Sonja Foss. File photo.

Local yoga school offers scholarship to Canim Lake Band

‘I think it’s a really nice gesture’

One Canim Lake Band member looking to become a Yoga Alliance certified teacher will soon be able to do so for free.

Sonja Foss started Emergence Yoga last year and says that being on unceded Secwepemc territory, she wanted to give something back.

“If I am able to honour and recognize the first people that used the land that I am teaching people on, I feel like it’s a deep privilege to do so.”

Trish Diamond, recreation co-ordinator for the Canim Lake Band, says she thinks it’s a great idea.

“It’s really kind of Sonja to offer that as a way of thanking Canim Lake for using their traditional territory. So I think it’s a really nice gesture.”

Canim Lake has had a lot of different fitness and health programs and is very progressive in what’s been offered in the community, including yoga, says Diamond, adding that she thinks there will definitely be lots of interest.

Diamond and Foss will come up with criteria to screen for the best candidate for the scholarship.

“We’ll probably work on it together and just make sure that it’s a good way to find the right person,” she says. “I think that the person who does get to have the scholarship, it’ll open up a lot of doors for them inside the community and outside of the community and I think it’s just a really excellent opportunity.”

Foss says the decision to offer the scholarship goes as far back as 30 years ago when she first heard about Residential Schools, she says.

“I felt a responsibility, even at that point, to learn more and it’s always been a part of my interests,” she says. “The Canadian story, when we actually learn the true history of Canada, is something that has always motivated me into action.”

Foss says she studied natural resource management, is a professional in land management and has spent the majority of her professional career for chiefs and councils.

“I’m very well versed in all legislation affecting First Nations in economic and social capacity issues and I’ve always considered myself to be a friend and ally.”

The program takes 200 hours over 15 days, which Foss likens to high school graduation, which Foss says is a very intense training program.

“I kinda look at your first 200 hours as your highschool graduation where now, there’s so much more to learn.”

The certificate is internationally recognized, she says, adding it can help you get work from resorts in Bali to studios in Germany or work for Disney.

“So it’s like going to school to become an RMT, or a counsellor or a journalist or something of the sort. So people come to my school and I train them how to become yoga teachers.”

The cost of the program is normally $2,500 plus tax.

More information can be found at or find her on Facebook at Sonya Foss Yoga or Emergence Yoga.

Diamond says if anyone else would like to commence a similar initiative, she would be the right person to contact, as long as it has to do with fitness.

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