Feature Profiles

"Yoga is my church": Craig Esau

Calgary Hot Yoga studio owner comes to terms with identity through yoga

CraigEsauWhen you first meet Craig Esau you can't help but smile. With his constant wit, lighthearted laugh and genuine nature it's hard to imagine Esau ever struggling. The newly married 35-year-old became the owner of Calgary Hot Yoga three-and-a-half years ago. He is also a teacher at the studio and loves coming into work everyday. But it hasn't always been an easy journey for Esau who has had to persevere through many of life's ups and downs.

Esau grew up in Linden, a small rural town an hour northeast of Calgary. The town features rolling hills and farms that seem to stretch out in every direction. Esau's family owned a chicken farm, which he says taught him the value of working hard.

His family was also active in the Mennonite Brethren Church where Esau remembers singing hymns and worshipping in a conservative environment.

"My dad kind of helped with bringing the church out of the olden days and making the church more modern. The church was my life growing up," Esau said.

The church would be Esau's life throughout high school and afterwards as he made the decision to attend bible school in Europe for a year. Through this period, Esau was coming to terms with being gay — a struggle that was always in the forefront of his mind.


Opening Gaits helps the disabled through the power of horses

An in-depth look at the world of therapeutic riding

thumb PhotoTwoVictoria Ross has struggled with Cerebral palsy (CP) her whole life, but she hasn't let this disability get the best of her.While there is no cure for CP, Ross has found a unique way of fighting back: therapeutic horseback riding.

Therapeutic riding uses horses and other equine-based activities to enhance physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and educational skills for people with disabilities. These include a range of disabilities from Down syndrome to Cerebral palsy.

Opening Gaits Therapeutic Riding Society Calgary is a charity comprised of dedicated volunteers who want to help those with physical and mental disabilities. Founded in 1998, Opening Gaits has been catering to those with disabilities with horses that are donated by various owners.


‘Changemaker in Residence’ works with Mount Royal University business school to challenge new ways of thinking

Jill Andres works toward bridging businesses and social ventures

Jill Photo2Mount Royal University's Bissett School of Business recently hired Jill Andres to fulfill the role of "changemaker in residence."

Andres, a mother and founder of Creating Value Inc., says a changemaker is someone who identifies a system that isn't working well, comes up with a plan to make it better, and sees themselves as capable of implementing the plan and following through. The most important part, she says, is that anyone can be a changemaker.

"I think when we think that the people who do extraordinary things are somehow extraordinary, it can be limiting," Andres says.


Two years after the flood, family finally finds new home

Uncertainty has finally come to an end for one Alberta family

thumb FamilyOutsideNewHouseBarbara Shwytky remembers the day her house flooded as being oddly sunny, hinting at nothing out of the ordinary to happen on a lovely June day. The radio was tuned in to the news all day at the dental hygienist office where she worked.

"I ended up going home an hour early and on the way home police cars and speedboats were passing me and I was like, 'Oh my goodness,'" said Shwytky.

"All the phones were down so I couldn't get a hold of anyone, and I got home and all the alarms were going off."

What had happened didn't sink in until the next day at the Blackie Evacuation Centre where the family of five had been relocated.