YMCA Yoga Class Says “Om” at the Chilliwack Fire Hall

Chilliwack YMCA Yoga fire hall class

The Chilliwack YMCA may be temporarily closed but that didn’t stop Lisa Axelson’s yoga class from getting together for their weekly practice. In true YMCA spirit, she got resourceful and moved the class to the Chilliwack Fire Hall.

Lisa, the Chilliwack Fire Department’s Lieutenant and Fire Prevention Officer, has been a part of the Y family for more than 20 years. She received her fitness theory training when she was in her twenties and has been teaching ever since. She has taught everything from high/low, kick boxing, step-to-core fit, smart sculpt and, in the past 15 years, fusion and yoga.

Lisa loves teaching all of the programs but admits that yoga is her favourite. This is because it calls on the whole body, from the physical—allowing participants to achieve the poses—to the mindfulness—allowing participants to experience the full benefits of the breath.

When the classes started at the Chilliwack Fire Hall 18 months ago, Lisa started with one class at 5:00 p.m. It quickly moved to a second class at 6:15 p.m. as most of the participants had been used to two classes a day when the Chilliwack Y was open.

Lisa restructured the classes to start with a foundational class for the earlier one and a harder, more challenging class for the later one. This structure allowed for a good warm up leading into the more challenging segment.

At the core of the class’ success was community. According to Lisa, what made this experience so fulfilling was the participants. Together, they created a community that was warm and welcoming to all that attended. Lisa truly believes that it would not have been the experience it was without the participants and says, “I am a guide in the class. What you experience is of your own making.”

During last year’s wildfires, the room in which they practiced yoga was taken over by emergency personnel. So, they practiced in the truck bay. According to Lisa, it was a lovely summer day and they had a great time with lots of laughs. That’s also when the picture was taken.

With the reopening of the Chilliwack YMCA on the horizon, Lisa’s YMCA yoga classes will return to the centre of community’s ongoing fitness schedule. Stay tuned for schedule information!

Real Thoughts about Lisa’s Yoga Classes

Over the past 18 months, Lisa’s Chilliwack Fire Hall yoga classes not only helped people stay active and improve their health, they also built a community. Lisa Morry, a weekly participant, shares her experience below:

“Piece of cake?” Not so much. It’s pretty much the opposite of a “piece of cake” at Chilliwack’s downtown fire hall where the Chilliwack YMCA’s yoga class has taken place for roughly 18 months. With great dedication and much love, firefighter Lisa Axelson, quite possibly the strongest woman in Chilliwack, has taught yoga classes while the Y was closed for a complete rebuild.

Lisa’s classes have always been tough for me. When Lisa asks if a particular move or sequence is a “piece of cake”, my inner voice is often screaming “nooooo!” It’s challenging, sweat-inducing, body-changing and community-building.

I am so grateful for these classes, which have been my priority for the last year and a half. While I’m excited for the new facility, I’m going to miss Thursday nights at the Fire Hall.


Lisa M