Festival organizers to raise funds for Colorado flood relief efforts from this year’s flood’s devastating impact on the state. Freeman, Amy Ippoliti and MC Yogi participated among others in the Fall benefit event.
Loud believes that everyone shows up to a yoga mat to “alleviate suffering,” in one form or another. The healing properties of yoga are no doubt a strong reason that so many yoga practitioners have flocked to the Rockies, in addition to the area being a veritable playground for climbers, hikers and bicyclists. Loud uses his own experience with yoga’s ability to mend suffering in his classes and trainings.
“For me it was large scale suffering in my life,” Loud said, alluding to childhood trauma, depression, and medication. “Yoga pulled me out of that immediately. I know from first hand experience, if you embrace it in your life than it will make huge changes. I’m a changed person because of it and that’s why I do it.”
The healthy, vibrant community of outdoors-lovers, is also known as one of the most efficient bike communities in the country with on-street bike paths that allow for also unimpeded travel for cyclists.
Loud will cycle the lengthy trek from Boulder to Denver to teach classes in 2014 despite the full four season weather bestowed on the area. He will be new to the Denver yoga scene, even though he was born and raised just 28 miles away.
“I hear Denver is different than the yoga community in Boulder,” Loud said, “and excited to find out how.”