Fusion Fitness Pilates Studio helps guests improve their core strength, flexibility, and posture through an array of Pilates classes. Rather than focusing on a few specific muscle groups, Pilates workouts are designed to exercise the entire body?unless you have vestigial wings, that is. Some sessions involve mat exercises, and others use devices such as the Reformer. Unlike free weights, the Reformer alters its levels of resistance as you use it, creating an exercise tailored to your specific capabilities.
"Yoga, Pilates and Dance saved my life," declares Rachel Wainwright on Exhale Studio's website. Her path to these practices was spurred by a particularly rocky point in her life, when she craved a way to feel happy and alive. Diving into yoga, Pilates, and dance helped her feel at peace and more able to listen to her intuition, to such a point that she felt like she’d stumbled onto a secret. Desiring to share this feeling and her passion with others, Wainwright opened Exhale Studio—so named to serve as a constant reminder to release and let go. She gathered a team of like-minded instructors and, through her classes, started helping others to let go and embrace life while they built strength and balance.
In yoga sessions, clients gain flexibility and balance through a series of poses and breathing exercises. Yoga styles include refreshing hatha yoga, dynamic vinyasa flow, flexibility-boosting yin yoga, and tranquil candlelight yoga. They also offer Pilates classes that work to align the spine and build core muscles. Meanwhile, dance lessons help burn calories and build self-esteem while learning dance hall, Zumba, burlesque, belly dancing, hip-hop, and the correct spelling of the YMCA.
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.
With a focus on giving its clients an intimate, small-studio experience, Sanga Yoga Studio's cozy Dunbar Street location accepts no more than 18 students per class. Studio owner and Vancouver Yoga Conference faculty member Shannon Cluff harnesses her experience from mentoring more than 40 yoga teachers to inspire and guide Sanga's team of instructors. Together, they lead a comprehensive roster of daytime and evening classes that includes Hatha yoga, Flow, and Yin suitable for both beginning and advanced yogis.
Shannon's ongoing commitment to the development and growth of yoga instructors manifests itself in her Teacher's Integration Program, where she counsels certified teachers, showing them how to refine their instructional approaches and encouraging their progress along the way with downward-facing fist-bumps.
Steps from the SkyTrain, limbs reach toward the clouds and footsteps simulate thunderstorms? rumbles. Inside Urban Fitness Club, exercisers perform these ancient yoga poses and Latin-inspired dance moves as they admire downtown?s nature and architecture. As fun and buoyant as a bounce castle filled with helium, motivating instructors impart these moves during classes for students of all skill levels and body types. Boot camps, one of the club?s specialties, challenge cadets with a series of bodyweight exercises such as planks and burpees, which may be interspersed with cardio challenges such as step-ups and jump-rope drills. The brand new Urban Fitness Club in South Granville is located on the corner of Granville and 6th Ave., and boasts more than 1,500 sq. ft. of training area with ample free or metered parking nearby.
Lisa and Danny, the owners and directors of Bikram Yoga Vancouver, began their mutual journey under the tutelage of Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India as well as the style of yoga that now bears his name. After a knee injury left him crippled at 17, Bikram willed himself toward recovery with the help of his teacher, Bishnu Ghosh, and the series of 26 asanas that the two designed specifically to heal the body’s chronic physical ailments.
Today, Lisa and Danny continue to teach those same 26 poses to students of all levels. Their classes unfold in a studio heated to a fiery 40.5 degrees Celsius; the high temperatures help the body shed tension, toxins, and piggybacking snowmen. Focused breathing exercises complement sitting and standing poses that propel oxygen to the body's extremities and strengthen muscles.