We had the good fortune of connecting with Alice Duncan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alice, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Growing up in an all-white community I found myself being the only person of culture in al my yoga classes. When I moved to Denver I thought things would be different but they were not. Because I could not find a studio that was welcoming to people who look like me with teachers that reflected what I looked like, I decided to create a space that was welcoming to Black Indigenous People of Culture and LGBTQIA. Our intention is to create a wellness space where all people can feel safe and comfortable which we are able to do through our internal peer group who have a special understanding of the unique challenges faced on a daily basis. While all are encouraged to attend, we create classes that focus on specific identities as well as their intersectionalities such as bipoc, women, and the lgbtq community. The wide array of classes allows individuals to nurture and learn about themselves in a format that reflects each individual’s self-identification, which we find helps people to show up fully in the greater community. All gatherings, classes, training, and events are led by qualified teachers and facilitators who are educated in creating and holding space for the students and participants.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are different from other yoga studios because we focus on education for the larger public around issues that directly affect LGBTQ and BIPOC communities. It has been our experience that the more education provided, the more acceptance and inclusivity we see. We connect with the general public by holding events and fundraisers that include live music, group meditation, guest speakers, community panels, and more. Urban Sanctuary was created to establish a safe space for people of color and the LGBTQ community by giving them access to tools, resources, and a positive culture. Through yoga, meditation, and movement courses, we encourage nurturing an environment free of judgment and shame. 98% of our teachers are People Of Culture and we are the only women black owned Yoga Studio in Colorado. Our vision is to evolve our local communities by inspiring others to embrace preventative wellness and expressive freedom through education, conversation, and participation.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to the historical black community of Five Points. We would take a yoga/dance class at Urban Sanctuary then walk across the street to Minosa’s for brunch. After eating we would go to the neighborhood park to soak up the sun and people watch. There is always someone playing their jut box so we would have some entertainment. After getting four doses of sun I would take my friend Ernies Generation for some clothes shopping. After getting some cute outfits I would take them to downtown Denver for sightseeing. We would return to Five Points to eat at Welton Street Cafe then head back to the studio for a meditation class.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shout out to the marginalized community because they are the reason I do what I do.