Vancouver was arguably Canada’s earliest adopter of yoga culture, though in the ’70s the scene was almost entirely female. The modern scene, locally, nationally and internationally, is moving towards a much better balance of the sexes. Here in Van city, Semperviva Yoga Studios offers a combination of class styles for one price at four separate locations. Perhaps the city’s manliest — or at least most male-attended — studios, Semperviva is certainly a great place for beginner male yoga practitioners.
In terms of class levels, new students can choose the Absolute Beginners Workshop, which focuses on the fundamental yoga postures and breathing techniques. Hatha classes are open to all levels, for those with even just a little experience. Hatha works on strengthening, stretching and toning, and offers a variety of poses from mild to challenging. Kundalini is the more dynamic, fast-paced session, moving through specific yoga sets. Power Flow works on strength and breathing, also at a lively pace. Yin is the style for those who need to stretch out and target tendons and ligaments; it features lengthy poses that open up connective tissue.
There are numerous instructors at all of the Semperviva locations, allowing practitioners to change up routines and teachers with ease. Teacher training is also available.
The studios start classes at 6:15 a.m. on weekdays and go until 7:30 or 8:30 pm. Saturday sessions start at 8:00 a.m., Sundays at 9:00 a.m., with both days finishing with a 7:30 class. Throughout any given day, there are 15-20 classes on the half and full hour.
Fear not if you don’t own your own equipment: the studios offer yoga mats and various yoga props, and there are Lifestyle Stores at two of the locations where you can purchase equipment along with vitamins, supplements skin care and inspirational books.
The studios are located around Kitsilano, with lots of parking in the area. The Semperviva City Studio at 1985 West Broadway (604-730-5522) has recycled rubber floors, making it feel like a giant yoga mat. Over at 2608 West Broadway the Semperviva Sun Studio (604-739-2009) is smaller and cosier, offering tea after class. At 2201 Fourth Avenue, the Kits Beach location (604-739-2088) has floor-to-ceiling windows offering natural light (but with window coverings to shield you from passersby). The Granville Island Sea Studio is located on the waterfront in a heritage building on Johnston Street (604-739-2087), boasting 180 degree waterfront views. Different locations means you’ll never get bored.
In addition to the city classes, Semperviva offers workshops such as this January’s yoga for Snowboarders or February’s Valentine partner yoga and yoga retreats if you are ready to get away for a healthy holiday. In March, they’re headed to Costa Rica, May to Galiano Island and June all the way to Greece.
Image courtesy of Semperviva Yoga.