Yoga and Beyond Now in Mission District

Grand Opening Special Rate: $39 per month unlimited

Photo: Yoga and Beyond

‘“Yoga and Beyond has crossed the river! Enjoy the same transformative experience at this new location. Founder, owner and instructor Ning Gao is offering a Grand Opening Special Rate available for those new to Yoga and Beyond: $39 for one month unlimited.

The new Mission location will offer a variety of yoga genres including: Forrest Yoga, Hot Flow, Healing Yin, Kundalini, Yoga Nidra, Sculpt Yoga & High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT.) Each of these classes will increase your strength, flexibility and stability and improve your mental clarity and calmness. 

“Your practice at Yoga and Beyond you will teach you how to breathe, how to feel, and how to control your own healing.” Gao explains: “You will leave blissfully refreshed.”

Now in its 23rd year, this is the third studio for Yoga and Beyond. From humble beginnings in a small downtown basement, it now occupies 10,000 square feet in three locations and employs over 40 instructors.

Yoga and Beyond is the only studio in Alberta that offers the challenging Forrest Yoga, which features holding positions for extended lengths of time and emphasizes the abdominal core. These classes, along with Gao’s popular Healing Yin, are its signature classes.

Why the expansion when other studios are closing their doors? “I want to help more people reach their fitness and health goals and create a yoga community for people of all ages, shapes and sizes,” Gao says.  

As its name implies, Yoga and Beyond offers more than yoga. The company’s other two locations in Kensington and Crescent Heights, offer spin cycle, HIIT and barre classes. And, they are the only yoga studio in Calgary with aerial (silk hammock) yoga.

Gao says yoga helps connect the emotional self with the physical self, and this connection can be very powerful to help us to live a happier and healthier life. 

Owning three yoga studios is not something Gao ever expected. She grew up in a small city in China called Harbin. Her family of five lived in one room and during her childhood, China was on the cusp of a monumental proletarian cultural revolution and enormous change. 

Gao was a diligent and exceptional student, and one of only two per cent of Chinese students admitted to university. She studied law and practiced as a lawyer for nine years before emigrating to Canada.

A friend offered free commercial space in a basement and that’s where Gao set up her first yoga studio, with limited English, aside from the words “Follow me …” she started her yoga journey and spent her first 13 years in business.

Her classes grew in popularity and Gao began a serious study of yoga working with many top instructors.

“I continued my quest for excellence, for peace, for harmony and for flow and expression from the heart,” Gao says. “I trained continuously. As the ability to travel the world in search of excellence grew, I continuously sought to learn, and pass my lessons forward, in honour of those who have been and are models for me. I sought out the best conferences, retreats, workshops and as many varieties of teacher training as I could find.”

In 2004, Gao travelled to Hong Kong to attend a workshop with Ana Forrest who had been attracting a lot of attention for her style of yoga.

“The changes that her philosophies and methods brought to my practice were profound,” says Gao. “Her discipline and strength inspired me. Her training, thought by some to be among the toughest in the world, has taken my personal practice to levels I never thought possible.”

Gao’s business continued to expand and in 2009 she took a leap of faith, put her house up as collateral and built her first Kensington yoga studio.

“The joy of having a place to celebrate my dreams and love of teaching was fulfilled,” Gao recalls. “And, it was repeated again in October of 2014 when we opened a second Yoga and Beyond location near Centre Street and 16th Avenue North.”

Now with a third yoga studio open, Gao hopes to share her vision with even more Calgarians.

“Life begins with nothing material and ends with nothing material,” says Gao. “The joy of acquiring friends, sharing and learning yields the greatest gifts of all. Those gifts follow us through eternity.”

What is Forrest Yoga?*

Yoga and Beyond is the only studio in Alberta that offers the challenging Forrest Yoga, with classes led only by accredited Forrest Yoga trained teachers. Their instructors have studied directly under Forrest Yoga founder Ana Forrest.  

Forrest yoga emphasizes the abdominal core and holding positions for extended lengths of time.

According to the Ana Forrest Yoga website, “Forrest  Yoga incorporates the  physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of humanity, and links them  through  its  4  core  pillars  for  a  more  profound and  holistic evolution.”

It all starts with the ability to connect to, deepen, and ride the breath into your inner wilderness. You develop skill in breathing fresh, healing energy into the areas of your body that are in need.

Tailoring each pose to work for you, specifically with physical and emotional injuries.

Mental focus: changing your habitual neurotic thinking to creative problem solving and learning alert silence.

Learning discernment. Deliberately integrating your realizations and breakthroughs into your life.

Connecting to the core, building emotional and physical strength as you work at your edges of facing and healing your pain, as well as vision questing into the Mystery.

Learning to find your spirit, connect to your spirit, and take the actions that strengthen that connection. When we first begin to quest for spirit, we meet the yawning terror of recognizing that we are bereft of spirit.

Ana Forrest has spent over 45 years developing her unique style of yoga.

“Imagine, live the life YOU want and go beyond”
Ning Gao


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