Life Beyond the Mat

Healing with Providence Apothecary’s Outdoor Yoga Classes and More

Almost a decade of designing blast-proof building interiors in faraway Iraq, from her office in Denver, was a challenge for Providence Apothecary co-owner Chrissy Lee Manes. It was distant—as a project, as a place, and from immediate interactions with people. Wanting to shift her career to something closer in all regards, Manes, a certified herbalist and holistic healthcare practitioner, and her husband John Lee, a Ph.D. candidate in geochemistry, chose to move in the fall of 2013 from Denver to downtown Glenwood Springs. Since opening their small business that year, they have successfully redirected their skills and passions and built a customer-centered shop that offers not only teas and tinctures for health and healing, but also a variety of outdoor classes ranging from yoga and Tai Chi Chih to guided herb walks in the area.

The Apothecary is located on Cooper Avenue, just around the corner from The Pullman restaurant in the heart of downtown Glenwood Springs. Students meet there on Saturday mornings in the summer before heading outside to practice yoga at nearby Veltus Park, with its quiet location on the Roaring Fork River. According to co-owner Lee, moving yoga out-of-doors is a good reminder that its calming, healing effects are meant for life beyond the mat.

Sisters and Apothecary yoga instructors Whitney and Lucy Roginski have both experienced outdoor yoga. For them, practicing outside can be distracting at times, but overall the inherent sights, sounds, and smells help develop a deeper connection with nature. Their fellow instructor Erin Dowd adds, “The unevenness of the ground is actually beneficial for utilizing all the muscles in varied ways, and can assist in keeping us more balanced.”

Another bonus that Manes noticed last year involves having outdoor class members meet at the Apothecary and stroll down to the park together; she found that it encourages conversation and develops a sense of community. Those interested in this activity are welcome to meet up with Dowd at the Apothecary on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. However, if your weekends are already booked or if yoga is not for you, then there are other options.

One of those is the Tai Chi Chih class that will be offered every other Tuesday afternoon, beginning June 13 from 4-5 p.m. during the new Glenwood Market at Sayre Park. Tai Chi Chih is a more streamlined form of Tai Chi, which Lee summarizes as “designed for a busy lifestyle; it’s very calming and grounding.” Instructor Eliza Fulton will be offering these classes free of charge as a way to not only introduce people to the benefits of Tai Chi Chih, but to also make a positive contribution to the Roaring Fork community.

A third opportunity to head outdoors for health and healing can be found by taking part in the Apothecary’s guided herb walks. Manes believes in the healing power of plants; she first put this belief into practice about 10 years ago, when she worked as a backpacking guide for teens and supplemented the standard first aid kit—if necessary—by using plant-based remedies to help stop bleeding, reduce inflammation, or even address digestive issues. With his background in science and research, her husband Lee is able to share not only which herbs are medicinally beneficial, but also why they are: “The formulas we put together and the recipes we build are all evidence-based. That’s why they work as well as they do,” he says. Curious locals can take a walk with the couple on the Grizzly Creek trail on June 28, and experience several eco-zones while learning about the healing properties of dozens of amazing local plants.

Manes and Lee hope that Providence Apothecary serves a role in the community by educating and empowering community members who seek ways to support a healthier lifestyle. Whether this comes in the form of a yoga pose or a plant, the owners and staff adhere to the state of Colorado’s motto: Nile Sine Numine, or “Nothing without Providence.”

Visit ProvidenceApothecary.com to find out more about available classes, events, and products—all of which can help shelter a person from the bombs of sickness and stress.