Step into the Unusual

Lululemon yoga at the Design Exchange, photo Jenn Kavanagh
Lululemon yoga at the Design Exchange, photo Jenn Kavanagh

By Sheri DeCarlo

Yogis across Toronto joined Lululemon’s first three-part Expansion Series, did Chaturanga at the Royal Ontario Museum with a T-Rex, perfected their Dancer’s Pose at The National Ballet of Canada, and finally explored yoga-infused vision and goals at the beautiful Design Exchange.

“The intention of the expansion series was to bring yoga to exciting places around the city over the course of three months and share it with everyone in the community! We partnered with three of our local Ambassadors who taught the classes and invited fellow yogis to jump on their mats at the Royal Ontario Museum, the National Ballet of Canada and the Design Exchange. We expanded our minds, our hips and our horizons,” said Vanessa Guigovaz, Regional Manager, Lululemon Athletica, Ontario West.

Hundreds of yoga enthusiasts lined up for the first class in the three part series: an empowering 75-minute vinyasa flow class held at the foot of the Royal Ontario’s Museum’s majestic Buddha in Toronto on January 26, 2012. The class, led by Lululemon Ambassador Linda Malone, founder of IAMYOGA, focused on ‘grounding’ in a space shared by 350 people, dinosaurs and a knight in shining armour.

The second class was held at the Walter Carsen Centre for the National Ballet of Canada on February 16. This event was a 75-minute fusion class, a specialty blend of yoga and pilates. Led by Amber Joliat, Lululemon Ambassador and owner of Misfitstudio, the class had a theme of ‘love’ and centred around opening the heart, and was accompanied by a string quartet from The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.

“I wanted it to feel like you were entering the heart and to shift the experience to feel, breathe and expand into love,” says Joliat. “My goal was to create a memorable experience, rather than just another free class, one that was special, focused and fueled from love. The intention was for people to learn to expand their mind as love is the creative force that unites us all.”

The third class was led by Kinndli McCollum and Pauline Caballero, founders of Power Yoga Canada. This class, held at the Design Exchange on March 21, took participants on a 90-minute power journey adventure. “In life you are either contracting or expanding, and you always have a choice to grow and expand or to stay stuck. I invite you to step out of your comfort zone and take on your life,” said McCollum.

During a balancing pose where participants were asked to hold their neighbour’s extended leg, she said, “Don’t worry if you didn’t shave your legs tonight, you are only as strong as the people you surround yourself with, make a stand for your neighbours, and let yourself be supported by those around you.” High energy inspirational music played throughout the class. To help participants reach their highest potential, the Lululemon ambassadors spoke words of encouragement. “Shaking just means new muscles coming to a body near you,” said McCollum.

At the end of class she told yogis to, “Give yourself a big French Canadian kiss for coming here tonight and take your torch into the world and light it up.” With a sea of ‘Omms,’ things were gathered as the DJ played the last song of the night, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and yogis left the expansion series—stepping into the night a little taller and shining brighter.