A community presence in Ottawa for more than 140 years, YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region remains true to its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages across all seven of its facilities. Staff members uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they invest in their community’s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, personal training, and full gymnasiums outfitted with equipment for basketball, soccer, and rope skipping. They’ve also filled their fitness centres with free weights, cardio equipment, and weight machines. When they’re not helping adults trim down waistlines during yoga, boxing, and salsa-dance classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead children’s day camps, after-school programs, birthday parties, and outdoor education.
These YMCA-YWCA outposts are dedicated to helping all members of the community. They provide those in need with emergency and youth housing, employment services, and domestic-violence support programs. They further strengthen and unite the Ottawa community through the YActive Assist program, which adjusts membership rates to help families that can’t afford the full cost of any of YMCA’s progressive programs.
When his father suffered a heart attack, presumably brought on by years of smoking, drinking, and eating junk food, Luke knew he had to “be the change.” So, at the age of 17, he embarked on a fitness quest for the first time in his life, eventually losing 50 pounds and gaining a new outlook on life. Today, Luke has become Dr. Luke, and he runs his own fitness and health centre, ReveLUKEtion Boot Camp. Whether through personal training or group classes, Luke guides each of his clients through their weight-loss and fitness goals. Not only does he motivate them through strength and cardio exercises four times a week at boot-camp sessions, but he also fortifies training with helpful diet and nutrition tips, such as filling up on vegetables and eating cake only on your birthday so the calories don’t count. Dr. Luke’s successful work with clients has also landed him various local-television appearances, where has spoken as an expert on childhood obesity and divulged workout tips and tricks.
David Jewitt did not found Santosha Yoga, but when the original owners left for the United States, the yoga enthusiast scooped up the studio like a baby bird with an injured wing struggling to salute the sun. He nurtured the business until it flourished and he could open a second location and bring in Arizonan yoga veteran Margaret Konopacki to corun the business with him. Together, they restructured the company to better serve the growing yoga community. Today, David, Margaret, and their staff of yoga instructors continue to reach out to yoga students of all specialties by offering six styles including traditional Hatha, aerobic Vinyasa, and meditative yin yoga. The Westboro centre also hosts special workshops, such as teacher trainings focusing on perfecting sun salutations with perfect hat doffs or philosophical explorations of the art with yogi Michael Stone.
Steps from the hustle and bustle of Parliament Hill lies an oasis that swelters even in the depths of winter. Though it teems with cool, filtered water and the occasional potted plant, this place isn't a tropical rainforest or the pied-à-terre of a wealthy goldfish. It's Bikram Yoga Ottawa, where sultry temperatures and ancient exercises join forces to foster wellness. Here, students of all skill levels practice 26 Hatha-inspired poses sequenced by Bikram Choudhury, an athlete who used yoga to mend a serious knee injury. Muscles become extra pliable in the heat, easing into stretches that foster flexibility, stamina, and strength. Pores oust toxins throughout the 90-minute routine, which summons sweat with toe stands, forward bends, and deep-breathing exercises. After class, students can steam away stress in the studio's showers.
Empower Me Yoga's crew of 16 instructors guides students through gentle, moderate, and intense yoga courses. Budding yogis and those that prefer a relaxed approach can try the Yoga for Everyone session, during which a guru guides students through the basic precepts of meditation, breathing, and postures. Moderate classes build on these foundations, and yogis who want to oust toxins along with tension can sweat through a slightly heated take on the classic version of Hatha in warm yoga. Marla Ericksen, the studio's program director, also mints brand new yogis in programs that take place at the studio's Teacher Training Academy.
The founder of the Ashtanga form, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, proclaimed once that "yoga is 99% practice, and 1% theory." For Janice DeFilippi, a more appropriate ratio would be 99 per cent practice, and 1 per cent airfare, as she took several yoga retreats to Mysore, India, to study under the late Pattabhi Jois directly. When she's not furthering her knowledge of the Ashtanga philosophy or practicing overseas, she's working alongside her team of certified instructors to expand this powerful practice throughout Ottawa. They teach the arts of proper alignment and breath-linked movement during Ashtanga and Mysore classes, doling out personal attention and hands-on corrections.