Semperviva’s Sun Shines

We braved the cold this morning to attend Cameron’s class at Semperviva in Kitsilano today. Despite the frigid temperature, the sun was shining and Semperviva’s Sun studio was warm and inviting.

I recently activated my Passport To Prana card online and used it for the first time this morning. Since I have a Semperiva swipe card, they made note of my attendance and I was promptly emailed a questionnaire to see how I enjoyed my experience. (If you’re attending a studio for the first time, you will need to sign a waiver before your first class).

Cameron has a way about him and an energy that makes everyone in the class feel calm and comfortable. Today, he created a space for us to tap into our own presence. He reminded us that each moment is unique and will never be experienced again.

There is a reason Cameron’s on all the Semperviva posters and is a Semperviva College teacher-trainer – he’s just so good at his job. He is an example of what happens when your passion aligns with your purpose. He has an exceptional way of articulating exactly how to position yourself in each pose, so those new to yoga can easily allign their bodies.  Dually, he instructs his class by suggesting modifications to challenge intense yogis.

Although freezing weather made it difficult to drag myself out bed today, I’m really glad we made it to Cameron’s class. I left Sun studio with a lightness in my body, as if every worry and concern had been lifted.

If you’ve never attended a yoga class by Cameron Gilley, check out Semperiva.com for his teaching schedule.

[photo source: sienawanlass]

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

So, if you haven’t noticed, it’s cold outside.

Yoga in Himalaya: Manali. India., by Eric Lon http://yogatrekking.wordpress.com/english/

I have the hardest time getting myself to yoga when it’s cold outside, all I want to do is curl up with a blanket, and a cup of tea or a glass of wine and be cozy warm at home. Maybe this weather calls for some hot yoga, or 108 sun salutations, whatever the answer its too bad the heat you create doesn’t stay with you on your way home.

This season not only struggles with our “comfort zone,” it leads to the cold or the flu (hopefully neither), and the hectic holiday schedule, which is probably when we need our yoga most.

With all this in mind, I had a viewing of some YouTube yoga classes, for those cold days, when you are feeling a little off or when your local studio has decided to shut down for the holidays or just to fit in during your hectic holiday schedule.

42 Minute Hatha Flow

Sivananda flow – 57 Minutes

Heart Opening

There are lots of full length classes available on YouTube, some are better than others, of course depends what you are looking for. How do you make it to your yoga class on a cold day like today?

Round Yoga Mats

I love the idea of a round yoga mat. A circular mat would allow for, and inspire a fluid 360 degree range of movement during your practice.

The idea of stretching out all around yourself and still being on a 6-feet-in-diameter mat would be so very comfortable.

As an added benefit, a round mat would be the perfect size for ”mommy and me” yoga classes and activities, without the need for multiple mats or having to place your child on the bare floor.

I also think circular mats would be a fantastic option for other types of fitness, like pilates.

Mandala Round Yoga Mat

However, I could see large round yoga mats being a disadvantage to the classes I attend in Vancouver, as they would take up too much space. Also, my classes are normally quite busy, so studios wouldn’t be able to accommodate as many students in each class.

Mandala, who ships to Canada, claims they are the original 6-foot round yoga mat creators.

What do you think about round yoga mats? Do you think you’d adopt this shape into your practice?

Interested In Writing For Vancouver Yoga Review?

Vancouver Yoga Review is a site for YOU and the entire Vancouver yoga community. A place where like-minded yogis and yoginis can come together to share their yoga experiences and how yoga affects their daily lives in the lower mainland.

Are you interested in being featured on the site and sharing your thoughts? Because we are an inclusive community, we encourage all kinds of diverse voices on our site. Anyone, of any age, and at any level of yoga can submit a post for publication on the blog.

For consideration, submit your best original content to [email protected]. Write “Submission for Blog” in the subject line.

  • Include a photo, and site your source
  • Include a short (1 or 2 line) bio about yourself
  • Provide original, honest content
  • Post length is up to you

Note: Your writing may be edited for clarity. Currently, there is a 2 week wait to be featured on the site, but we are always accepting new submissions. We look forward to sharing your unique voices with the Vancouver yoga community!

[Source: YOGUE]

Blissful Burbs; Vital Energy Yoga

Well I have to start off by saying I may be a little bias when reviewing Vital Energy yoga as I have recently just started to teach there, but that doesn’t take away from the beauty of the space.

I first discovered Vital Energy Yoga in “old, historic” Port Moody, driving by on my way for dinner at the Boathouse at Rocky Point (only about a block away), and I literally had to circle around the block to get another look. Situated in an old heritage house, across the street from other heritage houses filled with bookstores, flower shops and restaurants, it is the perfect neighbourhood to “get your bliss on”.

Vital Energy Yoga www.vitalenergyyoga.com

The studio is small, but has a wonderful energy with all of the history that the building holds. With beautiful hardwood floors and old antique windows to the old fashioned sink in the bathroom, I am in love with this space.

Class sizes are small, and classes offer a wide spectrum to suit all students. From Plus Size Yoga, to yoga for the Super Stiff, from Kids yoga to Teens Yoga and of course your regular old Vinyasa Flow to Meditation classes, there is something to suit everybody.

The studio has taken a new persepective and offers a place where you can come to grow both in your practice and in yourself by offering you a place not only to delve deeper into your practice but to have the opportunity to understand what is happening to you and why, why do you feel these sudden bursts of emotion or tension or pressure that you may feel or that may come up during your practice. Learning how to access this vital energy that is available to all of us & to have it in your life always. Vital Energy offers workshops that help you learn more about the practice of yoga and how it affects you.

The studio has only been open for a few months and has a few fabulous promotions on to get you started, with either your first class FREE or your first two weeks for $30.00. Plan to come to saturday morning class & walk to starbucks after for a tea and scone or come for an evening class before dinner and head to the fabulous Rosa’s directly across the street for a yummy pasta dinner or even better, make your way down to Rocky Point before or after class for a stroll around the inlet. Vital Energy has opened up in a beautiful little community that has so much to offer and is the perfect fit.

Join them at their Open House on December 02, 2010 or for an evening of Kirtan on December 11th. More information can be found on their website at www.vitalenergyyoga.com

DIY: How To Make A Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner

If you practice yoga on a regular basis in Vancouver you’ve probably invested in some expensive mat cleaners to break up sweat, dirt and odors, and prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Why not make your own natural cleaner that costs much less and is free of harsh chemicals?

If your mat is super soiled, you can toss it in into your washing machines. Just make sure it’s on the cold and gentle cycle, and don’t put it in the dryer as heat will breakdown your mat.

Alternatively, you can give it a good washing in your bathtub. Use a very mild soap, and hand wash in a tub filled with a couple inches of water. Gently scrub with a brush as necessary to remove dirt and stains. Rinse with clean water and hang to dry.

To speed the drying process, wrap your yoga mat around a dry towel to soak up excess moisture. Just unroll and separate from the towel before hanging to dry. Your mat can take a day to fully dry after the submerging treatment.


To create your own natural, cost effective cleaner you’ll first need a small spray bottle and a soft cloth or sponge. Then, you have a few options depending on what you currently have in your pantry:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar OR baking soda OR witch hazel
  • 8 drops tea tree oil
  • Optional: 6 drops of other essential oils (lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint, whatever your like)

Don’t like the smell of vinegar? Once your mat is dry, it won’t smell overly vinegary. Also the essential oil will be the predominant scent, so choose your favorite aroma.

Happy cleaning!

Namaste DVD Season One, Disc One

The lovely folks at Vancouver’s Omni Film Productions sent me their Namaste DVD Season 1, Disc 1 for review. I was excited to received the DVD in the mail, as it gave me a great excuse to transform our living room into the ultimate yoga zone.

After I created a zen yoga space, I popped in the high definition, 6 episode disc into my DVD player. Over the course of one week, I tried one episode each day to get a feel for the flow of the series. My initial impressions were very positive.

The series is designed by one of Canada’s leading yoga teachers and therapists, Kate Potter. Her “Hatha Vinyasa” style is dynamic, yet gentle – and the unique flow sequence is appropriate for all levels.

Kate’s voice is very soothing and calming. Namaste’s original music does not overpower the film, but is played softly in the background and compliments Kate’s peaceful tone.

The series was filmed at various locations around Vancouver, such as Jericho beach.  I noticed the beautiful Hycroft Mansion in Shaughnessy, as it was my sister-in-law’s wedding venue! The scenery changes between other unique and stunning locations, including a dense forest in fall, a dark warehouse, yoga studios, Yaletown parks, under bridges and misty ocean docks. The scenes also alternate between night and day, to further change up the visuals.

For each episode, you can choose to play all or begin at the introduction, warm up, main sequence, cool down, or savasana sections.

The episodes are as follows:

  • Episode 1 – Exalted Warrior
  • Episode 2 –  Sun-Moon
  • Episode 3 – Firebird
  • Episode 4 – Gate Opening
  • Episode 5 – Dancing Sun
  • Episode 6 – Half Moon

Namaste yoga DVDS are an excellent compliment to your regular yoga classes, or can be used solely as your main yoga practice. The great thing about having a yoga DVD is you can take your practice with you wherever you go. It’s also particularly useful for those early, dark winter mornings where you’d just feel more comfortable practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home, rather than dragging your exhausted self out of your warm and comfy bed to your nearest yoga studio.

Namaste Disc One is accommodating for beginners, as camera angles show correct positioning and Kate’s gentle directions are very helpful. Yoga newbies will enjoy attempting yoga for the first time with this DVD series before attending a yoga studio, as classes can be intimidating for some first-timers.

I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the Namaste series!

Free Yoga From Lululemon

Stop by your local Lululemon store from now until November 17th to receive your free gift of yoga. The company is giving away over 6 million minutes worth of yoga passes to local studios.

To get in on the action: Visit a Lululemon Athletica store and “check-in” on your mobile phone with Facebook Places or foursquare.

You’ll want to act quickly on this giveaway if you’re interested, because the free passes are going quickly and are only available while quantities last.

FYI: A few yogis without smart phones have had luck presenting a print-out of Lululemon‘s Facebook page to receive their free gift of yoga.

Why is Lululemon feeling so generous? They want to connect YOU with your community. They believe that yoga can bring everyone together and change the world!

Namaste Lululemon 🙂

Bikram Yoga Metrotown Burnaby Deal!

It seems as though there are a plethora of daily-deal sites popping up these days: Groupon, LivingSocial, Ethical Deal, etc. It’s time consuming to keep track of them all!

To make my life easier, I subscribe to a site called DealRadar.com. The site amalgamates all daily-deal websites into one email where you can see a categorized list of all deals for that particular day.

I wanted to share a fantastic deal with Vancouver yogis who live in Burnaby and who are addicted to hot yoga. Or, if you’ve never tried Bikram’s but have been thinking about it, today is your day to take the first step.

Social Shopper is offering 15 Bikram Yoga classes for $20 (Value $222.88) at Metrotown, in Burnaby! This is a HUGE yoga savings, especially for Bikram classes.

The clock is ticking, so visit the Social Shopper website here to purchase this deal today.

SocialShopper Says:

10 Reasons You Need to Go to Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown

1. The Bikram’s program was designed to specifically work every muscle, organ, gland, and cell in the perfect order. Soon your cells will be able to bench press ten times what they used to.

2. They’re the biggest Bikram’s Yoga studio in Greater Vancouver. We know size isn’t the only thing that counts, but you still get to brag when you’re the biggest.

3. Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown offers 67 classes a week, from 6am through 8:15pm, so don’t bother quitting your job just to practice Yoga.

4. Bikram’s is highly beneficial for people suffering from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, neck and back pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, carpel tunnel syndrome, sciatica, gout, slipped disc and many other disabling conditions.

5. Bikram’s Yoga is designed for even beginners to pick it up immediately, so you won’t be sitting on the sidelines wondering how that guy over there got his knee into his ear while balancing on his pinkie.

6. This deal allows you to buy one voucher for yourself and up to four gift vouchers, so when your loved ones ask why you suddenly look so alive, you can do more than just tell them.

7. Get a head start on your 2011 resolutions!

8. Founding Yogi Bikram Choudhury started his yoga training at the age of 3!! Do you think he made the other kid in his nursery school feel lazy for not having started their careers yet?

9. Save on heating costs at your house by bringing home the warmth of Bikram’s Yoga.

10. Practitioners of Bikram’s Yoga are commonly told that their face began to glow soon after they started practicing. Not like a green glow-in-the-dark Frisbee, but like a radiantly healthy & happy human being!

Learn more about Bikram in Burnaby:

Intro to the Blissful Burbs!

Having grown up in the Lower Mainland and lived here my whole life, my path to yoga was not something instilled in me since I was a little kid. In fact, the first class I took was in a local rec centre, with a friend who had to “drag” me with her, long story short, a lot has changed since that first class & the friend who first introduced me doesn’t practice at all, ironic I suppose.

I have gotten to think over the last couple of weeks how do people get introduced to yoga and do they know after the first class that this is where they need to be or does it take weeks & weeks to discover that? I have heard from many yogi’s over time that while they may drift away from their practice it is always something that they inevitably come back too, for it gives you this feeling of “coming home.”

We all know that Vancouver has a wide spectrum of yoga to offer, which is completely fantastic, but Vancouver doesn’t just consist of the downtown area or Kitsilano. Yoga studios are popping up all over BC and throughout the Lower Mainland, with a wide spectrum of teachers and styles to choose from.

Blue Skies in the Burbs! Taken on a walk through one of the many beautiful parks that the Tri-Cities has to offer.

Being a resident of the “burbs”, and while it may not have all that Kitsilano or the downtown core has to offer it does have a lot, with lots of parks, trails, lakes and so much more, the burbs kind of stand up for themselves. I’ve heard from some Vancouverites that say, Coquitlam is so far away, in fact by car it’s only 20 minutes without traffic, not bad!

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to show you some of the fantastic studios that 15, 20, 30 or 50 minutes out of Vancouver can offer you. Stay tuned & get ready to plan that trip out on a Saturday or Sunday to explore it yourself and in the meantime tell us, how did you find your path to yoga?

If any studios from Burnaby out to Abbotsford are interested in participating in my Blissful Burbs series, please drop me a line at [email protected] First up next week; Vital Energy Yoga, Port Moody.

Create A Zen Yoga Zone At Home

Generally, I enjoy attending yoga classes around Vancouver because I thrive on the energy of each class. OMNI recently sent me their Namaste Yoga DVD (stay tuned for the article) to review at home. In order to properly assess the six episode series, I needed to create a serene spot in our condo to immerse myself in front of our TV.

I started by deep cleaning my living room to insure a spotless, pristine area. Then, I tossed some floor cushions on the ground – you can use them to elevate you hips during sukhasana and alleviate some back pain during your practice. Random pillows also made great yoga props. Use the floor pillows as a bolster during savasana.

I turned on some soothing music. If you relax easier to the sound of the ocean, a running brook, or the gentle pattering of rain on a window, you can download meditative sound apps, many are free, on your iPhone/iPod Touch. The sounds can help you curb unwanted distractions and ambient noises.

Anse Source D'argent, La Digue Island, The Seychelles

Subsequently, I decided on a point of inspiration to focus on during my practice.

We have a large framed photo that we captured of an incredible white sandy beach with crystal-clear water.

We visited the beach during our honeymoon in the Seychelles (an exquisite country of tropical islands off the east coast of Africa), almost two years ago. So, the photo provides me with a sense of clam & reminiscence.

If ocean pictures don’t bring you serenity, choose a statue of Buddha, a portrait of Jesus, or anything else that provides you with inspiration.

A gently flowing water fountain, flickering scented candles, soft lighting, essential oils, and fragrant incense can all complement your at-home yoga experience.

Don’t forget your favorite yoga mat.

How do you create a calming & inspirational space in your home or office? Let us know in the comments below.

YYoga’s New Site For Your Mobile Device

I love my iPhone…like REALLY love it! Don’t know what I’d do without it. A lot of my friends show similar adoration towards their Blackberry smartphones and Android devices.

One of Vancouver Yoga Review’s favorite group of yoga studios around the lower mainland, YYoga, has just released their own mobile site.

Here’s the info from their site:

Visit www.m.yyoga.ca or go to www.yyoga.ca on your mobile and you will be re-directed to the new YYoga mobile site.

Even better, if you’re an iPhone user, here’s how you can add a YYoga icon to your homescreen. Viewing schedules is now easier and faster than ever on your cell phone!

Step 1: Visit the mobile site.

Step 2: Click the plus symbol on your iPhone (+)

Step 3: Select the option ‘Add to Home Screen’

Step 4: You will be prompted to enter a name for your new icon, call it whatever you want, whatever motivates you!

Step 5: Click add.

That’s it!

Blackberry users can ‘bookmark’ the mobile site by visiting the mobile site, clicking the blackberry options icon (the dots) and selecting “Add Bookmark”.

Don’t forget to also add YYoga to your facebook and twitter so you can follow our updates on your phone.

I just added YYoga Mobile to my iPhone, now you can too!

YYoga Mobile

This new site will make it easier to view the YYoga page on your mobile device so you can stay up to date with their latest news and class schedules.

What’s your favorite mobile device?

Horsing Around!

Yoga has certainly become a billion dollar plus industry and for sure will continue to stay that way, from the countless brands of mats & accessories available, to the countless ends of yoga clothing from all different ends of the perspective. I suppose with all of these options on the table, the traditional schools of yoga are no longer enough.

The latest, I just overheard on the radio the other day, horseback yoga! Perhaps the union between the horse & the rider is important to ensure boths safety, not so sure about actually practicing yoga on a horse though which of course, is not to be confused with yoga FOR horses.

Taken from the www.dailycamera.com, “Yoga with Horses Can Make for a Deeper Connection” by Aimee Heckel;

“After a few minutes with their equine partners, even people who are scared of horses quickly realize: yoga must have been created by horses.”

“It was such a strange and amazing sensation,” she says. “You just sit there and you feel your butt on the horse’s back, balancing and aligning yourself with the breathing, and his own posture, too. If you can sink into that, you can just click in. It made the yoga experience a lot more potent, and the horses were a huge guide.”

Read the full article at Boulder Daily Camera; Yoga With Horses Can Make for A Deeper Connection or check out the video on YouTube, Horsing Around!

After doing some digging around on the internet, yoga with horses is not a new thing. You can even be certified to teach yoga with horses, of course some is more specific to equestrians and some is more exercises for the actual horse but hey, certainly gives a whole new meaning to partner yoga! Too bad I couldn’t find anything local in order to go & check it out!

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