TO Yoga Mamas, YYZ | 5

◊ THE CLASS: Prenatal Yoga ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE
5 pineapples

WHAT YOU NEED

Absolutely nothing, just you and your bump (and comfy yoga clothes)

OVERALL REVIEW

I’ll dive right to it, I am MIGHTY impressed with Toronto Yoga Mamas, which is apparent given the fact that I’m rating it FIVE PINEAPPLES! what what. I half expected a bit of a cheeseball, women only, all-natural mummy vibe for no good reason other than that’s what ALOT of mum group things can be, but I was immediately steered straight when I experienced the chic, bright, and {cool} modern space. Feeling a tad insecure that it would be obvious I was new, I was immediately greeted with so much kindness as the reception staff gave me the run-down and personal tour of the whole damn place. Which is a lot because there’s a lot happening here. The nuts of it is, 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 – exhibit A). 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-hub of 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. Honestly.) The 40+ women who run this amazing facility have got your back, and your belly, ha. 5 pineapples all. the. WAY. 

 1 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

1402 Queen Street East, Eastside – Toronto

Toronto Yoga Mamas is tucked away off the main strip of Queen Street East in one of the most popular bits 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 here, there’s free street parking on Greenwood Ave and Vancouver Ave if you can snag it, or paid street parking on Queen. They even have stroller parking along the westside of the building past the entrance. They used to have a location in the westend as well, but it was closed down in January 2017 so they could focus on the flagship location in the east. 

1 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

Toronto Yoga Mamas specialises in yoga, Pilates and barre for expecting and postnatal mama’s – but that’s new. Barre is a new addition and it’s an awesome one because they’ve added both pre and postnatal barre classes this last December 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. All classes include Fertility Yoga (4 week series), Prenatal Yoga, Yoga Babies (between 4 weeks and crawling), Crawlers Yoga (for you and your bub when they start to crawl), Family Yoga (4 week series), Vinyasa Yoga (Candlelight, Flow, and Energising Flow), Pilates Babies (between 6 weeks and crawling), Barre, and Barre Babies (between 4 weeks and crawling). 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 gear), we think it’s well worth the extra pennies so we’re still giving full fruits. Also, if purchasing a monthly Mama Pass, per class rates drop to $13.50 if going a minimum of twice a week. Unlike many studios that have prenatal programs, it’s not necessary to lock-into a set term. You can just 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, this pass is only available to purchase in the months of May, August, and December and as of May 2018 the price increases by $100 to $699. 

  • 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, this is adorable and I should defs sign-up for it) to access 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 a major thing you need 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. 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 deserves the TLC.  You can book prenatal, postnatal, deep tissue and aromatherapy massages in 30, 45, 60, and 90 minute sessions – which can all be claimed through your health coverage by the way. There are five registered massage therapists to book with and we 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 (so fun). The treatment rooms are on the first floor behind the sign-in desk and the vibe blends in perfectly with the rest of the bright yet calming decor, PLUS 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 (which I should register for bc the huz has never changed a diaper, like EVER), 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. The cost was $55 per person and totally and completely well worth it. Everyone should do this course, including the grandpappies cuz things have changed since 1980. Did you even know its not called the Heimlich Maneuverer anymore?! Only word of caution is make sure you 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.

1 PINEAPPLE VIBE

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. When walking in the doors, there’s a sizeable shoe storage area/coat rack to your right and a chic lobby to your left. In the middle of the lobby is the sign-in desk that’s surrounded by their Mama Retail Boutique stacked with carefully curated feminine extras – everything from candles, to make-up bags, to scarves, cute mugs, books, you name it – you’ll want to buy it. Easy to drop a few bucks here. Past the main lobby is the Baby Boutique, which is an adoooooorable extension of the same beautifully curated selection of trendy products, and the entrance to their Wellness Centre which includes 4 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.  

AMENITIES

1 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR

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. 

Joana Peixoto

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. 

1 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

I’m rating the class Middle of The Roadsies but handing out full pineapples all the way.
Make_it_rain
I expected, based on the description of the class and the fact that I’m carrying some serious extra weight, that it would be a Middle of The Roader and, honestly, I’m getting to the size that a Way Hard class might either murder me or make me pop. Ain’t nobody got time wants that. But I did love love love that it still challenged certain muscles that I could work just as hard as I normally would (like glutes and quads).
To kick-off our eight person intimate yoga class, Joana went around the room asking how far along we were, our names and how we were feeling in our bodies. This might seem minor or oversharing for some but it actually was SOOOO lovely to immediately commiserate (probs wrong word?!) with women in the same stage, many of who were first time mummas also, that were feeling different elements of pregnancy. The best part was how incredibly supportive and connected everyone naturally became, nodding and laughing along, giving words of encouragement as total strangers. It was so lovely! After that, Joana got us moving into positions and sequences that were tailored to the needs of the eight of us. Some of us felt great, others needed some hip love, lower back love, or were just generally hurting everywhere so full-body movement was key. Throughout the class, we focused a lot on strengthening our lower body and pelvic floor and moving through modified flows – no up dogs for these beach balls. But we did do a lot of warrior poses, triangle, balances, and hip openers. Overall I was super impressed with how “real yoga” the class still felt, considering I was half expecting a super easy yoga flow that would focus on breathing and “connecting with our baby”, so I’m very happy to report that for the yogi’s that were yogi’s before belly, this was still the right amount of challenging. 
T

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Toronto Yoga Mamas contact info below.

Web: www.torontoyogamamas.com
E-mail:hello@torontoyogamamas.com
PHONE: 416.406.0116
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