Meet Your Merchant: Aaron King, King Yoga
Longtime local shares “healing modality” in the studio
In 1998, at a yoga class in Santa Monica, Aaron King had what he calls “an awakening.”
It didn’t take long for him to go all-in on discipline: shortly after that class, he quit his job in the music business, opened a studio with friends later that year and has been guiding people through the healing process ever since.
King started teaching workshops in the upper valley in 2002, moved here in 2004 and operated the first King Yoga at the Aspen Business Center from 2006 to 2018. His new studio in the One Snowmass East building in Snowmass Village finally opened this year after pandemic restrictions loosened, and he also teaches outdoor classes in Base Village each summer.
His tenure in the valley has allowed him to build a tight-knit community among his fellow yogis, King said.
“We’ve all grown up together, I’ve seen all their kids grow up, and it’s pretty wild, man, it is, just to watch people’s bodies and personalities and attitude change throughout the years,” King said, “and how we’ve all matured and grown closer as friends and community and family — it’s pretty cool.”
Snowmass Sun: For you personally, has your approach evolved over time, or is the way that you’re doing yoga now fundamentally the same as it was in ’98?
Aaron King: It’s kind of similar, (and) it has evolved. I used to not teach with music before, and my mindset has definitely (changed). For me, yoga was a sport, sort of, when I first got introduced to it. … My mindset as an early yoga student would be, I would go in there for the physical approach to yoga because it was good for my body, and I wasn’t like a weightlifter or anything like that, so I liked the sequence of the poses.
But mixed in with the music, which I started to incorporate back in like 2000, it became a very spiritual practice and more of a healing (practice) and what it did for me mentally more than even physically, so that was of course for my approach. And then as a teacher, instead of trying to crush people, like just make it as hard as I could, it’s shifted to being a more mindful sort of meditative body prayer, if you will — healing modality instead of a sport.
SS: Now, we’ve talked about this a bit before, how yoga kind of brings you back to the center, and it’s about the mind and the body. But what is it for you that keeps you in this field year after year?
AK: You know, my love for yoga and teaching yoga has just gotten stronger and stronger throughout every class and every day I’ve taught and practiced. Like I said, it changed my life back in 1998. …
Every single day I try to live it on and off my mat. And, you know, for me, it brings a lot of clarity, feeling grounded and keeps the positive attitude. And even in the challenging times of COVID that’s thrown at you or different life challenges, it really gives me the tools to sort of deal with those things in healthy ways and overcome and be able to pass on sort of my wisdom and knowledge that I learned from my teachers to others and kind of help them to remain balanced and centered and continuing to focus on the positive things going on instead of letting the weight of the world’s weigh us down.
SS: For somebody who has never touched their toes before, what do you say to get them to come in the studio?
AK: It’s not a competition, it’s a healing, and everybody’s in their own place in their lives. … It’s such a healing modality for all. It’s just a matter of getting in, having a little courage to get on your mat, and not worrying about what you look like. It’s more about what it feels like, and what it does for us mentally and physically can truly be life changing in a positive way to sort of peel away old layers of negativity and anger and doubts and fears and really kind of see the lighter side of ourselves and each other.
As we try to get through these tough times that are thrown at us, yoga has been just a source of strength in finding my breath, and spending more time looking inward than looking at my phone and computer and it never fails. Every time I get on my mat, I always feel better when I get off it, and it’s really a gift and a special practice that has completely changed the course and path of my life in such a positive way, and for so many that have come in over the years.
King Yoga is located on the second level of the One Snowmass East building in Base Village at 77 Wood Road. For more information, visit kingyoga.net or contact Aaron King at 602-300-0839.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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