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The City Journals

The living Planet Aquarium takes up yoga

Mar 27, 2017 03:29PM ● By Bryan Scott

Amanda Jones guides through each pose while attendees listen to the sound of tropical birds and waterfalls. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)

By Keyra Kristoffersen | [email protected]

Amanda Jones says she’s found her calling. 

After a yearlong process, Jones has begun a program of teaching yoga classes at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper. Jones’ classes began in January in the shark tank viewing room and then, on Feb. 18. expanded into the Journey to South America gallery. She focuses on an all levels of vinyasa flow. 

“We started with Yoga with the Sharks, and that was a big hit but I noticed this space and I always feel so good and my muscles feel so relaxed in this rainforest space. You can breathe in that fresh humid air right from the tropical plants and have the ambiance of live, free-flying birds,” said Jones. “I feel that Utahns will appreciate the nice reprieve from our dry, yucky air by coming in here to this atrium environment.”

Jones, who has been practicing as a certified yoga teacher for three years as well as spent five years as a volunteer, specializes as a hatha yoga instructor and meditation coach, which focuses more on de-stressing and achieving a peaceful mind. Vinyasa yoga focuses on the flow between each pose, moving from Asana to Asana rather than calmly setting into a pose. Vinyasa coordinates movement with breathing, making it faster-paced than traditional hatha yoga. 

Jones is grateful to have finally found her “niche,” as she calls it. Her journey to it began a year and half before her first Yoga with the Sharks class, when she was suffering from postpartum depression.

“I would bring my son here and the shark tunnel was so tranquil, it kind of erased all of my depression symptoms. I just had to show people how tranquil they can get when actually surrounded by nature.”

“I saw it on Facebook and it appealed to me,” said Corinne Adair, an attendee. “The instructor seems really personable.”

Attendees of the Rainforest Yoga class were asked to find a spot on the top floor platform of the South American exhibit while brightly colored tropical birds flew freely overhead. Dozens of mats were laid out while people of all ages and physical types listened to the sound of birds and flowing water while Jones walked them through meditative movements, asking them questions like, “Who am I?”

Cassie Dalton, who started doing yoga six years ago, said, “I like yoga and this sounded cool. I like the humidity, especially compared to the Utah desert.”

Jones has hopes that through her classes, her students decide to make changes for the better, both in their lives and the world around them. 

“I think we need a lot more environmental awareness, especially given Utah’s air, and I like to get people into yoga and meditation because it gives them more self-awareness and more compassion,” said Jones. “And to get them doing yoga in an environment that’s so striking as the South American rainforest, maybe they’ll make that connection, hey, I can make a difference and do little things to ease the burden on our environment.”

Shelby Dobson, public relations manager for the aquarium, said they are very pleased to be able to offer these classes and are happy with the response, as each have sold out quickly.

“A little sweat from the humidity and a little sweat from the yoga and you’ll be detoxed in no time,” said Jones. “The aquarium really provides such an amazing environment for people to come and learn.”

For more information about the yoga classes or to register, visit