I’ve been doing yoga since I was a kid, tagging along to my mum’s occasional classes. I started taking the practice seriously three years ago and earned my 200-hour yoga instructor certification last summer.
Though I mostly practice on my own, Breath of Life yoga studio piqued my interest due to their modernization of yoga. They make it accessible for people seeking guidance in the physical or spiritual side of yoga.
Whereas Yoga with Erica at Yoga in the Alpine focuses on traditional yoga and follows a lifestyle approach. This approach attempts to integrate yogic philosophies of peace and patience into other aspects of our daily lives.
They’re two fascinating studios of the Whitehorse yoga community.
Breath of Life Yoga Studio
An oasis for yoga newbies at any age
The Breath of Life is an enchanting yogic nook nestled alongside the Yukon River. Walking in, there’s calming music, a mat for your shoes and a boutique of yoga-inspired clothing and jewellery.
The studio space fits 28 students, and there are two treatment spaces used for massage and other therapies.
From kids to senior yoga classes, Breath of Life is continuously working towards their goal of making yoga accessible to everyone. Within a single class, their yoga teachers provide variations to the needs of their students.
The studio offers a wide variety of both registered and drop-in classes. Some classes are gentle and slow moving, while others ask participants to hold asanas (poses) for long periods of time.
Some focus on strength, flexibility or meditation. Some flow continuously from asana to asana, following the inhalation and exhalation of the breath.
There are more vigorous classes practicing arm balances and inversions, such as headstands. There’s even heated yoga in the fall and winter.
To ensure everyone has the means to practice, Breath of Life offers a scholarship program as well as a pay-by-donation class on Sunday mornings.
According to Jessica Read, owner of Breath of Life, yoga is a journey of self-discovery. It’s absorbing the physical practice of noticing of what it is presently happening in your body, such as deep breathing, softening muscles and slowing down the mind.
It’s then taking that notice and integrating it into one’s daily life, such as by changing one’s responses to stressful situations.
According to Read, you don’t need to be flexible to do yoga. Yoga is for everybody and any age. It can lengthen muscles, but it can also reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression.
Her advice to people stepping foot into a yoga studio for the first time is to explore. There are many unique classes that suit different people and different mindsets. Breath of Life will be more than happy to help you figure out your best yoga fit.
Breath of Life yoga studio is located at #150 2237 on 2nd Avenue in
Whitehorse. Find more info at http://www.breathoflifestudio.com/
Yoga with Erica
Practice with dedicated teacher and yoga extraordinaire, Erica Heuer
Erica Heuer began to practice yoga in 1994, focusing on Iyengar, which is a form of yoga that emphasizes detail, precision, and alignment of the body in asanas (postures) and pranayama (breath control).
Since then, Heuer has studied a variety of traditional forms of yoga, while practicing yoga as a lifestyle that, as she says, “develops human awareness.”
In 2007 she began teaching above the Alpine Bakery on Alexander Street. It’s a lovely space with honey-coloured log walls. The windows provide a surplus of light and air in the summer, while a propane fireplace provides warmth and coziness in the winter.
The studio is equipped with a bathroom with a shower, a small change room, a kitchenette and an entire wall of yoga props.
In Heuer’s research, she’s found “yoga,” which is a Sanskrit word, is loosely translated to mean “union”. Union of the dualities within the body, to be more precise.
She provides the examples that yoga is of the union of the energies of the inhalation and exhalation. It’s the union of the front and back of the body, or the union of effort and ease within a pose. The physical unions allows one to grow stronger, more flexible and more aware.
If you find the right class, the benefits of yogic union can extend into improvements in mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Heuer offers a wide variety of classes, ranging from vigorous to therapeutic intensities. From “Rise and Shine” morning classes, to “Hips, Hams and Better Backs” to “Intermediate Yoga Classes,” Heuer can be found teaching five to 14 yoga classes per week.
Heuer, herself, reaped the benefits of yoga slowly, and she hopes to help her students discover the healing of yoga at a quicker pace than she did. This is her ultimate goal as a teacher: to share. Heuer hopes to share her wisdom and knowledge with all who attend her class.
Finally, her message to anyone thinking about trying yoga for the first time is simply to come. The fact that people have been practicing yoga for centuries indicates it’s a well-loved art that isn’t disappearing any time soon, and proves humans will always have a need to come for a calm mind and renewed spirit.
Erica Heuer’s Yoga in the Alpine studio is located upstairs at the Alpine Bakery at 411 Alexander Street in Whitehorse. Find more info at http://www.yogayukon.ca/yogayukon/Schedule.html