May 25, 2018

Yoga for all

Squamish has classes literally for every body

— Discover Squamish
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Aerial yoga instructors Victor and Andi Javeri of Core Intentions yoga — David Buzzard

Whether you’re looking for a great workout or a great way to relax, there’s a type of yoga in Squamish for every body. From high-temperature triangles to aerial inversions, you’ll find your perfect practice right here. Best of all, many studios offer drop-in classes for visitors or those who are new to town.

Achieve great heights

If you want to combine yoga with acrobatic arts, explore anti-gravity Asana, or just love hanging from things, try aerial yoga.

Offered at Core Intentions (coreintentions.com), the benefits are said to include spinal decompression, pain relief, and the potential for finding better alignment in your general yoga practice.

“The decompression offered from the many different inversions is unlike anything else,” said co-owner and yoga Instructor, Andi Javerni. “While you are supported by the fabric, your muscles have a chance to relax and reverse the strain gravity can take… Plus, it’s the best savasana ever — floating!”

Classes are offered seven days a week, ranging from beginner to advanced. Drop-ins are welcome, though advanced booking is encouraged.

Great beginnings

Hatha yoga classes are a great place to begin any yoga practice, explained Tanya Skok Hobbs, yoga instructor at Shala Yoga (shalayoga.ca).

“What tends to set Hatha apart from other styles is that it is not a flow practice, but rather you move from one posture to another, holding them for longer. In this way, it is more accessible for beginners as it is slower moving and allows people to learn the postures.”

By first learning the postures, she added, it then becomes easier to link them together.

“It’s wonderful for the beginner student, or an experienced practitioner seeking a more relaxed class,” added Gabriel Shamash, Owner and Yoga Instructor at North Yoga (northyoga.net).

Hatha classes are offered at Shala Yoga, North Yoga, The Yoga Studio, and Moksha Yoga.

Turn up the heat

The benefits of cranking up the heat during yoga practice include increased flexibility, improved digestion, efficient fat burning, fluid-like stretching, and even a potential immunity boost, explained Shamash.

Not to mention the strengthening of willpower, self control, concentration, and determination in this challenging environment, he added.

“Like all forms of physical expression, one can move in a therapeutic, controlled way and not push or force their way into postures or shapes, while maintaining quality breathing… making it extremely healing and enjoyable,” he said, adding their Hot 26 Yoga series is designed with beginners in mind.

Moksha Yoga Squamish Studio (squamish.mokshayoga.ca) also offers heated classes, according to yoga instructor Kristy Soper, some of which are by-donation with all the money going to good causes. “People can practise for less… knowing their funds are going to organizations in need.”

Hot yoga is great for all ages and abilities, though if you have a serious heart condition or are deeply affected by heat you ought to be mindful, advises Shamash.

His advice is to arrive 15 minutes before your first class, come well hydrated, with a relatively empty stomach and plenty of water. Wear appropriate clothes (remember you’ll be sweating!), and pack both a towel and a mat if you have one.

“Most importantly take it easy and try to have some fun,” he said.

Hot yoga is available at North Yoga, and Moksha Yoga, both of which offer introductory passes and drop-in classes.

Energy to burn

For an energetic or dynamic workout, try Vinyasa yoga. From standing and balancing postures to folds, twists and turns, this type of yoga covers a spectrum of Asana and breathwork to keep the body busy while calming the mind.

“Vinyasa yoga, in its essence, is the linking of postures with breath,” explained Skok Hobbs.

“The traditional style is Ashtanga yoga, which is one breath one movement and is super vigorous. But there are also slow flow classes which are popular now where you’re flowing and holding between postures.”

The result can be an intense internal heat, along with a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs.

Though it can be vigorous, Vinyasa yoga is for everyone, including beginners, she said, though you may want to ask your teacher for modifications if it’s your first class.

Vinyasa yoga is offered at North Yoga, Shala Yoga, and The Yoga Studio.

At ease

Whether you’ve been active all day and need something to ease into, or are simply seeking a gentle practice, a yin or Restorative class may offer what you need. Squamish also offers Kundalini and meditation options.

Suitable for all levels, yin is about holding extended, deep postures to relax and restore joints and muscles, with a focus on relaxing, unwinding and tapping into your breath.

Yin classes are offered at The Yoga Studio, Moksha Yoga, Shala Yoga, and North Yoga.

Before and after baby

Yoga, when practiced safely, can be wonderful with a baby on board.

Pre-natal yoga is specifically designed to build physical, mental, and emotional strength and connection, explained Annie Martinello, yoga instructor at The Yoga Studio (theyogastudiosquamish.com) while preparing you for labour through breath work, visualizations, opening yoga postures, and exercises.

“Alongside the yoga practice, prenatal yoga classes are a special place to meet and connect with other mothers and mothers-to-be in your community,” she added. “It’s a really supportive practice that keeps your body, mind, and spirit healthy.”

The best time to begin is after 12 weeks, and once morning sickness has subsided, she explained, and you can continue right up until your due date. Plus, no yoga experience is necessary.

Once baby has arrived, postnatal yoga is also a wonderful, safe way to get back into movement and exercise while your little one joins you, explained Martinello, whose routine helps open up tight areas of the body, rebuilds physical strength in the core, balances and corrects posture, and uses breath work to release tension.

It’s also an excellent place to meet other moms and build friendships.

Prenatal and postnatal classes are offered at The Yoga Studio and through various workshops.

Your perfect practice

If you can’t find a class above that appeals, there are many others in town from Happy Hips to Kundalini, Acro Jam, and Yoga for Stiff Guys. Plus, there are frequent workshops with specific focuses.

And, unlike so many sports, budget needn’t be a barrier to yoga. Visitors can often borrow accessories during class, and many studios offer at least one weekly ‘by donation’ class. Plus, when the weather warms up, you won’t have to search far to find open-air classes in local parks and community spaces.

So, relax, breathe deep, and soak up the savasana here in Squamish. •

 

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Shala Yoga instructor Tanya Hobbs performs a Pincha Mayara Sana pose. - David Buzzard

 

 


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