Fernwood Yoga Den gets new digs

›› Ruben Anderson

Fernwood Yoga Den Open House

You’re invited!
Saturday, September 29th, 4-6pm
1310 Gladstone Avenue, main floor

Please join us in our new space, meet our teachers, and enjoy refreshments, activities for all ages, vendors, and music. Plus, there will be door prizes and special offers!

There will soon be a social enterprise yoga community centre in Fernwood Village. After six years in the Cornerstone Building, the ­Fernwood Yoga Den will be partnering with Fernwood NRG and rolling out their mats in the new main floor space across the street at 1310 Gladstone.

Quiet and filled with light, the ­spacious, high-ceilinged room will allow more ­people to practice in comfort. The exciting addition of infrared panels will add warm classes to the schedule, and three private clinic rooms will bring massage, acupuncture, and other treatments into the heart of the Village. (Check out the clinic at mayahealth.ca)

Rachel Sadava founded the Yoga Den in 2012. Originally a partnership, after the first year Rachel became the sole owner/operator—while also holding down a job.

Rachel worked for ten years in the ­Victoria not-for-profit sector with Pacifica Housing and as a Counsellor and Community Education Coordinator with the Victoria Women’s Transition House. In 2006 she began teaching yoga to ­residents in Supported Housing. Seeing the ­barriers many people face to healing, she became interested in how to make yoga more accessible—which led to her moving away from front-line social work into body-based healing.

“I’m currently doing my masters in Clinical Counselling. That’s my passion and my focus—combining yoga and somatic therapies,” shared Rachel.

“Our emotional disregulation, harmful behaviour patterns, and destructive mental patterns often share a root of trauma—this is a common, universal human experience that connects us all. Yoga is a really amazing tool to bring us back to ourselves and begin to build that inner physiological and mental resiliency that helps us feel ­embodied, safe, powerful, calm.”

Katyanna Ryan joined the studio very soon after opening, bringing a very ­traditional style from her training in India which complements Rachel’s approach. They both believe that it is the teacher’s job to create a space that is accessible, ­inclusive, and safe; where people can find what they need in the practice of yoga.

To share this approach, they founded the Brahmanda School of Yoga, which Katyanna now owns and manages. The school is certified to deliver one of the few 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training programs on Vancouver Island.

“Katyanna and I created the Brahmanda School rooted in these philosophies. Part of the school’s success is that people like nurses, first responders, doctors, and counsellors, are drawn to it because they can incorporate the benefits of yoga in for the people they work with. Most people take Teacher Training as a personal immersion, to create a deeper connection to themselves and yoga practice.”

“One of the goals of the school is to continue to train people to deliver yoga from this trauma-informed approach and to expand programming both inside and outside the studio.”

Melissa Freeman has been ­teaching at the Yoga Den and supporting the vision since day one. She brought her ­architectural skills to the studio layout in the new building.

Andrea Ting Letts joined the teacher team four years ago, while Ande Down and Joel Cran graduated from Brahmanda teacher training and have been leading classes for two years. Hailey O’Hara has been teaching from the first year and is currently on leave in Scotland. This year the Den added Emily Deslaurier, Grace Davies, Crista Shillington, and Tracey Noseworthy.
And an amazing team of volunteers keep the studio clean and running the front desk in exchange for yoga classes. Rachel says,

“They are crucial to our ­success and vibe—I adore them.”

“I am excited about the expansion into the new building and the emergence of our clinic to offer treatments based in embodied wellness. We love this neighbourhood so much, and are thrilled to more deeply root by partnering with Fernwood NRG as a social enterprise and supporting the work they do.”

“Breathing and moving together in silent community is very powerful—and I know personally it has gotten me through challenging times and brought so many good things into my life. I hope this is what our studio offers to everyone who enters—come as you are, find what you need.”


Photo above: Fernwood Yoga Den teachers: (Left to Right) Emily Deslaurier, Tracey Noseworthy, Ande Down, Rachel Sadava, Melissa Freeman, Andrea Ting-Letts, Joel Cran, and Katyanna Ryan. Photo by Lindsay Erickson.