WHERE TO YOGA IN TORONTO
by Julie Ryland
Toronto is a big, bustling and busy city. After a few hours of sightseeing, a quiet yoga sanctuary where you can take a few minutes to exhale and gather new energy might not be a bad idea. Here’s an introduction to local favourites:
This bright and spacious, 14,000 square feet studio opened in the end of January 2009, and adds an impressive schedule, zen-like changing rooms, a juice bar, lounge and diverse clientele to the growing number of downtown yoga studios.
All classes at iam yoga are hot organic flow-classes, and the studio’s temperature is always around 40 degrees Celsius to allow students to maintain a consistent level of warmth within the musculature and connective tissue and achieve a deeper stretch.
The studio has fully equipped change rooms with showers, and yoga mats and towels are available for rent or purchase (although clients are encouraged to bring their own).
With five to seven classes per day, or private and small group classes, there’s plenty to choose from. Drop-in classes are available, and a $20 pass gives you unlimited access to all classes for a week.
Centrally located, and a short walk from the subway system. Parking lot nearby (extra charge.)
Jiva Mukti aims to be a holistic, safe haven where people can come and share their experiences of not only yoga, but of life.
The instructors encourage clients to adopt an organic, healthy and yoga-inspired lifestyle through classes and weekly workshops, and have built a strong sense of community among their clients.
Classes offer a unique form of practice that combines Vinyasa style with foundations from Ashtanga, but also incorporates breathing and meditation.
Many of the classes are followed by vegan potlucks, or musical performances by past and present teachers and yogis – "another way to remember why we’re practicing," says Jessica Lyons, who works at the studio.
Jiva Mukti is located close to Dundas Square and the Eaton Centre (where parking is available).
The studio is open seven days a week and offers 33 classes per week for different skill levels (intro, open and intermediate). The classes last from 45 minutes to an hour, and drop in prices vary from $12-$18. The studio has change rooms, but no showers.
Mats are available for rent, and there’s also a small shop located in the studio that sells yoga wear, books, accessories, and cosmetics.
This popular studio on the hip Queen West strip, the art an design district of Toronto, still has some of the best instructors and classes in Toronto.
The teachers blend their individual practice with a shared vision, and aim to tailor each class to the needs of their students. According to the website their main goal is to provide a detailed instruction of yoga in a safe and encouraging atmosphere.
The studio offers classes based on the Ashtanga practice of yoga, at all levels from beginners to advanced, and for all ages.
The schedule includes classes for pre-teens, restorative yoga, Yoga Jam (improvisation yoga), meditation, Ujjajy Pulse (rythmic yoga with live drums), and MySore, the longest running program of its kind in Canada, which offers a yoga practice with therapeutic elements.
Drop in classes are available for $17 (some classes are offered at $10 for students), and the studio offers 48 classes Monday through Friday in two studios. Mats are free to use, as well as change rooms and showers.
Go green and take the streetcar west down Queen Street (depending on where you’re coming from), and make sure you walk through beautiful Trinity Bellwoods Park on your way back, located just a couple of blocks west of the studio.
This 5000-square-feet studio, also located on Queen West, offers a boutique style yoga and pilates studio with small classes, lots of regulars, and long-time instructors.
Patrons include people of all ages, but lots of locals and apparently the studio has one of the highest numbers of male students in Toronto (so ladies, enjoy the view). Each class has a maximum of 20 people, which keeps it an intimate practice and gives the instructors a better chance at understanding and customizing the practice to each individual’s level and goals.
Classes are rooted in the Vinyasa and Hatha traditions of yoga and go from beginner to advanced.
Yoga mats are available for rent ($1), and clients who use their own mats can store them in the studio. Core also has a registered massage therapist on site, and offers trained, certified instructors that work with physiotherapists to adjust the classes and poses to your needs.
The schedule is sparse compared to bigger studios, with only 19 classes per week, but in return you get the attention and peace you might not find other places. Your first class is $12, and each following drop-in is rated at $17. There’s also an unlimited two-week pass available for $40.
The studio was founded by two sisters with a shared passion for yoga and holistic living, and is located in an old Victorian house just north of Yorkville, still close to downtown and public transportation.
All their classes are rooted in the Vinyasa flow tradition, and certified instructors who strive to maintain an element of creativity in their teaching tailor each class.
Their noon brunch classes are popular, as well as Yin Yoga – a slow- based class, but no less demanding (poses are usually held for five minutes each). Enjoy a cup of Ayurvedic tea in the tea garden after your practice, or visit the holistic spa for a facial.
Usually the number of people in each class ranges from six to 15 students, with a maximum of 20 people.
Change rooms have lockers, showers and organic bath products free of charge. Mats, blocks and straps are available for use during classes. As part of the holistic experience, there is a naturopathic doctor, an osteopath and a traditional holistic doctor on site, and as a member you receive a 10 percent discount on their services, including spa treatments.
Drop in classes are available for $20, and first-timers receive a free trial pass.
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