Kat Tancock took a heli-tour of the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia and was dropped on a frozen lake for an hour of calm, serenely quiet and chilly yoga in the ultimate yoga studio — the great outdoors.
I’m sitting cross-legged on my yoga mat, hands on knees, eyes closed, enjoying the warmth of the early-spring sun on my face. The air is clean and crisp beyond belief and the only thing I can hear is the breathing of the yogi on the next mat. I don’t want to move, but I have to: my butt is getting chilly and it’s time to move into some standing poses before the numbness sets in. Did I mention I’m sitting on a frozen lake?
About an hour earlier, I’d boarded a helicopter at Kananaskis Heli Tours, an hour’s drive from Calgary, at the edge of the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, and was flown up to this frozen lake.
Luckily, the mountain weather was calm and clear and there was no question of whether the helicopter would get off the ground. After receiving a boarding pass, I joined a small group and climbed aboard to go through safety protocol. Suddenly, we seemed to float up from the ground and circle above the mountains. We toured the mountains in the air before landing high above sea level for an hour’s reprieve from city life, in the glorious natural setting.
When the main group set off for a hike, my fellow yoga instructor and I wandered off to the lake, clearing several inches of powdery snow to make room for our mats. The quiet was overwhelming, and in homage to it we practised in silence too, thankful for the near-zero temperatures, calm and bug-free setting (unlike much outdoor practise space).
Without external noise, interruptions, even cellphone service, we find ourselves flowing seamlessly through poses with a sense of freedom that’s hard to find in the city. After about an hour, regretfully, we rolled up our mats and headed back toward our ride. The view through the helicopter’s floor was our consolation prize for leaving the ultimate yoga studio behind.