Hay River now has four women trained as yoga instructors and willing to pass on the secrets of the ancient physical and spiritual practice to others in the community.
That is the result – and was the plan – of a three-week intensive training session that concluded on Aug. 24.
Actually, six women completed the Aug. 1-24 course, but one is returning to school in British Columbia and the other is a former Hay River resident who now lives in Valleyview, Alta.
Jackie Scheller, one of the graduates, said she and the others in Hay River are going to get together this week to make plans and see what they need to do to get organized to offer classes.
“There are four of us here in town that will be looking to do something,” she said.
However, Scheller is not sure when classes for others in the community will start.
She had previously practised yoga in a studio in Calgary for a couple of years and on her own in Hay River.
“Because I love yoga and I love what yoga does for you,” she said of why she entered the intensive course. “And I think that Hay River definitely needs some yoga.”
Debbie Langille is the graduate returning to school in Victoria, B.C., but she plans on coming back to teach yoga during the summer and maybe at Christmas.
“I pursued yoga for many years and so I have quite a lot of different experiences in yoga,” she said. “But it’s the first time I ever had the opportunity to actually do any concentrated learning. So I dedicated the last month to just living, breathing and sleeping yoga.”
Langille said the course was an unbelievable for the participants and the whole town.
“Things like yoga bring the whole community together and support life,” she said. “Yoga is all about community and coming together and uniting as a group. It’s an amazing experience.”
The course was sponsored by the Town of Hay River and instructed by Edmonton’s Sylvie Boisclair, a former resident of Yellowknife and the owner/operator of Do Something! Yoga.
“It went so much beyond my expectations,” said Boisclair of the course, who adds she can feel the graduates will bring yoga to Hay River.
She noted that all the participants who entered the course passed and received the title of yoga instructor.
Boisclair said they had varying levels of experience in yoga at the beginning.
“So I had to really adapt to that because they’ve been doing it with a book or with television or the Internet, but it’s not the same as being in the presence of a teacher that gives you feedback,” she said.
Boisclair said it’s now in the hands of the four graduates remaining in Hay River as to what they can offer to the community.
“I think they’re very, very motivated,” she said. “I think they’re very excited because they really understood what yoga can do to a person. And then once you know that, you want to share it. If you’re the kind of person who wants to share things that feel good for yourself, then they will share it. So I think it’s going to be very good for the community.”
Jim Darby, the recreation director with the Town of Hay River, is pleased the town now has qualified instructors.
“It means we’ve got a number of yoga instructors now that can deliver classes to the town,” he said, noting they can instruct all ages.
As for when classes could begin for community members, Darby said that might be as soon as the middle of September.
Prior to the three-week training course, there was no yoga instructor in the community.