Posted by: Feet Banks
The most valuable personal pursuits are the ones that can never truly be mastered. No lifelong fly fisherman will ever claim to know it all, no free climbing alpinist will pretend to have defeated the mountain. The best crafts can never be mastered and the joy comes from continually learning.
Yoga is much the same way except you don’t need any fancy gear or exotic locations.
“If you can breathe, you can do yoga,” says Glenn Iles, director of the Whistler Yoga Conference, which kicks off its 6th incarnation May 4-6 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. “And a big part of our focus this year is that one is always learning something new and developing in every class.”
With over 300 participants booked for classes and presentations by 30 different yogis and presenters from across North America, this year’s conference promises to be the biggest yoga gathering Whistler has ever seen.“We are developing as a wellness and yoga destination,” says Glenn, a 17-year Whistler local. “The mountains, the fresh air and the energy that we have—there is an attraction here for people for people compared to a yoga conference downtown in a large urban centre. We are setting ourselves apart.”
Tanya Di Valentino, a local yogi who has been instrumental in creating the Whistler Yoga Conference will be helping students find peace and happiness at this year's gathering. Other teachers to look out for include surfer/Blissologist Eoin Finn, TV personality Sara Ivanhoe, yoga mixmaster Megan Currie and Krishamacharya yoga teacher Ryan Leier.
Julia McCabe is one of Whistler’s most popular yogis and will also be a featured teacher at the Yoga Conference. Known for thinking outside the box and drawing inspiration from a multitude of sources, one of Julia’s classes for this conference is titled “Yoga for Dudes who Can’t Touch their Toes and were Dragged to the Conference by their Wives & Girlfriends.”
“I like to look out for the underdogs,” she says. “Its surprising how many dudes are still intimidated by yoga. Also, yoga can get too serious sometimes so it’s nice to bring a bit of humour in.”
Julia's other conference offering is "Creativity in Motion" a class she says will feature, "music, movement and sweat." She started her yoga career in 2001 studying in Whistler’s first yoga studio under now-legendary teacher Patrick Creelman before moving to Hong Kong to teach and study for 4 years. “It was like Yoga University for me– I studied with the most astounding faculty but I couldn’t live in Hong Kong forever. Whistler is so spirited and adventurous, so health-oriented. I still travel a lot and teach all over the place but Whistler is home.”
And home is where the downward dog is. With an estimated 1000 people in yoga classes each week, Whistler’s yoga scene goes well beyond the upcoming conference. Below is a quick list of all things yoga but the best way to stay in the loop is swing by Lululemon in the Mountain Square and check out their yoga board for all the latest updates on who’s teaching what, when and where. (Dudes going to Julia’s Yoga Conference class should also know that Lululemon makes the Cadillac of yoga mats and their boxer shorts are seriously the best things ever.)
EveryWoman Whistler April 27-29 — The Westin Resort and Spa hosts participants and workshops for the 8th annual forum of yoga instructors, athletes, dancers and wellness professionals.
Wanderlust Whistler, August 23-26 — Yoga, music, food and nature. Whistler’s date on this 4-City festival adventure promises 4 days of good clean fun.
Yoga Jam May 6 — a made-in-Whistler event designed to bring communities together in the spirit of giving. These events happen all the time, all over the world, but the next one is the climax of the Whistler Yoga Conference and should be Whistler’s largest ever yoga gathering, with well over 300 people coming together to raise funds for the Africa Yoga Project.
Local Studios and Teachers
Julia McCabe is in high demand around here but she also has yoga trainings and retreats in places like Nicaragua and Mexico. Surfs up.
Kristen Campbell is a local yoga legend and a class with her is a Whistler must-do.
Neoalpine YYoga really kicked off the whole yoga explosion locally and is still the bee's knees of Whistler yoga.
Loka Yoga offers about serene surroundings and passionate instructors.
Yama Yoga is the new studio in town that's generating a real positive buzz.
The Core offers a lot of yoga but they also have other fitness classes and indoor rock climbing.
White Gold Yoga is known for their great community vibe and deep personal connections.
Lululemon has quite a few in-store yoga classes (including one that has wine at the end) and it's the central hub of what’s happening in the local yoga world.