Finding yourself at Boulder’s Little Yoga Studio

Kelly Elle Kenworthy’s Boulder journey

By Paul Hagey Jul 30 2021

Kelly Elle Kenworthy moved to Boulder in summer 2010 in turmoil.

A few months before, she and her then-husband sat in a Los Angeles Whole Foods parking lot and asked each other: “Should we get a divorce now or move to Boulder.”

They moved to Boulder, and Kelly’s transformation began. “Something about the landscape, the intensity of the mountains, helped me feel grounded,” she says. “I felt this energy that would make me look at some things about myself.”

Look she did, and she found. Over the next several years, she lost 65 pounds, ended her marriage, found the love of her life and the drive for the founding mission of the Little Yoga Studio, tucked into the northwest corner of McGuckins, she’s owned and run since September 2011: Inclusive, affordable, for every body

Kelly Elle Kenworthy at the Little Yoga Studio. Photo: Paul Hagey

More importantly, she found herself.

Fitting out + in

“I always knew I was queer,” Kelly says. Family pressure and the tight network of her in-laws in Los Angeles kept her from welcoming this reality.

That led her to hide herself in weight.

Boulder helped shed that. From 2013 to 2015, a combination of CrossFit and a paleo diet helped her shed 65 pounds and move from size 16 to size 6.

“I never felt accepted anywhere, but I felt accepted here,” Kelly says. That helped her confront and to meet who she really was.

Finding love

In 2014, a woman, Emily, came to work for Kelly at the Little Yoga Studio. The first thing she said to Kelly: “You’re gonna love my girlfriend.” Kelly was not fully out to herself or her husband.

The morning of Thanksgiving 2014 she went for breakfast at Emily’s house at 1545 Goss Grove, and Quinn answered the door, wearing a Grateful Dead hoodie and brown Carhardt pants. “I’m Kelly Elle,” Kelly said, and Quinn answered, “I know who you are.”

“It was instant,” says Kelly. Flashes of the future shot across her mind including one emblazoned as a black-and-white photograph: she and Quinn on a Vermont farm a decade on. “She’s my person,” Kelly realized then and there.

Kelly + Quinn. Photo: Kelly Elle Kenworthy

Nothing happened for a few months, until Quinn walked into the yoga studio one day and said, “I’m totally in love with you and I can’t come to class anymore.” Quinn was still with Emily and Kelly was still married to her husband.

She thought it would take her 10 years to unravel those and approach a relationship with Quinn. It took 10 days. She told her husband and moved out that same weekend.

Kelly eventually proposed to Quinn, and they got married at a hippie ceremony in open space of Jay Road on June 25, 2016. Now they live in Fourmile Canyon, just west of downtown Boulder.

Yoga + more

You feel Kelly’s transformation, openness and when you walk into the Little Yoga Studio. Like many yoga studios, it emanates a calm. A groundedness, an acceptance, however, stands out.

I want a place you walk in and feel like you walk into a home,” Kelly says of the studio.

The relatively low drop-in fee ($15, which rose from $10 pre-pandemic), and the simple, open style of the teachers contributes to this experience. Online virtual classes, which the studio began offering in the pandemic, go for $10. Monthly unlimited classes go for $108.

In the last year, Kelly has continued her Boulder evolution. She jumpstarted a career as a real estate agent, which she says will explicitly not compromise her dedication to the Little Yoga Studio, and took board and leadership roles on three local organizations: Four Mile Fire Protection District, Boulder Watershed Collective and Friends of Four Mile.

Header image: Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter.