Best Yoga Instructor: Ally Johnson | SteamboatToday.com

Best Yoga Instructor: Ally Johnson

Ally Johnson, Best Yoga teacher

— For Ally Johnson, teaching yoga in Steamboat Springs is all about connecting with people.

"I like to create an informative, light-hearted class," says Johnson. "It's not a guru-student relationship. It's more of a connection of people doing yoga together, and I make the classes about who shows up. It's all about the students, and it's for all levels."

Johnson teaches yoga at Colorado Mountain College and Old Town Hot Springs, and she thinks its the number of students she reaches that contributed to her being selected best yoga instructor in 2016 Best of the Boat voting.

"I think it's my reach," Johnson explains. "Some days I teach to 100 people. And I have almost all locals in my classes."

Johnson has been teaching yoga for nine years with the last seven spent in Steamboat.

She received her initial training at the Soshoni Yoga Retreat in Rollinsville, Colorado, where she lived at the ashwan and immersed herself in training for a month after graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in psychology.

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"I was interested in the study of consciousness, and that wasn't fulfilled in my program," Johnson says. "So instead of getting my master's, I decided to study yoga. I felt like it was the intuitive thing for me to do."

Yoga is a now a full-time pursuit for Johnson, but she also engages in other business ventures to supplement her income. She is a landscaper, and she and her boyfriend also have a small market garden at their Sugar Creek Farm near Milner. During the summer, they sell fresh produce to local restaurants and at the Farmers Market. They also make jewelry and have a small rock and gem business.

"I wear lots of hats, and they're all really beautiful hats," Johnson says.

As Johnson has expanded her yoga practice, she has been guided by several local teachers, who she says have helped her advance her teaching. Among her mentors are Jill Barker and Libbie Mathes. "They are an inspiration to me," Johnson says.

And when it comes to a guru, Johnson looks to B.K.S. Iyengar.

"I never had the opportunity to study under him, but Libbie (Mathes) was his student, and she channels the energy of BKS, and I receive it through her classes," Johnson says.

The practice of yoga is about more than the physical body for Johnson.

"My true aim is to target the body in an effort to soften the mind and the heart to be in a constant state of peace and joy," Johnson says. "The body is the temple for the spirit, and as you create health in your body, you create health in your mind and in your heart."