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.
Honking cars amble through down the bustling streets of restaurants and boutiques in the surrounding Golden Triangle neighborhood, but the interior of the Santosha Yoga studio is an oasis of calm and tranquility. Sunlight gleams down on the hardwood floors, where a rotating cast of certified instructors lead classes in a variety of yoga styles throughout the day. In the mornings, instructor Robin Russel Hosein teaches Hatha yoga, guiding students through traditional poses and breathing exercises to build strength, spinal alignment, and breath awareness. Later on, Laura Conroy directs students through the movements of vinyasa flow, the yoga modality most favored by rap artists. When Jane Baird takes over for hot yoga classes, she cranks up the temperature in the studio to encourage detoxifying perspiration and increased flexibility. All instructors strive to maintain a peaceful and focused energy during the classes, requesting that participants turn off cellphones and refrain from chitchat.
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.
Relaxation is both a concept and a destination at Soma Health & Fitness, where sleek wooden floors are bathed in the sunbeams streaming in from symmetrical skylights. Here, visitors steep selves in soothing services such as massage therapy and physiotherapy, which pairs clients with certified professionals for one-on-one treatments that tackle movement difficulties with postural correction, muscle stimulation, and ultrasound treatments to seek out cursive injury reports spelled out in knotted tendons. Rehabilitative kinesiology combined with yoga and cardio fitness classes in the fully-equipped gym boost clients' cardiovascular health and muscle tone while providing an outlet for emotional renewal.
Windhorse offers a bevy of body-stretching yoga classes, with up to six sessions offered daily in its encouraging and environmentally friendly environment. Your Groupon is good for two weeks' worth of unlimited yoga, and you can mix and match among the courses to find your favourite flexibility style. Marathoners fresh off the trail will want to sample the yoga for runners course, which can increase lung capacity and mental focus, while patrons with chiropractic concerns may want to try a Somayog session for spinal soothing. More than 15 kindly instructors teach classes for all levels of experience, welcoming students of all age groups, from zygotes to ancestral spirits.
At La Sangha Yoga de Gatineau, founder Natalie Tomaro draws from her 12 years of professional yogic practice and a lifetime of passion for strengthening the human body and brain to help her students discover their physical and spiritual potential. Natalie has amassed hundreds of hours of training from masters such as Marcia Solomon, Richard Freeman, and Vyass Houston, developing a deep respect and understanding for the meditation and asanas of yoga. In addition to equipping novices with the skills and guidance for practicing healthful, fulfilling, yoga, La Sangha hosts regular events such as breathing workshops and Vipassana meditation sessions.
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.