Semperviva

The Sea Studio At Night

Now that I’ve practised in all the Semperviva studios, I think that my favourite is possibly the Sea Studio on Granville Island. I don’t go there as often I would like because I currently live a bit far out, but next month I’m moving to Kits so I’ll be able to go more.

For now, I try to go once a week for a Yin yoga class with Bernie on Thursday at 7.15. So far because it’s winter, I’ve seen the studio at twilight or night, and I find it quite magical. It is on the corner of a building overlooking the river and facing downtown, and the wall-to-wall windows offer the most beautiful views.

Before each session, Bernie takes time to light up a myriad of candles around the room by the windows and their reflection mirror the lights of downtown and of the boats that occasionally float by.

The interior, on two levels, feels organic and cosy, with natural fibre carpet and big wooden beams.

[source: www.yoga-gene.com]

One of my best classes there was when it was really cold outside and we were in savasana. It suddenly started to rain heavily and the drops were pounding against the windows. I lied there listening, in the natural darkness of that November night, and it felt like the most wonderful sound to accompany me in meditation.

I can’t wait to practice at the Sea Studio in spring or in the summer when it will be flooded in bright daylight!

‘Hi, I’m New In Town!’

I seem to have said this a lot recently. My boyfriend and I left our jobs, flat and friends in London and we moved to Vancouver a month ago to start a new life.

Downtown from Jericho Beach

I worked in publishing back in Europe but I’ve decided to make the most out of this change of continent and follow my yoga path further by taking the teacher training. I had heard that Vancouver is possibly the best place where I could train. Now, from first hand experience, I’m entirely convinced: it has so much to offer to yogis.

In less than 3 weeks, I have attended 12 classes, with 9 different teachers, in 5 styles. This has been incredibly exciting. Everyday I study class schedules and I’m often overwhelmed by the embarrassment of riches.

In London, in my nearby leisure center, I had a limited choice of 3 fantastic teachers, one little studio and 4 classes a week. Suddenly here, I have plenty of marvellous teachers, different styles and big studios to choose from, and I feel like a spoilt child in a candy shop.

At Yyoga, I’ve opened my heart in Anila’s Anusara class, and rejuvenated fully with Mike’s restorative yoga. In Semperviva’s studios, I had a great Flow session with Alli, I found strength in a chilled atmosphere in Reno’s Power class, and practised deep awareness in Bernie’s wonderful Yin and Hatha classes.

So far, it has been a truly wonderful experience, and I’ve learnt more in three weeks than I would ever have dreamt, on yoga, on the mind, on my body and on myself.

Also, I’ve felt so warmly welcomed by teachers and students that somehow I feel a bit more at home here already.

Any other new yogis in town? I’d love to share first impressions!

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]

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.

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!

Top 5 Yoga Studios in Vancouver

Vancouver BC has a plethora of fabulous yoga studios to suit everyone’s needs.  Whether you practice Hot, Hatha, or Ashtanga, you’re sure to find the style and studio you love. Vancouver Yoga Review has narrowed down the studios to our top five favorites. Drum-roll please…

5. West Coast Hot Yoga – A pleasant covered veranda is available to hang out and cool down after your class.  Also, they have amazing smelling soap in the bathrooms! Most importantly, they have really great instructors who make everyone feel comfortable – no matter what level.

whyTeachersSmall

4. Moksha – Who doesn’t love free things? This studio offers free parking out front and free apples after you’ve worked up a sweat! Every Friday night, at 8:15pm, they offer a one hour hot yoga ‘karma class’. Donations are accepted (minimum $5.00) and proceeds go to the charity of the month.

moksha

3. Exhale – Their yoga room is surrounded by windows, so you feel like you’re doing yoga in the trees. This sense of being one with nature adds to the zen experience. They also offer an extensive list of dance classes (hip-hop, burlesque, salsa, belly, jazz, swing, nia, etc.) and complimentary almond tea.

exhale

2. Semperviva – This yoga for ‘every body’ company has 4 locations around Kitsilano. This leads to over 115 yoga classes every week! Kits yogis love the convenience of so many classes being offered in their area, almost any time of day. Bonus: no need to lug your yoga mat around, use their yoga mats free of charge.

semperviva

1. YYoga – Six YYoga locations are offered around the lower mainland.  We’ve chosen the downtown YYoga Flow (corner of Burrard and Smithe) as THE best.  Recently opened, this studio is truly a spa-like experience. Some perks of this location are an infrared sauna, a chic and spacious lounge with free wi-fi, a huge change room facility with ample showers, ‘conscious cardio’ classes called YYRide (spin class + yoga), and ‘happiness tea’ – just to name a few!

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Readers of the Georgia Straight agree with us and have ranked YYoga and Semperiva as tied for the #1 spot for Best of Vancouver, 2009.

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