By Kari Gregg
After Momentum Fest (in case you missed it, see this link), I couldn’t resist extending my stay in Colorado to explore Boulder and Denver, which house a handful of Pilates studios I’ve been anxious to visit. Plus, there was no way I was leaving without getting my “nature fix” at three of Colorado’s National Parks. The Rockies were finally in sight!
STOP 1: The Pilates Center of Boulder
I’ve been following the Taylor sisters for years, and have always heard great things from fellow Pilates Instructors who’ve completed their education programs. I arrived early on a sunny morning to their studio, and got to observe Rachel Taylor Segal’s Wunda Chair class before my scheduled mat class. I was in awe of her calm, effortless cueing.
The mat class with Rachel had a mix of all ages and levels, but somehow we ended up doing a full advanced mat class! I was astonished at the capability of her students, and took away some great exercises like the Castanets while kneeling and sitting on our heels with our toes flexed for a dual stretch midway through class. Also, she gave some great cues after Rolling Like a Ball: We opened our knees, reached our hands back and lifted our chest for a stretch as she said, “Feel like fingers are massaging the insides of your ribs.” To breathe and breathing in general was a regular theme throughout the class.
STOP 2: Pearl Street
After working up an appetite from all the movement, I drove into town and stopped at Boxcar Coffee Roasters located on the famed Pearl Street. They had amazing fresh sandwiches made with local ingredients as well as WiFi—admittedly, I was ready to get in touch with the outside world for a bit.
Make sure to take some time to walk down Pearl Street and browse the shops. My favorites were Bliss Boulder and Into the Wind, a fun and colorful kite shop.
STOP 3: Chautauqua Park
Located in the heart of this bustling college town, Chautauqua Park was the perfect spot for a hike or just to sit and admire the scenery. After Rachel’s class and her talk of breathing, I had to purchase one of their tanks with a quote from Joseph Pilates, “…above all, learn how to breathe correctly.” Aren’t we all striving for that in our daily lives?
STOP 4: Rocky Mountain National Park
Just an hour northwest of Boulder is the absolutely breathtaking Rocky Mountain National Park. I arrived through Estes Park, and could not wait to buy my Annual Park Pass, which would be my entry through all of the National Parks to come on my Pilates Pilgrimage.
For today, I was excited to hike around Bear Lake as well as up to Alberta Falls, but my favorite had to be the one-way, uphill, 11-mile-long Old Fall River Road, aptly named the “motor nature trail.” What a sight to behold at 11,795 feet above sea level! There was no shortage of wildlife sightings on this intimate trail, which is only open to the public during the summer months.
STOP 1: Pilates Aligned
After a day of hiking, I was ready for another Pilates visit! Cara Reeser’s Pilates Aligned studio is located in the heart of the Golden Triangle neighborhood, in a beautiful historic building. Having spent most of my Pilates career in New York City studios, I was in awe of the space and layout of the studio. I loved the numerous framed photos of Joe back in the day, as well as the vibrant lime-green walls. My Reformer class with Jodi was the perfect stretch and lengthening after all of that hiking.
STOP 2: Afternoon in the City
After class, I met up with a dear friend for lunch at Jelly U Cafe.The vibrant and colorful diner was the perfect atmosphere to catch up over some yummy food, which of course included doughnuts! Then we drove around the city, stopping to browse the many art galleries on Santa Fe drive. What a beautiful city!
STOP 3: Red Rocks Ampitheater
No journey to the Denver area is complete without a visit here. Known for their geologically formed amphitheater in Red Rocks Park that showcases well-known bands and artists, they also play host to yoga classes. I was blown away by the beauty of the stage nestled right in the Rocks. It was wonderful practicing yoga amongst thousands of other fellow movement lovers in the early hours with the rising sun. #inspiring Maybe Red Rocks will consider hosting a Pilates class next?!
STOP 1: Mesa Verde National Park
Known for their thousands of well-preserved archeological sites, Mesa Verde is, without a doubt, an amazing spectacle worth witnessing firsthand. After some sightseeing, I took a short hike near my campsite, Knife Edge, and took advantage of the landscape, using the rocks to hit some Pilates poses.
STOP 2: Great Sand Dunes
A three-hour drive directly east in Southern Colorado, these Dunes are absolutely incredible. You can either hike them, or rent a board to sled down them. Colorado is colorful for sure!
Kari Gregg was first introduced to Pilates in college, and was impressed by the exacting and intuitive approach it had on maintaining and healing her body throughout a rigorous dance program. After receiving a bachelor’s of dance from Butler University, Kari launched her professional dance career, both domestically and abroad. For the past 15 years, she has performed in cities all across the United States, and continues to dance professionally with The Radio City Rockettes. Kari loves practicing all disciplines of Pilates, but was immediately drawn to the traditional method and was certified by the New York Pilates Studio Teacher Certification Program under Brett Howard. A believer that a true teacher is a constant student, Kari continues her education in all styles of Pilates with instructors all across the country. Kari is now excited to combine her dedication to Pilates and insatiable wanderlust to embark on a new adventure. This summer she will travel across the country and delve even deeper into the Pilates practice through the lens of Pilates folks and traditions nationwide. Follow the journey from her hometown of Greenwood, Indiana to the wide open road of this beautiful country on Instagram (@karilates). For more information, contact Kari at email@example.com.
This content was originally published here.