Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in East Vancouver

Early-morning classes for assisted, personalized self-practice

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in East Vancouver

Early-morning classes for assisted, personalized self-practice

first light yoga, geoff assisting a student with a standing posture in class, full class of students, cropped image

About the Program

First Light Yoga is an early-morning yoga program in Vancouver, BC, running classes 6 days a week. We teach our members a personalized self-practice and empower them to evolve at their own pace.

We practice yoga as a dynamic, meditative, morning self-care routine. It enhances our daily lives and fosters a greater sense of interconnectivity.

Our teaching is guided by the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga method, which we apply as a model, not a strict dogma. We value independence within the structure of a system.

We are located at Bridge & Enrich Lives Society ("BE"), a warm and welcoming sanctuary on Fraser Street. “BE” is home to practitioners from various interest groups, all sharing a space with the common objective: to enrich lives.

Your Guide

Geoff Mackenzie has been practicing yoga for over 20 years. He began teaching classes in 2004. His guidance is informed by his extensive studies with the Jois family in Mysore, India, combined with input from innovative Western practitioners. Modern approaches to strength, mobility and breath-work training feature in his own practice too.

Geoff is a reliable, steady presence in the classroom. You can count on him to apply the Ashtanga Vinyasa method in a way that will challenge you, while still respecting where you’re starting from and what your intentions are. Ultimately, he wants you to breathe well, move well and to focus your mind on what you’re doing.

Geoff was born and raised in the UK. After spending his late-teens and twenties snowboarding and surfing around the world, he has made Coastal BC his home since 2003. One of his greatest passions is motorcycling and he finds riding to be both exhilarating and meditative, simultaneously.

geoff mckenzie headshot, first light yoga ashtanga vinyasa yoga teacher
I have noticed a massive change in my day to day practice, I feel stronger and grounded and poses that I may have avoided before due to their difficulty I have confronted and gotten better each week with the help of Geoff. It’s stripped back, no pretences just showing up each week to improve yourself. I have found a lot more than a yoga class, I have found a place where I can work on myself, strengthen my body and realise my own power. Geoff is a wonderful teacher who sees an individual body, he knows when to push you to go a little further or when your body needs a time out, my practice has grown more in the last few months than in the past three years of practicing. I’m very grateful to have found first light yoga.
Jenni P.
I am deeply grateful for Geoff's experiential guidance, his straightforward approach and corrections that give me precious clicks and keep me inspired and aligned to my love of yoga. He is living this practice as his priority and clearly, as students, we see and feel the authenticity and integrity of it, inspired to do the same.
Supriti B.
I joined First Light yoga for my own practice, independence, and preparing for successful adventures! It’s a challenge, and is awaking atrophied muscles! I keep coming back every month because I'm willing to try.
Sean

The Method

  • The Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice is a method of self-refinement. It combines postural, breathing and focusing techniques to clarify and balance the body, nervous system and mind. With these three layers in better alignment, the practitioner is better prepared to access the subtler realms of yogic practice.
  • The method is designed as a daily practice. It is taught individually to each student, in a way which honours their unique capabilities and predispositions. Not all techniques are suitable for every student.
  • In an “assisted self-practice” class, students are taught one-to-one, within the group setting. Each student learns and memorizes posture sequences at their own pace, according to their own capacity. This way of sharing creates a calm, quiet and meditative class space in which deep states of concentration can arise. Without the need to constantly address the class as a group, the teacher can move around freely to assist each student as required.
  • By memorizing the sequences, the students are empowered to swiftly become independent practitioners, capable of executing an effective practice in their own time and space, without the need to always attend a class.
  • Independent solo practice is essential for all serious students. It builds discipline and dedication and cultivates a meditative state. This combines well with regular periods of study with an experienced teacher.
first light yoga, the method, geoff assisting a student with a standing posture in class

The Method

  • The Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice is a method of self-refinement. It combines postural, breathing and focusing techniques to clarify and balance the body, nervous system and mind. With these three layers in better alignment, the practitioner is better prepared to access the subtler realms of yogic practice.
  • The method is designed as a daily practice. It is taught individually to each student, in a way which honours their unique capabilities and predispositions. Not all techniques are suitable for every student.
  • In an “assisted self-practice” class, students are taught one-to-one, within the group setting. Each student learns and memorizes posture sequences at their own pace, according to their own capacity. This way of sharing creates a calm, quiet and meditative class space in which deep states of concentration can arise. Without the need to constantly address the class as a group, the teacher can move around freely to assist each student as required.
  • By memorizing the sequences, the students are empowered to swiftly become independent practitioners, capable of executing an effective practice in their own time and space, without the need to always attend a class.
  • Independent solo practice is essential for all serious students. It builds discipline and dedication and cultivates a meditative state. This combines well with regular periods of study with an experienced teacher.

Classes

Classes run six days per week, in person

Monday - Friday

5:45 - 8:15am
Assisted Self-Practice

Doors open 5:45am
Latest start time is 7:15am
Class ends at 8:15am

Saturday

7:00 - 8:45am
Open Practice

Community practice session, for members only

No teacher on duty

Full & New Moon Days

6:30 - 7:45am
Restorative Practice

Guided Primary Series Class

7:00 - 8:45am

Last Saturday of each month. Experienced students only.

New Students

Students without prior experience of the method are invited to BOOK A FREE ORIENTATION, where you can come watch the class in action and ask any questions that arise.

Book your Free Orientation

  • To help you decide if First Light Yoga is a fit for you, we want to present a clear picture of what we do differently to other yoga classes; and provide an opportunity to ask any questions that arise during your orientation
  • We also want to see how committed you really are to joining an early-morning class
  • Orientations are at 6.30am, Monday thru Friday, except on Full or New Moon days – One visitor per day
  • Allow at least 45 minutes for your visit
first light yoga, geoff assisting a student in backbending, ashtanga vinyasa yoga
I was very skeptical about the 7am Mysore-style yoga practice. I thought I’d try it for 3 months just to change things up. It has been 3 years and I am not looking back. I still enjoy taking a flow class occasionally. If you have never tried a Mysore Ashtanga practice, it is something you have to experience for yourself.

Mysore style practice gives me the knowledge and awareness of my own body. I’m in control of my own yoga practice depending on how I feel on any certain day.

Learning the Ashtanga vinyasa system from Geoff is important to me. He sees every student as an unique person. He can guide students in a safe and progressive way to make yoga accessible and sustainable.
Sherry
I joined First Light yoga because I wanted to feel better in general. I knew I needed to take some time for myself and to take care of myself. I wanted to create more structure in my day and gain energy from doing this practice in the beginning part of each day.

I feel stronger in mind and body. This practice helps me to get through challenging moments in my day, it helps me to stay calmer and more present with my family, it makes my body strong and flexible and provides me with a greater sense of peace and calm in my life.
Natasha M.
My practice has greatly benefited from Geoff’s style of instruction as I now have an increased awareness of the possibilities my body affords me, my endurance has improved, and I’m more purposeful in my movements.
Maryam D.

Tuition Fees

Fees are paid directly to Geoff via cash, e-transfer or credit card
PassesFees
4-month Season (see FAQ for details)$945
Monthly Unlimited$220
10 Class Pass$205 (valid 60 days)
5 Class Pass$115 (valid 30 days)
Drop-In Pass$25
Workshops$55

Need-based sliding scale fee options are available. Please inquire directly with Geoff.

Intro Courses

We aim to hold Intro Courses on a monthly basis, in-person.

Next Intro Course: January 2022

Saturdays, January 8, 15, 22 & 29

7:00 – 9:00am

The course will walk you through the basics of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and lay the foundation for building a longer personal routine, step by step, at your own pace.

Full Intro Course

$ 180
  • Four progressive workshop-style sessions, including Q&A, troubleshooting, refinement and integration
  • Courses start on the first Saturday of each month
  • Daily access to First Light Yoga for the duration
  • 25% discount on your first month’s fees after the course
best offer

First Session Only

$ 55
  • Join us for the Full Course's Session #1 (first Saturday of the month) to try out the very basics
  • If space allows, you can upgrade to the Full Course for a $20 fee on top of full course cost (total cost $200)
first light yoga statue in studio, faq

FAQ

Always feel free to ask questions!
  • Students without an existing Ashtanga Vinyasa self-practice must schedule a Free Orientation Session and complete an Introductory Course before attending the weekday classes.
  • Commit to attending class at least 3 days per week for your first three months. To reap the benefits of the method it’s important to get into the habit and rhythm of consistent practice, even if you only do a few minutes each day.
  • Arrive to practice with an empty stomach, hydrated, showered, scent-free, with clean clothes, mat and towel.
  • Please keep phones silenced or off and out of the practice area. Photos and video are prohibited: we are practicing dynamic meditation, not performance art.
  • Latest start time is 7:15am. Students must finish practice and commence rest by 8:05am.

In 2017, as part of the ongoing #MeToo movement, the role of hands-on assists in the yoga room came into serious question in the Ashtanga Yoga community worldwide.

This was due to revelations of historical sexual abuse, under the guise of hands-on assists, inflicted by the late K.Patthabi Jois on some of his students.

Jois, who died in 2009, was the foremost modern authority and proponent of the “Ashtanga Vinyasa” method. From the 1970’s, hundreds of dedicated students from all over the world travelled to his yogashala in Mysore, India, to study with him every year. Some of these students received his blessing to teach in their home countries.

While many Ashtanga practitioners under Jois were oblivious to his abuses, to others it was an open secret, even something to joke about. Worse still, incidents involving female students were actively covered up and denied on numerous occasions by Jois’ senior students.

Even now, the Ashtanga Community worldwide continues to wrestle with these revelations.

My response has been to foster an increased sense of safety and a stronger culture of consent in my yoga room. I value the use of hands-on assists in class, but I also understand that they are not appropriate at all times for all students.

As such, I insist on the use of “Consent Cards” by all students. They are a simple, silent indicator by which the student can tell me, non-verbally, at any given time, that they would prefer to be left alone.

In addition to that, even if their card indicates that assistance is welcome, I consistently ask for permission to provide my hands-on support; especially when the student is in a vulnerable posture and may not even see or hear me approach them.

I have also made myself available to discuss any of the above matters and to assure students that they are in charge of their bodies and their practice - not me. If you have any more questions about any of the above, please feel free to ask me.

Geoff

Women are advised to rest from vigorous vinyasa practice for the first three days of their menstrual cycle, but are of course free to do as they feel. Grounding, restorative asana forms can be recommended if preferred. Please ask for more details.

The Full and New Moon days each month are taken as extra rest days. They are the peak and trough, respectively, of a natural monthly cycle. Just like the oceans, human beings are watery bodies affected strongly by the pull of the Moon’s gravity. By resting on these days we avoid the hazards inherent in doing a strong practice at these extreme ends of the cycle.

Guided restorative classes are offered on moon days from 6:30-7:45am. 

Click here for a list of Moon Days

To help our members deepen their commitment and receive more value, we offer seasonal packages.

There are three seasons per year:

  1. Fall-Winter : Mid-September to Mid-January
  2. Spring: Mid-January to Mid-May
  3. Summer: Mid-May to Mid-September

Each season package includes:

  • 3 Months of Assisted Practice
  • 1 Month of Open Practice
  • 1 Workshop per Month

PLEASE STAY HOME IF:

  • You have covid-19, flu, allergy, or cold symptoms such as: runny nose, cough, fever, fatigue, sore throat, loss of taste / smell, etc
  • You are being tested for Covid-19 or are in contact with someone currently being tested for covid-19.
  • You have recently traveled outside Canada: please follow government guidelines if you have left the country.

 

PRACTICE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ATTEND AT YOUR OWN RISK:

  • Please know that even with all our safety measures, by attending in-studio classes you are accepting a higher risk during an active global pandemic such as covid-19.
  • If you, someone you take care of, or are in contact with is higher risk, we understand that in-person classes may not be right.
  • It is with great compassion that anyone exhibiting symptoms will be asked to leave.
  • This includes anyone who suspects they know the source of their symptoms (allergies etc).

 

WE HAVE A STRICT NO SYMPTOM POLICY UNTIL GOVERNMENT AND HEALTH AUTHORITIES INDICATE OTHERWISE.

Here is the BC self-assessment tool and resources to support us

Each day is a different experience. I have never felt better, stronger, or more at peace.
Christine

Take your first step on a path toward life-long practice

Join us for a no-pressure 45 min orientation visit and see if First Light Yoga is the right fit for you.

Take your first step on a path toward life-long practice

Join us for a no-pressure 45 min orientation visit and see if First Light Yoga is the right fit for you.

first light yoga call to action image, geoff assisting a student with an arm balance during class