Alpine Aesthetic: Save the dates for Aspen Shakti’s inaugural Spring Yoga Challenge
Experience magic on the mat with multi-hyphenate founder Jayne Gottlieb as your guide
If you’ve lived here long enough, you’ve either experienced a personal offseason transformation or know someone who has undergone a metamorphosis on the mat at Aspen Shakti.
Since its start five years ago, the locally owned and beloved studio’s Fall Yoga Challenge has gained a cult following for its 30 classes in 30 days initiative — resulting in a free year of Aspen Shakti’s myriad classes.
Aspen Shakti Spring Yoga Challenge
May 16-31, 2022
Requirements: Complete 15 classes in 16 days and receive a six-month unlimited pass (including Yoga on the Mountain this summer).
Pricing: $350 (for those on a budget), $475 (fair market), $625 (help Aspen Shakti thrive); Pay before May 1, 2022 and receive $50 off each tier.
Now, for the first time, Aspen Shakti is offering a “Spring Yoga Challenge,” which poses an abbreviated achievement to complete 15 classes in 16 days (May 16-31). Upon completion, students receive a six month, unlimited pass (including Yoga on the Mountain this summer). The shorter commitment is not only more accessible for schedules, but for budgets, too, with a sliding scale pricing structure (see info box).
The seasonal addition comes with a wave of new programming created by founder and owner Jayne Gottlieb, who originally opened the doors to Aspen Shakti on the East Cooper pedestrian mall in 2014 and relocated to a subterranean Hyman Avenue sanctuary three years later where yogis have sought out serenity ever since.
“I can name with confidence what people are receiving the most benefit from is connection and community — typically right after the times of year (winter and summer) when our nervous systems go so fast,” Gottlieb shared with me during a recent interview. “Yes, we all need rest, but the transition of offseason is really jarring and lonely for a lot of us. So to have a common goal and connect with the same people every day while also getting stronger and expanding perspectives just works.”
Gottlieb, who landed in Aspen in 2001 right after receiving her a B.A. in performing arts from the University of Virginia, got her start as an actress for the Crystal Palace dinner theater, ultimately launching Jayne Gottlieb Productions in 2005 — one of the only dedicated children’s troupes in the Roaring Fork Valley at the time. During her limited downtime, Gottlieb, also an accomplished dancer, turned to hot yoga to adapt to the cold winters at altitude. She soon earned her yoga teaching certification with her first gig as an instructor for Aspen Skiing Co.’s yoga classes at the Sundeck during the ski season.
“At the same time, my theater business was getting too big to maintain. … I accomplished what I set out to do with children’s theater, but I didn’t know how to make that next step. It became a tipping point,” Gottlieb reflected. “Once I started teaching on Ajax, I was beginning to weave myself into the local spiritual wellness community. I come from a background of spending so much time in big city studios for theater and dance — and they always felt so alive.”
She credits a “community- building personality” and that newfound network of likeminded locals in encouraging her next chapter.
“Everyone was like, ‘We need you and your magnetism to have a space here — we really don’t have a community heartbeat,'” added Gottlieb. “And I finally said, ‘Let’s do it.'”
Gottlieb describes Aspen Shakti today as “the heart cave of Aspen” and explained, “So much of life here is just extreme … sunshine and mountains and literally above ground. And to have a place that is naturally internal and safe — a respite that’s exactly the opposite of what Aspen represents.”
Personally overseeing the buildout and interior design of Aspen Shakti (among the first tenants in Building One), Gottlieb infused mantras and prayers in different languages behind the walls and recounts the process as “being created truly from a place of love and a lot of intention.” The word “shakti” itself translates to the creative energy of the universe.
Beyond its Spring Yoga Challenge, Aspen Shakti also just concluded a sold-out “Spring Women’s Retreat” — a three-day intensive workshop led by Gottlieb featuring twice-daily movement, meditation, focus sessions, journaling and healthy meals tailored to three of the most important aspects of life: career/purpose, mental/physical health and significant relationships. Gottlieb plans to produce a similar seminar this fall.
In 2020, she launched The Body Practice, an online community born out of need for combatting the ongoing effects of the pandemic, which forced her to quickly pivot into the digital world of wellness and fitness. Under The Body Practice umbrella (now available in-person as well), Gottlieb provides a wellness “catering” company of sorts with services including in-home consultations, “mindful meetings” for businesses, guided meditations and special events.
With all that the inspiring leader and entrepreneur has created through her ethereal empire, Gottlieb truly lives “the Aspen idea” while on a continual quest to enrich the mind, body and spirit for herself and her community.
Gottlieb summed up her purpose with her own personal mission statement that guides her every move:
“Everything that I do, I’m devoted to increasing ‘shakti’ everywhere I go and in people’s lives through teaching, connections and conversations. ‘Shakti’ to me is the essence of vibrant health, feeling good in your own skin and that your life has meaning, value and joy. This is why I started Aspen Shakti in the beginning and what I’ve been serving all along.”