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Pura Vida's Sunday Afternoon Meltdown invites yogis to decompress and meditate in style

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Pura Vida in Cherry Creek North is opening its doors to the public for the first time ever this weekend, when it will host the inaugural edition of its new program, Sunday Afternoon Meltdown. The club invites yogis of all levels to wind down and recharge with a combination yoga class, guided meditation and detoxifying experience.

"We really wanted to bring in something that would allow people to take their practice deeper, whether they were doing yoga or workouts or whatever the case may be," says general manager Keith Moore. "We wanted to create a space that really gets into the mindfulness component."

See also: Fallen yoga guru John Friend goes to the mat with a new technique

"I was looking at the Rehab pool party in Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel and I was thinking, that place is a destination spot -- people are hungover, it's a Sunday, they're going to the pool and, well, drinking more. I thought, wouldn't it be cool if we could create a destination place in Denver that was similar to that but was healthy?," says Moore of the new series, which will continue on Sundays through the winter.

Sunday Afternoon Meltdown includes a 60-minute Suddha heated yoga class, a 30-minute guided meditation, a Signature Spa Vital herbal detox elixir and plenty of time to sit and relax in the club's steam room and whirlpool.

"We have a really strong yoga program -- I mean, some of our members are here just for the yoga, they don't even set foot on the fitness floor," says Moore of the dozens of yoga classes offered each week at the club. "But a lot of this deeper, mindfulness stuff, the breath work and how to breathe -- it might be considered esoteric, but it's not. People who are doing it are really getting into it."

Something else that's unique about the Meltdown series is that Pura Vida will open to the public for the class. For a gym and spa that is close to being on a waiting list for new members, this is an opportunity for new and advanced yogis to use a truly beautiful space. On paper, Pura Vida's membership fees can seem steep, Moore acknowledges, and that can deter some wellness enthusiasts. Meltdown is a way for people to see Pura Vida's facilities and get a refreshing workout without joining a gym.

"Pura Vida is an interesting phenomenon -- where we are located in Cherry Creek North and because of our prices and how we market ourselves and present the brand, a lot of people seem to think that we are, for a lack of a better word, 'snooty,'" says Moore of the club's oft-misunderstood reputation. "But I think that the reason that we have become so successful is because once you enter the space, aesthetically, it's mind-blowing. It's very much built on a hospitality platform, so it is like walking into a W Hotel or a Standard Hotel."

Moore also says that Pura Vida isn't a run-of-the-mill gym; rather it's a combination of the best yoga studio, fitness facility, spa services and health-club amenities in one. "We get lumped into the category of gyms. To get down to brass tacks, I mean, we are a gym. So when someone sees the price, they might think, 'Whoa, how can it cost that much?' But if you break it down and say, 'Well, if I have a membership to a yoga studio and go three times a week and ballet barre twice a week and I go to the gym,' we offer all of that. So it makes sense." Pura Vida prides itself on a well-trained staff that has been built from the ground up by bringing in the best of the best in the fitness and wellness worlds, he adds: "We brought together a group of people who are not your typical health club operators. I'm not trying to dis my own field, but the truth is, this group of people have been doing this for a very long time and all of us got together and talked about what had gone wrong with this industry. It's supposed to be about health and living well and wellness and it has become something bastardized and awful.

"Our executive management team comes with backgrounds in the health club field for fifteen to twenty years -- we've worked for the large chain clubs on national levels and many of us considered getting out of it because it had just become so gross," he continues. "It is terrible that people have even become reluctant to even join a gym because they are going to have to go through this ridiculous shell game of cost and being hounded by phone calls and e-mails to join."

There will be no sales pitches or wheeler-dealers here -- just an afternoon of dedicated practice and detoxification in Pura Vida's top-of-the-line facilities. And this Sunday's Afternoon Meltdown should certainly see some new faces coming through the door. "The hardest thing sometimes is just to show up -- if we can make that easier, that is what we're all about," Moore concludes.

Sunday Afternoon Meltdown begins this Sunday, February 2, at 2 p.m. at Pura Vida. The afternoon program is free for members, $30 for adults and $50 for couples. For more information, visit Pura Vida's website.

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