How could you talk about health and fitness in Vancouver without bringing up yoga? Yoga is an institution in Vancouver. Yoga pants are a fashion mainstay and lululemon is as much a hometown hero as the Canucks are.
There are a ton of studios in town (almost too many), so here’s a start that includes both independent by-donation studios and multi-location, mega-chains. Whether you’re looking to power through a workout, recover from an injury, or deepen your meditation practice, there’s a class out there. Plus, most offer hot deals for new students, so don’t be afraid to hop around until you find the studio that works for you.
This bright, airy, and simple studio is a gem in the heart of Chinatown. How cool is it? Part of the space is rented out for local events and there’s always a few snacks for sale at the front. Classes are grouped into therapeutic (restorative or Yin vibes), beginner (includes AcroYoga), and intermediate classes. Plus, Sunday afternoons are reserved for a one-off lab course that dives into more specialty sessions like Yoga for Back Health, Intro to Mindfulness, or Yoga History.
Sunset yoga overlooking Burrard Inlet from Granville Island? Yes, please. Conveniently, Semperviva has three other locations along West Broadway towards Kitsilano that are all worth a visit. Just know that the studios can get quite busy — the variety of classes, non-judgemental vibes, and easily accessible locations are a big pull. Bonus: for people looking to take on the front of the room (or just deepen their practice), Semperviva offers a ton of yoga teacher training programs.
Here, you’ll get all the benefits of yoga, plus some classic fitness conditioning. Memberships can include access to straight cycling classes, a diverse program of yoga, or a combination of the two. Try out their YRide + Yoga class that pairs cycling with high-intensity yoga moves for one intense sweat session. Or, join a Suspension Yoga class to incorporate TRX into your yoga practice. Regardless of what you pick, YYOGA has nearly 10 locations in Greater Vancouver to choose from.
Form Body Lab
Most yoga studios talk about the benefits of yoga for healing injuries and chronic pain. But Form Body Lab takes holistic health to the next level: these guys offer yoga, Pilates, physiotherapy, and massage out of the same Yaletown studio. Classes are super-small, sometimes private, and focus on Pilates (you’ll feel the burn).
Everyone’s favourite workout, hangout, and takeout spot in Kitsilano boasts some killer yoga options. While their Power Yoga series is frequently on the schedule and has a multitude of teachers to choose from, their Yoga Sculpt class is the shining star here. Blending traditional yoga, barre, free weights, and cardio moves; this class is unlike any yoga fusion we’ve ever tried. Be prepared to sweat, let go, and become addicted to the high-vibe energy at TurF.
The Hot Box Yoga
A hot yoga import from the Okanagan, The Hot Box landed their Vancouver location out by UBC. It’s hot, but not too hot (at least 25% cooler than your average hot class). Classes are designed for all levels, informal, and fun for the non-traditionalist. Cleverly, the Hipster class focuses on opening your hips (yours are probably tighter than you realize if you’re living that office desk lifestyle). Or, hit up Hip Hop Yoga to flow through strengthening postures and a burning ab series set to Biggie and Kendrick Lamar.
Hot Yoga 101
Hot Yoga 101 is a Mt. Pleasant yoga studio dedicated to the infamous Bikram routine. Classes run through the same 26 poses in a very hot room in 60- or 90-minute sessions. Unlike other Bikram studios, instructors here go off the script and are more helpful and forgiving than others. (Ever been publicly shamed for leaving the room to avoid passing out? Yeah, not fun.) So, yes, drink as much water as physically possible beforehand and prepare to put those sweat glands to work.
Moksha Yoga Vancouver
Moksha is one of the big name, popular spots for hot yoga in town and globally — nearly 100 studio spaces in North America, Australia, and Europe fly the Moksha flag! Each of the four studios in Vancouver will get you sweating as you flow through sequences in 35% humidity rooms. Most classes follow the branded 40-posture routine, designed to open and detoxify. But for something a little different, head to the Kitsilano or Mount Pleasant locations for a routine set to live music right in the studio.
Bringing good vibes to a grungy alley on the Downtown Eastside, Karma Teachers is a small, humble (read: no showers), not-for-profit yoga studio. The entire studio is run by volunteer instructors, and all classes are by donation. They may not have the spa-like feels of other practice spaces in Vancouver, but Karma teach makes up for it in talented instruction and a super-accepting space.
Liquid Yoga at The Westin Bayshore
Throw out that inflatable swan and make the most of your hotel pool time. This Coal Harbour hotel hosts floating flow yoga classes at the hotel pool. If you’re worried about slipping from downward dog into flailing fish, know that the practice is slow-moving and the special inflatable yoga mats are designed for stability. Classes are offered at the hotel’s indoor and outdoor pools, depending on the season.
Oxygen Yoga and Fitness
Don’t call it hot yoga. Oxygen uses infrared heating to keep their studios at a balmy temperature that won’t make you feel nauseous. Classes mix yoga with Pilates, barre, strength, or cardio for a fun, full-body workout. This ever-expanding franchise has over 10 studios in Greater Vancouver, but we like the Yaletown location for their YogaFit Fusion classes and super-relaxing style. Fitt Tip: because the studios are owned by different individuals, memberships are restricted per location.
One Yoga for the People
Want to try acroyoga on a budget? Try the drop-in class at One Yoga for the People, the city’s first donations-based studio. Pay what you can or pick up an affordable membership at this Gastown studio. Most classes are Vinyasa (that’s the fancy name for “flow”, and likely the most popular type of class in North America), with a couple Yin sessions thrown in every once in a while.
This Hollywood lights and timber studio offers a warm glow on a pretty bleak section of Broadway, just east of Main St. Inside, you’ll find “Vancouver’s Friendliest Yoga Studio” and a little shop stocked with salt lamps and props for meditation, massage, and yoga. Classes are gentle and healing, ranging from restorative yoga, meditation, and sound therapy using traditional gongs. And if you’re a beginner or looking for something more upbeat, you’ll still find the standard flow and Hatha classes.
**Updated by Megan Clark, August 2018