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Otter Creek Yoga Provides 'Oasis' for All Students, From Toddlers to Seniors

By Kelly Church

Joanna Colwell had been teaching yoga in northern California for several years when she first visited Middlebury, VT in the mid 1990s. The full-time yoga instructor noticed the community didn't have a single place dedicated to yoga, so she decided to open one. The full-time yoga instructor noticed the community didn't have a single place dedicated to yoga, so she decided to open one. Named after the river that runs through the town, Otter Creek Yoga is an oasis of calm and healing.

"Yoga studios are a special place for physical, mental and spiritual uplift," Colwell said. "The atmosphere at our studio is friendly, down to earth and compassionate."

Classes cater to individual skill level, with special classes for beginners, seniors, advanced yogis, and even kids and teens. Otter Creek Yoga believes that toddlers, the elderly and everyone in between can benefit from yoga. Kids in particular learn to rest and practice movement in an environment that is free from competition, according to Colwell. Mixed level classes are also available for those who want to help out beginners, or learn from more advanced level students.

"One thing I love is watching more experienced students welcome those who are new, showing them around, helping them find props and introducing them to the community," Colwell said.

Instructors at Otter Creek Yoga come from varying backgrounds and are experienced, certified yoga teachers. Many of them have been involved in the yoga community for decades and also work to certify future yoga instructors in the practice. Colwell said it's unique for one studio to have two certified Iyengar yoga teachers working at the studio, with only eight Iyengar yoga teachers working in the state of Vermont.

"The Iyengar method is precise, compassionate, dynamic and rigorous," Colwell said. "It is suitable for students of all ages, as teachers adapt the practice for individual capabilities. This certification is the most difficult to attain, requiring many years of training, study and practice."

Pricing at Otter Creek Yoga runs $17 for a single class, $90 for a series of six classes or $180 for 13 classes. Unlimited monthly yoga can also be purchased for $150. Class bundles can be purchased online, as can gift certificates. Visit to purchase classes.

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