◊ THE CLASSES: Prenatal Yoga, Prenatal Massage, and Infant CPR ◊
WHAT TO BRING
- Absolutely nothing, just you and your bump (and comfy yoga clothes)
I am MIGHTY impressed with Toronto Yoga Mamas. I half expected a bit of a cheesy women only, all-we-do-is-live-for-our-babies mummy vibe for no good reason other than that’s what a lot of mum group things can be, but I was immediately steered straight when I experienced their chic, bright, and modern space. The reception staff are so kind and welcoming and they gave me a personal tour of the whole damn place, which says a lot, because there’s a lot happening here. Toronto Yoga Mamas isn’t just a specialised yoga studio, it’s an incredible source for trying, new and expecting mums (especially first timers that have no idea what they’re doing…ME). With a massive pre and postnatal wellness centre that includes everything from acupuncture, chiro, massage, holistic nutrition and more, to education classes to doula’s, this is more like an all-knowing, one-stop-shop that’s not your hospital for mum and baby info. And they’ve thought of everything, from stroller parking to free childcare to yoga mats being included so you don’t have to worry about bringing that too (bc that’s too hard when you’re about to pop and/or have a newborn). The 40+ women who run this amazing facility have got your back, and your belly, ha. 5 pineapples all. the. WAY.
They’re tucked away off the main strip of Queen Street East in one of the most popular parts between Vancouver Avenue and Greenwood Avenue. The entrance is along the westside of Queen Margherita Pizza (not by accident, I’m convinced) and shares the back half of the same building. Being in the heart of Leslieville, it’s obviously a perfect location for east-enders, but with it located right on Queen Street East and the 501 streetcar running on the daily, it’s relatively easy to get to for everyone. If driving, there’s free street parking on Greenwood Ave and Vancouver Ave, or paid street parking on Queen. They also have stroller parking along the westside of the building past the entrance.
TYM specialises in yoga, Pilates and barre for expecting and postnatal mama’s. Barre is a new addition and it’s an awesome one because they’ve added both pre and postnatal barre classes last year due to popular demand. Way to listen to your tribe, guys. There are over nine styles of classes offered in total, some where you bring your baby with you, some without, some that specialise in family, but all that have been very carefully tailored to mums and what her body needs during a significant time of change. It’s important to note that although 95% of this studio is heavily geared towards mama’s, many of the classes such as Yoga Babies and Crawlers Yoga are appropriate and encouraged for papa’s, nannies, and any caregiver looking after baby and it’s a great chance for, not only a workout, but bonding time. Awww.
As far as prices, TYM is on the top-end for what we’ve seen in Toronto for drop in yoga prices, however with it being so specialised and the abundant extra services that are provided (including complimentary mats, towels and all equipment), we think it’s well worth the extra pennies. Unlike many studios that have prenatal programs, it’s not necessary to lock into a set term. You can drop in for classes whenever suits you, provided you sign-up online beforehand. That said, they have an awesome deal if you want to commit for a full nine months that includes unlimited yoga, Pilates and barre, 10% off the retail boutique, education, events and workshops, and you can pause the membership when your baby arrives. A couple catches in the fine print though, as it’s only available to purchase in May, August, and December.
- Drop-in: $24
- 10 Class Card: $189 ($18.90)
- The 9 Month Pass: $66 per month = $699 (as of May 2018)
- Mama Pass: $108 per month
- Family Yoga 4 week series: $129 a family (can include up to 5 members)
- Fertility Yoga 4 week series: $99 per person
In addition to fitness classes, Toronto Yoga Mamas provides a suite of other courses and services. From mama groups like Baby Sign Language (I know, adorable and I need to go) to doula services, to a full wellness centre that specialises in care for pre and postnatal chiro, massage, acupuncture, holistic nutrition, naturopathic medicine and even pelvic floor physio (which is majorly important PS). They have truly covered all bases to make sure this is a one-stop centre of education and support. We were lucky enough to enjoy their prenatal massage services as well. If you haven’t had a massage so far in your pregnancy, DO IT, it will be a huge lifesaver because the extra stress your low back, feet, hips, and midback are under deserve the TLC. You can book prenatal, postnatal, deep tissue and aromatherapy massages which can all be claimed through your health coverage. There are five registered massage therapists to book with and I had Melanie Gillians and she was faaaaantastic. She focused on improving my circulation, and relieving my headaches and hand and arm swelling bc apparently preggo carpal tunnel can be a thing. The treatment rooms are on the first floor they finish your services giving you fresh lemon water and an orange. I mean, the details.
There are ALSO a ton of workshops and education classes like Newborn Baby 101, Prepare to Push, Baby Sleep, and a ton of great support in fertility. I dragged my husband to the Baby CPR Training course which was a three-hour session taught by a Toronto paramedic and we covered infant & child choking, infant and child CPR, and baby first aid. It was $55 per person and totally worth it. Everyone should do this course, including the grandpappies cuz things have changed since the 80’s. Did you know it’s not even called the Heimlich Maneuverer anymore?! Make sure to sign-up well in advance, the spots fill up fast and you can’t cancel unless they can find a replacement. As if that’s not enough they also provide photography sessions for Belly, Baby and Family, events on the regular and free childcare on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays during class times. Like, aaaactually. They have EVERYTHING HERE.
TYM studio space is very bright, feminine, and calming. The vibe that the staff have created is so confidently chill – it’s obvious they know what they’re talking about but with a ‘go-with-the-flow’ approach. Which I really appreciate, because this $hit can be overwhelming. I went in the evening so the tranquil atmosphere was turned to the max with the lights dimmed and the candles lit – which is pretty on-point considering how desperately most mamas really need a place to zen. There’s a large shoe area/coat rack at the front and a chic waiting area to the side. In the middle of the lobby is the sign-in desk that’s surrounded by their Retail Boutique stacked with carefully curated feminine and baby everything from candles, to onesies, to scarves, cute mugs, books, you name it – you’ll want to buy it. Past the main lobby is their newly renovated Wellness Centre that includes tons of treatment rooms.
The two large practice rooms are located upstairs and they’re made unique with their decor, which includes upside down balloons hanging from the ceiling and tassel draping. Right now anyway, they switch it up every now and again. Something I REALLY loved; our mats and yoga station were set up for us in the studio when we arrived – a considerate detail that was not overlooked – and with eight of us in the class, we felt nicely spaced out. Outside the practice rooms is a lemon water station, a herbal tea station and a library where you can borrow any book for a months time. There’s also a nursing room that doubles as a change room and two washrooms but no showers, which, is actually a bit surprising because they offer EVERYTHING else. It seems like a miss to not have the option to shower. Maybe this is a sign that moms don’t have time to shower!? Stay tuned, I’ll let ya’ll know.
- lemon water and tea stations
- yoga mats and equipment included
- mama retail boutique including product from Love Fresh, Bkr, Tenth Moon Mothercare, Anointment, Mama Malas and way more to name
- baby shop that includes clothing, books, accessories, and nursery decor from brands like local Ollie Jones Clothing, Mini moc, Sampling Child, Happy Baby Carriers, and sooooo much more
- nursing room
- Two washrooms (sans shower)
Toronto Yoga Mamas was first founded by Jamie Kalynuik in 2012, as she wanted to create a community where women can learn, nurture and connect with each other through their birthing journeys and into motherhood. As a doula first, she feels strongly about creating a supportive, safe and confident environment throughout pregnancy and after birth. The extensive team that Jamie has created since opening TYM doors over five years ago, is one of the most impressive rosters of strong, powerful and supportive women that we’ve come across. With over 10 staff members in the Wellness Center, 12+ yoga, barre and Pilates instructors, 11+ doula’s, and a supporting staff of eight people to run it all smoothly, this massive team of 40+ is knowledgeable, nurturing and supportive in everything from fertility, pregnancy, birth, parenting, child care and mamma self-care. Every person we’ve interacted with are mothers themselves so they speak from personal experience, which can be incredibly helpful.
I took Joana’s 8:15pm Wednesday pre-natal yoga class and I loved everything about her teaching style. She’s been teaching vinyasa yoga in Toronto for over six years and her background is in ashtanga, iyengar, restorative and pre and postnatal – this mama knows. Her approach is welcoming and approachable but very educational at the same time, which is a nice mix because I know I was soaking up literally everything she was saying about what our bodies go through during and after pregnancy but I didn’t feel like a dumb-ass for not knowing about it. This was actually my first specifically pre-natal fitness class and I could immediately tell the difference in the teaching methods and in the flow of the class, which I’ll get to later. Every movement Joana walked us through was catered to the eight of us and she explained why. She started with showing us how to massage our own feet in areas we need it most (arch of your foot gets crunchy because it represents your intestines that get super squished #reflexologyforthewin) and we focused mostly on hips and glutes because that’s the safest thing for all of us to challenge no matter what stage of pregnancy we’re in. Joana would demonstrate most exercises to start and then she would spend the rest of the time walking the room to adjust our form or the movements if people’s bumps were in the way. The entire class felt incredibly tailored, yet not easy. She still challenged us and found the fine balance of knowing when to push us further to maximize our strength and heart-rate but in a way that was completely safe.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Toronto Yoga Mamas contact info below.
Web: www.torontoyogamamas.com E-mail:email@example.com PHONE: 416.406.0116 Instagram | Facebook | Twitter