A lot of people in Colorado have chanted with Steph Schwartz. A few have even jumped out of airplanes with her. Now, anyone, anywhere can spend 15 minutes anytime learning yoga and mindfulness from the beloved Boulder yogi and kirtan leader. Just open up your laptop and tune into Gaia’s Yoga Every Day, a video class taught by Schwartz and Louisville-based yogi Nichole Golden.
“Fifteen minutes is pretty easy to incorporate into even the busiest of schedules, and it’s a wonderful way to create a healthy habit that gets your day off to a feel-good start,” says Schwartz, who teaches popular classes at Yoga Pod that include kirtan chanting and meditation. “Yoga Every Day is not just yoga postures. It’s centered around mindfulness practices to balance the physical with the spiritual practice. Each class falls under a weekly theme with added exercises in pranayama, mantra and mudras. It’s amazing what we can fit into those 15 minutes.”
The program, which now includes over 200 episodes, is part of a Gaia membership, which costs $20 for three months (tack on $9.95 for each additional months, or $95.40 for a year). That’s cheaper than a drop-in class at most studios and the cost includes a wide range of classes beyond Yoga Every Day. The 15-minute sessions focus on everything from balance to tuning in to the time of year. Not a yoga person? These quick, easy videos give you a little taste of the practice without having to deal with a room full of butts in your face. One of the enlightened? The videos fill in when you are travelling or can’t make it to a studio. And some viewers have simply made the series their daily practice.
“Some people practice all five days as their entire practice, others use the short practices following a workout and many even double up practices when they want a little more flow in a given day,” says Dana Morton, senior director of marketing at Gaia. “We also have a vibrant Facebook community where practitioners can support one another and share ideas and thoughts about the practices.”
As a former competitive athlete and a wingsuit flyer, Schwartz is also the ideal teacher for outdoor athletes seeking a yoga connection. “I was a pretty serious ultra-marathoner, finishing five 100-milers [and placing second at Leadville]. I am convinced yoga kept me injury-free through my high-mileage years. The Leadville 100 was a brutal race, physically and mentally, and I realized how strong we all are, especially when testing our limits. I realized I wanted to help people connect to their inner badass, without needing to run 100 miles.”
The Yoga Every Day classes take her experience on the trail and channel it beyond physical strength and flexibility. “Yoga can also build a mental endurance by strengthening the relationship between body and mind. Oftentimes, the mind is the first thing to kick us down,” she says. “Through awareness we can observe our thoughts as either limiting or elevating and make better choices towards accomplishing our dreams and goals.”