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Meet Citra Fitness & Movement, our Sunrise Yoga partner

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Sunrise Yoga Thumbnail Stories of the Arch

This article was originally published in our fall 2022 newsletter, View 630'.

In 2021, after a tumultuous series of challenges in her fitness studio prompted Nicole Coglianese to explore outdoor spaces as an alternative, she reached out to the Foundation. Serendipitously, the Foundation needed a new instructor to host our 2022 Sunrise Yoga series in Kiener Plaza, and a partnership was born. Throughout the summer, Coglianese led six Sunrise Bootcamps and will have offered 26 Sunrise Yoga classes (some canceled due to weather) by late October. This year’s attendance has shattered previous years’ records, with some Tuesdays seeing more than 100 participants. We’re excited to grow our partnership with Coglianese in her unique approach to activating St. Louis’ beautiful outdoor spaces with enthusiastic residents.

What is some of the feedback you’ve heard from Sunrise Yoga/Bootcamp participants?
My favorite thing I’m told is ‘This is the best way to start my day.’ A lot of people are just grateful for an event that is sponsored by Gateway Arch Park Foundation. Because it’s supported by a Foundation that’s so closely tied to the city – that just breeds this awesome community. Everyone’s happy, they want to be there. Sometimes when you work in a studio people feel like they have to go, it’s their workout. Whereas this is really fun, and I’ve seen friendships grow – people meet each other and they’re doing yoga together the next week.

What has surprised you about the Foundation?
I was surprised initially that there even was Gateway Arch Park Foundation. When I was researching, I found out that you all care for the grounds and activate the park. I thought, ‘Well, that makes sense, there needs to be someone who does that!’ And then also how involved you all are in the community. It’s a national park, but also, it’s a park within a city, so who integrates all this?

Have you seen business growth because of this partnership?
It’s hard to say exactly where everything comes from because I do have so many partners now [including Laumeier Sculpture Park, the 9 Mile Garden, and the Endangered Wolf Center]. However I think Sunrise Yoga and the photos we have from that, the media I get because of those photos – that is huge. Apartment Guide named St. Louis the “Best City to Do Yoga” in 2022, and when I was approached by KMOX to talk about it, they let me know it was because of Sunrise Yoga that St. Louis was chosen.

I’ve also seen a jump in my social media followers, so that’s huge: that’s organic marketing right there. I also love how integrated St. Louis is. With Kaldi’s reopening in City Garden, Falon [one of our volunteers] said ‘You should give it a shout-out after yoga,’ and I did, and I thought, ‘Who else can I do this for?’ Other businesses have been very supportive of me, and I’ve tried to do the same for them. There’s a lot of hustle in this town, and there are a lot of people willing to give you a leg up.

What should St. Louisans know about Gateway Arch Park Foundation and the national park?
That it’s accessible. I think a lot of people see something as beautiful, as large and iconic as the Arch and they don’t think they have access to that. But it’s actually the opposite. When people realize ‘there’s someone I can go to if I want to do something here’ – that changes the whole conversation, versus something that’s looked at like a shrine. This is your town, your city, your tax dollars at work: utilize it! Reach out if there’s something you want to see, and your voice will be heard.