Semper Viva is a mini chain of studios located in Vancouver, British Columbia aimed at making yoga accessible to everyone by fostering a welcoming and supportive community. As with most studio chains they offer a broad range of classes in their attempt to cater to the community at large.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Location(s): Multiple studio locations located within close proximity to each other in central Vancouver.
- Style: Their schedule is dominated by Hatha and Vinyasa Flow classes but they do offer a wide range of classes. Check out their schedule to learn more.
- Instructors: Semper Viva has a large team of teachers with varied backgrounds, expertise and experience. During my visit I took classes from Catherine and Hali. There is no dedicated teacher page so to learn about them hover your mouse over the teacher name on the schedule.
- Schedule: The Semper Viva schedule has no shortage of classes suitable for every schedule with most classing running at the 75 minute mark.
- Price: Single drop in is $20.00 which tends to push people towards a membership option and seems to be frequently on special. Check out their membership page for more information.
Semper Viva proved to be a very unique experience for me while I was visiting Vancouver. It started when I wanted to check out their famed Kundalini class. I did all my research on the studio, checked out what time it started and packed my bag to head up the hill to their Kits location. Upon arriving I was greeted by the exceptionally friendly desk staff asking if I was there for the Hatha class that had started 5 minutes ago. Turns out I had read the schedule wrong and the Kundalini class I wanted to attend was at the “Sun Studio”, not the Kits (let that be a lesson to the rest of you). Dropping my head in defeat I said “no worries I’ll just come back another time”. To which a gentleman with small bulldog in tow said that he was headed to that exact class and insisted I ride with him and his co-pilot. Turns out this man was a regular at the studio and the desk staff encouraged me to take his offer.
I arrived at the studio (about 6 city blocks away) safely, thanked my new friends and headed to the front desk to pay for class. The desk staff was, again, very courteous and informed. The lady told me they were hosting MC Yogi and that he was going to be performing at one of their locations that afternoon. Sounded like a great time but sadly I could not attend. I inquired about pricing with the intention of just paying for a drop in. After realizing that it was $20.00 to drop in I found out that it would be cheaper to buy a pass for $30.00 for a month of yoga despite only being in town for 4 full days. So it seems that Semper Viva pricing seems to be aimed at locals rather than out-of-towners like myself.
The Kundalini class I attended was dynamic. It was taught by Catherine, an eccentric French Canadian (is eccentric French Canadian redundant?) who made the class more like a series of calisthenics than an traditional yoga class – we spent 75 minutes flailing our limbs. The class was shockingly diverse. It consisted of young adults to seniors and I have it on good authority that one woman was in her early 80’s (awesome!). I can see why people love Catherine and her class. Her energy is undeniable and her laissez-faire attitude made you feel okay that you looked like a wacky-wavable-inflatable-arm-man.
The next class I attended was a Hatha class taught by Hali at the conveniently located (for me) Kits location. I arrived a few minutes early to browse their large store-front and soak in the vibe. When the previous class let out I dropped my bags in the change room and headed to the studio. The studio space was large with mats already laid out. I believe all Semper Viva locations provide mats to their students at no charge. The studio space itself is impersonal – large and a little industrial. There are however very large windows which should let in a lot of light during the day.
The sequencing of the class was good and not too complicated. It was a typical of a Hatha class, meaning longer holds and less flow. Hali’s instruction was very focused on alignment and she gave a lot of cues for each pose. If you were listening to everything she said you would get to where you needed to be in that pose. Definitely a good class if you are a beginner which was reflected in the class composition.
That was my time at Semper Viva. My overall impression is that this studio is a welcoming and open environment suitable for those wanting to give yoga a shot and grow their practice (at any age).
Have you been to Semper Viva? Do you think it’s for beginners or everyone? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below!
My “style” of yoga can be characterized by a few key words: anatomical, foundation, avoiding warrior poses and arm balances. My favorite teachers are: Jeff Mah, Tiffany Cruickshank and Kathryn Budig. If you are familiar with any of these teachers you’ll know that I like to get my heart pumping and flow through Asana’s.