Business: Golden Yoga
Address: 805 14th St., Golden
Hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Sunday
Contact: 303-216-2949, goldenyogastudio.com
Interview with Christian Leeby, owner
Q: How did you get involved in this business?
A: I had heard about yoga from courses I studied in college and figured I’d check it out. I was the “guy who was curious but didn’t feel comfortable going to a class,” so I got a book and began practicing at home. The back pain I’d had for years got worse when I practiced, so I stepped up and attended a weekend workshop at a local yoga studio. I didn’t know there were different styles of yoga, and fortunately the class I went to was perfectly suited for me. It wasn’t just stretching and breathing, it was actually very technical, showing how the body will always fall into its habitual patterns in the poses, and requiring concentration to do the pose “correctly.” I was 20 years old and very stiff and out of shape, having never been into competitive sports. Within a very short time, my back pain got better and my body gained a kind of ease in movement I had never known was possible. I was hooked. After a couple years of serious study my teacher asked me to substitute teach for him, and although I never considered becoming a yoga teacher, that’s exactly what happened.
Q: What distinguishes you from other businesses in your category?
A: After traveling to India seven times and studying with the best yoga masters in the world, I have a very unique skill set that I bring to my students and clients. Very few people practicing yoga today understand that their body is out of alignment, and the effect that has on the quality of their lives. Most yoga classes are vague in their intentions. They move, they stretch and they breathe in order to “calm the mind” or “come back to center.” But they don’t understand that their “crooked alignment” is literally determining how they do their yoga poses. If one waist is shorter than the other, for example, then that imbalance will not magically resolve itself just by stretching and moving. In fact, that imbalance will force a person to do a “crooked” yoga pose, which can actually make the pattern deeper. So most people get stronger and more flexible with yoga, but they don’t correct long-held imbalances that have a huge effect on their well-being. My classes concentrate on using the yoga poses to fix what’s crooked, which is why I have so much success helping people eliminate muscle and joint pain, and even helping organic and immune issues. As a result, you won’t see fancy advanced positions being practiced in my studio. The fancy stuff is great for youngsters, but it simply does not serve most people who have body issues that are getting worse with repetitive movements and age. My classes are not for people who want to become advanced yogis, they are for the average person who doesn’t actually care about yoga, but is interested in doing anything that will help them resolve the body issues that hold them back in life.
Jane Wright uses a wall for leverage as she holds a stretch during a private yoga class at Golden Yoga Studio in Golden, Colorado on February 8, 2017.
Q: What do you like best about your line of work?
A: I am so blessed to have learned very specific yoga techniques that fix or mitigate structural and physiological problems. Many of my students give great testimonials about how they have been able to reverse issues they had no success with in physical therapy, and never thought they would be free of. I’ve helped many people avoid surgeries, fix knee, neck, back, hip or shoulder issues. My longest standing private client, who has seen me for 15 years now, has lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The yoga sequences I teach her have liteally helped her avoid the steroids that her doctors recommend. Giving people these very simple techniques that significantly uplift their lives is incredibly rewarding for me.
Q: What is your business’ biggest challenge?
A: People automatically associate the word yoga with the picture of a woman wearing fancy yoga pants, flowing through impressive postures, as she magically unites her spirit with the universe. In reality, most yoga in the U.S. looks like that, which unfortunately holds a lot of people back from following the encouragement my students give their friends to come see me for their back pain, or digestive disorder, or whatever ails them. It’s true that someone suffering with a debilitating issue should not go to just any yoga studio, as most teachers are not trained to deal with serious problems. So for me it’s quite a challenge to help people understand that what I have to offer is not only safe, but actually curative.
Q: Something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business:
A: People are surprised to see how the yoga I teach is for the average person who needs help dealing with real problems. I have plenty of students who don’t have significant issues and come because my classes help them stay fit and healthy, but you’ll also see very stiff people, or folks who can’t walk up a flight of stairs or put their own socks on. In fact, I currently have one class that is just for muscle and joint pain where I teach simple, safe, easy techniques that can eliminate pains that have been holding people back for years. And I have another class that is designed for strengthening the immune system in which I have students with fibromyalgia, thyroid issues, chronic fatigue, auto-immune issues, and so on.