Although plenty of people are cutting back on expenses, including gym memberships (making way for a long-overdue resurgence in home video workouts), in times of turmoil the demand for soothing practices like yoga can actually go up. So for Rebecca Higginson, the new owner of Exhale (4940 NE 16th Ave, just off Alberta), a yoga studio that also offers massage and Craniosacral therapy (think chiropractics with a lighter touch, massage without the deep tissue work, and Reiki aimed at improving the function of the central nervous system), now might be the best time to build a following. When she took over the studio in August and decided to renovate, she transformed the studio into a green sanctuary with PVC-free mats, non-VOC paint, cork walls and yoga blocks, and a carbon-neutral web site host. As it states on the (recycled paper) brochure, "Yoga is a practice that acknowledges that all life is interconnected and we must treat all living things with love and respect. Our work is to integrate this lesson into our lives, and to share it with the world. We aim to be a studio for those who want to live by the principles of yoga on and off the mat."


The studio offers a range of yoga practices, including classes in hatha, kundalini (my favorite!), yin (I've never tried this one, but Higginson described it as very mellow and refreshing, and especially good for stress), nia, and more. Best of all, the studio aims to get away from the trendy, expensive side of the yoga world, with great pricing: A dropi-in is $12, but only $10 if your walk, bike, or bus there, and the class schedule includes seven scheduled community classes per week, which are available from $5-12 sliding scale, or in class packages of 10 for $70. Best of all, when you drop into any class through the rest of the year, you get a free week of yoga. Lord knows you need it.