By Philip Alves
It's not quite noon but it's already been a long day for Trish Stratus.
The retired World Wrestling Entertainment Diva has been busy all morning talking to media — including an early morning appearance on Breakfast Television — about Stratusphere Yoga, her new 5,200-square-foot studio in the Village of Vaughan Mills.
"The response has been fantastic," she said Monday. "I just want to spread the word about yoga."
Stratus introduced the new yoga studio April 26 with a meet and greet for potential students, celebrity watchers and wrestling fans, though the first day of classes was Sunday.
A wrestling-related back injury in 2005 led the former WWE women's champion to try yoga after traditional physiotherapy left her feeling frustrated at the slow pace of recovery.
"As soon as I started doing the yoga, I could feel that I was getting better," Stratus said. "I could just feel a difference.
"No back pain since. Knock on wood. Nothing has come back."
Pain-free, the Richmond Hill resident continued to practise yoga, sharing her new passion with high school friend Janette Lynn, even toying with the idea of opening their own studio.
Besides, Stratus said, she wanted to practise in a space closer to home.
"I was going all the way downtown," she said. "There was nothing up here. There was just nothing available and nothing like this with the three different studios offering all these different classes."
A year ago, Stratus and Lynn started planning what would become Stratusphere Yoga.
The studio offers classes in Ashtanga and Bikram yoga disciplines at various skill levels for everyone, including men, women, new and expectant moms, and athletes.
With the help of her homebuilder husband, Stratus built the yoga studio using green design principles, always opting for healthier, sustainable options. The floors are cork and bamboo, she pointed out, and the paint was low HOV.
With a lounge at its centre, Stratusphere Yoga was designed to create a comfortable vibe, Stratus said, which is a good thing since the celebrity entrepreneur plans on spending a lot of time there.
"When it's your baby, you don't want to leave," she said. "As much as I want to make sure my pillows are all lined up, I want to make sure my students are all taken care of in the classes.
"I'm sure I'll be here quite a lot. The only thing taking me away is my new travel show — I may be out in Dubai or Bali. I was paragliding in the Himalayas last week."
The new television show, also called Stratusphere, is set to appear on Discovery HD and Travel and Escape.
Not content with being a TV adventurer or a mere owner, Stratus is working on her Ashtanga yoga instructor certification. She says she plans to join her dozen-or-so handpicked instructors teaching students when she isn't in some far-flung locale.
"To do a travel show and then to come home to my own studio, it's pretty amazing."