Yogacara lives commitment to connection and compassion

Whistler Question
March 25, 2016
By: Michelle Ratcliffe
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In 2012 Emily Kane started a new chapter when she moved from Vancouver to Whistler to open Yogacara in the heart of Whistler Village.

Immediately feeling at home and inspired by the strong sense of community in the resort, Kane relished the opportunity to create a memorable yoga experience that fostered connection.

“It feels more tight knit here, in terms of the yoga community and the broader community as well,” she said.

Serving both locals and visitors, Kane has the uncommon opportunity to create a yoga studio with a global community of clients. With this in mind, Kane has  created a unique ambience that is nurturing to the body in a town that is famous for pushing the limits of the body. Her antidote to adrenaline welcomes everyone to savasana in an inclusive space.

“One of the things that students have voiced to us, when they enter the room, is this really calming grounding energy, that they already feel even before they’ve started the class. We definitely set the tone with our environment,” Kane explains.

From the distinctly Whistler twist of “snow Buddhas” adorning the studio wall to fresh infusions from The Whistler Tea House, Kane has created a studio that reflects her community as well as her core values.

Small numbers in studio

Customer needs are Kane’s primary focus and this led her to cap classes at 13 students.

“It’s an intention that puts people first,” she said. “I think putting people first, is really important, whether in yoga or any industry. I think it also creates a really special, unique experience for students.”

Kane has seen, firsthand, how this commitment allows students to form a better connection with teachers as well as fellow students. As much as it pains her to turn people away, especially in the busy winter season, her promise of ample personal space is a piece of

Yogacara culture that she remains unwavering on.

“Offering small classes is a great way to connect with your teacher and community. It also lets you receive personal attention which is such a huge benefit when you’re cultivating a yoga practice,” said Kane.

Passionate practice

With seven teachers regularly leading classes at Yogacara, each bring a distinctive style while all sharing a love for yoga and a commitment to the best experience for students.

“All of our teachers have a passion for yoga and express it in their own unique way,” Kane said.

Offering a diverse array of classes, Yogacara’s teachers come from varied training backgrounds. They each bring a customized knowledge base, whether it be specific yoga relaxation techniques or working with essential oils. Because the teachers are empowered to share what they are truly passionate about, Kane feels the unique expressions of each teacher create a more lasting impression.

“Being able to feel the passionate energy of the teacher helps to inspire others. When you see that someone is really inspired by their own practice, it naturally inspires you,” said Kane.

A nurturing space

To create a welcoming space for all levels, it’s important for the studio to radiate character while feeling clean and uncluttered. Kane’s character really shines through the extra care she puts into the unexpected comforts that create her special ambience. From the sensory experience created with pure essential oils to music choices and a tearoom that also offers books, snacks and a place to chat with others, it is all designed with intention and everything has its place.

The studio’s character also comes from a diverse community. Kane is grateful to have loyal locals as well as regulars who return year after year while on vacation. Kane loves that her studio can create a bond with visitors and is honoured to be a part of inspiring people to return to Whistler.

Welcoming a diverse client base means making classes meaningful for all abilities.

“It’s the teachers’ ability to make people feel accepted and I think that’s something that our teachers do very well. We have lots of props to use and the intention behind using props is to accept what is best for you,” said Kane, who acknowledged that locals and visitors who are often pushing their bodies, going full tilt in other Whistler sports can really benefit from taking a step back to do something that will nurture the body.

“Developing strength and flexibility are great benefits, but it’s important to recognize that yoga is for mind, body and soul,” said Kane. “We believe the principles learned on the mat has the potential to change lives.”

Link to Whistler Question article: http://ow.ly/7Vp830074kk