Grand Junction yogis share ancient wisdom |

Grand Junction yogis share ancient wisdom

Sharon Sullivan
Demi Garner and Debra Weller cook healthy foods — Ayurveda style — during Super Saturday yoga-Ayurveda workshops.
Submitted photo |


Sarah Hutchinson and Debra Weller offer yoga classes Tuesdays (gentle) and Thursdays (active), 6-7 p.m., and Saturdays (active), 9-10:30 a.m. at the Riverside Community Center, 552 W. Main St. in Grand Junction. Demi Garner teaches yoga in Palisade on Tuesdays from 9-10 a.m. at the Palisade Community Center in Peach Park. Drop-ins are welcome at all classes. For more information regarding workshops and classes, visit or call 970-216-5308.

As a nurse for 32 years, Sarah Hutchinson of Mesa, Colo., has always been keenly interested in human health.

“Why are some healthy, while others are not,” she pondered, which led Hutchinson to explore other healing modalities to compliment the western medicine she has practiced for many years.

That search eventually led to yoga, first as a practitioner, then as a certified instructor.

“Yoga helps me to be healthy in my mind and my body,” Hutchinson said.

She credits Anthony Bogart, a former Grand Junction yoga teacher who introduced yoga to the community decades ago, with helping her learn the physical exercises, or poses. Carbondale yoga teacher Rod Stryker taught Hutchinson breathing exercises and meditation.

And Cate Stillman, of Yoga Healer based in Idaho, has trained Hutchinson in Ayurveda — what Hutchinson calls “the sister science of yoga.”

According to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest medical systems, originating in India more than 3,000 years ago, where it is still practiced. Ayurvedic physicians prescribe individualized treatments, including herbs, foods, and lifestyle recommendations based on a person’s physical constitution and stage of life.

From Stillman, Hutchinson learned to apply Ayurvedic principles “in the kitchen and in the bathroom. She made it really practical. She made it understandable. It helped answer questions as to why some are healthy, and some are not,” she said.

Four years ago Hutchinson founded Everyday Wellness, a local business offering yoga classes and one-on-one health coaching, along with online courses “to cleanse and heal the body, restore vitality and create a life of balance.”

Two other local yoga teachers — Demi Garner of Mesa, and Debra Weller of Grand Junction — have since become partners with Hutchinson in the business. Garner teaches yoga in Palisade and Mesa, while Hutchinson and Weller both teach at Riverside Community Center in Grand Junction. The three women collaborate in offering guidance on “mini-cleanses” and teaching “Super Saturday” three-hour mini-workshops that include yoga and Ayurveda at a private home between Grand Junction and Palisade.

Grand Junction High School counselor Serenity Santistevan has been practicing yoga with Hutchinson for seven years. In the fall Santistevan completed one of the “cleanses” offered by Everyday Wellness. The cleanses entail eating “clean, live food” for a set number of days, with recipes and support from Hutchinson, Garner and Weller.

“It was the first time I’ve ever done a cleanse,” Santistevan said. “More than anything it’s a great way to break free from sluggishness. I had more energy. I lost 10 pounds, which was not my intention but it was great!”


At the Super Saturday workshops, students began requesting Ayurvedic cooking classes.

“We always include food at the end, and we talk about what to eat to keep body and mind healthy and stable,” Hutchinson said.

As a result, Super Saturday has evolved into Savory Saturday, with the first three-hour class starting Jan. 18. The course is once a month for three months. Savory Saturday will meet again Feb. 1 and March 1. January’s class will focus on soups and simple stews.

“Depending on the response, we will continue (offering Savory Saturday) based on what people need and want,” Hutchinson said.

Savory Saturday classes will include how to add spices to hot water to help with sluggish digestion or mucus in the sinuses, as well as how to use the different properties of spices in cooking.

“Self care equals health care,” Hutchinson said. “With health care so expensive, and often unaccessible, we need to return to traditional wisdom.

“We teach traditional wisdom in a contemporary form — it’s so much fun.”

For more information or to sign up for Savory Saturday, call 970-216-5308.

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