Studios

Win A Passport To Prana Card!

We blogged about the awesome card last week. Now, Passport to Prana is offering our readers the chance to win 1 of 3 Passport to Prana cards!

How to enter the Passport To Prana contest:

1. Post a comment below.

2. Or, Tweet following on Twitter: @VanYogaReview @PassportToPrana contest: http://bit.ly/baKjGu

3. If you comment AND Tweet, your name will be entered twice into the draw!

Contest ends September 30th at 12:00pm.

Good luck everyone!

From Semperviva

To be honest, I was nervous at the thought of “reviewing” a yoga studio. I’m 23, only 3 months into yoga, and I was heading to a studio like a movie critic (but not as jaded and bitter). And this was Semperviva Kits Beach no less, the newest expansion studio for a respected community-oriented yoga outfit. It’s not like I was from a bigwig yoga magazine or some newspaper that wielded a mighty stick. Regardless, it was a chance to explore and meet new yogis.

East Window

I must say, I dig the colour scheme and design choice of their logo.

After a bit of transit and walking, which was a little wonky after a 75 minute spin class, I made it to the lovely corner of West 4th and Yew where Semperviva Kits Beach is located. Familiar smells of mat sprays and lavender immediately greeted me as I walked in. Actually, I’ll let some photos do the gabbing for me:

Lounge Area

The common area is spacious and very inviting with the large windows. I wish I had a wide-angle lens.

Gear Wall & Entrance

From inside to out. The events wall is on the right and can be seen better in the video tour.

Community Photo Wall

This here is the photo wall assembled by the community, either of personal practices or to yoga events and retreats held by Semperviva.

And, of course, here’s the video tour guided by Callie Gray! If you can’t tell by the video, she’s bright, chipper and exudes love and passion for the realm of yoga.

The yoga room itself is not what I’m used to what with no ceiling panels to hide the air ducts and pipes and enormous windows lining the East wall. However, without a constricting ceiling plus the enormous windows, you feel like you can expand to wherever you choose. Also, the windows are one-way so pedestrians won’t get to creepily peer in as you practice.

I’d like to thank Callie, Jana, and Jen for accommodating this small-time writer on a drizzly Saturday. Your genuine kindness further fuels my passion for yoga.

Yoga of Awareness

I was first introduced to Kundalini Yoga during my teacher training at Semperviva, and like Bikrams or Hot Yoga I believe it is an aquired taste, ie. you either love it or hate it. My first impressions were of confusion and what is going on here & this isn’t your standard Warrior I or Warrior II or Half Moon or you name it type of yoga class. The majority of the poses were not what I was used to, and the mantra was just the icing on the cake, what was going on?

Since my first encounter with Kundalini Yoga, I have come to be one of those people that loves it in this “je ne sais quoi” sort of way, being unable to determine what exactly it is that I love.

What is Kundalini Yoga?

Kundalini yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that focuses on the conscious development of both your body & mind. Containing a set of kriyas (physical manifestations of awakening kundalini energy), pranayama and meditative practices designed to heal the body, awaken human consciousness and ultimately deliver a divine spiritual union. It is called the “Yoga of Awareness” because it rapidly develops intuition, self knowledge & sensitivity, which aids in awakening the creative potential that exists in all of us.

What you can expect in a Kundalini Class?

A Kundalini class begins with a tuning in Mantra  followed by a warm-up to stretch the spine and improve flexibility. The class may contain one or two kriyas, including mantra and pranayama exercises, depending on the choice of the teacher, and generally focuses on one specific chakra or area of the body. Teachers typically do not make manual adjustments. The class ends with a meditation, which may be accompanied by the teacher playing a large gong, and/or a closing song.

There are many studios throughout Vancouver that offer Kundalini classes and different styles of teaching Kundalini Yoga including the main traditional Kundalini hub; Yoga West where I have recently begun a week trial in order to get to know the centre, the people, the yoga and the environment. Stay tuned for a review of Yoga West next week.

To read more about Kundalini yoga and its history visit www.3HO.org.

bikram yoga vancouver: a review

i find bikram to be the radiohead of yoga:  people either love it or hate it.  there’s very little middle ground.

since i happen to fall into the former rather than the latter, i couldn’t have been happier sweating buckets on an otherwise damp and dreary monday morning.

i’d been meaning to check out a bikram studio in vancouver for quite a while now, and decided what better opportunity to venture outside my normal yoga routine than a free day off of work for the stat holiday.

tucked away in an unassuming building in the west end,  i was pleasantly surprised when i entered the small and welcoming space that is bikram yoga vancouver.

raymond mah, general manager and yogi, had just finished the class prior and was kind enough to give me a pep talk before i went into my 10 am practice.

the practice itself was not unlike any other bikram class i’d experienced:  the 26 postures are always the same, the heat borderline unbearable, the instructor borderline drill sergeant.

however, hillary was the perfect balance of strict and encouraging, inspiring me to go deeper in poses and to really make sure i got the full benefits of her 90 minutes of instruction.

the studio was also slightly different than the bikram studios i’d experienced in the past:  the space was clean, free of the odd foot smell i’d come to associate with hot yoga, and used a unique flooring made from 100% PVC, the same material used in many yoga mats, instead of the usual carpeting used by most studios.

my only criticism of the studio would be it’s size.  while the actual practice space was plenty large enough, the lobby and locker rooms were small and congested.  with only 2 showers and few amenities i couldn’t realistically see myself showering and getting ready for work should i ever hit up an early morning class mid-week.

ray informed me a larger studio is planned to open on cambie and W. 12th in the upcoming months.  good news for me as this is closer to work and right off the skytrain:  i might just have to become a regular.

bikram yoga vancouver

101-1650 Alberni Street
604 662 7722

www.bikramyogavancouver.com

Passport To Prana In Vancouver, BC

Attention all yogis in Vancouver and the lower mainland!

Vancouver Yoga Review would like to bring to your attention an amazing company offering an outstanding deal for yoga enthusiasts:

Passport to Prana is the “original multi studio yoga pass” offering yogis a chance to try out various studios around their specific city for only $30, per promotional year!

Passport to Prana is a Toronto, Ontario based company built on the intention of joining yoga studios as a community instead of competitors. We love this concept 🙂

Your Passport to Prana card entitles you to one yoga class at each of the participating yoga studios in your city, beautiful Vancouver, BC. They also offer passports in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Victoria, and Winnipeg.  Also, various cities in the USA.
This is by far the best yoga value in town. Passport to Prana wants people to have ample incentive to expand their yoga horizons and try different studios around their city. This way, yogis might even find the ‘perfect’ studio for them that they might not have previously discovered.

Considering most drop-in classes at Vancouver yoga studios are anywhere from $15-$20, this card is a fantastic deal and a great way to gift your love of yoga to others.

To purchase your card today, visit their website: http://passporttoprana.com/order2.php

For more information, refer to their FAQs page.

Happy Yoga Month

September is Yoga Month! In order to bring awareness to the different styles and the benefits of a yoga practice, September is designated Yoga Month to help build awareness.

Generally these type of awareness building initiatives tend to be only focused on the good ol’ USA, however, there are lots of studios events happening in our own backdoor to help YOU take advantage and celebrate Yoga Month. Listed below are some of the ones I have found:

Here is a clip about the National Yoga Month from 2009, from the founders:

What are you doing to celebrate National Yoga Month, perhaps its a personal 30 Day Challenge for the month of September or taking advantage of some of the FREE yoga listed above or maybe you are hosting your own events to celebrate National Yoga Month, or maybe you are finally taking that friend to experience a yoga class with you, whatever it is; tell us, we want to hear how you are celebrating!

Happy National Yoga Month!

mobile yogi.

i travel.  a lot.

so much that i could probably post ‘@ YVR airport’ to my facebook status permanently.

luckily for me i’m a bit of a nomad so i LOVE to travel…but what i don’t love about traveling is having to leave behind my studio and my practice.

it’s not the major cities that are the issue.  new york, LA, hong kong…all have fabulous studios and best-in-class instructors just waiting for the chance to bend me into a pretzel.

it’s the smaller off-the-radar places i frequent, like china for work, or michigan to visit my family, that prove a bit more problematic.

usually when i know i’ll be traveling someplace where i won’t have a studio available, i’ll throw a couple baptiste or bryan kest DVD’s in my luggage.  not ideal, but like double-sided tape, they’re good in a pinch.

for some reason, however, last thursday when i packed for my week-long stint in michigan i remembered to pack the 4″ wooden platform sandals but forgot the yoga DVD’s.

faced with the prospect of not practicing this week, i quickly hopped online and began googling ‘free power yoga podcasts’.

below is a list of the best 3 ‘OMG how can a podcast make me feel so sore’ yoga podcasts i found that are guaranteed to make you sweat and save your asana should you ever find yourself in the middle-of-nowhere fill in the blank with no studio and no DVD’s to feed your type-A ‘i cannot possibly survive a week without practicing’ self.

these are all power yoga classes, since that’s my preferred style of practice, however, they are great for all levels.  (please feel free to add any other recommendations/styles below in the comments section.)

1. http://www.davefarmar.com/

my number one pick, hand’s down.  dave is a yogi based out of denver, colorado.  he’s got a massive selection to choose from, he’s super easy to follow along to, and best of all: he’s funny.   i’ve never done so many chatarungas in my life.  usually when i work that hard i expect a proper introduction and a couple of drinks first.

2. http://www.yogatothepeople.com/tryOnlineClass.shtml

i love love LOVE yoga to the people.  i used to frequent their studio when i lived in new york, and i love their philosophy toward making yoga accessible to everybody.  since moving to vancouver, i am no longer a regular, however, i still occasionally hit up the YTTP website where they have 9 recordings of actual classes available free for downloading.  i think it was class number 7 where i actually thought my thigh might give out.

3. http://www.baronbaptiste.com/podcasts/index.htm

the good baron has 1 full length 75 minute power yoga workout as well as a 20 minute meditation podcast for free on his website.  if you’re good with sanskrit, you shouldn’t find the practice too hard to follow along with.  i’m not that fluent yet, so i struggled…and i was just listening along while surfing the internet for other podcasts.

Outdoor Yoga on Earth Day!

A morning outdoor yoga session is the perfect activity to start off Earth Day 2010!

YYoga‘s instructor Danielle Mika Nagel will be leading the reviving morning class tomorrow at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Mats will be provided by YYoga, so come on down for some downward dogs in the fresh air!

WHEN: Thursday, April 22, 2010 ~ 8:30am – 9:15am
WHERE: Vancouver Art Gallery ~ West Georgia Street side (750 Hornby Street, Vancouver BC)

Earth Day is celebrated every April 22nd and is the largest worldwide environmental event. For more information about Earth Day and what more you can do to participate in this important annual event click here.

Yoga Association of BC: Connecting your Community

The Yoga Association of British Columbia is an organization assembled in the late 90’s which acts as a forum for advocacy, dialogue, peer-to-peer connections, and continuing education.

Check out their website to see which studios and teachers are members of YogaBC.

Yoga students, teachers and studios can all apply to become members of the YogaBC and can members can apply for extended health/dental/insurance through the organization.

Want to know what’s going around your area? Click on their Community Calendar for the latest yoga events.

Which upcoming events are you attending in Vancouver?

Steve Nash Fitness World

I recently joined Fitness World in Kitsilano to add some cardio into my usual yoga routine. It’s great because they also offer group classes like yoga, aerobics, spin, pilates, etc.  Watch out, however, because some ‘specialty classes’ are an additional fee on top of your monthly membership dues.

I had to sign on for 2 years and my membership works out to about $40/month. I live next door, so I have NO excuses not go to the gym!

Now called “Steve Nash Fitness World” because of their recent merger with the NBA star’s company, I can work out at any location around the city.  They offer different membership packages, and if you pay a bit extra you can also go the Steve Nash Sports Clubs in either downtown Vancouver, Surrey, or Richmond.

Watch out for high pressure sales consultants who will try and persuade you to sign up right there on the spot. Ask for a trial pass to check out the club before you make the plunge on a membership.  Remember, you’ll usually be locked in for 2 years, and will have to buy-out the membership if you want to cancel!

How to Start Yoga

Confused with all the different types of yoga? Don’t know where to start? Fret not, Vancouver Yoga Review is here to explain it all!

1. Decide which type of yoga you want to try first: If you can’t decide, most beginners start with Hatha, as it is a slower paced yoga.

2. Find a class: Most studios offer ‘Intro to Hatha’ classes for beginners. Check out Semperviva or Open Door for their schedules, as they offer great beginners classes.

3. What to bring: comfortable, breathable clothes so you can stretch easily. Most studios in Vancouver provide mats, blocks, bolsters etc, so you don’t need to worry about them.  Do bring a water bottle and a light jacket, in case it’s chilly in the studio.

4. What to expect from you first class: Usually, students place their mat facing the teacher’s mat at the front of the room.  Make sure you leave a bit of space around your mat so that your neighbors have room. You can sit cross-legged waiting for class to start. Your teacher will take you through varies poses and will usually go around the room adjusting students’ alignment.

Anytime you feel dizzy or lightheaded, you can take child’s pose: drop to your knees, spread your knees as wide as the mat, keeping the big toes touching, bring your forehead to the mat, and stretch your hands out in front.

Your teacher will finish by saying ‘namaste’, which literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.”

Open Door Yoga Vancouver

Tanisha and I have started to get back into yoga again, after a bit a of a hiatus.  She was in Hawaii for December and I was in Phoenix with my husband, visiting family.  I know, I know,  it’s already February, but we’ve been busy!  Plus, a great reason we started back into yoga (almost) daily is that we found an amazing deal from Open Door Yoga: $99 for 9 weeks of unlimited yoga at their 3 locations, to new members. Amazing deal right?!

Their 3 locations in Vancouver are on Main Street, Commercial Drive and the recently opened Arbutus/16th. Since I live fairly close, I’ve only practiced at the Arbutus location.  It’s a really great studio – smaller classes, so lots of room to stretch, great instructors – Brenna (has a great energy-really calming, encourages us to close our eyes to focus within,.  It has a really great vibe, no pretentiousness, just people there to practice yoga for themselves.

The studio itself is always nice and warm, which I love.  I find most studios around Vancouver (unless it’s hot yoga of course) are always quite cool.

Mats are provided free of charge, as well as tea, water and cookies! The studio is carpeted, which is great for extra cushioning.

The only drawback is there is only one stall toilet and a small change room.

YYOGA Flow Wellness Studio

Ahhhh YYoga Flow Wellness studio…If I lived closer and if the membership was a little more affordable, I would seriously attend this YYoga location everyday.  With its spa like atmosphere, infrared sauna, chill out tea-lounge with free wifi, and eco boutique, Flow Wellness is always a relaxing experience.

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Nourish bar including snacks and drinks – try their coconut water for a refreshing boost after a class.

The center is the largest in Canada, spanning an impressive 11,500 square feet, including 3 yoga rooms and a large change room with ample lockers and showers.

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Chill out tea lounge includes free wifi and free ‘happiness’ hot tea.

They offer many styles of yoga and even their own YRide (spin classes that incorporate yoga at the end of each class).

Need some additional services? They offer wellness treatments ranging from Shiatsu, Deep Tissue Massage and Acupuncture.

Check out this video by Technomorph for the YYoga Flow opening: http://vimeo.com/6943161

For more info, visit the YYoga website: http://www.yyoga.ca/

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