Winter-like temperatures are hanging around but there's a new way to combat the cold in Thompson while improving your overall health with the opening of Mo Tus Nua Wellness, the first purpose-built hot yoga studio and wellness centre in the city and Northern Manitoba.
The centre held its grand opening March 22, with Mayor Tim Johnston and Coun. Stella Locker on hand to congratulate Kylie Matechuk, the founder and instructor, and her husband Chris Matechuk, the driving force behind the renovations to the space it occupies at 40 Seal Road.
"The reason why we opened this up is we want to offer Thompson and the North access to a different kind of healthcare," said Kylie, who admitted that the transformation of the space they leased - originally envisioned to take four weeks - actually took four months due to a combination of technical details and her desire to make the entire space welcoming and soothing, with colours designed to lift your mood. "We focused on trying to make it nice."
Originally trained in yoga for kids after previously working as a Montessori kindergarten teacher, Kylie Matechuk said she became an adult yoga instructor after discovering more interest in the practice from the older crowd.
"I got more response from adults about doing adult yoga," she says.
When she first started offering yoga classes at the Norplex Pool, Kylie was surprised by the response, since yoga may not be the sort of recreational activity one immediately associates with Thompson.
"I didn't know how many people were interested in yoga," she says.
That said, she still hears from people who think they can't do yoga because it violates their religious beliefs. Sessions offered at Mo Tus Nua, however, are non-denominational and not associated to Hinduism or Buddhism or any other belief.
"All walks of life are accepted here," says Kylie, who said the most popular class she offered at Norplex was the non-traditional yoga course. "That got people coming to class."
For Kylie, however, the ability for the studio to offer hot yoga classes is paramount.
"Hot yoga I like the best for what it does for you body and how you feel afterwards," she says, with the heat encouraging perspiration that Kylie says helps flush toxins from your body. "With hot yoga you sweat so much that it's almost like a euphoria."
Kylie says the first time she tried hot yoga in a larger city, she thought it would be perfect for the Nickel City.
"As soon as I left I thought I can not live in Thompson without a studio like this," she said.
Making that happen was one of the reasons the renovations took longer than expected, because it required upgrades to air filtration and humidity control, as well as the installation of radiant heat panels, which look like regular ceiling panels but are actually the source of the hot yoga studio's heat. The equipment was also unfamiliar to electrical and health inspectors who had to give the studio the thumbs up. But the result, Kylie says, is a heat unlike that from a forced air furnace.
"It's as if you're standing in Mexico," she said.
In addition to the yoga studio, Mo Tus Nua also sells yoga supplies and healthy snacks at its juice and smoothie bar, which they decided to add to the facility after renovations were already underway but which fits with the overall theme of health as a combination of physical and mental aspects.
"We're about healing from the inside out," said Kylie, who likes how yoga unifies your body and your mind. "It's cool how you just focus on your own body instead of just leaving yourself."
As for the name, Kylie says it is a nod both towards her Irish heritage and what yoga and opening the studio has meant to her. Gaelic for "My New Beginning," Mo Tus Nua is represented by a Celtic butterfly, which symbolizes rebirth.
"This is exactly what this was for me," Kylie says. "I just wanted so bad to share it with Thompson people and I think it will be really cool for people of the North."