“Hell Yes I Can!” Entrepreneur Krista Bannan celebrates one year of Be Nice Yoga Co.

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Bannan brings a wealth of experience to her studio. Courtesy of Krista Bannan

Yoga studio brings peace to the Queen City

When I first call Krista Bannan, it’s a Friday night. I know from stalking her social media that she’s just recently returned from Cuba and I cross my fingers, praying she picks up the phone. Later on, we laugh about her bleary, clearly-just-woke-up response to my call.

“I was like, was that a dream? I had no clue, I was so out to lunch”.

It’s precisely this ultra approachable, no-pretense vibe that initially drew me to Krista’s yoga studio. (That, and her intentionally accessible pricing– Be Nice Yoga Co. stands for reducing accesibility barriers wherever possible).

A serene little space tucked inside an eclectic 8th Avenue building, the design of the Be Nice studio feels, to me, like a deep breath in and out. A vintage west-facing window offers magnificent views of Regina’s city sprawl by day, breathtaking Saskatchewan sunsets by night. Exposed brick meets clean white walls, the high wood-paneled ceilings a beautiful canvas for any roving eyes during savasana.

It is here, on Saturday, March 7, that Krista will host her much-loved business’s first birthday party. I called her that Monday to get the full details – from how she got here and what she’s learned, to exactly what kind of cookies she’s getting catered for the event.

We spoke for a truly wonderful hour (four times longer than I’d anticipated – oops!) [Editor’s Note: Better than being four times shorter], but alas, I’ve cut it down to the essentials for brevity’s sake. Should that audio never see the light of day, I’ll summarize my take-aways here: This woman seriously rocks.

As a longtime hobby- yogi, I love exploring the myriad yoga practices our Queen City has to offer. At Krista’s studio, however, I feel most at home. The environment she cultivates with each Be Nice Yoga class holds space for all bodies at all levels of experience. The calm seems so effortless that I had to ask– had she been raised this way? Had she ever been a yoga newbie, a spiritual skeptic?

“Honestly I’ve been really quirky & different my whole life. I just didn’t know how to channel that energy, but I always did unconventional things.  I wasn’t into sports, I was into more artsy sort of stuff. So I always had that underlying energy about myself. [But] it wasn’t until 2013 that I actually saw a doctor– I was struggling with panic attacks and anxiety and I wasn’t sure how to handle it. He actually recommended I incorporate some spiritual practice and yoga into my life. He was like I don’t feel like you need medication, I don’t think you need intensive therapy, I think you just need to slow down a little bit.”

Laughing, she admitted that at first she thought he was “a quack”.

“ I was like, are you serious? I come here for help and you just tell me to go, right? But I obviously needed that in my life and I look back now and it’s like, I can only imagine the state I’d be in if I didn’t take that advice. I’m just so grateful for that doctor. I’ll never forget that advice.

Discovering trust, she says, was exactly what she needed. Trusting that everything will be okay, even if it seems impossible at the moment. Trusting that a greater purpose and a plan is at work, even if one never fully understands what the plan entails. As a self- identified Type-A person, she confesses that letting go of control was incredibly challenging at first. Her voice deepens slightly, vocal cords seeming to relax as she remembers the feeling of epiphany.

“That was ultimately the most freeing reality I’ve ever experienced.”

In addition to this weekend’s anniversary, Be Nice Yoga Co. recently announced a collaboration with the Cornwall Centre. Each week in March, Krista will lead up to 30 participants in free Wellness Wednesday yoga classes over the lunch hour. Mall-goers are encouraged to bring a mat and a water bottle, leaving behind the mental and physical strains of the workweek through an enjoyable 45-minute practice. Participants can look forward to returning to the grind with a refreshed state of mind and a looser, happier body.

The timing could not be more perfect, either. As she looks forward to hosting three free classes at the event this weekend (some spots still available as of Monday evening!), Be Nice Yoga Co. can proudly offer Reginians a total of seven free classes this month. For a small business owner committed to accessibility, one could almost call it serendipity – except, as 100% of the company’s staff, she has earned every second of success that 2020 has brought so far.

At Be Nice Yoga’s one year celebration this weekend, two other local businesses will be providing refreshments as students new and old stretch, socialize, and enter to win one month of unlimited yoga – a pass valued at $88. With stacks of ridiculously decadent cookies baked by Our Spot Cafe to munch and bottles of Good Spirit Kombucha on tap, all are welcome to ring in a brand-new year of yoga with Krista this Saturday at Be Nice Yoga Co.

Class schedules, sign ups, and more can be found at beniceyogaco.com

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