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This isn't hipster yoga

Turning things upside down - Atta Emami, owner of Om Prem Yoga in West Vancouver, uses straps on the wall to do an inversion, a yoga technique that would take more than five years to master without help.   - Michaela Garstin
Turning things upside down - Atta Emami, owner of Om Prem Yoga in West Vancouver, uses straps on the wall to do an inversion, a yoga technique that would take more than five years to master without help.
— image credit: Michaela Garstin

Strapped onto the wall, Atta Emami effortlessly flips upside down.

He keeps his back perfectly straight, arches his feet together, rests his hands in a praying position and closes his eyes. Suspended in the air, he looks at peace.

But this is a difficult inversion, Emami says once he’s upright, one that would take more than five years to master without the straps to help.

In yoga, inversions hold the heart higher than the head and are boasted to have numerous health benefits, including delivering fresh blood direct to the heart for better circulation.

Providing non-intimidating yoga classes was Emami’s goal when he opened Om Prem Yoga in West Vancouver eight months ago.

“They’re not your typical classes with 50 sweaty people who can’t even see the teacher,” he says, dressed in yogawear and sipping herbal tea.

Wearing expensive, name-brand clothing isn’t essential here, he adds. Neither is having a grasp of techniques before the first class even begins.

“There are different types of yoga for different personalities. Not everyone is going to like the same class,” he tells The Outlook. There are college students with exams, mothers who want just an hour-long break and business people who need to de-stress.

Emami was introduced to yoga 20 years ago in Iran before he moved to Canada.

A life coach by trade, he decided to open Om Prem Yoga, one of the only Purna Yoga studios in the Lower Mainland. Purna Yoga, Emami explains, goes beyond exercise by offering wisdom and techniques to unite the body and mind with spirit.

“In a world where trend yogas are constantly created, Purna Yoga is grounded in ancient wisdom,” reads a pamphlet in his studio.

Strapped to the wall again, Emami is in the downward dog position, his hands and feet on the floor. The straps make it easier to do this yoga move, he says, and take most of the pressure off his body.

There is a row of straps against the studio wall, enough for his yoga classes that always have a maximum of 12 students.

Om Prem Yoga is located at 2442 Haywood Drive in Dundarave Village. Class schedules are at ompremyoga.com.

mgarstin@northshoreoutlook.com
twitter.com/michaelagarstin

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