Studio Profile: QiFlow
For our second studio profile, I went to QiFlow, a fusion studio in downtown Denver located in the hip RiNo arts district.. QiFlow has a signature "QiFlow" class that I took that combines yoga, dance and martial arts. We used mobility sticks to help loosen shoulders and create more mobility in the back and side bodies. The asana was set to simple choreography and great music by the Black Keys and Glass Animals. The studio has such an energetic and friendly vibe. They also have barre classes along with a great movement studio in the back where they do cycling classes that are either paired with a barre or a yoga flow class. I really want to go back to try one of these cycling/barre combo classes! I also really want to try to yoga sculpt classes too.
I had the pleasure to interview Dawnelle Auther, owner of QiFlow, about her fitness approach and her own personal evolution of yoga.
How did you discover fusion workouts and yoga?
I began my teaching experience as a group fitness instructor teaching step aerobics, cardio kickboxing, the slide, urban rebounding, PowerFlex and hi-low aerobics. Today's version of hi-low aerobics are workouts such as Insanity and P-90X. I loved teaching these styles of group fitness, and back in the late 90s and early 2000s, these types of classes were found in every gym and rec center across the country. The students of group fitness involved themselves in all of the classes, not just step aerobics and not just the slide. They would do step one day and slide the next. Everything began to change when spin/cycle classes launched at the gyms and rec centers; people started to spin and that is all they did. Spin classes were the rage, and once people started to spin they did not return to step aerobics. Spinning killed the group fitness surge, and everyone became "spinners", including myself. I stopped teaching the aerobics classes and became a spin instructor. That was who I was, and all that I was. I was addicted. A few years later, I had the opportunity to teach Yoga Fit (yoga for gyms) to my spin students. I was hooked! I recognized and defined myself as a spin and a yoga teacher, until a few years later when I only called myself a yoga teacher. I left spin to teach and "do" yoga, and happily followed the yoga path for three or four years before recognizing my need for more. This is how I began the concept of fusion workouts. I wanted/needed all components of fitness in my movement regime to live the optimal lifestyle I desired. This is how the idea of fusing my love for spin (cardio and strength) into my passion for yoga (strength, flexibility and body awareness/connection) into one class. I didn't have time to go to a spin class at one studio, drive across town and hit a yoga class at another studio, and neither did my students at the time. Before fusion workouts, students chose one movement practice a day, keeping them away from attaining their movement goals and lifestyle. I set out to change this by combining spin and and yoga in one class, now called QiCycle-Yoga - 30 minutes of spin followed by 25 minutes of yoga. The perfect combination to make athletes into yogis and yogis into athletes. I love it!
What inspired you to bring it to Denver?
Denver is my home, not the home I was born and raised in, but it is my home. I believe in Denver and after living in small town Iowa, Anchorage, and then San Diego I knew deep down that Denver was the place to launch and grow my idea of fusion studios. I opened what is now known as QiFlow in March of 2006 in the now booming RiNo neighborhood. I opened my doors and launched my crazy concept of half and half classes, in the worst part of the city. I believed ten years ago that RiNo had the potential to be the next great neighborhood, and I believed Denver was the city to believe in me. And what I believed back then has now come true...RiNo is the "hot" new neighborhood and Denver believes. To prove my theory...look at how many fusion studios are now popping up, not only in Denver but in RiNo. Fusion is happening and it really is the only answer to optimal health and fitness. You need it all if you wish to be truly fit...cardio, strength, body knowledge and awareness, mobility and flexibility, endurance, speed and agility. This is why we now offer a wide variety of combination classeshttp://qiflowfusion.com/classes/ In addition to fusion workouts, we offer hour long Qi Yoga and POWER workouts and QiFlow45, Cycle45 and POWER45.
What is your fitness background?
Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology and 23 years of teaching experience.
What do you love most about your studio and the community at QiFlow?
I love how unique we are at QiFlow, we are not your definition of a yoga studio nor a gym. We are undefinable, and we change our methods constantly. Our mantra is New Movement New Results. We teach what we know and we teach from a place of passion and inspiration. We, the students and the teachers, are close. To truly teach to someone you have to get to know them. You need to understand how they move and how they think. The community at QiFlow is 100/100: they show up and give 100 and so do our teachers. It's give and take; we are there for each other. We are there to promote change and transformation, and we do this through the collaboration of our energies. What the student brings to class reflects in the teaching. We are not a service business, we do not believe in the saying "the customer is always right". We are building our community in a new way. We're looking for people who wish to make true change in their lives, and we are looking for people who want to challenge and change themselves while becoming part of something big. QiFlow is a movement and we are excited to continue to grow and promote our philosophy.
What is your advice to someone new to QiFlow?
Give it time. Our classes, teachers and movement philosophy is different than what is out there today. Anything a person does for the first time that is new, especially in movement, feels awkward and frustrating. New movement, new philosophy is hard to swallow, especially if you call yourself "good" at yoga or spinning. Our QiFlow fusion classes incorporate moves and positions into our classes that other spin studios and yoga studios use. Our classes are taught to be fast and challenging, and because of this, the first few times you take classes with us, you can expect to struggle. Who cares?! Go for it anyway. Don't give up. Keep coming back. This is why we offer 30 days for $40. I promise if you allow yourself to be different, and keep coming back, you will experience new results, not only in body but in life as well. So, my best advice to new students is "give it 30 days." We will change the way you think about movement.
Describe your fitness activities outside of the studio.
Every day is a movement practice for me, whether it's kettle bell swings in my back yard or a hike. Not a day goes by that I am not practicing movement. When I walk my dogs, I walk on purpose. When I stand in line at the bank, I stand on purpose. When I hike, I hike. I challenge myself to sit, stand and walk on purpose every day. I also try to challenge myself to do something new every day. I like to practice movement that I cannot do, be it a yoga pose, a FLOW movement, a longer handstand, a new kettle bell workout or a new movement class. I believe in constant movement exploration. I believe in practicing what you cannot do so you can get better at moving. I strive for beautiful movement. The only way to achieve beauty in motion is to practice all modes of movement and to be in constant practice throughout the day. Every day is a day to improve movement beauty.
What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness is optimal health, a lifestyle that allows for the ups and downs of life, one that promotes a good attitude and healthy body. Wellness means living a life you feel proud to live; one that is filled with movement, conscious eating, adventure and continued self-study, evaluation and education.
Founded by Denver-based artist Laura Krudener, Among the Colors is a lifestyle and community project focused on bringing color and creativity into your life. Featuring original content, collaborations with artists and makers, and guides to inspired living, Among the Colors offers passion and thoughtfulness to help enrich and inspire the art of everyday life. Through artist interviews, fashion profiles on creative women, and food and wellness guides, Among the Colors will curate a Contemporary Bohemian style authentic to it’s roots in Denver, Colorado.