Mindful places to meditate in Vancouver

There’s no question that taking a few deep breaths during a busy workday can help reduce stress and boost energy. So imagine what benefits you’ll gain by leaving the office, and taking some time to practice mindfulness as part of your lunch hour or post-work wind-down. Whether you’re in the mood for yoga or just want some peace and quiet, here are several idyllic and convenient locations for meditating in the city. Namaste.

YYoga Downtown Flow

202-888 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1X9

When it comes to being mindful, one of the best places to practice the skill is at one of Y Yoga’s premier yoga and meditation facilities. Serene, impeccably maintained and spacious, the West Coast yoga company’s Downtown Flow studio offers a quiet space in the heart of the city for listening to your inner voice. Practice mindfulness on your own in the Nourishing Lounge or infrared sauna, or take direction from instructors who offer relaxing meditations at the beginning and end of each yoga class.

Crab Park

101 Waterfront Rd E, Vancouver, BC V6A 4K3

Home to a beautiful, sloping hillsides and stunning views of Railtown’s active industrial waterway and the North Shore mountains beyond, Crab Park remains one of Vancouver’s least busy parks, even on a sunny day. Expansive and covered in healthy green grass, you’ll have no trouble finding a comfortable spot – perhaps even beneath the shade of a leafy tree at the hill’s peak, where you’ll watch boats drift by as you drift into a calm frame of mind.

Shambhala Training Meditation Centre

3275 Heather St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3K4

Every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, Shambhala offers a “Learn to Meditate” evening that’s free and open to the public. Teaching the principle that “every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness,” helpful instructors guide first-time participants through a series of calming meditation practices, both seated and walking, with the opportunity to discuss and ask questions afterwards. All classes take place in an intimate studio complete with plush cushions, rugs and warm lighting.

Granville Island

1661 Duranleau St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3S3

One of Granville Island’s best-kept secrets, the spacious, covered picnic pavilion is tucked away in one of the more quiet corners of the island and overlooks a pretty duck pond. Often empty on rainy days, catch some serenity here at one of two picnic tables or grab your yoga mat and stretch out on the concrete floor – any day of the week. Tip: before you go, check online to ensure a community organization or other group hasn’t already booked the pavilion.

Christ Church Cathedral

690 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2L1

You don’t need to travel to Europe to find the serenity that historic cathedrals can provide. Located in the near-exact center of Vancouver’s bustling downtown, Christ Church Cathedral offers an incredibly still atmosphere, with muted lighting streaming through traditional stained glass windows and heritage ceiling beams made from Douglas fir, among other authentic touches. And no matter if you’re spiritual or not, a weekly choral performance on Sundays is at once inspiring and meditative – not to mention mind-bendingly beautiful.

The Old Barn Community Centre

6308 Thunderbird Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

Next time you’re visiting UBC, check out the Old Barn Community Centre, where a variety of affordable mindfulness programs offer yoga and meditation classes in a spacious and farm-like setting. Taking its name from the horse barn that once stood in its place, the gorgeous revamped barn is adjacent to Jim Taylor Park, a lush, natural setting for practicing your breath work before or after class.

Stanley Park

610 Pipeline Rd, Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4

For those working downtown, it may seem easy to forget about one of North America’s largest natural parks, which is located just down the street. And among its many gorgeous hideaways, the Shakespeare Garden – sandwiched between the Rose Garden and a dense forest of evergreen trees – is a delicate arboretum that showcases many of the trees featured in The Bard’s plays. Walk as you meditate on quotes displayed on plaques before each tree, or, better yet, bring a copy of your favourite sonnet and envision your next great love.

Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2

Where better to find your Zen than in one of many swirling paths, asymmetrical flower arrangements and introspective viewpoints of this truly classical Chinese garden? Drawing on the sacred landscaping traditions of Ming Dynasty scholars, this intricate space in the heart of Chinatown represents the natural movements and rhythms of nature in its design. Go here for an energetic yet calming experience that encourages thinking in solitude.

These iconic hikes – all within driving distance from Vancouver – offer breathtaking views, opportunities for wildlife viewing and groomed trails, making them ideal for tourists looking to experience the very best of West Coast hiking. Lace up your hiking boots (or a sturdy pair of sneakers) and start exploring!
Affordable, fun and a great workout, cycling is an ideal method for seeing the sights of Vancouver, where state-of-the-art bike paths and spectacular Seawall views abound. And for those who don’t own a bike – or who couldn’t fit one in their suitcase – these rental shops loan out two-wheelers that are well oiled, affordable and ready for your next adventure. [Photo credit: iStock.com/ Todor Tsvetkov]
Vancouver’s close proximity to lake and ocean – and its many public pools – make the city an ideal destination for trying out watersports with your little ones as they grow. So grab the sunscreen, pack the water shoes and swim trunks, and encourage your kids to learn valuable skills in and out of the water at some of Vancouver’s top aquatic camps this summer. [Photo credit: iStock.com/GOTO_TOKYO]
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