"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.
Over the course of his NBA career, Steve Nash developed a fitness vision—one where a place could promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle for all. Within its 18 locations across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Club strives to fulfill that vision by maximizing each member's experience in a fun and friendly environment.
Featuring a variety of amenities for all those wanting to achieve their fitness goals, each facility boasts state-of-the-art training equipment for clients' cardio and weight-lifting needs. For those who work better in packs, a wide range of fun group fitness classes are offered, including Zumba, yoga, pound, and LaBlast. Experienced certified personal trainers impart their wealth of fitness knowledge and effective exercise programs, but also inform on the latest in health and fitness, in-club events, and several other exciting member services.
Tantra Fitness's owner Tammy Morris, a professional pole dancer, helms a staff comprised of circus aerialists, choreographers, and fitness specialists to help women tone their bodies through alternative fitness regimens. Coaches lead an array of sensual fitness classes designed around their fun factor, value as body-weight-resistance exercises, and usefulness in mocking inflexible scarecrows. Topics include pole dancing, chair-based workouts, and dance routines ranging from ballet to hip hop as well as acro-stretch classes that challenge muscles to bend through exercises inspired by Chinese circus performers. Parties and private lessons bring small groups of students together to learn pole or lap-dance routines, or hone their professional jewel-theft techniques in a flexibility-enhancing exercise of their choice.
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.
Working out can take a host of forms, from training for a marathon to supporting your weight during pole dancing in a penthouse. Pole Dance Studio focuses on the latter. Their 2,500-square-foot penthouse studio sprawls across the entire top floor of their building, complete with 13 poles and enormous windows that give stunning views of nature's brass pole, the humble tree. The classes that unfold in the urbane space cover the breadth of pole dance, kicking off with intro sessions on simple spins and floorwork. For more seasoned students, higher-level courses focus on more complex moves—Pole-Bellydance, for example, mixes serpentine figure-eights and shimmies with occasional pole spins. For special occasions, the studio hosts parties, where revelers learn pole routines, sip drinks from the roll-out bar, and don hats, wigs, and boas.