Vancouver is known for three things: spectacular scenery, the ridiculous real estate prices that go hand-in-hand with spectacular scenery, and a passion for yoga. Sure, it’s not unusual to see young Vancouverites getting coffee in yoga wear, but it’s becoming equally common to see a middle-aged businessman heading into the office with a mat tucked into his briefcase.
Most people have tried yoga at some point; many of us have a favourite studio where we frequently attend classes, and the truly devoted keep up a regular practice at home. But summer is upon us, and the best way to enjoy this city is to get outside. It’s time to practice yoga while the sun shines.
International Yoga Day falls on June 21, 2016, so to celebrate, here are some of the best places in Vancouver to practice yoga outdoors. From private nooks for a quiet morning flow, to public classes where you can savasana en masse, to beautiful public beaches where you can show off your flawless scorpion pose, we’ve got you covered.
The Sleeping Vishnu – Dude Chilling Park
Every day, all summer long, Karma Teachers presents free hatha yoga classes in Vancouver’s chillest park in Mount Pleasant. Enjoy a morning flow at 10am or an evening class at 6pm. All you need is your own mat or a towel… or you can just lay out on the grass.
All ages and levels of experience are welcome, which celebrates some of the most important fundamentals of yoga – openness, a welcoming environment, and the ability to unite people regardless of background. Invite a partner for some yoga & chill.
The Peak Pose – Grouse Mountain
Starting July 2nd and running until the end of August, the Peak of Vancouver will be hosting yoga classes every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 11am, just outside the Chalet.
For beginners, enjoy a deep breath of mountain air after a relaxing trip up the mountain by Skyride, or for the fitness-experts, stretch it out after reaching your Grouse Grind goal time. Either way, the view from the top cannot be beat, and the mountain air will invigorate you for the entire day. There is truly nothing like a mountain pose from the peak, looking down on the rest of the lazy city while it’s still just waking up… literally.
The Downward Dog – Wreck Beach
Bear with me here. Wreck Beach is the best place in Vancouver to get in touch with nature and be your true, authentic self – just as you were born.
On Thursday nights, you can find drop in yoga classes at 6:30pm, but don’t feel uncomfortable if you prefer leaving some things to the imagination in your downward dog – people of all shapes, sizes, and amounts of clothing partake in these events. There’s no better way to psych yourself up for the hike back up to the highway than an energizing flow!
The Sun Salutation – Mystery Lake at Mount Seymour
If you’re an off-the-beaten-path yogi and don’t need the structure of a class to guide you, forgo outdoor classes for a quieter solo practice.
Mystery Lake is located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park, just a short hike from the parking lot. If you’re up early enough, you can greet the day in relative peace – before the families set up for the afternoon at the lakeside. Enjoy a dip in the lake before you head back to the car – the cool mountain water is the perfect refreshing end to your practice.
The Boat Pose – Kitsilano Beach
More good news: Outdoor yoga classes will be happening 5 days a week from June 1st until August 31 at Kits Beach. Did I mention that they’re free? All you’ll need to bring is your own beach towel or mat.
Yes, this summer, Kits Space will host its third year of free outdoor yoga at Kitsilano Beach Park. Last year’s events were a resounding success – nearly 4,000 people bridge posed and upward saluted under the sweet summer sun.
Classes are held between the pool and the tennis courts (by the big trees, facing the water). You can work up a sweat, then roll up your mat and take a dip right afterwards.
A final note for Vancouver yoga enthusiasts: to find this summer’s ultimate outdoor yoga destination, I suggest you look no further than….the mall? Now, I know what you’re thinking – a mall isn’t typically where you’d find yourself practicing a morning cat pose. However, this Canada Day, activewear brand Lolë brings their world-renowned Lolë White Tour to McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in Vancouver. Over the years, the travelling tour has united thousands of yoga-lovers from across the globe. You (and hundreds of others) stretch it out on Lolë’s iconic yellow mats while dressed all in white, to symbolize peace.
The Vancouver event is open to the public for only $15 per ticket, with 20% of the proceeds going to the Red Cross for Canada in support of Fort McMurray. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite, and include participation in the one-hour mass yoga session, a bright yellow Lolë yoga mat, a Lolë and McArthurGlen gift bag, and a $15 Lolë gift card. That’s a bunch of good swag.
And, if your yoga wardrobe is lacking in white, Lolë has curated the best of their white collection to make your choice easy. Check-in for the event is at 9am on July 1st, and the yoga session will run from 10am to 11am.
After you’ve sweated your way to enlightenment, enjoy the other activities McArthurGlen has on tap for the Canada Day Long weekend. From live symphony orchestras and jazz bands, to restaurant patios, family friendly activities, food carts and prize draws for a $500 shopping spree at the outlet, there’s a lot to work with.