Earlier this year I participated in a quintessential Vancouver activity: I took part in a yoga challenge. It was January, I was feeling inspired and motivated because it was resolution time again. A certain famous yoga wear retailer started urging global yogis to take part in a 40-day yoga challenge. So I heeded the call.
“A 40-day yoga challenge? I can do this. Piece of flourless chocolate cake,” I thought digging out my dusty yoga mat and stretchy pants. At just over a month, the challenge would be difficult but not too difficult and a short time commitment. My exercise-routine-commitment-phobe-self could sign on to this one.
But, being a contrarian, budget-minded Taurus, I decided to do a modified version of the Lululemon challenge. I would attempt to practice yoga daily while exploring as many different venues around Vancouver offering free or almost-free yoga. I’ve always been non-committal when it comes to yoga – locking myself into a three, six or 12 month contract scares the heck out because of finances and indecision.
Enter the concept of karma yoga. Many studios in Vancouver offer free or by-donation yoga classes. The purpose of these classes is two-fold: to offer teaching opportunities to less experienced yoga instructors and to build on the ethos of ‘selfless or altruistic service through yoga.’ Translated from Sanskrit yoga means union and karma means ‘to do’, so the term karma yoga translates roughly to ‘union through action’.
According to Khundalini yoga guru Yogi Bhajan, “the attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.” As I visited different karma yoga sessions throughout my 40-day yoga challenge, I experienced gratitude in many forms: smiles, group ohms, modest donations, in-store yogi discounts.
Whether you love fluid vinyasa or sweaty moksha or quiet hatha, there’s a karma yoga class for you in Vancouver. If you’re looking to explore a variety of yoga traditions on a budget, check out the list below. Continue reading:
5 Vancouver Karma Yoga tips