Yoga memberships becoming a popular gift for the holidays

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Vancouver residents take part in a yoga session at Hot Box Yoga Vancouver near UBC. Photo courtesy of Hot Box Yoga

Reported by Tanner Bokor

Some people might be opening gifts like new cellphones, chocolate or even socks on Christmas morning, but this holiday season, gift certificates for yoga memberships might be something new to see under the tree.

Of 16 Vancouverites polled Tuesday morning at the corner of Hornby and Robson, 11 said that they planned to purchase health-related gifts this holiday season. Of those 11, eight said they intended to gift a membership to a yoga studio.

Many people are doing yoga as a form of stress relief

“Life can be hectic, so I thought, why not give something that can make it a little easier a try instead of just giving a gift card,” said 46-year-old Donna Bliecher, who planned to gift a yoga membership to her daughter this Christmas. “What’s a better gift than less stress?”

Yoga became more mainstream in the western world in the early 20th century, when the first yoga studio opened in Hollywood in 1947. According to Statistics Canada, yoga has grown in popularity with 9% of the population using yoga as a form of exercise and therapy.

Doing yoga requires a level of commitment

Chris Bedford of Hot Box Yoga in Vancouver says that yoga is a longer-term commitment than what you’d expect compared to a casual health club membership.

“Yoga is a lifestyle choice,” said Bedford. “It’s not like a gym membership, it’s not like CrossFit, and it’s different than that,” he said. “It’s about sound mind, body ethic, and one of the benefits of yoga is a healthy mind and body, and it can help relieve stress.”

However, for Bedford and Hot Box Yoga, Christmas isn’t the largest bump.

“What does typically happen is that news years’ resolution seasons comes at the beginning of January, and people are feeling fat, that’s when we see the big uptick,” said Bedford. “It goes crazy, all three of our locations will see a huge surge in attendance in mid-January.”

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