Interview with Denelle Numis of Apres Yoga and my brother Steve Zetzer
I’m so excited about this episode and couldn’t wait to share it with my listeners. My brother moved back to Denver early this year and invited me to come out for a “Yoga Tour.” Denver has such a vibrant Yoga scene with over 65 studios and awesome yoga related events happening all over town, every week. I had a really amazing conversation with two very special Yogis, which has some powerful revelations and content for every level of practitioner. The three of us we’re really excited about the conversation when we completed the interview. We recorded our conversation after a beautiful and playful vinyasa class led by Denelle Numis at The Alpine Dog Brewery with Apres Yoga. Denelle will tell you about Apres Yoga and how she started up this thriving community of Yogi’s practicing at breweries, cafes and restaurants. My brother Steve has been a dedicated practitioner for more then 15 years and is about to embark on a 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training at Core Power Yoga LoHi. After starting his Bikram practice in Bozeman, MT, he shares his heartfelt perspective about how the Denver Yoga community and Denelle have transformed his practice in a profound way.
In addition to featuring Denelle & Steve, I want to give a shout out to these Denver highlights that made my visit fabulous.
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- Intro/Outro music is Sugar Drop 77 by DJ Drez & Zen Jenn via Apple Loops
- Denelle’s yoga story is that she was introduced to yoga in 2004 by her sorority sister in college at Syracuse with Patricia Walden Yoga and Mari Winsor pilates DVDs. She was hooked and felt embodied and stronger and it helped her relate to her days as a dancer. Her home practice thrived with DVDs with Sean Corn, Rodney Yee and Shiva Rea before the days of online streaming. Her first public class was her senior year at Syracuse. She decided to become a yoga teacher after her first public class when her practice became more consistent. As a business major she thought she’d like to have her own yoga and dance studio someday which is still a goal.
- Steve’s yoga story is interesting because he was always resistant to it because he wants to work out for his practice. Then in 2003 he went to a Bikram class in Bozeman which was his “gateway drug” to yoga!! It was just was the right challenge for him. He practiced Bikram almost every day for the first 5 years! He loved his first teachers at the Bozeman Bikram Studio where he felt very supported. Finding yoga is up there as one of the most important life events for him. From that point he started branching out as he traveled for business and started practicing at Corepower in Denver. He read Journey Into Power by Baron Baptiste but still felt very indoctrinated by the Bikram tradition. He’s been expanding his knowledge base ever since. This year he’s exposed himself to such a great variety of practices and teachers which has opened up a lot of opportunity and vision for him and he’s about to embark on a 200 hour YTT with Corepower yoga at LoHi. He loves practicing with Denelle at her Apres Yoga events.
- Denelle appreciates Steve’s perspective as an older guy in the Denver yoga scene and he makes such a great advocate for why anyone and everyone should practice yoga.
- Steve feels great and better then he has entire life at 50 years old. He just hiked his first 14k foot mountain for his birthday. Mount Beirstadt.
- According to Denelle, the Denver yoga scene is becoming a hub for yoga much like the west coast cities. This includes the Boulder scene where Yoga Journel is now based. Gaia TV is also headquartered in the Denver and Boulder area. Still only 10% of the Denver population is practicing yoga. The passion around health and wellness in the area has always been huge so Yoga blends in perfectly to the vibe of the region. They just had inaugural Denver yoga fest and it was awesome. It was very professional and presented very well.
- Steve feels the diversity, skill and professionalism of Denver yoga teachers are amazing. He’s taken classes with over 40 teachers and every teacher has inspired and enabled him to have lots of breakthroughs in his own practice.
- Denelle feels Steve has the right mindset as a student of yoga because he is a sponge and she encourages anyone listening to be open to learning from whoever your teachers are and the teachings they have.
- Steve wants to focus on being non judgmental of his teachers as a student, and feels that the teachers are also on their own journey when they are teaching on any given day.
- Denelle emphasized that her classes may be a similar sequence but is always taught a bit differently based on any given moment.
- Steve appreciates Denelle’s ability to make her classes purposeful and well thought out, but that she adds fun and lightheartedness. During our class that morning with Apres Yoga, Denelle demo’d a pose on the bar and we all got such a kick out of that. Apres Yoga has helped Steve have more fun with his practice and not to practice with seriousness all the time.
- Denelle tells us about Apres yoga. Apres yoga began in May 2015 at The Alpine Dog brewery. She wanted to branch out on her own in addition to the 5 years of teaching in studios. She came one night (to the brewery) with a friend having some beers and she discussed with the owner about having yoga there, and the owner agreed! It’s such a great space with lots of light and windows. It’s a mobile yoga studio and they present at lots of different venues with coffee, cocktails and beer. They practice for an hour then they socialize for a bit over the preferred beverage. It’s created a wonderful community around yoga. It’s helped her make friends and make connections with local business owners and yogis.
- The response so far has been really strong. As a novelty practice it seems more approachable to people who wouldn’t ordinarily take a yoga class in a traditional setting.
- Apres Yoga has inspired Denelle a lot to become more creative in her sequencing. She has had great training and this gives her more freedom to be experimental. She has the responsibility of hosting a fun event and create an experience that her clients want to keep coming back to.
- On being a Denver yoga rock star according to Steve, Apres yoga has catapulted Denelle into a new realm which has inspired her to be more comfortable in her teaching and with herself. She had recently presented at the Denver Yoga Fest and the Yoga Journal Conference at Estes Park. She had become great at marketing and networking because she has something credible to offer.
- We went on to discuss how this has been a great platform to get more folks practicing yoga. She has more men in her Apres Yoga classes because they love beer! We both feel it’s just another great way to reach the end goal of having everyone practicing yoga to improve our world.
- Denelle offers a great classes along side of the beer and social aspect. Steve loves how legit Denelle’s classes with Apres Yoga and it allows him to relax and become more playful. The social experience is great too. He feels Denelle is bringing yoga to people who would never try yoga and often the people he meets at Apres Yoga events have had their first yoga experience with Denelle, who offers a totally legit practice. They applaud everyone for showing up.
- Denelle loves how inclusive Apres Yoga events are as they attract all types of yogis and not just the typical bendy white girl.
- Steve discovered Apres Yoga through the Denver Beer company and Fit 36 at the Beer Olympics. Denelle had a Apres Yoga tent set up and did a Demo for the runners of the 5k. He loved the practice and noticed that many who practiced with Denelle had never done yoga before. Steve loved it and came back to Denelle’s next event.
- Steve loves the lightness Apres Yoga brings to his practice. It allows him not to be so serious where he can have fun and still progress in his practice.
- Denelle suggests that connecting one on one with your students will help anyone build a successful community. She had done this brilliantly. She also has knack for marketing. During class she mentions students individually with adjustments and compliments. Denelle presents herself to the community in such a realistic way through her social media which is such an easy way to connect to people.
- She mentions about always being the student of yoga first. She is a student to her teachers. Denelle mentions something that I love so much. The most advanced yogi call themselves the beginner.
- Steve appreciates Denelle’s attention to business. About Yoga and business. Denelle struggles with the idea of offering free yoga as a service for community events at the risk of sustaining ourselves and at what expense. When we value the practice of yoga as much as we do and counting in what we’ve done to learn to teach, we should value teaching as a service like any other spiritual or body worker.
- Steve adds that there’s a stigma around the yoga community that we all want to save the world but the world should give back to us as well. The fine line of business does cross every line of service as he is in IT. Undercharging and undervaluing ourselves doesn’t serve anyone and that great yoga teachers deserve financial success like anyone else.
- One of Denelle’s goals is to inspiring new and young teachers to learn to value themselves and not to take the free offerings just to gain experience. In the end it just devalues the industry.
- I added that I’ve had this conversation with so many teachers and studio owners in CLE. We also need to understand that we need to be creative sometimes to find our niche and there are many other ways to make a living teaching yoga then the traditional model of teaching group classes. Be creative, believe in yourself and align yourself with the right people.
- Wellness tips:
- Denelle relieves stress by meditating everyday. Getting to her mat as often as possible. She hikes every Friday and likes to get outside to run and ride her bike. The 80/20 lifestyle works for her. 80% of the time she’s being healthy and 20% she indulges in things that might not be so good for her. Balance it out and give yourself some leeway.
- Steve practices yoga everyday either in a studio, brewery or traveling in a hotel room. It helps him let go of stress or mental burdens. He also does high intensity workouts like fit 36 and Orange theory. The intense workout helps him break through fear. Anything outside and exercise outside.
- I add that one of the most common answers to the question of how to relieve stress is moving their body.
- Denelle adds she’s passionate about movement. If we don’t move everyday we feel stuck.
- Denelle is working on Handstand in her own Asana practice and being okay with whatever her meditation practice is on any given day. She’s working on being a better teacher. She’s always self critiquing as she teaches.
- Steve is working on inversions in his practice lately. In 2016 the progression of his practice has been amazing which he credits to the variety of teachers in his practice. He’s broken through the fear of falling in Crow pose. Many classes he attends offer play time without guidance. He has learned to enjoy taking workshops to help him advance in his Asana practice. Steve is also looking to get back into his TM practice.
- Denelle’s favorite yoga resources are:
- The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga
- 300 hour teacher training manual from Gina Caputo of the Colorado School of Yoga
- Steve’s favorite yoga resource are his teachers. He often takes the time to talk to his teachers after a class and that has been his greatest resource for advancing his practice.
- Denelle’s favorite teacher in Denver/Boulder is Gina Caputo. She teaches Prana Flow and studied with Shiva Rae. She also mentions Cheryl Deer who’s a Forrest Yoga teacher, Amy Baker and Kerry Bergeron.
- I challenged Steve to take a class from some of Denelle’s teachers
- Steve’s favorite classes in Denver are hot classes. It helps him relax and it feels like melting steel. Hot Yoga at Corepower South Boulder and Hot Power Fusion at Corepower and Apres Yoga with Denelle, and Denver Bikram to go back to his roots.
I hope you all enjoyed the episode!
Peace & Oms,