While hiking the craggy island shores of Kythera, Gloria and Scott Latham spotted something strange and wonderful: a bright yellow flower sprouting from the rocks. Known as a semperviva, this plant symbolizes abundant life, a symbol they'd sought for quite some time. When the couple returned to Vancouver and founded a yoga studio, the flower sprang to mind immediately. "The concrete structures of the city, the buildings, the sidewalks, and the roads were the equivalent of the craggy rocks of Kythera," Gloria says. "Our clients and friends are that bright yellow flower, the souls that are brilliant and thriving despite the hardships that life presents."
Today, Semperviva Yoga tempers the city's hustle and bustle with joy and peace. Inside its four local studios, friendships bloom among mats, blocks, and bolsters, which students may borrow for free. Here, seasoned instructors demonstrate yoga's power to cultivate flexibility and focus. Classical Hatha sessions offer plenty of cues to help students tailor the poses to their goals and limitations. Deep breaths and stretches fuel Vinyasa Power Flow routines, which build more strength and grace than a swan bench-pressing a ballerina. Several Semperviva studios feature boutiques, which foster healthy lifestyles with organic essential oils, biodynamic skincare products, and yoga-themed books.
With a focus on giving its clients an intimate, small-studio experience, Sanga Yoga Studio's cozy Dunbar Street location accepts no more than 18 students per class. Studio owner and Vancouver Yoga Conference faculty member Shannon Cluff harnesses her experience from mentoring more than 40 yoga teachers to inspire and guide Sanga's team of instructors. Together, they lead a comprehensive roster of daytime and evening classes that includes Hatha yoga, Flow, and Yin suitable for both beginning and advanced yogis.
Shannon's ongoing commitment to the development and growth of yoga instructors manifests itself in her Teacher's Integration Program, where she counsels certified teachers, showing them how to refine their instructional approaches and encouraging their progress along the way with downward-facing fist-bumps.
Heated air wafts through Westcoast Hot Yoga’s classrooms, seeping into tendons to facilitate stretches as deep and relaxing as Poseidon’s favourite chaise lounge. Within this toasty cocoon, which warms to 30–40 degrees, instructors impart poses designed to loosen and strengthen muscles and ligaments. With a variety of styles, they aim to help students of all levels bolster posture, concentration, and balance.
The White Rock and Yaletown locations rent out mats and sell replenishing beverages. When instructors aren’t leading classes at the studios, they tote their yoga knowledge to local businesses to help office workers battle stress and fatigue.
Kerrisdale Yoga's boutique studio welcomes participants into many standard and nonstandard yoga programs, all performed in a welcoming, community class structure. Journey through 60- to 75-minute program sessions to explore classical postures in Hatha Yoga, focus on physical injuries in Hatha for Healing, and boldly achieve linear body alignment using helpful props in Iyengar courses. Students may build flexibility, cardiovascular strength, and a small castle made of cinderblocks in Vinyasa Power Yoga or delve into Kundalini Yoga's blend of dynamic posture transitions, breath exercises, and meditation. Barefoot benders join Yin Yoga to train in opening connective tissues through slow, steady floor postures and a steady stream of compliments. Final relaxation poses, such as savasana, cap each session with needed reflection and physical rest.
Yogacara's trained teachers guide students through meditative and body-strengthening poses through a schedule of classes spanning the week. Maintaining an intimate atmosphere of no more than 14 pupils per class, yoga gurus foster an environment where all participants receive individual care, making an accidental transition from downward dog into real dog virtually impossible. During 60- to 75-minute sessions of mat Pilates, yin yoga, restorative, or Vinyasa flow, students of all fettle, experience, and pliability perfect poses to bolster brawn, strengthen ligaments, incinerate calories, and achieve a positive, peaceful state of mind. Hatha sessions welcome moms-to-be, and teachers instructing kundalini lead yoga apprentices through chanted mantras and breath-control exercises. Yogacara Studios supplies mats, blankets, blocks, bolsters, straps, and behind-the-back high-fives.