Yoga community growing in Ahousaht

Yoga mats needed as First Nation’s members begin organizing retreats and workshops

Marcie Callewaert

Special to the Westerly

A new community is growing within Ahousaht.

Yoga is on the rise in the village and to complement the weekly yoga sessions as the Chahchumhiiyup Tiicmas Holistic Centre, run by Dede Monette, community members are organizing a series of retreats and workshops that will run throughout the year.

Open to the entire community and beyond, the retreats will have a variety of classes covering different topics and skill levels.

One of the key components to these retreats is that they will run at no cost to participants. Jenn Agostini, an instructor in Tofino, is donating her time for the upcoming retreat, November 3rd through 5th. Space at the Maaqtusiis High School is being provided for free as well, so there are no overhead costs.

Agostini wants the “community to be able to attend, participate and learn together” without worrying about class fees.

Agostini explained that “Yoga is a lifestyle, not just a physical activity. The greater the presence and dedication, the greater the benefits.” Yoga practitioners who commit themselves to practice “will experience the real power of yoga, leading to mental clarity, balance and stability.”

Because many participants in Ahousaht don’t have a yoga mat of their own yet, or may just want to try out a class without committing by purchasing one, the group is hoping to collect gently used mats to provide for participants.

The mats will be stored and used by the Maaqtusiis Athletics program in the school gym as well.

Daniel Lightning Soifer, the PE teacher for both the Elementary and High School, is excited at the prospect of integrating yoga into his class routine.

Anyone wanting to donate yoga mats or find out more about upcoming retreats, can contact Marcie at 250-670-9596 or

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