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Happy, Healthy New Year: Vancouver Edition

Making New Year’s resolutions is easy—keeping them is a little harder. Here’s how to make them stick while enjoying the wellness-friendly West Coast

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Jan. 2018

YYoga’s airy Northshore Elements studio is ideal for breaking a sweat or finding your Zen (Photo by KK Law)

EXERCISE

Yoga Ready to get your om on? Mat-toting locals abound in yoga-obsessed Vancouver. At YYoga, say namaste to sleek studios that offer more than a dozen different styles of yoga, 800 classes per week, and (at select studios) infrared sauna. Prefer to mix it up? Spin classes, Pilates, floor barre and more can be found here, too. Semperviva also boasts bright and airy studios around the city, with 10 different styles of yoga on offer. Our advice: salute the sun at the Sea Studio on Granville Island where gorgeous waterfront views can be enjoyed from your mat.

Get Outside Forget tired treadmill workouts. Even in winter, locals take their sweat sessions outside. Join the cyclists, skaters, joggers and walkers on the seawall—the stretch that encircles Stanley Park is especially scenic. To book a two-wheeled transport of your own, visit Cycle City or Yes Cycle. Or take to (far snowier) trails on a pair of snowshoes or downhill skis. Cypress, Seymour and Grouse mountains all offer rentals and spectacular terrain, perfect for a day spent playing in powder.

Fitness Studios Feeling adventurous? Or simply trying to work in your regular workout routine? There’s a fitness studio for that. Spinning at spots like Ride Cycle Club can be a fun way to stay fit, thanks to energetic instructors and heart-pumping music. Or raise the bar on your workout with a barre class at Pure Barre or the Bar Method. The popular dance-inspired toning technique promises a ballerina’s body—even for those with two left feet. Or have it all at a full-on fitness club like Steve Nash, which offers classes, personal training and a gym—all under one roof.

Fresh, healthy fare is on the menu at local chain Tractor

EAT WELL

Pizza and ice cream don’t sound like resolution-keeping fare, but they are at Virtuous Pie, where the pizzas are topped with out-there ingredients and vegan nut cheeses, and plant-based ice creams round out your meal. At Shizen Ya, brown-rice sushi, vegetarian options, organic ingredients, sustainable seafood and whole-wheat tempura help this restaurant stand out in a sea of Japanese eateries. When plant-based meets fine dining, you get The Acorn. Creative, compromise-free vegetarian dishes include perennial favourites like beer-battered halloumi and local BC ingredients like Haida Gwaii seaweed. At Tractor, grab-and-go gets a healthy twist. Build a bowl, warm up with a soup or stew, and definitely add the grilled-to-order half avocado.

REST & RELAX

Float Spas What do Elle Macpherson, Jim Carrey and Kristen Wiig have in common? They’ve floated in an isolation pod to ease tension, relieve pain and regulate sleep cycles. Float spas, like Float House, have popped up around Vancouver over the past few years. Each is unique, but all use Epsom-salt-infused water warmed to skin temperature, creating an effortless buoyancy. All that’s left is to relax and soak up the benefits.

Spas Vida Spa draws from the ancient Hindu medicine of Ayurveda, tailoring treatments to the spa-goer’s predominant mind-body type: pitta, vata or kapha. Try the Shirodhara treatment, where a steady stream of warm oil is poured onto the “third eye” to promote relaxation and mental clarity. Spa-to-the-stars Absolute Spa has the antidote to our fast-paced life, and it smells heavenly. Essential oils by UK-based Aromatherapy Associates are the basis of several treatments that relax, restore and reinvigorate. Dive right in with the Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience, which includes Swedish and neuromuscular massage.

Non-Toxic Salon At Joyride, the pampering journey is just as enjoyable as the end result. Settle into the lavender-hued loungers for a mani-pedi, and choose from a rainbow of 450 colours from brands that omit the “toxic trio” of harmful ingredients. The rejuvenating facials star the house brand of plant-based and organic products—everything from scrubs and peels to serums are natural, and made in Vancouver to boot.

At Float House, lie back and relax in Epsom-salt-infused water

TAKE TREATS HOME

Vancouver is ground zero for stretchy-pant-phenomenon Lululemon (page 53)—which may explain why we’re so devoted to keeping our backsides looking good in yoga pants. These days, they carry gear for every sort of sweat sesh: running, cycling, training and more. Saje Natural Wellness is another local brand with a loyal following, thanks to the line-up of plant-powered essential oils that infuse everything from roll-on remedies to skincare to sweet-smelling blends for a home diffuser. Forgot your vegan shampoo at home? Or just want to browse natural beauty products? Head to Whole Foods to find everything from fair-trade soaps and scrubs to bombshell-bright vegan lipsticks.

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