11 Jan Doe, A Deer: Rio Interview
The girls at RIO are doing it right. In a tiny but beautiful little studio at the creative crossing on Charles and Agricola, this yoga/pilates studio has everything you could ever want. Owner Connie McInnes made pure magic when she created this space, fusing together yoga and pilates. They are also offer barre classes, juice cleanses, and some amazing workshops.
If you’re a yogi, or a fan of alternative exercise, if you want to challenge yourself, or try something new, you’d be crazy not to pop in and try out a class. I dare you not to go back a second time.
I caught up with Connie and got a little glimpse into the brains and world of RIO!
Tell me a little bit about your background and how RIO was born.
After university I was in a bit of a state of chaos so I spent the summer in a small town with no phone or internet and just tried to ground myself down a bit. This was followed by a year of travelling and moving to Toronto where I pursued Public relations and event planning. A lot of self discovery happened in these few years. After working at FASHION magazine for a brief stint I decided the corporate world wasn’t for me, nor was dressing up every day for work. I would come home from interviews and people would say “That’s what you wore?”
I didn’t want to pretend to be someone I was not.
That was basically a turning point. I had begun Pilates classes at the same time and had been instantly captivated. Having been a competitive athlete my entire life it was amazing to find something that still challenged my body as much as it challenged my mind. RIO was born from a combination of a passion for community, a love for movement and music, and a desire to become a “free spirit.”
Where does the name “RIO” come from?
When I was coming up with the studio name I wanted something untraditional and unrelated to yoga.The studio is heavily focused on the music we play and the role of that music in the class. This was an important aspect to include in the name.
Rock In Opposition (RIO) is a genre of rock and roll that came about from a collective of progressive musicians who were non-conforming to the industry. The RIO brand is really in line with what their message dictated. Opening up a door to something that is not necessarily the way that someone told us it should be or has to be. Inviting variation, creativity, change.
Daring to be different. That’s what RIO’s about. We are working in opposition to tradition. Being authentic to what we are, and not what we “should” be. And inviting everyone that comes in to do the same. You don’t have to succumb to the culture, be vegan or practice spirituality of the buddha. You can just be. No labels. No stereotypes.
Where do you like to go/what do you like to do for inspiration?
I have spent a lot of my life living in really small towns. I love the diversity and culture from big cities, but I have found my deepest self living in small communities. When I need to find inspiration I go to a small island with no electricity just outside the city. It’s my little sanctuary. I chop wood, I read, and I cook over a fire. It’s so therapeutic. I have only taken a select number of people here. Some day I will turn it into a retreat!
What are some of your favourite pilates/yoga tunes at the moment?
The music I play in classes is totally dictated by my music of the moment. I don’t look to traditional yoga or meditative music, but I infuse music that connects to me in my life. I want people to feel the music. Let it feed them. That moment when a song comes on that you really love, such a good experience.
I go to music festivals every year to draw inspiration. Right now my classes will have anything from Lorde, Florence and the Machine, Nicholas Jarr, Odesza, Macklemore, and anything Kygo. Just so juicy.
When your not doing RIO where can you can be found?
I am still very much in the honeymoon phase with RIO. I am a bit of a workaholic when I am passionate about something. So it occupies ALL of my time right now.
When not at the studio, I have been known to spend 10 hours straight at RIO’s neighbouring cafe/wine bar, Lion & Bright. I am really captivated with the vibe and culture that has been growing in the North End. There is such an eclectic theme of amazing antique and consignment shops, and fresh food. Other than that, eating amazing food enriched with palatable wine are at the top of the list.
And kickboxing. Cyclone has an amazing class that helped me get through some stressful days leading up to this!
Best piece of advice that’s been given to you?
Trust your gut. No one knows it better than you.
Three things you can’t live without?
Coffee. A Bathtub. My blender.
What’s your favourite thing about Halifax?
Community. Community. Community. I have travelled around the world.
You just can’t find a better community.