Hot Yoga on 17th – Calgary, Alberta

It is exactly as it sounds – HOT YOGA ON 17th Avenue… I had a powerful journey at this studio while in Calgary, Alberta Canada… As a matter a fact, it changed my life. I started taking Hot Yoga in November of 2011. I needed to find heat while living in Calgary, so I decided to try hot yoga since it would remind me of the Arizona heat. Not really, but kind of. The bone chilling Calgary weather really caused some havoc to my health. For over a year, I was reliant on a wrist brace to be able to utilize a small portion of my left wrist. My hands were struggling and the pain that occurred in my legs daily was hard to manage. My Western Medicine anti-inflammatories became a nessesity and a MUST. I actually took more medication in Calgary than I did the last 10 years I lived in Arizona. I was deeply depressed and struggled trying to ACT happy, when really inside I was in so much pain.

Hot yoga became more than just a regime to help heal my RA, it also became my therapy, my wisdom, my sanity, my peaceful place, and more importantly where I would find deep friendships. This studio is not only beautiful and full of serenity and peace, but it also employs some of the greatest beings around Calgary. Elmira Berry is the owner of the studio and does an amazing job at selecting the right individuals to not only instruct, but individuals who have impacted people’s lives. I wanted to thank each of them in this blog.

Christy Ann taught the Saturday afternoon class at 12 noon. This class was 90 minutes. I introduced myself to Christy Ann and honestly was a little shy doing so. She’s one of those gorgeous beauty types that makes you self-conscious and nervous. She has the most incredible back and honestly sports a beautiful diamond ring. At each class she was inviting, sweet, and always seem to ask how I was. I was so glad to be able to share my last class with her. There is no doubt, I have missed her being part of my Saturdays, but more importantly, I miss that smile that lights up the room.

Kathy – At the start of each yoga practice, I always inform the instructor that I have rheumatoid arthritis. It’s important to me that they know about the disease and how I may have to modify. I also don’t want them to think that I am not listening to their dialogue, as sometimes I may have to modify poses. The first class I took with Kathy she was very helpful and offered some kind words about how hot yoga can really make a difference for my RA if I come at least 2 times per week. She said “the more the merrier.” She talked with me before and after to ensure that I felt okay. She was encouraging and often came to help me along in class. Thank you for being a part of my practice.

Last but certainly not least: Sukhwinder is more than a yoga instructor, she became my friend. Every Sunday, I counted on her class. I almost begged for every day to be Sunday when my life was at its lowest. She brought something else to my life that no other instructor did, she cared beyond the studio. She went beyond to ensure that my practice made a difference for me, not just in the 75 minutes she taught, but also during my week. She helped me fall back in love with myself. Her encouragement, motivation, and support were monumental in the Summer of 2012. She helped to mold and form the person I have become. Without her, I’m afraid to know where I would’ve ended up. She is an amazing instructor, loyal friend, loving wife, and remarkable mother. I only hope someday I can emanate some of the characteristics she has. One of these days I plan to be instructing hot yoga because she made a difference in my life. It is my hope that I can “pay it forward” in the way she has someday. Today, we still keep in touch via imessage. She still encourages me and makes me smile. Thank you for the many days I was honored with your physical presence and your practice.

Not only did instructors change my life at this studio, but other yogis did to. Mary Flanagan has become like a mom to me. Each Sunday she would save my spot just left of her. She would also pack me dinners, bake for me, and invite me along on weekend gatherings. When I was in the mist of my sadness, she always lent a helping hand. We to became much more than weekly acquaintances that shared a room, we became friends that practiced together. Like Sukhwinder, Mary and I keep in touch too.

I’d also like to thank Derek, Mary’s husband, and Heather whom I met just a few weeks before I was leaving Calgary. She is a talented healer.

I had my last class at Hot Yoga on 17th on September 27, 2012. Below are the photos we took at the last practice. All of my dear friends and instructors wore ‘make it count 4 dani” bracelets. It was very meaningful and was by far one of the hardest goodbyes for me in Calgary. Mary even had a goodbye cake for our indulgence after. I sure do miss practicing with you guys!

So as you can see by reading this blog Hot Yoga on 17th really is a powerful place. I hope when you walk through the door and practice you will experience amazing things as well.

Make it count – NAMASTE

Ashley Stevenson