◊ THE CLASS: Made to Move ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Loose comfy clothing
(all other equipment is provided for you)
The best reason to go to Boomerang Pilates is to get personal, tailored and very technical training. Their program philosophy is based on exercising correctly and moving smartly, not just exercising to burn calories. Actually on the flip side, you may only burn about 100 cals in a class but you’ll learn all about your bod and what you’re doing to it. Every class is designed to teach you more about the human body and give you space to explore and understand your personal icky spots. You’ll focus on proper alignment and form, anatomy, and probably the most important element, they’ll teach you tools and methodologies that you can take into your everyday lives and everyday movement, at any age, no matter what your personal challenges (i.e. injuries, pre/postnatal, new to working out or getting back into it after time off, etc.). This isn’t a studio that will focus on instagram worthy poses or decor, but they will support you to live life with health, strength, balance and confidence. So, like, we’re on board.
Boomerang Pilates is located on the west end of Toronto in one of our fav neighbourhoods, Roncesvalles, right on Roncy Ave across from Lit Espresso and The Ace and just north of Wright Avenue. Although the location is great for West Enders, it’s a bit far for East Enders or anyone not living in the core, making it a definite westside focused studio. Now – the studio itself IS a tad tricky to find because it’s actually located inside the Roncesvalles United Church, with the entrance to the right of the main front doors just off the parking lot, you’ll see a few bright banners for Boomerang, Yoga Village and Zumba. Once inside the doors of the church, the adventure continues as you follow the signs up the stairs to the second floor, down the hall, around a corner where you’ll pass what looks like a re-done second part of the chapel, to finally arrive at two doors that house the Boomerang Pilates studio. There is no sign-in desk or obvious arrival that you’re in the right place, so keep your wits about you and just follow the signs (and probably other people who are regulars that look like they know where they’re going.) If getting to the studio by public transport; the 504 streetcar runs south along Roncesvalles Ave. from Queen Street, or north from Dundas West subway station and will drop you right in front. If driving, parking is only available on Roncesvalles Avenue, High Park Boulevard and Wright Avenue. Although there is a church parking lot, Boomerang isn’t allowed to use it. ☹
Boomerang Pilates has a very impressive class schedule, especially for how small the studio is and the fact that they operate out of one large room that’s split in two with a curtain. Way to make the most out of it, ladies. Classes are grouped into Alignment and Restorative, Whole Body Pilates, Traditional Pilates and Extras (which includes Ab|Rehab, Roll Restore and Refresh and more) with 14 types of classes in total. We took the Made to Move class which sits under the Alignment and Restorative banner and it was all about increasing body awareness to improve daily movement. They’re also very clear, especially on their website, on how to navigate choosing the best class for your needs, whether you’re brand spanking new to Pilates and movement, i.e. check the “For Beginners” section (Body Sculpt, Whole Body Pilates Level 1, Better Bones and Joints, Pilates Fundamentals, and Kripalu) or your looking for something more specialised like Feldenkrais®. What the what is Feldenkraldnaas – yes, us too. Boomerang is the only Toronto studio to offer this method, and Pilates and Restorative Exercise btw, and Wikipedia tells us Feldenkrais® “claims to reorganize connections between the brain and body, and to improve body movement and psychological state”. We’re into strategies to improve our phycological state soooo sign us up.
If you’re looking for straight-up OG Joseph Pilates Pilates, this is also the place for you. You’ll have to start out with the Pilates Fundamentals class before you move up to Power Pilates (which is where you would rock the Hundreds) or the three-month drop-in series Pilates: The Classics, and they also offer a spin-off of the JP method in the Level 1 and 2 Whole Body Pilates classes. Boomerang also has pre-registered classes like Walking Well, which ACTUALLY teaches you how to walk properly – who knew that was something you were messing up? The class even comes with homework, lasts six weeks and you’ll get outside if weather permits. I know it sounds like something offered at an old-folks home but it’s actually filled with a very diverse crowd – and PS who doesn’t want their very own wisdom filled Tran (a la Nick Miller in New Girl) to air out your latest work woes and relationship drams?! And finally, Boomerang is great if you’re looking for private instruction. You can work directly with the owner, Alison, for one hour uber customized classes, or you can work with one of the advanced instructors in a private or semi-private, two-person class. This is a great option if you know you need lots of attention (and not just the only-child kind of special attention) but the recovering-from-an-injury or training-for-the-Olympics kind of special attention. Oh, and just one more little thing – Boomerang also has workshops, teacher training, and wellness services (RMT, holistic nutrition, and balance/touch therapy) in this tiny space – NBD.
Class prices are super reasonable for TO, with a $20 drop-in and passes that decrease prices to $18 per class. A monthly membership makes sense if attending more than twice a week, but if not, class passes are the best bang for your buck. You can sign-up online beforehand to reserve your spot, but the classes are typically quite small so it’s not a huge stress to do so. This is not the kind of place you’ll get turned away if you’re five minutes late or the class is too full. Nahmean.
- Drop-in: $20
- First Week Unlimited Mat: $40
- 10 Class Pass: $180 ($18 per class)
- Unlimited Monthly Pass: $190
- Private instruction, per person: $75-$85 (per hour)
- Semi-private (duet), per person: $45-$55 (per hour)
Private Instruction with the Owner, Alison:
- Single Session: $110
- 5 Sessions: $525 ($105 per session)
- 10 Sessions: $1000 ($100 per session)
The design aesthetic of Boomerang Pilates is very different than the studios we typically frequent that are a bit glam, super put together and usually have elements of interior design that draw us in. We knew beforehand though, that wasn’t what Boomerang would be. Knowing that it’s based in a church, and having grown up in a ballet studio that moved to a church’s facilities, we had a preconceived idea as to what the vibe would be – down-to-earth, about the movement and the class above all else, and old. One thing that did impress/surprise us was how many other local fitness jimmy jams were happening in the same church, like Zumba classes and Yoga Village, so there was an undeniable sense of community energy (that sounds *eye roll*, but is actually the best way to describe it). But we’ll be clear, there are no flashy facilities – no showers, lockers, or toiletries provided, two communal washrooms are your change room options (that actually have a toilet and urinal in one room) and the coat rack/shoe area consists of a rolling rack outside the main doors of Boomerang’s room. But again, you’re not going here for the gram. Well, if you are, the best aesthetic game is the chapel itself. As for the studio space, the one room is separated by a curtain with two Reformer Pilates machines set-up on one side, and the open larger studio on the other. All equipment is provided at no extra cost, which is nice, and the room is scattered with said equipment, rando body alignment tools like a full skeleton and other human structural references, a fireplace, and Dr.Suesse-esk feather pot décor things (see photo) to add a little spice. With alignment being their primary focus, the rooms are lined with mirrors in the large studio to keep you in check and considering there are no lockers, people just leave their belongings against the back wall.
The down-to-earth décor is reflective of the same attitude and vibe of the teachers and students that go to Boomerang. Our class only consisted of five students in total, so a very private feel, and the crowd was a bit older ranging from 30-60+. All other students were regulars though, and attend classes multiple times a week and it was obvious by how Petra knew every students limitations or areas they were working on. Above all else though, the vibe oozing out of the teachers is education education education. We’ll get into it more in the Instructor and Level of Difficulty sections, but this is definitely the place to come if you genuinely need to work on your form, want to learn more about how the human body works, or learn how to exercise effectively.
AMENITIES & EXTRAS
- Two unisex shared washrooms
- All equipment provided at no charge
- Holistic wellness services
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
I would definitely categorize this class as Hella Chill and give a halfer pineapple based on the fact that the class is described as a fun and challenging class. Fun – sure, challenging – not so much. The Made to Move class is designed to lengthen & strengthen your muscles, increase your body awareness, improve your daily movement habits, and learn to walk, squat and hang-out safely and with ease. We did learn some great tips on how to improve our daily movement habits and we spent a lot of time gaining a better understanding of the areas to improve our personal alignment, which was nice, since we don’t often take the time to focus on those things in a workout class. The class utilized a number of props such as a mat, half foam roller, and chair for balance and slow moving stretches and we predominantly focused on our hips. Petra created a class specifically centered around our hips because we spend so much time in a seated position that the residual effects to our alignment, posture and strength are usually not great. The class didn’t require a typical “warm-up” as all movements were quite slow, methodical, and focused on precise alignment so we just dove into various poses that Petra guided us through for the hour. One of the best things I took away, is Petra taught us how to test for tightness in our psoas muscles where we lied on our backs and felt if our hands could fit easily or with just a small amount of space underneath our mid-back and ribs. If they could fit no problem, the curve of our spine was too much and we needed to work on a psoas release, which we did all class and then came back to it at the end to see if we had an impact. Guess what?! It totally did! At the beginning, my back was arched like a friggin bridge pose and by the end my psoas had clearly significantly chilled out with my hands fitting in snuggly. We also spent time focusing on our feet (on the half foam rollers), our hip alignment in forward fold balances similar to warrior 3 but with a chair to balance, and loosening our abductor muscles in stretches on the floor. This was a great class for those recovering from injury, for me in my prenatal-large-belly state, or for those that are just trying to implement more movement and exercise into their daily lives.
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Boomerang’s contact info below.
Web: www.boomerangpilates.ca E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org PHONE: 416.993.2811 Instagram | Facebook | Twitter