Skip to content

Burnaby wellness centre finds new purpose for old mats

Burnaby SPCA bunnies are perfecting their downward dog after a new wellness centre donated a pile of yoga mats to the animal shelter.

Burnaby SPCA bunnies are perfecting their downward dog after a new wellness centre donated a pile of yoga mats to the animal shelter.

MetroZen Performance Wellness collected between 10 and 20 yoga mats during a week-long campaign last month at the studio, according to the owners, Fayme and Kim Hodal.

Fayme discovered that yoga mats aren't recyclable in Canada after hers wore out after a year or so of doing Ashtanga yoga, she said.

"It wasn't a bad mat," she said, adding, "It was the $30 to $40 mat we all buy our first time out."

But she found that getting rid of it wasn't as simple as tossing it in the recycling bin and buying another.

"What most yoga mats are made of, they aren't easily recyclable," Fayme said.

She let her dog use it for a while but didn't want it around the house anymore - that's when she thought of the Burnaby SPCA.

"They said they love them," Fayme said.

The studio, which opened in the fall, also collected fabric mats for the cats at the SPCA during the campaign, she added.

Recently, Fayme dropped off six yoga mats that were then used in the upstairs area of the Burnaby SPCA shelter for two rabbits. The mats replaced blankets that were placed on the floor for the animals.

"We didn't think that it was acceptable that a practice that's supposed to be so holistically good for everything has such a negative side effect," Fayme said. "We're doing all this because we're trying to be healthier, better in some way. But, if we're destroying the environment around us, it doesn't matter how physically healthy you are and mentally healthy you are, because your whole world is going to be just a disaster."

The campaign will continue indefinitely, and MetroZen will collect and deliver mats for the animals as they come into the studio, according to the owners.

Fayme has not been able to find any place in Canada that recycles yoga mats. She did find one in the United States, but that involves shipping the mats over the border.

She recommends to clients that they purchase a Manduka yoga mat - the Pro version comes with a lifetime warranty, and the eKO mat is biodegradable, she said.

Fayme opened the studio with Kim at the corner of Sussex Avenue and Hazel Street with a grand opening celebration at the end of September, she said.

"We picked the spot because there really isn't anything in the Metrotown area," she explained. "We wanted to create a space that was warm and welcoming so people can come and try something they maybe haven't tried before."

The studio offers a wide range of classes, including yoga, pilates, stretch and strength, and stretch therapy.

Stretch therapy involves increasing mobility and movement range by working with the fascia in the body - fascia is a web-like layer of protein strands that hold everything in the body together, according to Fayme.

Fayme began using the therapy after injuring her back when she was 17, while also using Ashtanga yoga to repair her body, she said.

"I got into it because I was quite injured, and I was looking for a way to not be injured any more," Fayme said. "It worked amazingly well."

The therapy can work for those who are injured, but it is also very effective for athletes and really, anyone who wants to improve their movement range, she added.

Both Fayme and Kim say people shouldn't be dissuaded by the idea that yoga isn't physically taxing like intense cardio workouts. "Some of the yoga classes we offer are all-encompassing workouts," Kim says. "A lot of the men that have tried these classes are quite surprised, and they're coming back for more because they're finding it's quite a workout."

Kim said she has always had an interest in health and wellness and studying the body, which led to her involvement in the studio.

"It just sort of evolved through years of practising things and trying things," Kim says, adding she and Fayme started stretch therapy at the same time.

While Fayme hopes to spread awareness of stretch therapy, Kim is also looking into developing wellness programs at the studio in the near future, she said.

For more information about the centre and the classes offered, go to MetroZen is also on Facebook, MetroZen Burnaby, and Twitter, @FindYourZen.