Oak Creek yoga instructor expands offering with South Routt Collective

Melissa and Ryan Dobbins, and the couple's four-year-old daughter, Hadley, sit on the front steps of their Oak Creek home. The family is in the process of turning their basement into a creative center that will host yoga and art classes and become a place where the community can gather for events.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Oak Creek resident Melissa Dobbins started teaching community, donation-based Yoga Classes in South Routt shortly after arriving in 2019, but she always knew her efforts would someday go beyond classes.

Late last year, Dobbins, who has been a certified yoga instructor since 2011, shifted from her original plan of teaching private lessons and holding donation-based community yoga classes as South Routt Yoga to creating the South Routt Collective, which will blend yoga, art and community in the downstairs of her family’s home at 301 S. Sharp Ave. in Oak Creek.

“The practice of yoga has a tendency, as you kind of open like neurological pathways in the body, to evoke creativity, intuition and just kind of foresight,” Dobbins said Friday, Feb. 3. “Yoga brings together a sense of community, and that’s we have a term called ‘Kula,’ which means communities. You can’t really have yoga without creativity and community — they all go hand-in-hand.”

She is currently teaching donation-based yoga classes at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesdays at the South Routt Community Center in Oak Creek, at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays at Crossan’s Market and at 11 a.m. on Mondays at the McCoy Community Center. She also has plans to add a few morning classes once she completes the studio in her home early next summer.

The idea behind the South Routt Collective is to combine Dobbins’ love of yoga with her passion for art and a drive to provide for the community. She said there is a large artistic population is Oak Creek, and she sees her efforts to make a creative space as a way to bring community members together.

“Yoga is the practice of love. It’s the practice of Kula — or community — and the practice of creativity,” said Dobbins. “I want to be able to have youth programs, but I also want to have plenty of community programming.”

Of course, she plans to invite her private yoga clients into the space and will add a couple of community yoga classes to her schedule. In the summer, she also plans to continue using nearby Decker Park.

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She hopes the space will allow her to offer youth and adult art classes, and she will be looking for some buy-in from the community to suggest more programming once the space opens and South Routt Collective fills its new role.

“I can’t do this on my own,” Dobbins said. “This is a synergistic process, so I hope this article creates that call out to artists, to other teachers. If you’ve got something to offer the community, this is the place for you to come.”

In addition to youth programs, Dobbins would like to host community game nights, book clubs and maybe even a mom’s night out. On Friday, she arranged to gather with a group of local women for a moonlight ski in the meadow.

“If I can supply the community with this space in any way, just about anything can go down here,” Dobbins said. “We would prefer for it to be a creative, arts-focused space, but I’m not going to limit people. If they need a space to rent, the rental fees will be affordable because I want people to be able to actually use the space.”

The new South Routt Collective has its own outside entrance and has plenty of space downstairs at the former location of the Methodist Church in Oak Creek. Dobbins said it’s still a diamond in the rough, but over the next few months, she’s hoping to make it a jewel in Oak Creek.

“Now’s the time to jump out the gate,” Dobbins said. “This is go-time, and I hope that when we get done, we will have brought something of value to South Routt.”

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