◊ THE CLASS: Warm Flow ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
As we continue to sample fitness classes across Canada, we wanted to dive a little deeper into the surprisingly artsy and cool city of Edmonton, AB. Edmonton’s yoga scene has a vanguard-esque thing going on and the passionate fitness community is constantly looking for new ways to get people out and stretching. Whether it’s rooftop yoga, doughnut yoga (where you literally get a doughnut at the end of class), or basically anything that City Yoga X puts on (a pop-up, by donation yoga establishment around YEG) there is always something new to try. We landed on Yoga Central because we were looking for a down-home studio for our first yoga review and we wanted to see what the established YEG yoga scene was all about. Yoga Central is a small studio hidden on the south side of Edmonton. Our favorite part; it has what can only be described as a “living room” vibe in that it’s comfortable, relaxed, and like your Aunt is cooking in the kitchen. They’re most known for the incredibly diverse offering of classes, and therefore their incredibly loaded class schedule, and a big part about their ethos is inclusivity and tailoring programs to different needs. The classes are packed full of regular yogis and new faces alike with literally ALL the types, ages and experiences you can smoosh into one peaceful place. The studio is self-described as a “non-pretentious”, beginner friendly studio, but don’t take that to mean experienced or intermediate yogis can’t find their jam here also. We loved our experience as this was one of the more laid-back, casual studios we’ve ever been to. Also, red. It‘s very red.
We’ll shoot straight with this one; this studio is tucked away! For anybody north of the river, this may not be your stop. It’s a fair drive from the core, and public transport adds some extra time with the nearest LRT stations at South Campus or Fort Edmonton Park Station, which requires a bus to pop you over to the studio from there or ~30-minute walk. That being said, if you’re a resident in south Edmonton, it’s for you. With easy access from the Whitemud, this studio definitely caters to the southern neighbourhoods and has a very close-knit, community vibe as a result. Located directly across from the University of Alberta Farms, it’s also about a 5 minute drive from the UofA campus, which lends itself well to the student crowd. There is free parking and a large lot right out front, so there’s never a concern about parking!
One of the most impressive things about Yoga Central is their expansive class schedule for all ages, sizes and experience levels. They include courses for kids, tweens, seniors, prenatal and postnatal, advanced yogis and fit athletes with everything from hatha, vinyasa and hot yoga to yin, restorative, and prop wall. With over 10 classes daily Monday to Friday, and over 6 classes on the weekends, the two-yoga room studio is constantly buzzing from 5:30am to 10:00pm at night. To give you a taste of the variety, we spoke with the owner of Yoga Central to understand what they most recommend. On Thursdays at 10:00am the Gentle Yoga class is frequented by the most dedicated 65 and over yogi’s that are strong, lively and apparently a gas to be around. The Wednesday evening Vinyasa Flow-Warm class taught by Chantelle McNichol is well known and one of the most popular, being a challenging class filled with alignment queues, a strong flow and mindful coaching. The Friday morning Hatha Flow has fondly been nicknamed the Goddess class because it has drawn a consistent and loyal fan following for Lori Ellaschuk’s energetic class, and Sunday’s at 10:30am the Yogahour offers a unique stretch for a group of fit older athletes. We sampled the 7:45pm Warm Flow class on Thursday night that is a nicely paced, active class open to all levels. They also offer teacher training programs and workshops a few times a month such as Yin and Massage or Meditation Techniques.
As far as prices, Yoga Central is on par with what we’ve seen across the country for a standard drop-in rate of $20 (same as Octopus Garden and Pure Yoga in Toronto). Class passes drop the rates to as low as $12.50 per class, and a further discount of 10% is offered for students and seniors. Memberships are worth it if attending class a minimum of 3 times a week and class passes are valid for a year. Many of the classes are drop-in, but if you want to secure a spot, you can sign-in online prior to attending.
- Drop-in: $20
- 5 Class Pass: $85 ($17 per)
- 10 Class Pass: $150 ($15 per)
- 20 Class Pass: $250 ($12.50 per)
- One month unlimited (new members): $50
- One month unlimited: $130
- Three months unlimited: $350
- One year unlimited: $900
The design aesthetic of the studio is all about comfort; it’s clean, simple, and very red. It’s not a fussy place, like you’re practicing at a friend’s house, and your friend really likes the color red. The studio includes two practice rooms (a green room and a red room), female and male change rooms, a small shop area, and hidden away is an onsite Craniosacral Therapy space run by one of the instructors, Lori Ellaschuk. You’re encouraged to leave shoes at the door (living in Alberta, this is expected pretty much anywhere) and there is a small front desk and sitting area where the staff will check you in and show you around, if needed. Before heading to the back practice rooms and change rooms, there is a small bowl full of locks to take to the change rooms if you don’t have one with you (it’s the little things, right?)
A small hallway full of inspo quotes and a massive peace sign (that we were totally digging) lead to the red room and women’s change room on the left, and the green room and men’s change room on the right. The change rooms themselves are very basic with benches, small lockers, and showers. There are no hairdryers or additional toiletries provided so be sure to bring you’re own if that’s something you require, and towels and mats can be rented for $2 each. There’s a nice selection of mats to choose from if you forgot yours at home or are on the road!
The crowd for our Warm Flow class was mostly regulars with a few newbies sprinkled in. Our class was super diverse, ranging in age from early 20’s to late 50’s, with mostly females and 3 men (myself included) in the class. We were in the large red room which comfortably held about 20 of us. There’s no natural light in the red room, and Lori had the lights down with candles in the corners to really *boost* our energy. We liked it. We did notice that as the room started filling up and emptying out, people were still chatting and moving around, which was a nice change if you’re looking for a more casual yoga experience – it definitely gave us a different, chatty vibe than we are used to and we were into it.
- All class equipment provided (blocks, straps)
- Towel Rental ($2)
- Mat Rental ($2)
- Water ($2)
- Locks provided
- Shop that includes Manduka Mats & towels, Yeg Mala (made by one of the instructors), some truly awesome shirts that we wanted but weren’t available in our size, and more.
Sheila Shorten is the lady behind this adorable little studio. Sheila envisioned a place in Edmonton where people could come together to experience and promote peace. At the age of 48, she opened up Yoga Central. Yoga Central now has a team of roughly 20 instructors who provide you with a space where you can feel safe to practice. What we found super cool about the staff (that we met) during our visit to Yoga Central, is that they are all very proud to be there, they love what they do and they love their regulars.
Lori has been with Yoga Central since the very beginning. We appreciated the fact that she was very clear with her instruction, and how you should move your body. Lori also demonstrated most poses as we went, so she made the class perfect for a beginner. We also believe the music selection is important and if there’s going to be music, which there was in our class, we want it to add to the experience and not take away from it. We were thrilled with the music that Lori had playing during class (upbeat for the flow, standard relaxing awesomeness for cool down), and appreciated that Lori would adjust the style and volume to fit the stage of practice we were in.
For anyone who wants to try yoga in Edmonton and don’t know where to start, we would definitely send you to Lori. She’s articulate and explains in simple terms how to move your body to execute poses even if you’ve never done them before, adding the yogi term at the end for those of us who are new or still learning the poses. We would have liked if Lori provided more corrections once in a while, especially with so many new folks in the room. One thing that really stuck out about Lori’s instruction style, was that she gauges how ‘warm’ all the yogis are throughout and will change up the class to ensure that everyone is ready to move onto the next series. Lori was very inviting, and her energy took over the room from the minute she walked in.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
We’re rating this class Chill, which is exactly what we were expecting given the description. In this class all levels are welcome, so we weren’t expecting something that was going to significantly kick our ass. Lori focused on opening our chests and there was an emphasis on breath and posture awareness. The class started with breathing exercises and sun salutations, then moved into a short standing series and back down to floor postures. We definitely could have used a few more standing poses, but for a chill class, we were down. The class was completely doable for someone just starting out (us) and we still got our sweat on. We’re looking forward to going back to YC and trying out something else soon, maybe we’ll pop in for the Gentle Yoga senior class and hang with the cool grandpappies, they always have the best stories.
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Yoga Central’s contact info below.
Yoga Central Web: www.yogacentral.ca E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org PHONE: 780.439.0014 Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube