How Kindness Yoga Cares for Its Community and the World
With nine studios across Denver, Kindness Yoga has become the city’s favourite place to practice. Many love Kindness for its focus on openness, diversity, and accessibility. Shortly after they moved to Denver, Parvati.org’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and longtime Parvati Magazine advocate Darcy Belanger, and his wife Amie, adopted Kindness as their home studio, and Amie soon became its manager. Darcy was a regular at Kindness until his death this past March on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Kindness responded with an outpouring of love for Darcy and support for the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. They swiftly took the lead as the first official yoga studio of Yogis Unite for MAPS. We spoke with the CEO, Ellen Kaye, about the yoga community Kindness has built and what Yogis Unite means to her.
Parvati Magazine: After Darcy’s tragic passing, you immediately reached out to Parvati.org to support Yogis Unite for MAPS. What moved Kindness to act so quickly in the midst of grief?
Ellen Kaye: Darcy’s wife, Amie, is a beloved community member of Kindness Yoga. And naturally, Darcy by extension was a supporter and friend. Our natural instinct was to rally to Amie’s side and provide any support we could. From the very beginning, Amie was clear in her request: help move Darcy’s work forward.
PMAG: After joining Yogis Unite, Kindness Yoga has dedicated classes to MAPS and coordinated fundraisers with neighbouring shops and cafés. In your experience, what have you found to be the most effective way to inspire individuals and local communities around MAPS?
EK: At Kindness, we celebrate the many virtues of practicing yoga. We see that it supports the personal journey as well as the collective journey. We’ve found that creating opportunities for community members to join together, practice together, and place their attention together is simple and inspiring.
PMAG: Activism can mean different things to different people. What does it mean to you as a yogi and community leader?
EK: We often say that the practice of kindness evokes both generosity as well as boundaries. From my perspective, activism does the same. Both call us to clarify our core values and take actions to uphold them. There is a risk of getting it wrong, of upsetting some people and letting others down. And yet, the work is worth doing. As a community leader, we don’t believe we are able to do it all; instead we aim to become a space and platform for the community to act.
PMAG: What can our world learn about making change from a yogic perspective?
EK: Resistance begets resistance. Surrender is not giving up. So much becomes possible when we act without making each other wrong.
PMAG: Most people do not know that the rapid melting of Arctic Ocean ice is an underreported global humanitarian and ecological crisis. How do you feel connected to what’s happening in the Arctic Ocean while thousands of miles away in Denver, Colorado?
EK: As a Colorado native, I’ve seen my home state change with the changing climate. Wildfires, extreme storms, and floods are realities we face every year in new and unprecedented ways. It’s not hard to feel connected if we’re willing to look.
PMAG: One of the best ways for Yogis Unite to spread across the world is through yoga festivals. You wholeheartedly committed to giving MAPS a strong presence at Yoga on the Rocks this summer. What experience will yogis have when they attend so they walk away feeling motivated to be a part of MAPS?
EK: Something that makes Yoga on the Rocks special is the environment. Red Rocks is one of the most beloved concert venues in the world. Practicing yoga in the open air, Colorado sunshine, surrounded by spectacular rock formations can foster an immense appreciation for nature. We intend to link the natural beauty of the venue and communal nature of practicing alongside 2000+ yogis to our global impact and responsibility.
Ellen Kaye (E-RYT 200 ) is the Chief Executive Officer of Kindness Yoga in Denver, Colorado. She teaches yoga that is equal parts strength, precision alignment, and vibrant storytelling. Ellen has created and led teacher trainings, intimate seminars for experienced teachers and festival classes for thousands in Colorado and in Mexico.