During my year of intense dating, I went on a few outings with a guy who was really into yoga (he taught it as well). He was also outdoorsy, smart, and basically the classic Vancouver ‘ideal’ man. I’d been practising yoga on a very casual basis for the last fifteen years or so, and was at a point in my life where I particularly needed its calming effects. The ups-and-downs of the dating process can be tumultuous, to say the least, so some meditation and child’s pose really helped.
In any case, one day he called me and suggested we do a yoga class together. Personally, I’d never thought of it as a date idea but, in fact, it’s a great activity, even if it’s wordless. I would recommend going for coffee or a bite to eat afterwards as well to discuss your class. Yoga heightens awareness of the body, so there’s something highly sensory – even sensual – about doing yoga next to someone you’re attracted to. Plus, many yoga studios incorporate partner work into their classes, which will involve some form of physical contact between you and your date. Yoga also helps with tranquility that can sometimes be elusive on a date. I have a friend who consistently goes to yoga classes with her husband when she visits a new place as a way of grounding from the bustle of travel and sightseeing.
Vancouver certainly has no shortage of stellar yoga studios that offer a wide variety of environments and yoga and teaching styles. And with the rainy season on its way out and the weather warming up (yay!), outdoor yoga is also a great option for getting your namaste on together. Here are five Vancouver yoga options that are worth checking out:
My boyfriend lives near Dude Chilling Park (2390 Brunswick Street), and loves the community aspect of this green space in East Van. On any given day, you’ll see kids on swings, friends having ukulele jams, and groups playing Frisbee and football. Starting May 1 and running until the fall, this particular yoga collective will be offering FREE hatha classes everyday at 10am-11:15am, and 6pm-7:15pm. All ability levels are welcome. Breathe the fresh air in and out together.
I’ve tried numerous different yoga companies in town and Semperviva is one of my favourites (my date also occurred in one of their studios). The quality of teaching is top notch (they run their own yoga college), yoga mats and props are free, and they foster considerable camaraderie among students. They offer a variety of different types of yoga, including hatha, vinyasa power flow, prenatal, restorative, yin, and kundalini, in their four studios: Kits Beach Lifestyle Store (2201 West 4th Avenue), City Studio (1985 West Broadway), Sun Studio Wellness Centre (2608 West Broadway), and Sea Studio (200-1333 Johnston Street). The latter is especially striking, with wood beam design, and stunning views of the waterfront at Granville Island. Attending a class at sunset is magical. Their intro offer of $39 for 30 days is a good deal; otherwise, drop-in classes are $22. Outdoor yoga at Kitsilano Beach will begin in July (check on-line schedule for further updates).
Since dating can get very costly, Karma Teachers (45 West Hastings Street) is one way to enjoy yoga together more affordably. This yoga company is true to its name in its commitment to social responsibility and open-hearted generosity. Special events involve collaboration with not for profit groups, such as Covenant House and the Canadian Mental Health Association, as well as treatment of topics, such as eating disorders and youth empowerment. Classes are FREE or by donation, in order to allow access to those who normally would not be able to do yoga due to monetary restrictions. There are many different classes to choose from, like candle-light flow, sacred hatha, (em)power(ed) yoga, and vinyasa.
The largest yoga company in Canada has ten locations in the Lower Mainland, as well as one in Whistler and two in Toronto. Location aesthetics vary but, in general, expect sleek modern décor, mat and towel service, and impressive facilities (eg showers, change rooms, and infrared saunas). The Downtown Flow (888 Burrard Street) also has Vida Spas, which offers massages, facials, and ayurvedic therapies. YYoga’s range of classes is impressive, including YHot, hatha, ashtanga, jivamukti, warm yin, flow, power, pilates fusion, and YFit (a combo of circuit training and yoga). With over thirteen to choose from, you and your date should find something that suits both of you. Unlimited yoga and infrared sauna for 30 days is $40 for new members, and drop-in classes are $21.
Build the trust between your date and you by doing a class of AcroYoga together. This incredibly graceful practice (depending on skill level, of course!) combines yoga and acrobatics. Poses are done in partners, and thus involve not only strength, balance, and agility, but also teamwork and physical synchronicity. Instructor, Slava Goloubov, is skilled in yoga, as well as circus arts and tai chi. Classes take place at a variety of locations: Sundays 12pm-1:30pm ($10 cash drop-in) at Dharma Movement Company (1083 Cambie Street); Saturdays 7:30pm-9pm ($10 cash drop-in) at Sparticus Gym (1522 Commercial Drive); and Mondays 6pm-7:30pm ($19.05 drop-in rate) at the Hive (140-2270 Dollarton Highway, North Vancouver).