Yoga may not strike you as an outdoor adventure, but heading down to Homestead Crater for warm-water paddleboard yoga is just one of the offbeat, nature-focused jaunts Julia Geisler calls "the yoga bucket list."

"Being a versatile, niche-oriented small business that can operate mainly outdoors helped us stay afloat," said the owner of Park City Yoga Adventures, reflecting on 2020's twists and turns that would challenge the most adept yogi.  

Nevertheless, after ten years of success, PC Yoga Adventures was hit hard last spring. Julia closed for two months just as her partner was diagnosed with COVID. "Testing positive right when Park City shut down was a wakeup call; someone could be positive for the virus… and unknowingly spread it within the community and to our loved ones."

In the community-conscious fashion that is her hallmark, Julia decided to post about their experience "to add our voice to the message that the pandemic response is about the greater good and our collective health."

During the interruption, "we slimmed down our offerings to what was feasible and safe," she said. Julia paused indoor adventures, limited tours to same-household groups, even then limiting group size, and did not combine groups. She required masks – and still does. "It was a constant gut check on what we felt we could do safely while dealing with the confusing messages from government and health officials." 

In scanning for opportunities, Julia spotted one that would have been unlikely before the pandemic. “I read about the 4URanch in Peoa in a PC Chamber newsletter,” she said. "They had largely canceled their wedding and events, and their open-air space was perfect for our same-household Yoga in Silks adventures. That was the start of a great partnership."  

"We also looked to other guide outfitters, seeking common practices and how to educate guests on what we expected (from them),” she added.

As PC Yoga Adventures re-opened, Julia faced a new challenge – having enough staffing to meet demand. Employees had safety questions about returning to work, and Julia was sensitive to their concerns, which lessened as she gained more experience. "We tailored our outdoor experiences to the pandemic, required masks and had solid COVID protocols to follow," she said. "That caused more guides to agree we could operate safely on a limited basis."  

From her most difficult times ("The weeks when we were not able to see our immediate family were pretty dark."), Julia's determination, creativity, optimism and compassion kept her centered. Acting locally, she thinks globally when pondering the lessons of 2020.

"Climate change, pandemics and human migration affect all of us," she says. "Adapting to our changing environment through positive lifestyle choices to reduce our impacts on the natural world and doing everything we can as a community who cares about the places we play is paramount."

While locals are a critical client base, the power of travel is just as important to Julia. Her message to PC visitors reflect her caring attitude towards others, the Earth and Park City.

"Consider investing in the place you love by supporting the non-profits that make Park City what it is, especially trails and open space," she says, adding that everyone can learn from Charlie Sturgis' philosophy and 'Practice 10 Seconds of Kindness." 

"Become an advocate with your elected officials for protecting public lands," she concludes. "Learn responsible trail and outdoor etiquette and learn to leave our outdoor spaces just a little better than you found them."

Visitors and locals can agree, Park City is definitely better for Park City Yoga Adventures and Julia Geisler having found us.