Krista Birch opened Glow Yoga and Wellness Studio in the Tamarack Centre in Cranbrook last fall. Birch is pictured here beside the proceeds from her Karma class

Krista Birch opened Glow Yoga and Wellness Studio in the Tamarack Centre in Cranbrook last fall. Birch is pictured here beside the proceeds from her Karma class

New yoga studio focuses on athletics and strength

There's a new yoga studio in town that aims to challenge participants in physical and athletic yoga sequences.

There’s a new yoga studio in town that aims to challenge participants in physical and athletic yoga sequences.

Krista Birch opened Glow Yoga and Wellness Studio in Cranbrook back in September.

Birch’s studio specializes in Ashtanga yoga, a style which highlights shoulder and core strength building, as well as intense sequences.

“I don’t teach traditional Ashtanga, which is the exact same every single time,” she said. “I set it in the same sequence, but change the poses everyday. If you went to a Hatha or a Moksha class it would be completely different; they have a different sequence than I do.”

She said she enjoys how disciplined the style is. The style is based on a specialized sequence of postures and focused breathing techniques. There is of course a beginners class.

Birch said the reception has been awesome in Cranbrook.

“I actually didn’t think it would take off as fast as it did,” she said. “I’ve had full classes and some not that full. I’ve had 22 people in the class.”

The first Saturday of every month she also holds a Karma class, where participants can pay with a food bank item or a donation to the chosen charity, which this month was Bellies to Babies.

Birch said it was her sister in Calgary who got her started in yoga, to help with stress relief, and she fell in love with it.

“Then she talked me into getting my certification,” she said. “Not a lot of people get to do what they love, so I’m lucky.”

Birch is originally from Cranbrook and was happy to be back.

She pursued a post-secondary education in Vancouver, then moved to Calgary, where she began practicing yoga. She is now a certified yoga instructor.

About yoga, she said the physical, mental and spiritual benefits are so far-reaching that it should really be part of physical education at school and used more in the business world.

She said the sequences may seem daunting to beginners, but with practice the benefits will come.

“It is an ancient art and the benefits are well documented,” she said, adding those benefits include improved flexibility, muscle tone, balance and improved concentration.

She holds various classes, including a kids class for ages 5-8. She said that kids also feel stress, so it makes sense to have a yoga class for them as well.

The studio is located in the Tamarack Centre. Visit the website for more information and class times, at www.glowcranbrook.com.