When Uriel MacGillivary first decided to try hot yoga in Halifax about five years ago to help ease her joint inflammation and pain, she couldn't have known she was embarking on a whole new life journey.
"With that (first) experience of hot yoga, I felt like I was actually working out and the heat made my joints move more fluidly," MacGillivary recalled. "One day I woke up and the pain was gone. It happened over a period of time, but I attributed that to practicing in the heat."
She said with heat, the synovial fluid in the joints warms up and enables practitioners to get deeper into poses and move more fluidly without pain. She also stressed that sweating rids the body of toxins.
MacGillivary left her high powered career as a senior manager with an international human resources consulting firm and jumped into the unknown. She found herself travelling to India in February of 2009 to take yoga teacher training.
She opened her own hot yoga studio on Woodlawn Road in Dartmouth in July of 2010. She hasn't looked back since.
In fact, the hot yoga practice that inspired and moved her has become a family affair. Her husband Don and son Taylor also became yoga instructors, and the MacGillivary family is now preparing to open the first hot yoga studio in the Bedford-Sackville area.
The Shanti Hot Yoga Studio (shanti means 'peace') will be located in Nine Mile Circle at the corner of Larry Uteck Boulevard and Nine Mile Drive. While the majority of the studio's offerings will be hot yoga, Taylor will also introduce different styles of yoga not practiced in the heat. The new Bedford facility will be overseen by Kyla MacKinnon, an experienced manager and yoga instructor.
"We are really excited about the development happening in Bedford ... Bedford is really underserved in terms of yoga offerings, and 20 per cent of our current (Dartmouth) studio base comes from the Bedford/Sackville area," MacGillivary said.
The new 4,000 square foot studio is being custom designed by D360, and will include a large and smaller hot room as well as a community area featuring a fireplace and bookcase. They hope to open their doors by Nov. 1.
"About 95 per cent of people initially come in for the physical benefits," Don MacGillivary said. "But if you ask most people who have a regular practice, they say it's more the calming effect and the calming of their mind that they get the most out of."