Giggling children tumble into pits filled with foam cubes, bounce on trampolines, swing on ropes, or roll around mats shape like doughnuts and cheese wedges. Across the room, older kids twirl, flip, and pace on Olympic-grade bars and balance beams. When designing Cartwheels Inc., founders Katherine Campbell and Lisa Lacamell wanted to provide a space for serious gymnastics and cheerleading training as well as a place for children to have fun. They employed expertise from a lifetime of gymnastics training, and roles as the national course conductor for Gymnastics Canada and board director for Gymnastics BC, respectively. They hold their staff––many of whom come from yoga, dance, and fitness backgrounds––to high standards: each holds at least a level-one NCCP certification, child-safety-focused Respect in Sport certification, and first-aid certification.Cartwheels Inc's instructors coach children as young as 18 months in classes taught to the standards of the National Coaching Certification Program, giving them stylish ways to climb into bunk beds. Beyond tumbling and gymnastics classes, girls also combine gymnastics, dance, and stunting formations to hone cheerleading skills in recreational and competitive all-star cheerleading programs. In the summer, gym staffers lead day camps that combine gymnastics and arts-and-crafts instruction with off-site field trips, allowing children to visit water parks or meet the man who invented water. Recognizing that their gym spaces can also serve as a playground, Katherine and Lisa also organize birthday parties and kids'-night-out events to host hours of unstructured play.
Students shed their shoes when entering Vayusha Yoga, signalling that they're ready to take the first steps toward inner peace. Here, certified instructors guide them through ancient poses tailored to the needs of modern yogis, including physical fitness and stress relief. Beginners thrive in most classes, which range from relaxing, stretch-filled Hatha routines to Flow sessions brimming with deep breaths and sun salutations. The temperature rises for Lava Flow classes, loosening tight muscles to facilitate twists, balances, and basic inversions. In addition to hosting classes at the studio, instructors lead yoga retreats at a Nicaraguan eco lodge, where students can nap in treehouses, learn to surf, or teach local spider monkeys the downward-facing dog.
Bikram Yoga Surrey stretches its students through 90-minute sessions of therapeutic Hatha/Roja yoga, under the balanced guidance of experienced Bikram yogis. A 30-day unlimited yoga package ($120) allows bodies to bend through 26 poses in forty classes per week, the amount of time required for a gorilla to beat a chimpanzee at chess. Sessions start at 6 a.m. most days and glaze over zenith hours until after 9 p.m. Bikram yoga builds its breathing exercises and postures in a heated room so that joints are fully lubricated and lungs are poised to recite a thermophilic ode. Done sequentially, the 26 Bikram poses are known to improve flexibility, realign spines, flush the body, and tone muscles.