Inside a steamy studio, the experienced yogis at Bikram Yoga Westbank spend 90 minutes leading students of all skill levels through a series of 26 poses developed by Bikram Choudhury. Bikram brought his system from India to the U.S. at the request of the American Medical Association. Since then, he founded the Yoga College of India and has taught both actors and athletes. During each class, poses massage internal organs, stimulate nervous systems, and release deficient enzymes and hormones—a process that brings balance to the body, increases flexibility, and enables the average person to sleep inside a sock drawer.
With more than 40 years of yogic practice between them, Sonya and Jeff Thomlinson teach the methodologies of Kripalu yoga, which focuses equally on physical and meditative elements. Together, they run Trinity Yoga Center's teacher-training program, sharing the lessons they learned from many internationally recognized yogis such as Stephen Cope, Ana Forrest, and Shiva Rea. During daily classes at Trinity’s two locations, the teachers, in turn, reach out to beginning practitioners, aiding them in achieving perfect postures even as they reflect inward. Individual sessions focus on aspects of yoga such as core power, stress reduction, and candlelit meditation. Students leave class with calmer, more focused minds and increased levels of energy that occasionally result in them sneezing lightning bolts.
Inspired by the teachings of living yogi master B.K.S. Iyengar, the well-trained teachers at Kelowna Yoga House guide students through a practice that champions prop-supported backbends and inversions to bolster stamina, strength, and range of movement. Beginner classes introduce bodies to the basic standing poses and inversions on the spacious studio's hardwood floors, and more experienced practitioners can delve into the intermediate and advancing classes' unsupported backbends and inversions. Gentle yoga makes use of belts, ropes, and pillows to help practitioners assume proper poses and craft a Rube Goldberg pillow fluffer after class, and a slow pace eases those working with injuries. With 25 classes a week, yogis can stretch with more frequency than a superhero's spandex biking shorts.
It isn't just the instructors at Kelowna Hot Yoga Studio who help students connect with their bodies: the studio space is also vital. A high-efficiency air system generates up to 12 airflow changes every hour, and a UV filter system keeps the air free of toxins, odors, and bacteria. All-natural floors, gently cleaned with eco-friendly soaps, cradle bodies during classes. And yet the most important amenity is the infrared heat—it penetrates deep into muscles to warm students rather than the air around them, improving on the old technique of just eating hot water bottles.
Kelowna Hot Yoga Studio is the brainchild of founder Brenda Wowk. Brenda draws from her yoga studies in India—and experience as a reiki practitioner and personal trainer—to helm a range of heated and non-heated classes tailored to all ages and ability levels. Instructors help students stretch out muscle fibers, loosen joints, and condition their cardiovascular systems in classes spanning styles from hatha to warm yin to ashtanga, each heated to between 85°F and 103°F. The studio also holds advanced workshops, yoga teacher trainings, and a yoga boot camp.
At Inner Light Yoga and Wellness, each class is a physical journey toward enhanced self-awareness. Sessions begin with breath work, helping to synch the lungs with the rest of the body as the instructor directs one’s focus inward. Mid sessions are devoted to the practice of Asanas, or poses, used with varying breathing techniques to help both stretch and strengthen the body, relieving stress and creating balance in both the body and mind. Sessions conclude with focused relaxation, allowing the cessation of thought that frees up the consciousness. The dynamic wellness center also offers sessions in guided meditation, Reiki, Pilates, and belly dancing.
Reflexions Studio's seasoned yoga instructors guide students toward inner peace by teaching them to close their eyes and open their hearts, minds, and ears. Leading by example, they shower their charges with personal attention and words of encouragement during classes powered by ancient poses and breathing exercises. Ninety degrees of infrared heat oust tightness and toxins during Hot Flow classes, which build strength and flexibility with 26 beginner-friendly poses. Zumba's modern, Latin-inspired dance moves give bodies a cardiovascular challenge, and Indoor Bootcamp's calisthenics offer a workout as old-school as a typewriter made of sarsaparilla candies. No matter the class, hardwood floors provide a solid foundation for bends, balances, and inversions, and paper lanterns fill the tranquil space with a warm glow.