I met my friend Amy Baglan while we were both students at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I remember what it was like to not have any idea what we were going to do with all the health/wellness knowledge and self-awareness we were soaking up. We had endless conversations about the possibilities…would we ditch our 9-5 jobs? Start holistic health-minded businesses? Travel? Well, we did all of that, and 2 years later, I’m SO psyched to see what Amy has come up with.
Amy’s company, YogaDates, is based in Denver, Colorado. I’m really excited about her venture for a few reasons. One, obviously because I love yoga. But I also know how incredibly awesome it can be to make connections (romantic, friendship, business, etc) with people who are on a similar wavelength when it comes to being excited about nutrition, yoga, or whatever else in the holistic health world. Nothing excites me more, and I love that Amy has created an environment for people to connect like this.
So let’s talk to Amy and find out what YogaDates is all about…
How did the idea for YogaDates come about?
My guru from India suggested it. OK — kidding. Actually, it was a culmination of a lot of dreams. In 2010 I left a fabulous life in NYC to explore the world. I roamed Asia studying Ashtanga yoga in India, Thai massage in Thailand and other Eat, Pray, Love adventures. While at a 10-day silent meditation vipassana retreat in Thailand, I started dreaming up a business involving travel, yoga and community. With that on the back-burner, I took a partner yoga teacher training at Kripalu months later. I was still traveling when I told myself wherever I land, I am going to somehow hold yoga events designed to bring people together and connect. When we walk into a yoga studio, there is such a focus on our personal practice. We rarely interact with others — at least that was my experience at the time. I wondered, what if we could cultivate a community around our practice? Then I got my hands on a Yoga Journal magazine back in January. There was a short piece on a studio in Michigan that held partner yoga for singles every week. That was the catalyst — I was instantly hooked. I took my background in partner yoga, my passion for community events and my experience in marketing and started a series of Yoga Speed Dating events at a leading studio here in Denver, CO. The response was incredible and I’ve never looked back.
Every YogaDates event for singles includes a yoga class followed by a mingling hour where people can get to know each other better. Yoga Speed Dating is definitely our most popular singles event. We start with a group of 30 people, 15 men and 15 women (except for our GLBT friends, or course). They choose a partner, have a mini-date of mingling, then learn a partner yoga pose together. (Have no fear ladies: all poses are kept simple, non-invasive and respectful!) After the bell rings the guys switch to the next partner, so everyone gets 15 mini-dates in under two hours. Then out comes the food, wine, coconut water and other treats. Everyone gets to kick back for our signature mingling hour and deepen any connections they’ve made on the mat.
About half the events are age-specific — the other half are open-ages. Another popular one is the Sunset Yoga Hike, where participants hike to the top of a mountain for a standing yoga and Qigong practice during sunset, then hike down and enjoy a family-style meal under the stars at a popular Nepalese restaurant. Other events include Yoga For Better Sex, Vinyasa & Vino, Ayurveda workshops and Yoga For Athletes. The most gratifying thing is watching like-minded people connect. I’ve personally seen a number of couples around town together that met through YogaDates events, as well as many friend and business connections. While we can’t guarantee romance, people always end up laughing and having an awesome time.
We also hold “date nights” that any couples can attend — from newly dating to happily committed to married. I truly believe in the power of yoga as a strong connector between two people. Through practices like partner yoga, Thai massage, even some adventurous AcroYoga we can deepen our connection with our significant other — this is the theme we weave into our date nights. On a personal note: partner yoga is how I first introduced my man to yoga. We practice together on a regular basis and the benefits are huge.
Absolutely. We’ve already expanded into Boulder — Colorado Springs will be coming this Fall. Keep your eyes peeled for events in NYC and LA by early 2013. If anyone’s interested in getting info on when YogaDates launches in their city, click here.