Yoga Life in the Byward
Uplifting, Upward Dog
Upward Dog yoga studio has fast become a modern health and wellness institution right in the heart of Ottawa’s Byward Market. Lynda Hosking, owner and director has created a welcoming, friendly urban neighbourhood setting which offers a full array of class levels from beginner to advanced technique. Lynda is an inspiration. We interviewed her to get a better understanding of her motivations and managerial concepts.
OLH: What was your original motivation to become involved with yoga?
Lynda: I started like everyone, simply trying some classes. I immediately felt an unwinding of my body and mind and was able to relax. I stared doing yoga when I was in my Master’s program in University. It was very helpful to let go of the stress then refocus my energy during a demanding academic regime. When I bought the studio it had already been open for 10-12 years and I was just looking for a lifestyle change. In a perfect world we can all work at something we love and I love doing yoga. So, its happiness every day.
OLH: Upward dog is a health and wellness landmark in the Byward market, if you were to describe the kind of service you offer what would you say?
Lynda: Well we offer many creative approaches to yoga. Our programs focus on health and wellness for the body, the spirit and the mind. We are also excited to offer Registered Massage Therapy and Thai yoga massage. The studio has an infrared sauna which has great effects for pain management and detoxification. It’s also amazing for escaping winter cold. Even with all our programs and services our first and primary goal remains simple and that is to create a place where a lot of our regulars feel like they are in an extension of their home.
OLH: How would you find and describe your instructors?
Lynda: Well, they are excellent. The best and most amazing. We have great instructors. Obviously I am excited to boast about them and that is okay. Some of them have done their training here and others bring the diversity of having trained elsewhere and even abroad.
Our instructor schedule is important also. The idea with the schedule is that all your yoga needs can be met here. So if you want something that is gentle and unwinding, something to reduce your stress and meditate we offer that, but if you need something that is really physical and want a strong hot power class we offer that as well. We try to offer a combination that meets peoples’ individual yoga needs.
OLH: Yoga’s about finding a place within your personal goals and your personal practice, are there special techniques and systems to help people overcome shortcomings or physical confrontation?
Lynda: I think that yoga gives you the willpower to be the best self that you can be. Yoga gives you a place to be quiet and take the mental space that you need to focus on and measure what is good just for you personally. From this, one finds new strength in ourselves whatever an individual might deem that to be, which also improves our ability to be more supportive of others. I don’t know that there is one single technique in yoga per se, that allows you to grow and be and find good in yourself and improve, but it certainly gives you willpower and creates a quiet space to work from.
OLH: Where do the majority of your customers come from and how did they find you?
Lynda: I should probably have a more concise answer for that but we have never conducted a study. People flow to us somehow and in their own way. Many people find us online. I’m really surprised at how many people walk through the door and will say something like: I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 10 yrs. I didn’t know you were here. Even the physical location isn’t as obvious and just becomes part of the scenery when you walk past it every day. Of course we have people who live in this neighborhood. There are many students and faculty from Ottawa U due to close proximity. Also there are people who are bustling back and forth from home to work in the many office buildings and desire a break before, during or after a hectic day.
OLH: The history of yoga wellness is rich and deep, if you were to share a few words of inspiration to those considering a first time experience what would you say?
Lynda: Wow, not simple questions (Smiles). I would say that yoga has so many benefits and you don’t always find them in your first or even second class. There is a lot of variety within yoga and to try different things to find what is right for you. It’s an excellent supplement to any other physical activity you’re doing but it’s also an excellent means to find a little bit of space for yourself in order to be a better person in your life. My recommendation is to stick with it and gauge where it is taking you. My great words of wisdom (smiles again) are simply not to compare your yoga practice against others. Find your own space, experiment and see it through. One thing for sure is that you will be glad you did.
OLH: Any closing words?
Lynda: I would like to say how happy we are to be in this growing community. We love it here. It’s a great neighborhood and it’s really lovely to be interviewed and be part of the website you offer, promote Ottawa and especially for us, the Bytown area. We love that sense of community. We love to grow here and participate in things that our community offers. Come join the family, come home to yoga!