By Gabrielle Julien
Yoga has quickly become popular in Quebec and is now an activity with a large following. There are an increasing number of yoga studios and styles and it is sometimes difficult to know where to turn. The startup YogaTribes was created to make yoga accessible to everyone. We met Georges Laraque, spokesperson and shareholder of this collaborative platform, to learn more about the company.
YogaTribes is a modern resource that brings together amateurs, yogis and yoga studios in a single forum. It is a collaborative web platform that makes it easy to navigate the range of yoga services in Montréal. Georges Laraque, who immediately saw the potential of such a project when he was approached, says: “I’m often told, ‘there are so many styles and places where you can do yoga, I don’t know what to choose!’”
A former Montréal Canadiens player, he tells us that he was introduced to yoga 15 years ago, not really knowing what to expect: “I'm hyperactive... I thought it was not for me at all. In the end, yoga has almost completely replaced my off-ice workouts. It's good for flexibility and maintaining physical strength.” He followed Sophie Lymburner, the startup founder, because he strongly believes in her project, especially since it corresponds perfectly with his profile as a philanthropist and activist who is committed to promoting a healthy and active daily lifestyle.
How does it work?
The platform is free and allows you to create a profile, then find your way through the different styles and around 10,000 studios and teachers that are grouped together there. You can use the interactive map and choose the studio closest to home. You can also use the yoga robot, which suggests the type of yoga that best suits your needs depending on your tastes, preferences and goals in terms of physical activity. You choose a studio and a time slot, you pay and that's all!
“YogaTribes doesn’t make the service more expensive for students. On the contrary, it allows them to test several studios before finding the one that suits them best. It's also a great way for studios to obtain visibility. In the long run, they often attract loyal and new clientele, who may not have known the studio without YogaTribes.”
Innovation yoga style
What characterizes the service is its audacity. It is a platform that encourages collaboration through exchange between studios and their supporters and also between teachers and their students. In addition to facilitating registration for classes, YogaTribes allows the creation of tribes or sharing groups. It's simple: a tribe leader (yoga teacher) signs up and can communicate with subscribers when he/she wants, for example, to teach a class outdoors. “It gives teachers a certain amount of recognition, it promotes them outside studios. If a teacher teaches at more than one place, it allows subscribers to follow their favourite teacher without being dependent on a studio!”
YogaTribes also organizes interesting events. The most recent and intriguing: Immersive Yoga organized at the Peel Basin in early September. Over an entire day, the public is invited to practice yoga to the music of a DJ broadcast through noise-cancelling headphones. “The teacher gives you instructions that you receive through the headphones. You feel as if you were in a bubble, it's super interesting! It ends with an immersive dance party, a personal party in the ears of each person.”
When all the studios of Greater Montréal are enrolled with YogaTribes and its business model has proven its merit, its creators hope to be able to open up access to yoga around the world. Their goal is obviously to increase the popularity of the platform internationally so that it is just as easy to do yoga in a foreign city as at home. In the meantime, they are working hard to make Montréal a yoga city... and this platform is a great starting point to get there!