As society continues to progress away from diet culture and fixations on appearance over general well-being, and gravitates towards body-positive and inclusive mindsets, we see more brands catering to mindfulness and diversity. We see this, for example, in sizing at clothing stores, advertisements and billboards, and brand messaging.
Fitness is also moving towards mindful and holistic movement.
The term ‘trauma-informed movement’ has become more widespread as well. It’s rooted in the understanding of how traumatic events and chronic stress can impact the nervous system and focuses on creating a safe space to reconnect with the body. Body positivity and body neutrality have also become more prevalent terms and are both uniquely empowering. The first places emphasis on loving one’s body unconditionally and the latter takes the emphasis off of one’s body.
For those wanting to get a little more out of a workout class, these wellness and movement studios around Vancouver are all centred around trauma-informed, body-positive and body-neutral, holistic approaches to fitness.
This fitness and wellness space is founded on three core values: social wellness, body neutrality, and gender neutrality. Their classes are for everyone, regardless of experience levels, and vary to include different types of movement, like spin classes, meditation, mat Pilates and yoga. All of their instructors are trauma-trained and know how to create a safe, inclusive movement space.
A La Ligne
This fitness studio focuses on Pilates, strength, and pre and post-natal training, with exercises incorporating trauma-informed, holistic, anatomically-aware movement and breathwork. The founders specialize in strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, and Pilates with a specialized approach to training the female body, considering pre-post natal, menstrual cycles, fertility and more. The studio’s instructors vary in training, from trauma-informed yoga instructors to Ayurvedic wellness consultants/yoga teachers, and all focus on making movement accessible to everyone.
This holistic movement studio centres around education and empowerment. It’s more than getting a sweat in and a feel-good rush of endorphins. Through the process of education, embodiment and reflection, coupled with a mix of traditional Chinese medicine and a holistic approach, this space lets you take full control of your health. Alongside mindful movement practices including Pilates, restorative yoga, and somatic therapy, the studio will equip you with tools to regulate your mind (managing stress, balancing hormones, living in harmony) and your energy (traditional Chinese medicine such as cupping, acupuncture, Gua sha).
Pheonix Community Yoga
This non-profit studio offers free yoga classes in underserved and marginalized communities and creates a welcoming, safe and inclusive space for all bodies. Each of their classes is delivered with a trauma-informed approach to yoga, helping process and release emotionally charged experiences, feel safer and more balanced, and learn tools that aid in coping and healing.
The Well by Kunye
This newer addition to Vancouver’s movement scene will meet you where you are already at, whether you’re a curious first-timer or regularly exercise. The studio encourages you to move however feels best for your body and classes incorporate multiple sensations at once to help anchor you in the present, away from the mental chatter, and offer intentionally small class sizes so that the space feels more inclusive. There are various types of movement available depending on your body’s needs, including classes that strengthen, open, condition, and educate.