YEARS IN THE MAKING
Mat Collective started out as a yoga mat recycling program, accepting unwanted yoga mats from across Greater Vancouver, BC. Our goal was, and still is, to turn yoga mats headed to the landfill into a resource for individuals and businesses looking to create a happier, healthier, city. Soon after the roots for the recycling program were laid out, we started offering yoga classes.
Mat Collective's co-founders, Rebecca Holgate and Selina Pechlaner.
In 2017 we grew tenfold, and acquired not only a cozy studio space just off of Main Street & 32nd Ave, but also Kits Space's yoga classes. Kits Space had a strong following in Kitsilano, and now with Mat Collective behind the classes, we have expanded across the whole city of Vancouver. Some of our classes have been held at Granville Island, beneath the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, at the new Emily Carr University campus, on the BC Place field, on the dock at Loon Lake Lodge and several others. We bring yoga to the most exciting places across the Lower Mainland! In addition to these, our regular locations for classes are Kits Beach and Main Street, at which you can take advantage of classes daily, sometimes twice daily, during the summer. When the sun goes away for the fall and winter, we still offer a reduced schedule and various pop up classes. Even though its a little chilly, a flow class under a covered bridge will certainly keep you warm and dry! Outdoor yoga is much more than just a great stretch; it is a community where friends are made, connections are rekindled, and a place you can unwind anytime of year.
Yoga mat recycling is still a big part of what we do. We accept yoga mat donations from studios, individuals and other businesses, and recycle them. Individuals can volunteer with us, and in exchange, get them selves a gently used yoga mat! We are also happy to provide short and long term yoga mat rentals from our studio.
Mat Collective was founded by existing members of Vancouver's already vibrant yoga community. The two co-founders, Rebecca, a passionate yogi and math nerd, and Selina, a city planner turned serial entrepreneur, saw a gap in the city's ability to deal with unwanted yoga mats and provide accessible yoga programs.
A sunny class at Kits Beach. July 2018.
Why free? For a couple of reasons. In an increasingly unaffordable city, we want people to be able to have access to yoga and fitness classes no matter their income bracket. Yoga, by nature, should be accessible and shared with the community, and we found that most classes at regular studios are not this way. Getting outdoors and exercising also does wonders for your physical body and mental health. It's sort of comparable to an indoor spin class, versus biking along the seawall. The sunshine on your skin, sound of ocean waves, and the wind in your hair while you do sun salutations just can't be beat.
Our students stories are also inspiring us every day to keep doing what we're doing. We've had people who are strapped for cash because of a tough divorce, or unable to afford physiotherapy and are living out of their car. We get those who are looking to make new friends, meet their neighbours, and people on first dates. You will find both long term residents and newcomers to the city. Everyone no matter their race, age, religion, gender, or sexuality is welcome, and we truly hope to see you there.
Selina, Helena, and Rebecca at Kits Beach. August 2018.