Sunny Trim knows the tolls that a desk job can take on the body. When working at a travel agency, she found herself battling constant headaches. Eventually, she tried taking yoga classes to ease the pain. Their combination of bends, balances, deep breaths, and relaxation exercises soothed her noggin and kindled her entrepreneurial spirit. After completing more than 200 hours of teacher training, she put her business plan into motion. Instead of asking students to leave their desks and trek to her classes?a hurdle that many busy, would-be yogis find insurmountable?she began bringing yoga to them, in boardrooms, rooftop gardens, and other communal office spaces. In addition to fighting computer-induced eyestrain and the muscle tension that accumulates while sitting at a desk, corporate yoga classes can help employees sharpen their focus, boost their productivity and develop healthful habits for the long run, which helps prevent sick days and curb health-care costs.
In addition to sending more than 200 highly trained instructors to workplaces throughout the city, Sunny has launched a studio where students can escape all thoughts of budget proposals and progress reports. Located in Royal Centre Mall, this sanctuary teems with stress-busting classes for yogis of all levels, including beginner-friendly Hatha sessions filled with poses that build strength and flexibility. The studio also hosts Pilates sessions, whose isometric exercises sculpt core muscles and make limbs as sturdy as those of a redwood in a chain-mail suit.
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.
The team at just yoga lead classes for all levels, including back to basics classes that focus on building a firm yoga foundation. They also lead Hatha classes that focus on breathing and slow-moving postures, Kundalini classes that combine meditation with energetic poses to strengthen abs and immune systems, and Restorative yoga classes that help students overcome stress-related disorders through supported poses. In fact, the focus overall is on a more relaxed form of yoga than one might find at other studios. Part of the reason for that might be the team of instructors, who draw on backgrounds in a range of healing techniques.
That laid-back spirit might also emanate from the quirky studio itself, which has a gleaming floor made from ten different kinds of wood as well as two bathrooms finished in bright red and blue respectively. The space also provides views of the North Shore Mountains, and it's warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Interaction there is not focused solely on yoga, though, as the staff likes to get to know their patrons, going so far as to chat over tea after classes. That same sensibility pervades the on-site shop, which stocks not only eco-friendly yoga mats, but lamps, organic products, teas, and gifts.
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.
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 club was named one of the three best boot camps in 2013 and 2014 by "The Georgia Straight Best of Vancouver." 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.
Since its inception, Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Club has 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, the gym strives to fulfill that vision by maximizing each member's experience in a fun and friendly environment, while offering a well-rounded approach to health and fitness.
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.