5 Questions With: Ashley Brodeur of Feelosophy

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Feelosophy is no ordinary yoga class. I wouldn’t even call it a class, think more of an experience, a transcending and magical one if you ask me. Last week, I had the pleasure of spending my Monday night at Moment Meditation in downtown Vancouver for my first taste of Feelosophy; a restorative yoga, massage and music experience created by Ashley Brodeur. I sat down with her to chat about the philosophy behind Feelosophy and #allthefeels.

1) What inspired you to start Feelosophy?

It was really just a need that I noticed; people wanted to be touched more in yoga. Every time, I would touch someone in yoga, I would see it right away, that it was missing from people’s lives to connect more to themselves.

We did it as a trial run, with Anita, that runs Moment Meditation, who also used to own Social Yoga. We did it as a series and it sold out within a day so I asked Anita if it was cool if I just run with it and see what happens. Jian from Distrikt Movement gave me the name, we were just brainstorming together and he came up with this great name. I started off by offering two classes at Distrikt Movement once a month and then it evolved into retreats, corporate stuff and now I just want it to be really consistent for people, so that they can go online and register weekly. What we’ve been finding is that when you touch people, they are way more willing to open up afterwards. They will tend to linger after class longer, they’ll tend to share more of who they are. If you live alone and you’re not in a relationship, you don’t get a hug or a hand hold, I didn’t think people realized how much that was missing in their life. 

2) How would you describe the experience for someone who has never been?

I would say don’t expect to do much but you can expect to feel a lot. You are not moving very much so it can be for everybody. A lot of pregnant women will come to the class, a lot of men will come to the class because it is very accessible. We touch from a place that is very loving. We’re not trying to workout any kinks and it’s not a very intense massage, it’s more of a supportive touch. We’re not trying to adjust you or fix your pose. We then also combine music on top of that. 

3) Music is a really important part of the experience, how much has music affected your practice and why did you want to include that into Feelosophy?

I’m really inspired by how Jian and Ally from Distrikt Movement speak about music. It’s poetry and it can be really powerful and can give people a voice. I think sometimes in yoga, for me, the music can speak to people’s experience. It might not be what I’m saying because there are a lot of things that I haven’t gone through and so I cannot pretend to know about them. I have experienced pain but it’s my level of pain so I don’t speak to that in my yoga class, I only speak about what I know. So the music sometimes can speak to people in a different way. A lot of times songwriters have gone through certain things and transcend it through their lyrics and people can hear that. That can be really moving for people, when they hear a certain lyric in a song that I’ve chosen.

4) How has Vancouver and the people living in the city received what you do at Feelosophy?

Vancouver is the best place to try something new with yoga. It’s been a natural build, mostly through word of mouth and getting people to experience it and if they like it they can share it. I think people here are really receptive. Sometimes they don’t know they need it until they come in for the class. We got a lot of guys lately, who are brought in either by their girlfriends, wives or told by one of their guy friends to come and they tell us they had the best sleep after or that they didn’t know that yoga could be like that. There was a trend for a while where yoga teachers wouldn’t touch in yoga so I think it was definitely lacking. I think it’s giving an outlet for teachers who want to touch more. 

5) Where would you like to see Feelosophy be in 5 years from now?

For me, I want to use it more as a platform to speak about touch. When I was younger, in my early 20s, I was sexually assaulted and didn’t realize how much I didn’t want to be touched. I didn’t realize that that was such a big thing so re-introducing touch for me took a while. Right now, I’m in talks with Devon Brooks, she used to own Blo Blow Dry Bar and she is an advocate for that; trying to re-introduce touch for women who have also been affected by that. I would love to see classes running throughout Vancouver and even Canada. It would be awesome if other people would want to teach it. I could train them and they could offer it at their studios or get more people touching in that style of yoga. But for me personally, just using it as an intro for a bigger conversation around how important touch is, why we’re afraid to touch. Canadians are seen as being really friendly but we’re not a culture that touches. 

For more information on Feelosophy, go here. Feelosophy will be holding a special fundraising event in support of the Africa Yoga Project on March 4th in Vancouver, for more info or to sign up, go here.

Top 3 Spin Studios Vancouver – Spin Society

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This week, I share my final favorite spin studio in Vancouver. Spin Society opened up their first studio a few years ago on Granville St. in downtown. After a successful couple of years, they launched their second location just a few weeks ago. Everyone at the space is so incredibly welcoming and friendly and their master trainer Lucy is one of the most passionate instructors I’ve ever met. The studio’s founder Dominik Desbois shares the story behind Spin Society.

What inspired you to start Spin Society?

I am an engineer, my background is in bridge engineering. I went to McGill to get my engineering degree. I worked as an engineer for six years and was not satisfied with where my life was going. I stopped and thought about everything as a whole and thought that I needed to serve a bigger purpose. The whole computer 12-hours a day thing was not for me so I decided to go back to school. I went to do my MBA and it’s during that time that I met my wife, who’s a spin addict. She was spinning every single night and just couldn’t get enough of it. So I started researching the subject and thinking about what makes it addictive. At the end of the day, what makes it addictive is the people. You can throw a bunch of bikes in a room and play loud music, anybody can do that. You can throw money at it, build it but unless you have the right people, it won’t work. That’s the part that intrigued me. I’m a builder so how do I build a team that will give people that feeling of “I can’t get enough”, so that’s what drives what we do. From the very start of Spin Society was how do I put together people, because I definitely have my shortcomings when it comes to marketing, that I’m not good at, but I think I have an ability to get people together and work as a team. How do I assemble a team so that we can thrive as a business and I think that’s what we’ve done.

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What would you say separates you from other spin studios in the city?

It was tough because when I opened Spin Society, I thought I would be the only one because when I wrote my business plan and the financing and all that stuff, it was a few years before we opened our doors. And then we opened our doors and four other spin studios were popping up. I think through time, was has made us different is the wide-range of people that we can bring together. There’s a really cool feeling at Spin Society when somebody walks through the door, there’s an energy where they feel like they belong right away. We’re a no judgement, no ego zone, you work as hard as you want to and if it takes you a little longer to get to where you want to, it’s fine. At the end of the day, it’s almost like we’ve created a space that’s all about transformation and giving you the opportunity and permission to laugh, to cry, to yell to be angry. Our trainers are amazing, I couldn’t be prouder of our team. All of our instructors are phenomenal at what they do. They will break you down with music to a point where they can inject a lot of positivity. The whole team is super upbeat and positive. It’s a people business.

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What are some of the classes that people can take and what kind of experience can people get when they come to Spin Society?

We pride ourselves on the Spin Society method. We work really hard with all of our instructors and our master instructor Lucy. She spends countless hours making sure that everyone is consistent. We want people’s identities to shine but we want everybody to operate within a box that we’ve created, that is Spin Society. One of the big key things here is that no matter what class you take, you’ll get that consistency. The only thing that changes is the music. Besides the music, the very challenging workout, every instructor teaches the same way and uses the same language. You’ll get your ass kicked and if you’re into that, then you’ll get that no matter who you take on the schedule. And besides that, we have a really nice approach to customer service, where we really value the relationships we build. We try to get to know the people that come in by name. We like to cater to everything that you need to make this experience the best that we can.

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Spin Society opened up a second location in North Vancouver. There seems to be a big demand for fitness studios out there, can you share your experience with opening up this second studio?

We just opened on December 12th, we really built a unique vibe and space and interior design there. There’s crazy demand on the north shore because people who are over there are just tired of that bridge. You want to be able to stay on the north shore and be able to go to the good restaurants and good fitness studios. There’s no real reason to come downtown anymore and there’s a very young crowd moving in. North Van’s ready for it but it’s going to take time to build. As much as I’d like to think that we’ve built something really cool here, the fitness names don’t quite creep all the way past the bridge yet so it’s just starting from the bottom. Building the classes and the community and letting people know that we’re there.

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Where would you like to see Spin Society within the next five years?

I don’t like the franchise model for what I do because I’m really particular about what I wanna build and the energy in every studio so I’d like to keep control of that. But I would love to keep growing it as much as I can. I’m a builder so once I finished building the studio and it’s functioning, I want to be completely hands off and trust the people to just do a really good job and want to move onto the next build. I’m already looking at the third and negotiating the space for the third studio, so when that’s done I’ll probably move onto the fourth. I’ll stop when someone tells me to stop or when the market tells me to stop. 

For more information on Spin Society, go here.

5 Questions With: Craig Slagel of RunGo App

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I love combining technology with running. Over the past two years, running apps have been key in documenting my progress as a runner and also keeping tabs on the runs that I have done when I travel. I recently heard of the running app RunGo, which was developed by Vacouverite Craig Slagel. Since I’ve been spending time running around Vancouver, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about this local startup.

1) What is the inspiration behind the RunGo app?

RunGo was inspired by Dynasty, my retired guide dog who I adopted in 2012 just after starting the company. As a runner and frequent traveler, I often had the issue not knowing where to run or getting lost when I tried to explore. When I adopted Dynasty, my friends joked I should use her to guide me and that sparked the idea of RunGo.

2) What separates this app from other running apps currently on the market?

RunGo works like other running apps but also offers voice guided turn-by-turn directions for your runs. With a library of over 50,000 routes worldwide, including running tours and runs curated by local running communities, RunGo is great for traveling and allows you to re-discover your own cities by trying different routes. RunGo also provides all the usual statistics such as distance, pace, calories burned and provides a logbook to store your results. The app navigates you offline, and only requires data or wifi when you add runs to your library. After that, you can use RunGo to guide you, without any data or wifi.

3) You had the opportunity to present your app on Dragon’s Den, why are shows like that and Shark Tank important for startups?

Apps can be very hard to market, especially since there are some really big players in the market who have very big budgets. As a startup we have limited resources and are constantly looking for creative ways to expose ourselves. Dragons’ Den has over 1 million views so being on the show can be a great way to promote your startup as long as you have a good idea and don’t embarrass yourself. It was also great for us as a company – as we prepped our pitch, we really went back to make sure we understood our business, brand, and numbers. It was a great experience and you can see our pitch on February 15th on CBC.

4) Where is your favourite place to run in the world and why?

That’s a tough one – I’ve run in so many amazing places around the world! I love trail running and we are lucky to have amazing trails in Vancouver, BC. But if I had to pick, I think my favourite place would be Marin headlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is where I started running so it feels like my running home. The Headlands Run that took you from Crissy Field, over the Golden Gate bridge and up into the Headlands onto a peak with a panoramic view (on a clear day) was probably my most memorable run when I lived in the city.

5) What would you like to accomplish with the app in the next five years?

There is so much I’d love to accomplish in the next five years on top of being one of the leading running apps by then. It’s often said that the best way to explore a city is by foot and our ultimate goal is to give as many runners worldwide as possible, the freedom and confidence to discover all the amazing running routes around them. I was in Dublin just over a year ago and was able to explore the city by running a different route every day. The feeling of completely immersing myself in the city was amazing as I explored routes created by a local running store. It was a completely different experience from when I used to travel for business years ago and was usually recommended to run up and down the river bank by the hotel.

For more information on the RunGo app, go here.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

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If you are on the hunt for the perfect vehicle for living in British Columbia and also want to help out the environment, then you may want to consider giving the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid a test drive. This compact crossover is the ideal car for all of your BC lifestyle needs. Whether you’re an adventurous couple, a traveling single or a young family looking to explore all that BC has to offer, the RAV4 Hybrid should be your number one pick.

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With fuel prices continuing to soar, the sale of Hybrid vehicles across Canada has increased 45.2% since 2015, thus allowing consumers to save money and also help out the environment at the same time. Hybrid drivers use about 30% less fuel than regular cars, thus reducing their carbon footprint.  The switch to Hybrid is a no-brainer because it does not affect or change one’s lifestyle or habits, other than allowing them to frequent the gas station less often.

The RAV4 Hybrid is an incredibly versatile car that features some of the best innovative technology, comfort and safety features currently on the market. Some of my favourite features that come with the car are the Toyota Safety Sense P – including the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, which are very helpful for driving around busy downtown Vancouver. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control also allows for maximum safety when going on some longer trips. The heated front seats and heated steering wheel also allows for utmost comfort while traveling in the winter time.

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The RAV4 Hybrid also has a ton of room for passengers both in the front and the back and with up to 73 cubic feet of cargo capacity, you can comfortably take your friends with you on your next sporting expedition out of the city.

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The RAV4 Hybrid offers 194 net system horsepower Hybrid Synergy Drive, built around a 2.5L four-cylinder, Atkinson Cycle engine. Some additional standout characteristics are the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control System (TRAC), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and the All Wheel Drive with Intelligence (AWD-i), which is essential when driving on wintery Canadian roads.

Moreover, you know your friends and family are safe when traveling in the RAV4 Hybrid thanks to Toyota’s excellent safety standard, which include eight airbags, a back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the Vehicle Proximity Notification System, just to name a few.

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The RAV4 Hybrid‘s vibrant Electric Storm Blue colour, 18″ Aluminum Alloy Wheels, sleek black interior and sporty features allows you to ride in style all around British Columbia and wherever your adventures take you.

For more information on the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, visit https://www.toyota.ca.

Top 3 Spin Studios Vancouver – Eastwood Cycle

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Eastwood Cycle is unlike any spin studio I’ve ever been to. As soon as you step into the Hastings St. flagship, you’re immediately transported into an oasis of tranquility and wellbeing. Their beautifully designed studio brings decoration elements from Morocco to create a colourful and warm environment. The spin studio itself is without a doubt one of the largest I’ve seen, providing a lot of space for bikes and also for pre or post-workout stretching.

Jillian Sheridan started the space with her husband two and a half years ago. She took a few minutes at the studio last week to answer some of my questions about the space.

What inspired you to start off this space?

I had never personally really found a studio, prior to opening Eastwood that I had been to and had felt that I was part of the community right away. I always felt that I was either not a part of the community or a number and no one would ever notice when I would come or go. That was something that I was always searching for; a really strong community. Then my husband and I found spin and fell in love with it. We were looking to do something different and while we were on vacation in Sayulita, Mexico, we did some brainstorming (we do our best work on the beach!) and decided that if there’s something we want and can’t find, then we should just create it. So we decided to take a leap of faith.

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What makes Eastwood Cycle stand out from other spin studios?

Our experience and the space for sure. That was really important to us, we wanted to create a space where people would come and want to stay. People can hang out and enjoy the time while they’re here. The design as well because for us it’s not just about the ride itself, but everything from the minute you walk into the studio. We call our front desk staff the “Experience team”. We’re all about the little touch points.

What are some of the different classes that you offer?

The ride is also huge for us, so we’ve created the Icon class and the Athlete class. We found that when we opened, we had this massive demographic that wanted different types of classes. The Icon is more rhythm-focused and structured to the beat of the music and incorporates weights. Whereas the Athlete class, that my husband created, is more in the saddle. It’s great for people training for the road, it’s intervals, hill climbs and usually does not incorporate weights. A lot of our regulars will take both classes and as a result are getting a different experience when they ride each time. It also attracts different people from all walks of life.

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In addition to providing spin classes, you also have a variety of products that people can buy when they come to the studio, can you expand more on that?

I do all of our retail. For us we’re not spin, we’re not fitness, this is a lifestyle, it’s about what makes you feel good, what you’re doing and what you’re wearing. All of the products that are here are an extension of who we are. It’s the biggest compliment when you see someone wearing your logo on their chest. The retail for us has been pretty special. We use a couple of different brands out of LA and we also have RYU, who are local. We also have custom yoga mats that were designed for us by a company called Yeti Yoga. We started ordering from them when they had a small Etsy shop and now they’re on Shopbop. They do a bunch of custom designs for us and are out of Portland.

What is new for Eastwood in 2017?

We’re doing a lot with the GranFondo this year. It’s a ride from Vancouver to Whistler. There is about 5000 people that take part in it and we’ll be holding a bunch of different training rides for them. We’ll also have our bikes at the finish line so that cyclists can spin out the lactic acid after their ride. That’s been a huge project that we’ve been working on. In the spring, we’ll be turning downtown into our true flagship that will hold all of our concepts – Eastwood Cycle, Eastwood Boxing and Eastwood Meditate. So when we opened Eastwood, we always wanted to house different concepts, that’s why we chose a name that was more of a place that you were going to and wasn’t necessarily associated with one specific workout. So we’ll be doing a rebirth of Eastwood, which is exciting. We’ve been waiting to open box since day one. It’ll be great to refresh the studio and open up new concepts. Once those are up and running, we’ll also be doing boutique studios.

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What can people expect with Eastwood Boxing and Eastwood Meditate?

People can expect a different experience for each workout. Boxing will be done with dim lights, loud music and all bags. We’re building it so that each separate room that you walk into, you will have a different experience in terms of lighting, smells, noise and even how you enter. Meditation will be a totally different experience as well. You can get the vibe from our Instagram account, with the colours and quotes, so it has been a fun project and something we’ve been researching and waiting to launch for so long, so it’s fun to finally be able to talk about it and see it come to fruition.

For more information on Eastwood, go here. Check back next week for my 3rd spin studio recommendation in Vancouver!

Discover a New Town by Running

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Moving to a new city or have recently moved to somewhere new? The best way to get to know a new place is to start running. Since I started running two years ago, I have been able to get to know the places I travel to or reside in remarkably better. It has become my go-to way to explore neighborhoods, landmarks and also a great way to meet new people. Here are my three tips for running your new town!

1) Join the city’s run clubs. One of the best ways to make new friends, find like-minded people and discover your new home is by joining the city’s local run groups. They are usually pretty easy to find, either online or via social media. Another way is to look up running-specific stores or brands that make running apparel, as they often have local run groups as well. These run clubs are mostly free and you can drop in at any moment, so it is easy to run with different clubs all around town.

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2) Sign up for local races. Local races always showcase some of the best running routes in the city. It is also a fun way to see some of the city’s attractions and get a feel for the running community in your new home. It will also allow you to meet new people and stay on top of our fitness goals, all at once!

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3) Research different running routes. Before going out for a run, map out your run online or search for some alternate routes. Long runs are especially fun to plan out because they allow you to cover so much ground in the city. I sometimes even stop at certain points of interest to take photos or take mental notes of places I want to come back to after my run.

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Essential Short Sleeve Tee (get it here), Hyba Hooded Neoprene Jacket (get it here), Hyba Printed Fast Track Legging (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

Top 3 Spin Studios Vancouver – RIDE

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This past year, spin has become one of my favorite activities. I love outdoor cycling and love great tunes, so I’ve thrown myself into spinning and have loved every minute of it. One of the things I love most about this activity, is finding out great new studios and instructors to spin with whenever I travel. Since I’m spending a little while in Vancouver, I thought I would explore some of the city’s greatest studios and share my top 3 with you.

RIDE was the first studio I tried out when I arrived in Vancouver. I was immediately drawn to their sleek looking space. In addition to their Vancouver location, they have just opened up a brand new studio in Toronto. The studio’s founder Ashley explains below the idea behind RIDE and what sets them apart in the city.

What made you want to open up RIDE? What is your mission at RIDE? 

I created RIDE because of my love for music, sweat, and community. RIDE brings all of these together. Every time I take class I get to let go of the outside world. I love how the music guides your body and takes you into a different state of mind (if you let it…).

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What is your mission at RIDE? 

To create a sacred space where RIDERS can let go and push themselves mentally and physically. A workout that takes their day from ordinary too extraordinary and to build a community of like minded people.

What separates this spin studio from others?

Every studio has their own vibe and product. RIDE’s not easy. It’s a challenge for even the best of RIDERS. My partners and I have been RIDING for over 10 years and we still feel challenged. We love the MUSIC and we love to PUSH one another to be better and stronger.

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How important is the communal aspect to RIDE?

Community is everything. Without our riders we would have never been able to accomplish what we have today. As soon as you step into the studio you can feel the comradery, you see an incredible pack of sweaty like-minded people working together, inspiring one another, riding in unison to the beat of the music. That right there is our COMMUNITY. We sometimes refer to it as “CHURCH” a space where we all believe in one thing and belong to something together.

Tell me a little more about the gear and clothing that you guys sell?

We currently partner with Lululemon and we have a collaboration with Toronto based KOTN dropping shortly. We also sell custom RIDE gear. We are currently setting up our e-comm so stay tuned for online sales.

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For more information on RIDE, go here. Check back next week for my 2nd spin studio recommendation in Vancouver!

5 Questions With: Anita Cheung of Moment Meditation

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Meditation has become an important part of my life these past couple of months. If you’ve been following this website, you may have seen some of my previous posts on leading a more mindful life. I was thrilled to find out that Vancouver has a great new space called Moment Meditation, located right in downtown. I wanted to find out more about this meditation oasis so I sat down with one of Moment’s co-founders Anita Cheung this week. I hope our conversation will inspire you to check them out!

1) What was the inspiration behind this space?

There are three founders, Evian, Hiroko and myselF. We all found meditation through various points in our life but we found each other in a really interesting way. Moment the brand, the concept as it is, is a drop-in meditation studio, which was technically started almost two and a half years ago. I had this crazy idea to open a drop-in meditation studio as a pop-up for a week back in 2014. This was in Chinatown, it was a street front retail space that I took over for a week and ran it like I do Moment. You could come in and do audio-guided meditations, there were group classes and at night we had speaker events and mindful dinners. That was completely self-funded. I felt so compelled to do it because meditation had a really huge impact on me, it helped me come out of depression. It was one of the long-lasting tools that really stuck. I am very passionate about it and wanted to share it with the world.

But at the time, I didn’t think there was a living to be had from meditation, it didn’t feel right. I focused on my other projects and left Moment as it was. Not this past December but the one before, it crept up again and I had this desire to create a mobile meditation space. The opportunity came up for a one-day pop-up because a friend had a trailer I could borrow. That got a little bit of press because it was right around Christmas and everyone is stressed out during that time but now they had an oasis right in downtown Vancouver to take a moment. The next day Evian called me, I didn’t know him but we started talking and he said I have this idea and you’re doing it, can we partner? So we met and chatted a little bit and the next time I met him, he was with Hiroko and they had already been talking about. It was serendipitous because they were talking about it and the next day Evian saw it in the newspaper. Our original intention and still our intention now is to create a mobile fleet of meditation spaces. Our intention is to have one in Chicago, LA, London and here. We opened this space as a pilot for our project. We got the keys to this place in September, now just hired a bunch of teachers and now it’s out in the world. 

2) What are some of the services and classes that people can come and take at Moment right now?

Right now we have a class schedule that is similar to a fitness studio; early morning, after work and a few in mid-day. They are 45 minute classes except for lunch, who are only 30 mins. All of our classes are structured around different parts of the brain that are trained or activated when you meditate. Hiroko’s background is in content development, she’s a psychologist expert in all-things brain. She has created the program around Calm, Focus and Happiness, because those are three distinct parts of the brain. So people can choose those three classes or they can choose a Moment Signature class. We’re looking to roll out a couple of other fun features like virtual classes, so projecting some big players in meditation from LA, New York, onto our screens and have people come in. We have a couple of big players locally that are going to be leading some of the classes here.

Other things that people can do, is just book in, kind of like car2go, you can book 5, 10, 30 mins of quiet time at the studio. 

The third pillar is our measurability of meditation. Hiroko spent her life doing this kind of work on a one-on-one level with her patients at her clinic practice. What we’ve created is this space and the technology that allows people to measure how they are meditating and how it’s working for them. What we call the MQ, it’s like an IQ but “Mindfulness Quotient“, is basically your ability to respond to stress. It looks at your brainwave activity, breath rate and heart rate, muscle tension and puts you through this little stress test and then shows you how well you can focus and how well you can bounce back from being in a stressful environment. What science has told us is that if you meditate, you can do that much more quickly, you’re more flexible, you’re more resilient. So people can really see the numbers behind, if I meditate for a month, come back at the end of the meditation and see what your score is and how it has changed. 

3) What are the tools that people can use when they come in for individual meditation?

We have audio-guided meditations, there are five to choose from right now. We are looking to change it up so that there’s a menu and every month there’s a special. This month we have Casey-Jo from The Peak, she has an amazing voice and she’s recorded something for us. Next month, we are doing a spoken-word meditation. We will constantly cycle things in and out. We’ll record some of our teachers as well but we’re hoping to expand to even more people. 

4) For people that are new to meditation, what would you recommend as a good introduction for them?

I would recommend a group class because there’s strength in numbers. Our classes are fun. They’re 45 mins long but you’re not meditating for 45 mins. There’s a portion at the beginning that’s either just writing or drawing, a quiet moment that just gets you out of your work mode and into this contemplative mode. There’s a lot of chatting, you get to meet some great people that are like-minded and in the same boat. It’s all guided, so 10 mins of guided meditation, we come back up, we have a chat and ask questions. So then we’ll dive into a second meditation 10 mins max and have a quick chat afterwards and then you’re done. 

5) Do you find that the city of Vancouver is a city that is open to this kind of space?

I think that the city is getting there and that there’s a lot of education that is still to be had, which surprised us. It’s a fun surprise because we get to educate people on what it means to be meditating and how different it is from yoga, how it stands alone from yoga. The time is right, the tide is changing, people are open to it. If we would have done it two years ago, it wouldn’t have gone as well. People are curious now. There’s still that bit of fear but we’re noticing that people are interested and craving it almost. 

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For more information on Moment Meditation, go here.

5 Reasons to Stay at The Burrard

hdrWith a city that offers so many great accommodation options, it’s sometimes difficult to pick the right place to call home for the night. Luckily, this past year, I found a great boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver that I absolutely fell in love with called The Burrard. This converted 1956 motor hotel is located in Yaletown and has become a city favorite. I’m sharing with you today, 5 reasons why you should stay at The Burrard on your next trip to Vancouver.

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1) They are eco-friendly. With global warming being an important issue in 2017, I’m always happy when I see hotels making an effort to reduce their impact on the environment. Being in beautiful British Columbia, it only seems fitting that hotels would be more “eco-conscious” but sadly that isn’t the reality everywhere. So when I see things like compost bins with a cute instruction card being put into my room, it makes me happy!

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2) They are funny. Who knew that hotels could have a sense of humour? One of my favorite things about this hotel are their clever quotes and notes everywhere. How often do you see this kind of artwork in hotel lobbies or around? I love a hotel that doesn’t take itself too seriously but still offers topnotch service and amenities.

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3) They are centrally located. You can walk to pretty much anywhere in Vancouver within 15-30 mins when you stay at The Burrard. It’s incredibly easy to get to downtown, to run to the Seawall, to get to Kitsilano or even explore Granville Island. If you’re not into walking, they offer free cruiser bike rentals for guests staying at the hotel. And if you’re afraid of the rain (like I am!), they also complimentary umbrellas so that you can keep discovering the city without getting wet.

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4) They have a great café. Located just off the lobby of The Burrard, Elysian Coffee offers some of the city’s best coffee and healthy homemade snacks. Whether you’ve got a craving for homemade chocolate chip cookies with a hot tea or prefer a freshly-made avocado toast with a Juice Truck juice, they’ve got you covered.

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5) They have the best retro vibes. Hands down the best part about being at The Burrard is the vibe you get from the hotel. This 1950s gem has been updated but has kept its vintage charm. It’s the only hotel in the city where you’ll find a vintage-inspired courtyard oasis with palm trees and retro solair chairs. The neon sign on the side of the hotel makes it incredibly unique. The meeting room adjacent to Elysian Coffee is a retro dream and so are all the rooms. Every decoration item and piece furniture was carefully curated to fit the retro vibes of the hotel.

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Want an insider’s tip? The ultra popular comfort-food restaurant Burgoo is opening up next door in 2017!

5 Questions With: Smash + Tess

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The mother and daughter best-friend trio hailing from Vancouver that make up Smash + Tess, are all about sharing their passion for dreamwear. They founded their business together in early 2016 and have as a mission to make women feel confident and beautiful at all times, from the boardroom to the bedroom. The trio uses ethically sourced and quality fabrics to design and produce their line in North America. Get inspired by this mother-daughter team by finding out more about them below!

1) What made you want to start Smash + Tess?

We wanted to fill the hole that we believe exists in sleep and loungewear. After years of trying to find the perfect sleep/loungewear, we decided it was time to just go for it and do it ourselves! Smash + Tess began with a serious love of all things cozy and fashionable, became a reality in Fashion college, and has been bringing dreamwear to Canada and the US since our launch in April of 2016.

2) Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?

From so many places!  We are native Vancouverites that love our city! It is so beautiful and we have a killer studio with high ceilings, in the creative area of Mount Pleasant to be inspired by! Just walking down the street and seeing huge murals of incredible art, and courageous street style makes us excited about creating. The rain (which I do love by the way) is the perfect catalyst for creating cozy! The three of us have long had a dream of creating “dreamwear” that can easily transition from bed to the street, that you can answer the door in and not be embarrassed, that doesn’t sacrifice beauty for comfort. So we’ve drawn on years of trying out different loungewear, and not being entirely satisfied. 

3) What is the best part of working as a mom-daughter bestie team?

We all bring something different and exciting to the table! It’s incredibly special. A true dream realized. Mama T is a fantastic decision maker. She absolutely trusts her gut and isn’t afraid to pull the proverbial trigger. Mercedes is incredibly detail-oriented and isn’t afraid to roll her sleeves up and get the job done. I would say that they likely admire and appreciate my vision and passion for communicating what we are all about!

4) How has a city like Vancouver helped your brand? Is there a lot of support in the city for small businesses?

We feel so blessed to be in such a supportive and amazing network of strong female entrepreneurs. We have been so pleasantly surprised at the collaborative spirit in our city. We continue to enjoy meeting and working with other boss babes from our hometown!

5) Where would you like to see the line in 5 years from now?

In five years from now, we would love to have grown exponentially. We so believe in our mission, and hope to have ladies far and wide rocking some Smash + Tess. We hope to continue to evolve and offer fun and exciting alternatives to male-inspired PJs and yoga wear.

For more info on Smash + Tess, go here.