Unique Ways to Unwind After Work

by Gabrielle Tieman

After a long day at the office and hours spent wrangling kids, all most people want is to unwind with a bottle of pinot and Netflix. And though it may be tempting to push your gym plans aside for your couch, physical fitness is in fast the key to truly relaxing both mentally and physically at the end of the day. Out of the box fitness classes and sports leagues are becoming increasingly popular; forming fun and healthy solutions to repetitive and mundane fitness routines. You’ll never get sick of staying fit again!

Hot Yoga
Hot yoga has become a must try physical activity for individuals looking to increase strength and flexibility while easing into an active lifestyle. But the benefits reach far past toning your muscles; increased adaptability and mental stability, improved focus and evacuated poisons from your internal organs are only a few to name on the long list of benefits.

Moksha Yoga in St. Catharines, an independent hot yoga studio committed to ethical, compassionate and environmentally conscious living, believes that the benefits of yoga are limitless for every skill level.

“You just need to come in and be yourself,” said Tracy Duru, a yogi and the owner, director and a teacher at Moksha Yoga. “The most common things we hear is that we are not in shape enough or not flexible enough to try yoga. We have this idea that you have to prepare to be really good at something before we do it in a group and it holds people back from trying something that can be great for them.”

Moksha offers newcomers a 30-day introductory month of yoga at a vastly discounted rate of $40 dollars – compared to the regular $88 dollar monthly fee with a three month commitment – giving beginners the chance to see how the practice will suit them before they commit.

“It is a hot and sweaty practice,” said Duru. “We heat the room with radiant panels from the ceiling so it is not a forced air heat. It heats the surfaces of the body, heats the floors and the ceilings but not the air. For some people, they love the heat and they know they want to feel that. Others are hesitant and some people come in and they actually don’t like the heat at all but they try and love it.”

Moksha as well holds a set series that has participants focusing on being mindful of their breath, teaching those who lead stressful lives how breathing can keep them grounded in tough situations.

“Our lives are going to keep going and getting busier and busier and time is getting faster and faster and that is not going to stop,” said Duru. “But this practice helps people become mindful; so they can take the practice off of their mat and into traffic jams and moments when you’re sitting across from your boss in an awkward confrontation or to when your kids are screaming and yelling. Breath can act as a tool to calm and balance and keep me present. It can get you out of that reactionary mode we are always in and start to connect the practice inside of the room on our mats to outside of the room into our lives.”

For prices and inquiries visit: st-catharines.mokshayoga.ca

Archery
Archery has become increasingly popular in recent years for both men and women looking to get outdoors and re-connect with their primal selves.

Open year round, Barefoot Bushcraft in Niagara-on-the-Lake has been providing individuals of all skill levels the opportunity to enjoy hands-on outdoor activities since opening in 2009. With a training focus on building relationships between yourself, others and the environment, Barefoot Bushcraft is ideal for those looking to meet new people and get outside for some truly unique physical activity.
Newcomers are given guided traditional archery and slingshot lessons by trained archery coaches with all lessons taking places on Olympic class outdoor ranges. Each lesson covers a variety of safety procedures and techniques, including the ten basic steps to shooting to get you started.

“Archery is fantastic for people who want to be physically active but may not have the coordination to run and jump,” said Wolf Starchild, owner and chief instructor at Barefoot Bushcraft. “It takes real concentration, strength and stability so it is a very much a physical activity. You’re focusing on your breathing and balance and strength similar to how you do with yoga.”

Lessons are tailored towards both individuals and groups and all prices have been kept reasonable despite the increased popularity in the sport; introductory lessons are $30 dollars for the first hour and $20 dollars afterwards.

With his background in professional outdoor education, Starchild said their main focus is getting people active and outside.

“We try to keep our costs low to better encourage people to get fit and get out and keep active,” said Starchild. “We work hard to make it comfortable and easy for people to have fun with groups and get out there.”

Archery classes are encouraged for all ages who are interested in trying the sport.

“We are really bringing something new to the Niagara Region that makes fitness fun,” said Starchild. “It is a very non-threatening sport. If you go out into the world and say ‘I like guns,’ people are not all that accepting of that. if you go out and say you like archery people get really into that and ask questions.”

For more activities and inquiries visit: barefootbushcraft.com

Beach Volleyball
This winter, you no longer have to jump on a plane to put your feet in the sand. With indoor beach volleyball taking over Niagara courts, your winter getaway just got much closer to home.

Offering multiple adult co-ed leagues and divisions, Not So Pro Niagara Sports League has become the easily accessible route for adults of every skill level looking to balance exercise with their busy lives. Having recently expanded their indoor facility to house multiple beach and court volleyball games simultaneously – while boasting another five outdoor courts for the summer months – NSP is bringing summer to you all year round.

“It’s fun to kick off your shoes and enjoy the sand – not a lot of people can do that year round especially in the winter,” said John Morrison, Founder and President of Not So Pro. “As far as the sport goes, there is nothing like hitting a few volleyballs and releasing some stress with a team.”

With no membership fee or commitment required, players are able to move between divisions, nights of the week and sports with ease while accommodating hectic schedules simultaneously.

“If you’re busier in the summer you can leave and come back in the fall,” said Morrison. “We are very flexible to individual’s wants and needs.”

Though NSP encourages players to register as a team, individuals are welcome to sign-up and play one of the multiple nights a week tailored towards single players.

“With individuals, it’s usually people who come here from a different place, they’re moving from Montreal and they don’t have any friends or they have been transferred here for work, and this is their opportunity to meet people,” said Morrison. “It’s not simply about coming out and playing a game; it’s also about getting out and hanging out with some people that you may not have an opportunity to hang with during the day time cause you’re working.”

With big expansions on the horizon, NSP will continue to expand on their Beach Box clubhouse and offer a licensed lounge area where teams can kick back before and after the game to watch sports and hang out.

“We really want to get back to the social,” said Morrison. “We want teams to come around before the games and stick around after their games, hang out, get to know each other, watch the Superbowl and some hockey and enjoy a place where they can hangout.”

Not interested in volleyball? NSP as well offers soccer, ultimate Frisbee, softball, dodgeball and basketball both seasonally and year round and is looking to expand from grass soccer to beach soccer in the near future.

“Having all of these different sports and everyone under one roof makes it very exciting and gives people the opportunity to meet new people,” said Morrison.

For more information and costs, visit notsopro.com.

Field Sports
Sometimes, you just need to get outside and play. Grass under your feet, sun on your face, air in your lungs – it can take years off your life and bring you back to when you were a kid on the soccer field screaming and running like a mad man with your friends.

Niagara Rec Sports, a coed adult sports league, offers adults the opportunity to lace up and enjoy some friendly competition post work. Whether you’re an individual looking to rekindle a love for an old high school sport and meet new people or looking to try something new with a group of friends, NRS has a sport to fill your craving.

“I grew up playing soccer and as I grew up I ended up playing in various coed sports leagues; but I always thought the leagues were lacking,” said Vince Amato, founder and coordinator of NRS. “I started by offering soccer and the other sports came from people requesting them.”

Today, NRS offers soccer, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, dodgeball and softball with most available year round throughout Niagara.
But more than just a sports league, NRS has become a social club targeted towards newcomers to Niagara looking to mingle and make friends with similar interests.

“We have a lot of teams comprised of people who have registered individually,” said Amato. “And maybe 50 per cent of them stay together as a team going forward into future seasons. People tend to bond.”

With the average age between 20 and 40, Amato says he purposely schedules games later in the evening to give the adults coming from work or those who have kids the opportunity to enroll and get active.

“I really try to put the players first,” said Amato. “We schedule the games a little later, especially in the winter, to accommodate those who have to work during the day but still want to play sports in the evening. If something isn’t working and players aren’t liking what’s going on I am not afraid to make rule changes according to player feedback. It’s about having fun and being active.”

Though the games are taken seriously, Amato said his league has evolved from being a competitive outlet to an outpost for fun physical activity.

“It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about getting out, getting active, meeting new people and not sitting on the couch,” said Amato. “People call up and they may be new to the community or want to get their spouse involved in a sport they love – they’re all just looking for something to do and to get involved and get active regardless if they’re good or not. You’re still out and running around and being active while doing your thing.”

For more information on costs and registering as a team or an individual, check out niagararecsports.com/.