Opening its doors in 2016, Meraki Yoga Studio began its journey to plant roots in Fort Collins. Co-founded by Rachael Butts and Adrienne Hoxmeier, these two empowering women have created an elevated space that cultivates health, happiness, self-awareness and a higher consciousness for all who enter.
Rachael found yoga in her years as a high school athlete. Relocating to Colorado from Atlanta, Ga., she completed her 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training. After opening Meraki with Adrienne, she joined the Colorado School of Yoga to further her teaching and elevate her professional journey by completing the 300-Hour Advanced Teacher Training in Integrated Vinyasa™.
Adrienne, who is from Fort Collins, graduated from Colorado State University in 2012 with a degree in Apparel Design and Production. After graduation, she completed her 200-Hour Training at Corepower Yoga. From there, she co-founded Meraki and elevated her yoga journey by completing her 300-Hour Teacher Training at the Colorado School of Yoga.
Through an extensive interview, We R Foco took the time to get to know Rachael, Adrienne and Meraki on a deeper level.
We R Foco: How does yoga compare to other forms of exercise?
Adrienne & Rachael: As much as possible, we try to steer away from describing yoga as solely a form of exercise because it is so much more. Asana (physical posture) is merely one piece of the greater practice we call “yoga” but we certainly understand that the majority of people do regard this practice as primarily physical. Each time we are met with this question we try to fold in an understanding of where the roots of this practice lay…. awareness. As opposed to other forms of exercise where you may be using it as way to escape, this practice always calls you back in; asking that you be completely aware. Asana is a conduit to a greater understanding of how your own unique body functions and the interconnectedness of your physical and mental forms, among many other things. Take for example going for a run… the moment your feet hit the pavement, you simply begin. Not often are you tracking sensation with more than just a brief “oh, my legs feel tired.” With yoga, we are asked to examine, with acute awareness, as our teacher would say, “all that exists from the skin to the soul.”
We R Foco: What makes a great yoga teacher?
Adrienne & Rachael: In an industry where teacher trainings are rampant and yoga instructors are being produced right and left, we think that an understanding of what makes a great yoga teacher is incredibly important, especially at this time. At Meraki Yoga, qualities that we attribute to a great teacher include (but are not limited to):
- One’s ability to cater the information, sequence and cues that are being shared to the unique group of people in the room. This requires a certain level of knowledge and ability on the teacher’s part, as opposed to simply speaking off of a memorized script.
- Someone who is also always learning and evolving themselves. As a teacher, we believe you are always a student first.
- Someone that understands the importance of co-creating an experience with their students. There is an artful balance between knowing when to correct students’ alignment within a posture and when it is appropriate to simply hold space for them to cultivate their own curiosity.
We R Foco: You are both very passionate about supporting other local businesses in Fort Collins. Could you tell us about this?
Adrienne & Rachael: Together we accomplish more, and we have a really unique opportunity in a town like Fort Collins to join together and support one another. We love knowing that when we patronize a locally owned business that we are supporting someone who also had the courage and drive to share a dream or passion and create something of their own.
We R Foco: Yoga is a physical journey, but for many it becomes a spiritual journey also. Have either of you adopted any beliefs about life, the body, the soul, etc. along the way? In other words, how has yoga enlightened you?
Adrienne & Rachael: We are hesitant to say “enlightened,” as many people associate that word with “the end” or “you have arrived.” We would rather describe our experience as illuminating. The practice of yoga has shone a light on how we interact in all our relationships (personal, business, with ourselves). It has strengthened our ability to respond rather than react. It has given us permission to take a pause in all aspects of our lives, and has shown us that there is power within every process. Believe it or not, this is all attributed to a greater awareness that we have accessed through the physical practice of Asana.
We R Foco: How did you choose your specific practice of yoga with so many different methods?
Adrienne & Rachael: In western culture, we have come to expect an extremely physical experience or cardiovascular workout from most styles of mainstream yoga. To clear up any confusion, while Asana is a physical practice, in its most stripped down form yoga is a practice of awareness, about noticing. Noticing what begins to occur mentally and physically as you make these shapes as we call yoga poses. Noticing how the components of your breath are interconnected with your mental and physical forms. All of this has informed our personal practice, which is why we have chosen one that is slower and allows space for more awareness, exploration and understanding. In our personal practice, it is less about cardio and the stats displayed on our fitbit and more about leaving our mats having gained greater knowledge of ourselves after sitting in the discomfort of our inner landscape. The study of self can be uncomfortable and when we practice Asana that is truly what we are called to do.
We R Foco: How do you prepare your mindset for when you step on the mat?
Adrienne & Rachael: That is the beauty of practice, come as you are. Come with the good, the bad, the emotional and the desire to dig in. Yoga is a work IN more than it is a work OUT.
We R Foco: Could you tell us about the Meraki community?
Adrienne & Rachael: Our community is one of teachers and students that have the desire to know more. They are individuals who want to dig deeper and understand that the practice of yoga is one that spans a lifetime and never ends. For each of our students, yoga exists in different forms: Physical, spiritual, some seated and still, etc. We hold space for them all as they are exploring a way to create a more sustainable practice that will, in fact, last a lifetime. We are continually working to meet our students and the greater Fort Collins yoga community where they are at, but we are committed to understanding and sharing what the greater practice of yoga truly is.
With a team of approximately 17 teachers, Meraki is able to offer a large variety of classes Monday through Saturday, including:
- Integrated Vinyasa™ Flow 1 for Beginners
- Integrated Vinyasa™ Flow 2
- Vinyasa Flow 2
- Alignment Flow 1
- Alignment Flow 2
- Hip-Hop Flow
- Hot 60
- Fusion Flow
- Sculpt Flow
- Kundalini Flow
- Restore Flow
- Yin Flow
- Candlelight Lunar Flow
- Candlelight Release + Restore