The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 27, 2014

A yoga twist on speed dating

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — You’re single. You like yoga. You’d like to meet a partner who’s interested in yoga and/or the mindful living lifestyle that tends to go along with it.

I hear you, brothers and sisters. I dived into the speed dating trend about 12 years ago and even wrote a story about my experience. No great love ever came of it, or even a single date if I recall correctly, but I could see that there was potential for meeting somebody.

However, those speed dating events were typically held in a bar and splashed with a liberal dose of alcohol. That’s not my scene anymore, and maybe it’s not yours, either. So where do you meet people with similar interests?

Amy Baglan, yoga teacher and founder of YogaDates in Denver, founded an event specifically for us: Yoga speed dating.

Baglan was perusing an issue of Yoga Journal in 2012 and saw a blurb about a studio in a Detroit suburb that held a weekly partner yoga class for singles. A light bulb went on.

“It’s very absurd that in classes, you go into the studio and it’s just silence, but filled with people,” she said. “And nobody’s talking, but everybody has a shared interest and most likely shared values, but they’re not getting to know each other. For singles, you always want to find more people to add to your tribe — it’s very important.”

Baglan wondered if finding enough men would be a stumbling block, but after she posted on the website, she had hundreds interested in a matter of days. And half of them were men.

YogaDates was born.

Since then, Baglan has hosted about 12 yoga speed dating events around Denver, targeted at three age ranges: 20s-30s, 30s-40s and 45 and older. She also holds non-speed-dating yoga events for singles and couples.

Last fall, she started partnering with Denver’s Open Sky Event Marketing. She still leads class at each YogaDates event but no longer does the producing and marketing, which leaves time for her newest project: It’s an online dating site for the mindful living market. It launched on Valentine’s Day with articles, and her team is working on building the dating platform.

A yoga speed dating event looks like this: An equal number of men and women show up. Baglan likes to keep the number small — about 15 of each.

They start in a circle and go around sharing names and a silly tidbit about themselves to break the ice. Then the women put their mats down in a circle, people randomly pair off and the speed dating starts.

Each couple has five minutes to chat, either about the quirky conversation starter Baglan calls out or any other topic the couple chooses. Then the bell rings, and Baglan, an experienced partner yoga teacher, will come into the middle of the circle with her partner and demonstrate a partner yoga pose. Each couple will try it before the guy picks up his mat and moves on to the next lady.

“We don’t do any invasive partner poses,” Baglan said, “and we give close instruction on how to keep it safe, both space-wise energetically and physically.”

After the event, everybody has a card and pen to write down the attendees who possibly caught their eye. Event organizers go through the cards, find mutual matches and then email each person their connections. The rest is up to the yogi.

One couple met a year ago, she said, and celebrated their anniversary March 31.

Are there wedding bells?

“Not yet,” Baglan said.

After the yoga portion, there’s also a 45-minute mingling session, where folks can drink wine and have snacks.

“The cool thing is it’s not just dating connections,” she said. “In this demographic, we’re always looking for tribe members, friends and business contacts.”

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