News / Edmonton

Edmonton studio targets those underrepresented in traditional yoga classes

Trista Davis is on a mission to embrace a sometimes forgotten demographic in the yoga studio—plus size and limited mobility students—and since the only classes she found around town seemed to cater to the already fit, yoga-savvy crowd, she opened her own studio to address the issue.

“I didn’t feel that I fit in in the classes I tried,” said Davis, who found a common refrain on Facebook when she posted about her experiences in typical yoga programs. “People told me they’d go to one class and never went back—yoga language and poses can be intimidating, so it scares off beginners or those with balance, knee or hip issues.”

Using the motto ‘challenged but not defeated’, Davis runs several classes a week at Above Average Yoga—chair classes for those who may have a hard time getting up and down from a floor mat, and introductory sessions to simply explain the language of yoga.

“Those are so popular. People say it makes them feel much more at ease once they get into the studio—they know what to expect,” Davis said.

“I’ve taken classes before, but I can do this one with my mother—classes are small, and the instructor takes time to make sure we’re all comfortable,” said student Natasha Wensley.

Clara Ansel teaches chair yoga at Above Average Yoga an calls the program unique in the city. “There’s an inclusive atmosphere here--whether you may have arthritis, MS or a knee replacement—that I don’t find anywhere else that I teach,” she said.

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