the Georgia Straight - Sept 2017.

Industry expert: Carolyn Anne Budgell reveals Vancouver's five best new yoga trends

As a long-time yoga practitioner and teacher—and a brand ambassador for Vancouver’s own Lululemon—Carolyn Anne Budgell knows a thing or two about flexing, stretching, and achieving peak Zen.

Primarily a specialist in vinyasa yoga—which she translates as “flow” or “power” yoga—Budgell combines spiritual and physical components in her classes, which she teaches for global chain Semperviva Yoga. As well as offering public courses, Budgell is a teacher’s teacher, using her expertise to train international instructors in best yoga practices. Just imagine how limber those classes are.

Stretching her brain as much as her body, Budgell has authored pieces for brand websites My Yoga Online (now Gaia.com) and Halfmoon Yoga, as well as taking on the role of presenter at the Wanderlust Whistler festival, a three-day retreat that offers everything from paddleboard to aerial yoga.

A strong advocate for raising the profile of the practice in the community, Budgell offers a number of free workshops across the city, setting up her mat everywhere from the beaches of Kitsilano to high-traffic locations like Gastown’s streets. The star of a number of Lululemon and Mala Collective online videos, she has set the personal goal of providing access to free yoga instruction to as many people as she can.

Situated at the cutting edge of the Vancouver scene, Budgell is in the perfect position to share the five best yoga trends taking hold in the city.

AcroYoga

“Like the name suggests, this practice combines acrobatics with yoga positions. It’s done in partners, where someone acts as the base, and the flyer poses on top of them. Both partners work really hard. Normally, the flyer is the one with the flashier poses, but acroyoga is about celebrating that the person supporting them is just as crucial. It’s often practised outdoors, so acroyoga comes alive during the summer—you’ll definitely have seen it in Vancouver’s parks this year.”

Kundalini yoga

“This variation uses less traditional yoga poses, and focuses instead on the spiritual practices designed to lead directly to enlightenment. You’ll sit and hold your arms out in a T-shape by your body for five minutes straight, for example, and that will help to raise your vibration. Right now, people are really searching for direct ways to feel complete. This isn’t a type of yoga that I practise myself, but recently the search to achieve a person’s spiritual potential has become more mainstream, and kundalini is becoming more popular.”

Meditation and mindfulness

“Meditation is a huge trend right now. A lot of people are realizing that their stress and anxiety levels are through the roof, and five minutes of meditation a day helps so much with that. I’ve been teaching the practice in Vancouver for seven years, and demand has skyrocketed in the last little while. There’s a lot of corporate meditation happening in offices here—today I’m going into a financial institution to do a 35-minute intro over lunch, for example. It’s something people can do on their own or with an instructor—it depends how you like to learn. But it’s easier to cheat if you’re alone.”

Yoga Fusions

“A lot of hybrid workouts are emerging in Vancouver, with yoga sessions blending with classes like pilates or high-intensity boot camps. There’s a lot of benefit to combining yoga poses with things like strength training, so recently there’s been an uptick of classes that would have a half-hour of intense activity, and then a half-hour of yoga. Also becoming popular here are classes that make sure every pose involves a little bit of strength and a little bit of stretching.”

Kids’ yoga or family yoga

“This has been coming up for a while now. People are starting to realize how much our next generation can benefit from all of what we learn in yoga or meditation, and yoga has now become incorporated into a lot of physical-education curriculums in Vancouver elementary and high schools. As well as that, a lot of yoga studios have family yoga classes once a week, and mom-and-baby yoga is becoming increasingly popular. Yoga helps kids establish a healthy pattern in the brain and the body early on. It teaches them how to stay calm in stressful situations, how to use their body, and how to stay fit and strong.”

Posted on October 3, 2017 .