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.
Stuart Gross’ passion for holistic healthcare stems from personal experience. After his young son spent many months enduring eczema that had not responded to conventional treatment, Gross took him to a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine who was able to clear the symptoms almost overnight. Gross had also been affected by the passing of his father, who died of preventable diabetes and heart disease at the age of 54, as well as the death of his father-in-law, which was a result of the side effects of the drugs he was taking for rheumatoid arthritis. Gross decided to give up his career as an auto mechanic and explore ways in which alternative therapies can heal people. He took a course in nutrition and started working in a health store. Using skills developed during his car-repair days, Gross then trained in various holistic assessment tools and equipment.
Today, Gross uses his knowledge and experience at Yaletown Holistics, where he offers services including oxygen therapy and a variety of homeopathic and nutritional supplements. Gross is also an advanced practitioner in electro-acupuncture according to Voll (EAV), a German-made diagnostic device designed to reveal bodily imbalances and conditions such as food sensitivities and heavy-metal toxicity. Guests also target impurities in a cozy, private infrared sauna, which can be used in conjunction with an iPod or personal yodeler to provide relaxing music.
"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.
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.
When the owners of Integrative Healing Arts chose a logo for their natural health center, they opted for the Tibetan symbol of the endless knot. The knot traditionally represents the interconnectedness of the universe, making it uniquely suited to a clinic that seeks to understand the interconnected elements of each patient’s health.
By integrating different healing styles, from chiropractic and massage to traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy, the three naturopathic physicians that helm the clinic strive to combat ailments without oversimplifying them. Many treatments are designed to ease medical issues without the side effects associated with traditional procedures, including prolotherapy treatments that help alleviate chronic pain with sugar water injections and thermography scans that check for disease without harmful radiation or ticklish cootie shots. At their spa, technicians can buff away dead skin and fine lines with microdermabrasion and firm features with non-surgical facelifts powered by the Rejuveness system. Visitors can also shop for their own holistic remedies in the natural dispensary, which stocks a range of Chinese herbs, homeopathic solutions, and natural hormones.