By Janine Blaise
Harmony House Yoga (HHY) breathes fresh and vibrant air into online fitness. While HHY yogis virtually stand by her side, owner Nikki Henriksen turns down local studio job offers.
“Over the last year I’ve noticed people have gotten awkward and short-tempered out there. They are losing their human connection of patience. The Harmony House Yoga community provides purpose, to show up for each other and ourselves,” said Henriksen.
Servus Credit Union recognized HHY when the new start-up was nominated and won the ‘Helping the Community Thrive’ award.
“Harmony House Yoga has that something special about it. That spark,” said Gary Simunkovic, one of HHY’s student yogis.
With over 14 years experience and anatomy knowledge, Henriksen offers an active avenue to physical and mental health. Set apart from other online fitness classes, HHY offers a virtual social conversation 15 minutes before class.
“Harmony House Yoga is a community-focused program helping people keep in touch with one another. Harmony House Yoga offers to join a real-time conversation with another human being. Seeing people in a safe manner while being able to take care of our health,” said Henriksen.
When indoor fitness and massage studios were unavailable in the last year, the home-grown Edmontonian’s livelihood came to a halt. With many certifications in hand (meditation/mindfulness yoga instructor, massage instructor, craniosacral therapist, holistic nutrition practitioner), Henriksen sought to help out.
Inspired to offer health and wellness yoga weekday classes, Henriksen studied real-time meetings. She posted email and Facebook invitations, and within days offered ‘balanced fitness for body and mind’ through Zoom from her living room.
The name ‘Harmony House Yoga’ reflects a community inclusive of age, gender, work, heritage and location.
“A relative introduced me to Harmony House Yoga and I’m so glad she did. Nikki is a great leader, extremely knowledgeable and supportive. I have learned so much about my body. I’m in Winnipeg, she is in Edmonton, yet with technology it feels like we are in the same room,” said Karen Norris, another HHY student.
Contrary to most other online fitness classes, HHY yogis continue to keep webcams on. This allows Henriksen to suggest posture corrections, options and focus. Plus family, friends and pets can share a screen for free, contagious smiles and giggles included.
“Each week’s total workouts are designed to create a balanced body by activating and building strength in a variety of muscle groups, all while stretching them out,” said Henriksen.
HHY delivers consistent, clear instructions, authentic stories, and body awareness. This results in back strengthening, deep lower-belly breathing and healing blood flow. Online classes also offer an escape from everyday stressors.
“I noticed a huge increase in my strength in the last 14 months with HHY, and my chiropractor noticed this as well. HHY has made a huge difference in my physical and mental health,” said Jen Leendertse, another loyal student yogi of HHY.
Henriksen’s hope is that members “grow their grit.” A weekly class payment ($8 per class or $25 per week) affirms financial and schedule commitment.
HHY also aims to pay it forward by sponsoring a child in Peru and dedicating quarterly classes to the Saving Grace Animal Society.
At class’ end, yogis lay still while Henriksen reads a meditation from Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart. A group-spoken “namaste” follows with a moment of silence. Class concludes with thank-yous, feedback and an occasional impromptu on-screen Brady Bunch wave among friends.
Email email@example.com to receive a free first class with HHY and check out their ‘July’s First Annual Friday Evening Outdoor Yoga Classes’ in north Edmonton.