Last Wednesday, the 16th, I realized how bloody spoiled I’ve been. I started my yoga adventures at YYoga and did a tour through Semperviva as well. Their spaces are quite large with white-washed walls, cushy lounge areas, change rooms, and other amenities. I knew of smaller studios, but never had the time to really seek them out. I go to YYoga because of the familiarity (with the space and the people) and its proximity to where I do my business around town.
During the reading break of last week I was able to book an excursion to Kerrisdale Yoga. Unfortunately, I was only able to hit 2 of the initially planned 3 classes. Don’t let that dampen your mood though, because (for my part) it was a blast through and through. Situated between 45th and 46th on East Boulevard, the studio was a small walk from where I dismounted the public limo on 41st. I would’ve driven if I knew parking was relatively easy to find, but that’s neither here not there.
Elisa Wakabayashi, owner of the studio, took me through Yoga with Spinning. It’s 30 minutes of cycling followed by 30 minutes of yoga, both of which are not ridiculously destructive. Actually, it was the calmest yet most effective spin class I’ve had in a while. You know, instead of the hardcore sprinting that leaves you crippled the next day sorta deal. Elisa taught both parts of the class, being a personal trainer as well, and then laid out the studio for me.
She noted that a small independent studio is great in that there aren’t many “big deals,” in that the world won’t end if someone forgets something. After the hustle and bustle of YYoga, I could see clearly what she meant as the studio has a laissez-faire quality as there isn’t corporate pressure or strict codes of conduct. I’m not saying that there’s a lack of professionalism or anything, but the air is very different. At YYoga I find people tend to quickly zip about, where at Kerrisdale there’s a bit of meandering and lingering.
As one can imagine, the class sizes are relatively small. Yoga with Spinning totaled 4 people excluding Elisa, and the Kundalini class was 6. It’s a far cry from the average 15-20 yogis I’m used to, but there’s something nice about a bit more intimacy. Instead of feeling the energy of a myriad of other yogis, with only 4 people it’s easier to notice your own and really tap into your comfort zones.
The yoga and spin rooms are not sealed off from one another, with a gap between the ceiling and wall between them offering a better airflow. Though it also meant it was colder than what I was used to, the cool fresh air that cycled around the studio was very welcome. There’s also more natural light here as the windows facing the back for yoga and facing the back for spin are generously sized. My first go at Kundalini was also here, and I was supposed to try out Iyengar as well. I lament not being able to make that last class.
And here be the video tour, guided by Elisa:
Yogis that live in Kerrisdale probably know of Elisa’s studio, and though I travel through and hang out in the neighbourhood often I didn’t know of the studio until I jumped on Twitter. Oh, the miracles of social tools. Elisa is a blast of an owner, being very relaxed and applies no pressure on her guests. From what I noticed inside and outside of classes she has a solid connection to those that practice with her. Small groups tend to notice and remember the schedules and tendencies of their compatriots, and the community/family feelings is quite evident.
It’s a very nice space, in a great neighbourhood, and owned and staffed by fantastic people.