After many years of studying yoga, I’ve developed a set of criteria for a studio I’ll come back to: friendly, welcoming staff; a serene practice space with plenty of props; a convenient location; and, of course, teachers who know what they’re doing, treat students with respect and create fulfilling classes. Here are a few of my faves in Toronto, as I originally shared on ourfaves.com.
956 Bloor Street West, Toronto
After over a decade of taking yoga classes, I decided to give hot yoga a try this year. I’ve been to a few different studios/styles and Tula is my favourite’and not just because it’s a 10-minute walk from my house! The space is airy, the changerooms and showers are clean and the staff are friendly. They even have body wash and shampoo in the showers so you don’t have to bring your own. What I love the most is that unlike many hot yoga studios, the heat and humidity are limited to the hot room and the rest of the space doesn’t have that certain smell. The hot hatha class I tried was great and I’ll be back to sample their other offerings, including Pilates and a spa.
148 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Yoga Space is one of my favourite studios in Toronto. The teachers are all good’I’ve never taken a class I didn’t like’and the space is calm and friendly and relaxing. They tend to dim the lights in classes and some teachers play music, which I find helps me stay focused. They have decent change rooms (with mat storage for a fee), and each of the two practice rooms comes equipped with tons of props, including eye pillows (great for meditation/savasana) and foam rollers, plus the basics: straps, blankets, bolsters. They also offer a nice variety of classes, from more vigorous Ashtanga to calming restorative and even yoga Pilates fusion when you feel you need some core work.
100 Sheppard Avenue East, Toronto
Living and working downtown, I don’t make it north of St Clair very often. But I recently journeyed north to this studio to take a class with a friend who works in the area, and it was well worth the long subway ride. The studio was clean and spacious, the staff was friendly and the instructor (wish I could remember his name) was the best I’ve ever had at a Moksha studio. And I found the room temperature to be more constant than at Moksha St Clair’still hot, but not as stuffy, maybe because it’s a newer building. I came out sweaty, of course, but refreshed and invigorated as well. The only downside is $18 is steep for a drop-in, in my opinion, compared to other yoga studios’but I’m sure their heating bill is high, too.
440 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Octopus Garden is a cute little yoga studio in the Annex. They’re very welcoming and friendly and the practice space is bright and spacious, although it can get a bit humid on rainy days. There are some accessories for sale, including clothing and towels, and they’re part of the Passport to Prana program. The only downside is the bathrooms and "change rooms" (curtained-off areas) can get a bit crowded. Try Ian’s Monday night Ashtanga class for a relaxing yet invigorating start to the week.
40 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
Yoga Plus’s predecessor, The Yoga Studio at Bloor and Spadina, was my first studio in Toronto and many of its best teachers are still teaching at Yonge and Eglinton, including Michael and Christine. I don’t make it up there now as often as I’d like but I’d still recommend to anyone for whom the location is convenient. Michael’s classes (if you’re lucky enough to have a flexible schedule’he mostly works days) are a fantastic workout and will build your strength, while Christine’s hatha classes are more inward-focused. If you’re looking for prenatal classes, I highly recommend Christine’s classes’she also does prenatal teacher training so she knows what she’s doing!
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