Yoga Haus: Unforgettable Yoga Experiences
By Kathy Kaufield
Photographs By Jennifer Irving
An abundance of natural beauty. A slower pace of life — in places! And innovative yoga instructors. Atlantic Canada and Europe have all the ingredients to create some of the world’s most unforgettable yoga experiences. The best is Yoga Haus in Rothesay, New Brunswick and [EDIT]'s Contributing Editor Kathy Kaufield tells us why, and then co-founder Stephanie Downey shares exclusively with us the innovative ways that they are evolving, adapting and pivoting during the Covid-19 crisis.
This is an absolute gem. You’re unlikely to find more highly qualified instructors or a more tranquil studio anywhere in Atlantic Canada. Founded by husband and wife yoga instructors Stephanie Downey and Jason MacLean, this eco-friendly, all-inclusive studio offers a wide range of classes accessible to people of all ages and to those with physical limitations and disabilities. This dynamic yoga duo has worked with people who have visual disabilities, who are hard of hearing, and who have paraplegia. It takes a bit of prying to get this modest couple to talk about their extensive training but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more diverse team.
Here are some highlights. Downey has done comprehensive training in Los Angeles with Hollywood’s most celebrated yogi, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, who has taught Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow and is the subject of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Falling into Grace.” MacLean has trained with yoga legends Paul Grilley (a pioneer of Yin yoga) and John Scott (one of Ashtanga’s most revered teachers and personal instructor to Sting).
The studio is consistent with Downey and MacLean’s approach to their practice: sustainable, natural and personalized with fresh organic flowers, local art and upcycled decor that includes a beautiful barnboard wall. They live a modern yogic lifestyle of wellness, practising what they preach and giving back to the community by offering free yoga classes to a variety of groups, including teens, Girl Guides and people with disabilities. They also hold donation-based Karma classes for community causes. Dedicated to excellence, these folks honour their genuine intention to teach proactive wellness and healing in Atlantic Canada.
Stephanie Downey: In Her Own Words
Co-founder Stephanie Downey shares exclusively with [EDIT] the innovative ways that they are evolving, adapting and pivoting during the Covid-19 crisis.
Change can be gradual and easy or instant and challenging. Yoga teaches us to welcome and embrace change. In an unprecedented move toward the protection of the health of our greater community we were the first in our genre of active wellness businesses to close our physical space during this crisis. In doing so ahead of the curve we wanted to keep the Yoga community we have created over the years still mentally and physically well and also to continue the connectivity that has organically grown. We decided to begin teaching daily classes from our home and offering them for free on our website to engage as many people in wellness as possible through this challenge we were facing. The initial decision to close was for 2 weeks before we had any knowledge of the gravity and scope of what we were to face and so we committed to offering daily free classes for those 2 weeks. Once we began, we realized the need, longer term, for what we were offering and began to consider a more formal online business model. Typically in the wellness and fitness space we see scheduled classes but we wanted to offer something more realistic with the variances of daily life and possibly unstructured current circumstances and felt on demand was what would best serve our community. On an extremely short timeline, we have explored every software, online platform, sound equipment and approach we can to launch an almost entirely new product. In an effort to adapt and view our circumstances as an opportunity for growth and innovation, we are presenting a membership based virtual studio through our website www.yogahaus.ca Filmed in our studio as well as in stunning outdoor New Brunswick landscapes, we will be offering on demand Yoga, meditation and wellness classes as well as Lifestyle workshops. As a couple living and working together in wellness we practice what we preach and so in addition to Yoga and meditation classes we hope to welcome people virtually into our home and share how we incorporate wellness into our daily lives. We are living in times where the need has never been greater for these practices and so we hope to serve our community and beyond with the most easily accessible tools to live in wellness.
157 Hampton Road, Rothesay, NB
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