The life of a contractor can already take its toll on a back, but Stacey Reeves was a mountain biker, too. After a biking accident in which he injured his neck, Stacey turned to yoga as a way to exercise while hopefully easing his chronic pain. Suffice it to say he quickly became enamoured with it.
Still, Stacey frequently found himself the only man in any of his classes, despite its overwhelmingly positive effects on his physical and mental well-being. So he decided to found his own studio instead, soon registering as a certified instructor and creating a space where men could explore the form in a male-focused environment. Today, YoGuys holds weekly classes at each of the two spacious locations. Owing to his casual discovery of yoga, he takes a casual approach to classes, fostering a relaxed, organic atmosphere as he helps students tone their muscles through flowing movements, or yang, and tighten their joints in static poses, or yin, which together enable yogis to work multiple areas of their body at once without having to arm-wrestle an octopus.
World Dance Co.'s team of instructors, which includes three-time World Cuban Salsa champion Diego Sanchez, teaches duos how to move during dance classes and dance-inspired fitness routines. The class lineup teems with ballroom boogies such as the argentine tango and folkloric dances from the Caribbean, and South America. Students can choose from classes ranging from salsa, bachata, tango, zouk, cumbia, swing, cha-cha, Afro-Cuban, Zumba, yoga, ballet, jazz, hip hop, and tap.
Adult students can master four different styles of salsa that may combine Cuban, Colombian, and American influences. Children's classes explore classical traditions such as ballet and modern innovations such as street-inspired jazz dancing. World Dance Co. also serves as the residence of the Grupo America Latin-dance team, whose professional dancers combine energetic routines with eye-catching costumes.
Ron Zalko started working out to keep himself away from the fridge. Over time, he shed more than 50 pounds and became a devoted triathlete, founding Ironman Canada and his eponymous gym, which helps exercisers of all levels cross-train their way to physical fitness. In addition to filling his 20,000-square-foot facility with state of the art cardio and strength equipment, he has developed cardio routines with aerobics superstar Jane Fonda and designed custom workouts for celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Sylvester Stallone, and Amanda Seyfried. A ladies-only area invites women to sweat to their hearts’ content on treadmills and StairMasters and sculpt their biceps with free weights and plate-loaded machines rather than tractor-lifting competitions. Hardwood floors line the group exercise classroom, where yoga, Pilates, aerobics, and spinning routines melt calories and tone muscles.
“Any reason for practicing yoga is a good reason. Enhancing flexibility and releasing stress are as noble a purpose for performing yoga as the awakening of spirituality,” explain doctors Deepak Chopra and David Simon in their book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. At Chopra Yoga Center, yogis incorporate the philosophies of Chopra and Simon into each breath and pose, whether performed in meditative sessions or beginners classes such as power, Pilates, and hot classes. The modern and airy studio provides a serene contrast from the hustle and bustle of streetcars playing hopscotch just outside. After workouts in one of the two bright, spacious yoga rooms, newly centred bodies can continue unwinding in the sauna, or book a massage or acupuncture session with one of the Center's wellness professionals.
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.
The Crossfit BC coaches strive to reach all ages and skill levels, from aged grandparents to experienced athletes, they reject specialization, designing ever-changing daily workouts to develop all dimensions of health. A lift might be followed by gymnastics work, such as a handstand; other sessions might include activities such as rowing or jumping boxes. Every exercise is scalable, too, meaning there's always an easier or tougher version to challenge each participant's fitness level. Unlike some programs that motivate with drill-sergeant shouting, the Crossfit coaches keep things positive by cheering on their classes and occasionally letting a stampede of unicorns loose into the room.