The View: Expanding horizons at Balu Yoga

Balu Yoga, in downtown Revelstoke, expanded this fall, creating a bigger studio and more spaces for wellness providers.

A group takes part in a yoga class in the newly expanded studio at Balu Yoga.

In the vibrant downtown core of Revelstoke, BC, Balu Yoga and Wellness recently reopened its doors, bigger and better than ever.

“We always knew we wanted Balu in a bigger space,” explains co-owner Noelle Bovon. “In Revelstoke we have such a tremendous amount of room, people don’t want to be mat to mat to mat like in the city although, of course, that can happen. We also wanted to offer more wellness services.”

Bovon and co-owner Sheri Zebroff had looked at available spaces and when, this past summer, the space next to them became available, they knew it was time.

Bovon’s husband, Peter Murray, ran the renovation — expanding the studio space and creating a new entrance, coat room and service provider rooms. Balu is the main base for a midwife, nutritional consultant and three registered massage therapists, all alongside the yoga studio.

Balu is also home to a multitude of talented yoga teachers. “It’s essential to cultivate a community of teachers who want to be here,” Bovon says. “We better our teaching, learn from each other and build a real yoga community.”

The studio offers a huge range of classes, from prenatal to mom and baby, bikram, yin, vinyasa, flows, to yoga for elders, yoga for skiers and restorative yoga. Balu hosts teacher training programs, workshops and retreats, this past year doing trips to both the Yukon and Halycon.

After class, practitioners can grab a water from the kitchen unit or purchase coconut water or a Kootenay Juice Co fresh pressed raw drink or snag a high quality pair of yoga leggings.

Everyone is welcome at Balu, regardless of his or her experience with yoga. “Flexibility is not required,” Bovon explains.

So come check out the bright and beautiful Balu at 414 First St. West, and get your pose on!

NOELLE BOVON

Noelle Bovon has been an owner of Balu Yoga and Wellness since the studio’s relocation in 2011 to the downtown core. Her past work experience encompasses managing helicopter ski operations to leading month-long remote backpacking and river expeditions aimed at teaching leadership development and communication.

Bovon’s passion for yoga comes from reaping its benefits herself. Suffering from chronic back issues that sometimes debilitated her to the point of immobility, Bovon was introduced to yoga in 2002.

“A steady practice of yoga built me back up,” Bovon says.

Bovon took her teacher training program in 2009 to further her own practice, but sometime during the course she decided she wanted to teach. “I realized it was for me, it aligned with my principles.”

Bovon has a love for both Vinyasa and restorative practice.

An entrepreneur by heart with a strong work ethic, Bovon relished the opportunity to work for herself with a partner who has the same vision.

KIMBERLY HAYES

One of Balu’s three registered massage therapists, Kimberly Hayes loves the newly renovated space. “They did a beautiful job,” she says. “It’s so nice to have the space, especially the entrance, before you head into the studio.”

An adventure seeking nomad, Hayes has lived in numerous places from Whistler to the Prairies, though she and her fiancée had long known they wanted to move to Revelstoke before they took the leap.

“We gave ourselves 10 days to find a house and jobs, and we were done in three,” Hayes laughs.

Hayes always knew she was going to be a massage therapist. “I kept meaning to go to school but then other things would happen instead. Finally, the fourth time, I found myself in the classroom at Grant MacEwan in Edmonton,” Hayes relates. “I remember thinking, ‘Whew, I made it.’”

Hayes’ massages range from relaxation to deep tissue and figuring out what every individual needs. “My favourite massages are when you know you connected with the person,” she explains. “When they walk away and you know you gave them exactly what was needed.”

LISA CYR

A yoga instructor at Balu, Lisa Cyr relocated to Revelstoke last year from Calgary, where she had worked as a full time yoga instructor.

Having previously been to Balu to practice during ski trips to Revelstoke and knowing Bovon from an advanced 300 hour teacher training course they took together in 2009, Cyr approached Bovon about instructing at Balu. As luck would have it, there was space for another teacher.

Cyr is a big believer of yoga as a form of physiotherapy. “I crushed a vertebrate in my back in 2001,” Cyr explains. “I was a student and had no benefits past a couple of physio sessions.” It was her physiotherapists who suggested yoga to aid her recovery. “I wouldn’t have the mobility I have today without yoga,” Cyr says.

Her favourite classes to teach generally fall under the Hatha umbrella. “Slow and deep,” she says. “It gives you time to look at the inner working of your body. In a flow it’s easy to collapse out a pose and not know it. I love holding a pose, getting the right alignment and challenging myself to go deeper into it.”

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