March 15th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 11
Simply spry - shifting gears
“We’re going to focus on stuff that we love to do and that we’re good at. Big doesn’t mean better.” – Ian Lowe-Wylde
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
Spry's owner and yoga and fitness leader Susan Lowe-Wylde has decided to remodel the structure of classes offered by the studio.
Pass Herald Reporter
Bigger isn’t always better. At least, that’s according to Susan and Ian Lowe-Wylde when it comes to their business, spry fitness retail store and fitness studio.

This perspective has fueled their decision to revise and scale back on the fitness classes offered at spry. For the spring session, the studio has reduced the amount of teachers from 11 to nine, and the number of classes offered from 12 to seven.

“Trying to be everything for everyone, it’s a bit hard. It takes a lot of effort to manage a studio with as many people as we have, so I really decided that it was the right thing to do,” says Susan.

Following the end of April, when the spring session ends, Susan says she’s not yet certain of the format or frequency of classes offered, but she’s positive that spry will remain a staple space for fitness and yoga in the Pass.

“I will absolutely not stop teaching yoga and fitness. We’re definitely not going away. We’re grateful for all the people who continue to come here and I want to continue to offer some wonderful classes for those people,” she says.

With 10 years as a certified yoga teacher and 34 as a group exercise leader, teaching is an integral part of who Susan is and what she enjoys doing.

Having worked in healthcare since 1986 as an exercise specialist in cardiac rehabilitation, she most certainly knows a thing or two about wellness and the value of keeping an active lifestyle. She started her career at the Ottawa Heart Institute in 1988, and has since worked at the Heart Centre in Vancouver, the Cardiac Wellness Institute in Calgary, and for Alberta Health Services as an exercise specialist, supporting people with chronic conditions.
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Just recently, she began a contract position at the Crowsnest Medical Clinic supporting the patients, staff and community with physical activity.

“It’s always been my passion, to support, encourage and guide people who don’t know what to do,” she says. “I support the clinic in helping the staff promote the health benefits of physical activity to the patients.”

Susan moved to the Pass with Ian in 2008 and jumped right into teaching yoga at the Lions Club and the Yoga Hub before spry found its home on Main Street in Blairmore in the fall of 2014. The spry studio started out with Susan being the only yoga and fitness teacher for a few classes per week, and it quickly expanded over the years to offer the services of 11 certified teachers, 12 weekly classes and a whole lot of administration for Susan.

“It may seem quite simple to run a schedule like that and plan it,” says Susan, “but it’s actually quite complicated to coordinate 11 teachers, put it all together and distribute all the advertisements. It’s a lot of work.”

She adds that the administrative responsibilities and planning five months ahead have taken time away from her being able to do what she ultimately loves most, teaching. As a result, the Lowe-Wyldes have made the decision to revitalize what they offer.
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“We started off with having this vision of investing in something that Susan loved to do and was good at. I think it got a little bit more complicated and bigger than it needed to be, and we got the point where the return isn’t there,” says Ian. “There needs to be a balance between financial return and emotional return from it.”

The bottom line, says Susan, is that spry is simplifying.

Ian adds that, “Given that we only have so much time and energy, we have chosen to direct all that into a more focused program that we run. We want to keep it simple and small, but really good.”

The Lowe-Wyldes recognize that to stay relevant and innovative, their business needs to evolve and remain flexible.

For that reason, the spry retail store is also growing with the new addition of CAT and Helly Hansen work wear to the running and yoga clothing and footwear products that the store already sells.

“We’re willing to change things up,” says Ian. “Wherever that road takes us… That’s the fun part of being a small entrepreneur, you can do whatever you want.”

For updated class schedules, visit the spry website at
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March 15th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 11
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