Pop Up Yoga Calgary gets out of the studio

Pop Up Yoga Calgary will take yoga out of the studio and into some unexpected places across the city this spring.

“It’s about getting the practice of yoga merged with the really exciting aspects of Calgary,” says Naaz Ali, the founder of Pop Up Yoga Calgary.

Naaz Ali, founder of Pop Up Yoga Calgary, strikes a pose outside a local coffee shop. (Photo by Alicia Gerrior/The Press)
Out of the Studio: Naaz Ali, founder of Pop Up Yoga Calgary, strikes a pose outside a local coffee shop. (Photo by Alicia Gerrior/The Press)

Art galleries, farmers’ markets, and community centres are some of the spots yoga could be popping up in the near future. Ali is exploring bringing Pop Up Yoga Calgary to coffee shops, festivals, and outdoor spaces as well.

Yoga has become extremely popular in Calgary in the past few years. While there may be dozens of yoga studios in every quadrant of the city, Ali feels yoga isn’t as accessible as it could be.

“The cost to take yoga is quite high in Calgary,” she said.

“We’re kind of missing out on another part of the population who can’t necessarily afford the high prices of yoga or maybe people who can take classes in the studio, but want a different experience,” said Ali.

Pop Up Yoga Calgary will offer affordable prices, so everyone will be able to take part in the ancient mind and body workout. Without the expense of paying for a studio space, Pop Up Yoga is able to offer cheap prices. Classes are $8 for students and seniors, and $10 for adults, half of the fee that most yoga studios in the city charge.

Ali, 30, has practiced yoga on and off for nearly half of her life. She began practicing regularly when she was diagnosed with cancer for the third time, in 2008, and lost her ability to walk. Though challenging, yoga helped Ali to walk again. She “fell in love with it,” and completed training to become a yoga teacher.

Ali said yoga is a wonderful compliment to modern medicine.

“I’ve experienced that myself, the healing powers of yoga,” she said.

“With modern medicine, you are healing the physical body of its ailments. With yoga, you really get into the spiritual, the emotional, the mental, and the physical aspects of healing,” said Ali.

According to a 2010 study from Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital, yoga has numerous health benefits.  It has been known to increase levels of the feel-good brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which promotes happiness and reduces anxiety.

Ali said the response to Pop Up Yoga Calgary has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s something I wasn’t expecting. People are excited,” she said.

“I’ve got people asking when the first event is and how they can help. It has been wonderful.”

The first Pop Up Yoga class will take place in April. The date and location is still under wraps. Ali will post all of the details on the Pop Up Yoga Calgary website and Facebook page when they’re finalized. Visit www.popupyogacalgary.com for more information.

About Alicia Gerrior 11 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Alicia Gerrior worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.