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When Danielle Mika Nagel gave yoga a shot at age 24, she was bored. A professional dancer who’d been in musical theatre across the States and Europe, she couldn’t stand its lack of music and fast-paced choreography.
Still, she was determined to find an escape from the ego-driven world of dance. And a year later, that desire brought her back to the mat as both a yogi and a meditator. Soon enough, she discovered how intimately linked the practices are.
Nagel is now director of studio development at Vancouver’s two-year-old Chopra Yoga Center, which is based on the commitment to mind-body healing espoused by Deepak Chopra and David Simon (a doctor, mind-body pioneer, and bestselling author before his death in 2012). Nagel is a master of multiple traditions (plus an alumna of the Chopra Center of Wellbeing in California) so she’s in an ideal position to help as the Chopra studio starts branching into other cities.
Each day a few hundred students come to the Chopra Yoga Center, where principles drawn from Chopra’s self-help phenomenon The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success are rotated through each week.
Nagel has found Vancouver to be a city that incorporates yoga into its broader culture: Lululemon works at the dinner table, meditation at the conference table. Which is exactly her wish: the integration of yogic philosophy “on and off the mat.”
495 calories burned in one hour by a 155-pound person doing power yoga (warm-up/down extra)
Dress the part For hot classes, you’ll want to wear something that can wick away sweat.
Fast, fast, slow Try not to eat anything for a few hours prior to class. If that’s not possible, choose something light, like a piece of fruit.
Check your ego at the door Detach from the idea of being perfect. Work through the messy parts and have fun. When you fall out of a posture (everybody does), learn to laugh at yourself. Daniellemikanagel.com
Bring Grandma If you’ve never tried yoga, you might find jumping into a garudasana overwhelming. Semperviva offers a $25, 30-day beginner programs. Semperviva.com
Bring Friends With locations from Yaletown to Richmond, YYoga serves up 28 different classes from meditation to the heart-pumping jock yoga (for those that need a little weightlifting with their lotus pose). Yyoga.ca
Bring a Defibrillator The Chopra Yoga Center classes fall into strength, restore, foundation, and heated categories. $10 drop-ins weekends and off-peak hours weekdays. Choprayoga.com
Deepak Chopra’s seven laws include acceptance that we’re all linked and that whatever you give will return to you in equal form