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Yoga in the Arctic!

It’s been a blast teaching yoga in Canada’s Western Arctic! Yogis here seem to be extra adventurous and I can teach new techniques without anyone batting an eye :). Then again, it takes an unconventional soul to live in this unique area of the world. Regardless, yoga works wherever we are to create more balance and ease in our bodies, minds and hearts. Hopefully this profile in the Inuvik Drum brings more people out to give yoga a try 😉


Inuvik Drum - Northern News Services, Canada


Zoe Ho is bringing her "Republic of Yoga" technique to the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex. Shawn Giilck/NNSL photophoto

Zoe Ho is bringing her “Republic of Yoga” technique to the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex. (Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo)

 Flexibility not a class requirement

 Gentle yoga instructor leading classes at recreation complex

Shawn Giilck, Northern News Services

[INUVIK] Have you heard the joke about a yoga teacher who isn’t flexible? You’re not alone if you haven’t. Still, that’s what Zoe Ho, who’s teaching gentle yoga once a week at the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex on an interim basis, claims.

“I’m really, really stiff and I’m not very sporty,” Ho said Feb. 26 as she prepared for a restorative yoga class. “I hate exercise. When I was training to be a teacher, it took me a long time to master some of it compared to the others, but my body has changed a lot.

“I needed a very long training, because my body was not ready for it,” she added. “I felt really inferior.”

You wouldn’t know it now. Two days earlier, Ho helped put a reporter through a portion of her gentle yoga class with decidedly mixed results.

At one point, she and a few of the people in the class were literally bent in a backward bow, rocking on their torsos while grabbing their feet.

That looked too painful to even contemplate, so this reporter skipped it entirely. Ho began teaching the class in the last few months while Sasha Webb, the regular instructor, is off on maternity leave.

“I’m trying to make the most of it while I’m here.”

It appears she’s attracted a following, too, as the Monday gentle class was full.

“I’d like to keep doing this,” Ho declared. “I wish I was doing this every day.”

She added that she feels like she was meant to teach the craft.

She coined the name for her class the “Republic of Yoga” while living in Singapore, she said. Ho said that she found it difficult to have a “voice” there, but realized yoga was the great leveller.

“I realized when you’re in a republic, everybody has a voice, and yoga is kind of like that. Everybody can come and do their thing and contribute and say how they want their world and their yoga to be.”

She took up yoga in earnest after arriving in Inuvik several years ago after seeing a yoga podcast and trying to follow the workout. “That was so hard,” she exclaimed.

Ho, who works fulltime as the editor/writer/creative director of the publication Tusaayaksat, said she renewed her interest in yoga sometime after working out to the podcast as a way to find a bit of a refuge from her very public job.

“Later, when I decided to take a bit of a break, I decided I was just going to be a yoga instructor.”

She was looking for something that she “wouldn’t take home” with her.

“It’s been really amazing,” Ho said. “It’s like finding a path to yourself. I think it was really life changing.”

She’ll be teaching until April, when Webb is slated to return.

Ho encouraged more aboriginal people to come out and try the class, since that’s the demographic she’s missing at the moment.

“I think that’s because this is really unfamiliar (to them),” she said.

Ho said she’s giving some thought to finding a way to fuse yoga with the Northern and Dene games tradition to make it more appealing, since she’s deeply impressed with the athleticism those traditional games require.

Published Thursday, March 6, 2014




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