Power Yoga Canada stirs together equal parts spiritual and physical exercise to alternately calm and invigorate visitors to its two supportive studios, with a planned third studio location opening this summer. Jam-packed schedules of Baron Baptiste–inspired Vinyasa classes tone and lengthen limbs of all ability levels, from living statue to liquid mime. Burn away pesky calories and exasperating stress in a heated room during power yoga classes, or downward-dog to the beat in a power yoga jam session. Kids, 'tweens, and expecting mothers stretch further than their nay-saying ligaments knew they could in specialized classes. Power yoga's trained and friendly instructors correct poses and direct breathing to encourage proper technique and discourage such distractions as astral doodling and restless neck syndrome.
Dr. Justin Guy believes in his own rehabilitative power for one simple reason: he's gone through the same treatments himself. After a gruesome injury on the soccer pitch and subsequent failed surgery left him with severe knee damage, Dr. Guy turned to treatments within his own field of study to reduce his pain and reorder his joint. Through this blend of chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, and custom orthotic care, Dr. Guy made a full recovery. Now, from the comfort of his Oakville office, he provides patients with the same care and kindness that helped him recapture his own mobility.
Three decades ago, renowned spiritual leader and Global Humanitarian Award recipient Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded The Art of Living to share his approach to emotional and physical well-being, build harmony, and encourage social responsibility. The nonprofit—which now spreads across 152 countries—guides individuals toward inner peace through holistic yoga that incorporates meditation and techniques for breathing. Wellness Yoga integrates elements from modern and traditional yoga paths, especially Hatha, to create a form that focuses on uniting body, mind, and spirit, while enhancing sensitivity to the myriad levels of human existence.
True to the vision of its founding luminary, The Art of Living carries its holistic approach to wellness into a broad array of humanitarian projects and peace initiatives. These range from education programs to disaster relief that provide both immediate material aid and long-term rehabilitation support. Rural development projects target poverty and disease, and a prison program takes a restorative approach to justice. Recognizing the vast impact of Shankar’s efforts, governments and organizations from around the world have showered him with dozens of awards and honours, giving his trophy case as many bragging rights as Meryl Streep’s.
The path to health and happiness is often built from scratch, according to yoga master Bikram Choudhury and the stretchy sages at Bikram Yoga Red Tree. Filled with triathletes, engineers, and social workers, the studio’s teaching staff illustrates yoga’s ability to inspire and transform people from diverse walks of life. Between bright windows and mirror-lined walls, students of all skill levels reflect upon wellness while practicing 26 poses designed to pump oxygen through the blood. Tight muscles loosen as bodies absorb heated air, which seeps into pores during twists, balances, and forward bends. Coupled with deep-breathing exercises, the heat helps to oust toxins and tension through sweat beads and focused exhalations. When fatigue sets in, students draw inspiration from one of Bikram’s loftiest challenges: a knee injury that threatened his ability to walk. With hard work and the support of a caring yoga teacher, he regained his ability to stroll, sprint, and perform the hokey-pokey.
Managing his struggles with weight and depression via Bikram Yoga, studio director Dann Thew—determined to share his newfound passion with others—left his job in the oil industry to become a certified Bikram Yoga teacher. During each 90-minute class, balmy air within the sunny yellow studio envelops kinetic bodies in its 40-degree-Celsius embrace, coaxing forth detoxifying sweat from pores and revealing the identity of undercover snowmen with its 40 per cent humidity. Dann and his staff of instructors foster a welcoming, nonjudgmental environment while teaching the yogic method developed by Bikram Choudhury as they guide students through 26 postures accompanied by soothing breathing exercises that facilitate a full-body workout while enabling weary minds to recharge. To further ensure pupil's comfort, Bikram Yoga Oakville staff requires that posers bring along two litres of water, two towels, and a yoga mat to class.
Mystic Pointe Yoga's 900-square-foot space transitions easily from a yoga studio to a hot yoga studio, thanks to infrared heaters designed to boost metabolisms, detoxify systems, and help oxygenate blood. The studio complements infrared-warmed hot yoga classes with a variety of classic programs, such as Yoga Sculpt, which tones the entire body by working free weights into poses. Core Yoga, meanwhile, focuses on building abs and other central muscle groups. Relax and Flow yoga alleviates stress without teaching students to swaddle themselves inside rolled up yoga mats. The studio also offers more cardio-intense fitness classes such as Zumba and boot camp.
Named after the word tula, which signifies balance, Tula was created to promote guests' inner and outer harmony and well-being. After a Pilates or Hatha- or flow-yoga class—available in a hot or temperate studio—patrons can indulge in spa treatments ranging from herbal body wraps to Ayurvedic facials and massages. Each location evokes a soothing, nature-inspired look, characterized by wood flooring and water fountains. The studios' radiant heating panels, natural cleaning products, and organic spa products also speak to a desire for balance with the earth.
Tula has built a loyal local following for both its yoga classes and spa services. The Tula West location made a list of Best Health magazine writer Kat Tancock's favourite yoga studios. Studio director Isabel Lambert's "meticulous approach" to sugaring was praised by Fashion Magazine in 2010, and the establishment was voted Best Hot Yoga by BlogTo in 2012, along with Toronto's Best Workout Studio by Now.