Bhavana Collective—Denver’s Premier Authentic Yoga Studio
The landlord for the duplex on Franklin Street on downtown Denver’s east side pushed the key into the lock of the door. Behind her, Tonia Crosby stood anxiously, wondering what this space would look like. This was another moment in a journey that had taken her thousands of miles from India, walking away from full-time employment there as a yoga instructor, driven by a dream where she saw herself leading a class in a room with a large brick wall.
The potential landlord pushed the door open. Tonia stepped inside and there it was. A massive, vintage brick wall in a long, perfect space. This was it. This is what she saw in the dream and she realized that the universe had led her here.
That extraordinary vision and journey combined with Crosby’s expertise and vast education in yoga are the story of how she founded Bhavana Collective.
Not Your Average Yoga Center
Bhavana Collective’s mission is to create a wellness community. Translated as “cultivate,” the word “bhavana” comes from ancient Sanskrit. Bhavana is deeply rooted in Buddhist belief systems and is often hyphenated to include another word, like mind, body, or heart. Here, collective means community.
…welcome everyone into a non-intimidating space of learning…
Unlike mass-market, homogenized yoga businesses, Crosby’s vision is to welcome everyone into a non-intimidating space of learning that addresses all aspects of healthy living. Upon walking into the building, one is welcomed by warm colors, beautiful floors, and a peaceful, quiet space that feels inviting.
“Culture lovers, wellness seekers, and yoga geeks are welcome here,” says Crosby. “People are looking for something authentic and my training in India as well as extensive travels and study mean I offer this collective as a full practice, with breathing and meditation elements included. It is much more traditional in that way.”
Bhavana Collective offers classes starting at just $10. Crosby also offers services including private sessions, energy work, retreats, Ayurveda, and corporate wellness. Through all services, Crosby says this is not one size fits all. Client-centered, student-centered, and accessible are her goals.
Offerings and recommendations are joined together in a collaborative process. I offer classes on personal growth, focusing on someone who may be trying to grow emotionally. Someone else may decide with me they need the benefits of the Thrive class. That is more intermediate for a person looking to learn the proper warrior series.
A Broader Purpose
Raised in southeast Colorado on a farm, Crosby’s interests and comfort have always been connected to rural lifestyles. After starting out in a professional setting, she realized it was not her calling and returned to study women’s studies, political science, and sociology at the bachelor’s level in Denver. She then went on to study peace and justice studies at the graduate level at the University of San Diego. As a part of her graduate program research, Tonia visited India for the first time. It was during this tour abroad she found a deep resonance with yoga.
She says it’s no surprise to her that Bhavana Collective is located in a neighborhood that can be considered a food desert. That also aligns with her interests and study of sustainable food sources, peace, and justice. The one small local grocery store nearby has no fresh, healthy offerings. Crosby says she’s proud to be located in an underserved neighborhood and hopes to help area families learn more about healthy choices.
A Wake-Up Call
In 2011, Crosby received a breast cancer diagnosis. Following a number of allopathic treatments, she turned to Eastern medicine and found the healer and teacher who would guide her on her journey to true health and happiness.
That battle to regain her health and her life, she says, led to a cognitive shift about how she views time. It became more precious and valuable, and it was no longer to be wasted. This was a large, driving force behind her step into entrepreneurship and creation of the collective.
As a result, she challenges all aspiring modern gladiators to take responsibility to pursue their best life and optimum wellness. That begins with listening to what you want, not what others say you need. Crosby asks you to consider and find the personal practices that you want to pursue that will help you with your growth and evolution.
“Some gladiators will be more apt to feel good about themselves finding a really strong asana practice. Some may connect more with certain types of chakra energy work. The idea is to help them take responsibility for themselves and living their best life. Be empowered to cultivate your own wellness.”
Crosby welcomes all modern gladiators with an initial visit of $50 for a Reiki session, an $85 value. Reiki, a powerful and accessible energy session, is a good entry point for everyone.
Photos courtesy of Matt DeLong and Matt DeLong Photography
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