HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO Alicia Richards demonstrates a yoga pose in her yoga studio in Port Hardy.

Hardy Yoga helps the North Island decompress

“Yoga is a huge benefit for people once they actually experience it for themselves.”

Alicia Richards said her yoga journey started with an old book from the 1980s her dad insisted she read.

“He kept recommending it to me and said you should try it. After my third attempt, I finally completed the book and I realized that I really benefited from it,” said Richards.

The book was a 28-day yoga program, and it made such an impact on Richards that she decided to pursue yoga as a career. “I felt a change within myself and just decided to commit,” Richards said.

She then went to Texada Island, which is in the Gulf Coast near Powell River, to train as a yoga instructor at Open Source Yoga with Daniel Clemmet.

“That really inspired me again, because for two-and-a-half years I was just practicing these 28 poses from a book — and to have different styles brought to my attention made me realize, even more, the benefit that yoga can have on one’s life.”

Richards said yoga is important because it allows people to decompress.

“We are stimulated by so much in society, whether it’s technology, work, friends, or family, it’s just – go, go, go. I want to be here so people can come and have that experience, so people can decompress and be mindful of themselves.”

When Richards returned from her yoga training, she had the opportunity to open her own studio space.

“I had been friends with the lady who had the studio before me,” Richards said, adding that “she and I were talking about how I wanted to develop my yoga instructing, and she really helped me find the instructor within me.”

Richards eventually took over the studio located in Robert Scott Elementary School and officially opened Hardy Yoga in February of 2017.

She said while some people are intimidated by yoga, she can see a growing interest on the North Island.

“It’s just stretching and mindful breathing,” said Richards. “It’s for every body, not everybody, but every body. So you can still get all of the stretching and you don’t need to be doing some crazy headstand.”

Hardy Yoga currently offers evening classes from Monday to Thursday.

Richards said while she only recently started her business, she hopes to expand to include daytime classes and also get to work with kids and seniors.

“I think yoga is a huge benefit for people once they actually experience it for themselves,” she added.

Richards is also one of the collaborators for the “Quest for Your Best” summer pass, which allows people to attend Shotokan Karate, First Choice Fitness, Raincoast Martial Arts, and the Hardy Yoga studio all for one price. “The best way to make our North Island grow is to really support each other,” said Richards.

Interested in taking yoga classes? Check out Richards Facebook at www.facebook.com/HardyYogaAdventure.

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