The instructors at Bikram Yoga North Vancouver focus on Bikram yoga, which was founded by Bikram Choudhury, who started his practice at age 4 and won the National India Yoga Championship at age 13. He later injured his knee in a weightlifting accident, and despite a grim prognosis from doctors who said he would never walk again, Bikram continued his yoga practice and made a full recovery. Each 90-minute Bikram-yoga class takes place in a studio heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and consists of one series of 26 poses. This discipline can move oxygenated blood throughout the body, increase muscle tone, improve overall health, and steam unsuspecting vegetables.
Inside a room heated to a balmy 105 degrees Fahrenheit, a certified Bikram yoga instructor leads students through eagle, locust, and rabbit poses. These poses, part of a 26-asana sequence designed by yogi Bikram Choudhury, are intended to increase oxygen and blood flow through every inch of the body. Though the physical benefits of a stronger, more flexible body are undeniable, the good done to the mental and spiritual selves can only be described—a greater sense of peace, increased mental clarity, and the ability to tolerate people who talk about their night dreams. Eager to share its passion for the practice, the staff at Bikram Yoga equips new students with everything they need to succeed. Friendly receptionists hand students towels and mats before pointing them in the direction of clean, sleek changing and shower areas. The studio itself is constantly filled with purifying practitioners, as a deep bench of certified instructors teach both morning and evening classes seven days a week.
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.
Though it's only been around since 2007, YYoga has already grown to include nine locations in B.C. and one in Toronto. In addition to introducing yoga to a wide audience, YYoga strives to "make the world a better place," a vision shared by its founders Terry McBride and Lara Kozan. The centre does so by inviting its members to tap into yoga's body-mind-soul connection, which strengthens core muscles, instills relaxation, and boosts self-awareness more effectively than installing mirrors into eyeglass lenses. This in turn helps members live more fulfilling lives, making their world—and the world of those around them—a better place.
When she opened Robson St. Yoga, certified teacher Terra Hanna envisioned a community centre where students of all levels could cultivate safe, healthful yoga practices in small classes with skilled instructors. Today, seven instructors lead classes of 15 or fewer students. In addition to beginner- and intermediate-level curricula, Robson St. Yoga offers specialized gentle yoga and Yoga for stiff People, which is perfect for those who struggle with flexibility, or for Buckingham Palace guards.
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.