Yogaspace, YYZ | 3

◊ THE CLASS: Prenatal Yoga ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE
 Fit-City Logo (4)

WHAT YOU NEED

Water Bottle

Mat (rentable for $2)

Nothing too valuable (no lockers)

OVERALL REVIEW

Yogaspace is the last studio review in my prenatal journey, since I popped a few weeks later (eeep!), and I’m so happy I was able to squeeze it in considering this is one of the oldest yoga studios in Toronto, and THE oldest pre and postnatal program in Toronto – perdy cool. They’ve been in biz for over 20 years and they’re also known for being a hub for teacher training with a 200 and 300 hour Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher Training School. Earning a full pineapple for being easily located in Ossington, our fav, and for their class schedule and price with over 60 drop-in classes per week and the lowest drop-in rate for yoga classes in the city (that we’ve seen so far) at $20. They also offer yoga retreats in cool-ass places like Italy, Greece, Portugal, Costa Rica and Mexico that are often sold out. Next up for 2019 is Goa, India which is one of my faaaaaavorite places so I heart that. There was a lil bit left to be desired in the crammed spaces, lack of lockers and hour and a half prenatal class that landed somewhere between a restorative class and a flow class but without really letting us get our groove in either.  Plus, that meant we (and the rest of our class) had to pee at least once bc bladders are hella squished when pregnant and an hour and a half is equivalent to 465 hours non-pregnant. It’s science. 

1 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

148 Ossington Avenue, Toronto

Yogaspace is located in the heart of Toronto’s Ossington coolness, right on Ossington Avenue across from Ossington Chiropractic and Rehabilitation (which gives us life on a weekly basis PS) and just north of Belwoods Brewery. There’s quite a little hub of fitness studios in this two block radius with Academy of Lions, Misfit (review here), Ride Cycle Club, and The Local at the lulu’s men’s store all within a one-minute walk of eachother. Getting here is relatively easy, even if you’re not a West Ender, with it being a five-minute walk from Queen Street West and plenty of TTC options along Ossington Ave. and Queen West. For bikers, there’s tons of bicycle ring stands along Ossington, particularly in front of Yogaspace, and if driving, there’s free parking on Foxley, Halton, Argyle and Givens Street’s, all minutes away from Yogaspace. If really stuck for parking, like on the weekend when this place is jammed, there’s a self-pay parking lot one block north of YS on the south side of Dundas, east of Ossington. Two-hour paid parking is also available on both sides of Ossington in front of the Centre. Considering all the convenience, we’re giving full fruits for location all DAY. 

1 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

Yogaspace has over 60 drop-in classes running every week with the majority of them focusing on yoga, but with a few snippets of non-namaste options. The yoga types range from the vigorous yang yoga styles like

There are usually about 10-12 classes per day at Yogaspace between the two studios, starting as early as 6:00am Monday-Friday and running as late as 8:30pm. Weekends are jammed with classes until 5:45pm on Saturday and 6:00pm on Sunday as well and we heart this, since there are tons of options no matter what you’re hectic sched. Class prices are great with a $20 drop-in which is in line with their Toronto friends at Pure Yoga and Octopus Garden, and if you’re watching your pennies they have a community class for a $5 donation every day that ranges from the 8:15am to 11:45am time slot. 

  • New Member 1 Month Pass: $49
  • Drop-in: $20
  • 5 Class Pass: $90 ($18 per class)
  • 10 Class Pass: $160 ($16 per class)
  • 1 Month Drop-in Class Pass: $165 ($22 per class)
  • Monthly Auto-Renew Membership: $129/mth
  • Students/Seniors/YTT Grads: $14
  • Community Class: $5
  • Monthly Auto-Renew Membership: $95

0.5 PINEAPPLE VIBE

The vibe at Yogaspace is interesting and you get the sense immediately that they’ve been there for a long time, have a committed community of regular yogis and aren’t too crazy fussed about making sure you have the lay of the land if you’re a newbie. When we arrived for our class, the main foyer quickly became clogged up with people checking-in as there isn’t a ton of space and the coat/shoe rack is past the sign-in desk so the flow stops at the front desk. The coat rack/shoe area isn’t overly large either, so there was a lot of bumping preggo bellies, which made for a fast way to make new friends! The flow continues into a small, dark, calming and quiet waiting area for the two studios on the main floor; Studio A which is large, bright and full of the beautiful old brick walls that the whole studio boasts, and Studio B which is smaller, darker and used for the hot yoga classes. In the basement, just off the waiting area, are the mens and womens change rooms which contain yoga mat storage, washrooms, two showers in the women’s change room and one in the men’s that apparently have great water pressure. There’s a small space to change in the change rooms but no lockers. Overall, we left wanting more out of this space and the vibe, as things felt really crammed, not overly friendly, and not super functional with nowhere to store our belongings. 

As for the crowd, there were 20 people in our prenatal class in Studio A and that still gave us enough room to feel comfortable and spread out, so the space is nice and large. The students were all female, obvi, but we did notice a handful of yogi men in the other classes. For our prenatal class, most women were in their second and third trimesters, some very fit and clearly regular yogi’s before being pregnant but many others that seemed new to it all together, so overall it’s very friendly no matter what your previous experience. 

AMENITIES & EXTRAS

  • Tea station
  • Filtered water 
  • 2 washrooms
  • Mat storage available for $5 per month or $50 annually
  • Yoga mat rental for $2
  • Towel rental for $2 (hand) or $3 (bath)
  • Wellness Centre
  • Retail boutique with yoga gear like mats, bolsters, straps and blocks from Half Moon, Manduka, and Samyoga (who have THA best eye pillows by the way)

0.5 PINEAPPLEINSTRUCTOR

Yogaspace is one of the longest-standing yoga studios in the six, having been in operation for over 20 years, since 1996 actually. For the first eight years, Yogaspace was located on an alley just off Bellwoods Avenue north of Queen Street, but they moved to the current location in Ossington in 2004, back when the hood was filled with Vietnamese Karaoke Bars. Kathryn Beet, the founder, saw Ossington as the new frontier – what an eye Kat, what an eye. Other fun fact, Kathryn founded Toronto’s first pre and postnatal yoga program in 1993 after 10 years of working as a doula. Yogaspace is also known for training new yoga instructors in the 200 and 300 Hour Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher Training School that’s been pumping out instructors for over 18 years – and the extensive wellness centre that offers services like thai yoga and foot massage, facial stretch therapy, acupuncture, osteotherapy, pelvic health physiotherapy, and infrared sauna, among other things. I actually went for a postnatal massage here with Kristen Emberley, and she was fantastic! She’s so knowledgeable about the pre and postnatal body, has a background as a paramedic, and she was great at explaining what she was noticing going on for my body. I would definitely recommend popping in for massage services. With over 35 yoga instructors on their roster and another 12 therapists as part of the wellness centre, it’s a very seasoned team as many of them have been with Yogaspace since the beginning or have graduated from the in-house training. 
 
Danielle (sub for Sasha)
 
Danielle was our instructor for the prenatal yoga class, substituting for Sasha Padron’s typical timeslot, and her teaching style was very calm and friendly. This was one of Danielle’s first classes back to teaching after having a child herself 10 months ago, so she was speaking from experience and mentioned how happy she was to be back into it. She spent most of the class demonstrating, and about 15% of the time doing hands-on adjustments which we love. One thing we noticed that confused a lot of people was that when she was demonstrating, Danielle faced the class and showed the same side rather than mirroring us, which made her opposite the class. Also, it’s quite typical, especially in slower yin based yoga classes, that the instructor provides guided mediation/what to focus on as you breathe through longer stretches and positions, however there wasn’t a lot of support in that area, which we could have really used. We can attest to the notoriously busy mental state of the third trimester mum, in particular, who’s coming down to the wire and has a V BUSY mind about what still needs to be done, the anxiety about labour, being a parent…whatever. Considering we come to yoga to try and calm those thoughts and focus inwards, and we’re in a prenatal class – we thought there was more opportunity to personalise that experience. There was a lot of  talk at the end of class in savasana however, but it was all about your mothers mother, and feeling the existence of a maternal lineage, which didn’t really resonate with myself or my girlfriend so much. To each their own, I suppose :). 

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

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

The prenatal yoga classes at Yogaspace are described as classes that will “prepare your mind and body for the most challenging work of your life. A flow of postures and breath work to support your pregnancy and prepare you for labour.” We’re rating the class as Hella Chill, but docking pineapple marks for landing somewhere in the middle between a restorative class and a flow class but not really enough of either that we could find our groove and get a ton out of it. The great news is, these classes are designed for students with any level of experience and it’s also safe for all stages of pregnancy. Also, the length of the class was interesting. An hour and a half pre-natal class is ambitious for preggo bladders considering you pee on the hour every hour, especially into your third trimester, so we were surprised to see that offered regularly on Sundays. Probably 75% of the class got up at least once to scury to the ladies room. There are other one hour prenatal yoga class options during the week. 

These kinds of soft yoga classes are what I fear the most with pre-natal classes, that they’re just watered down versions of a yoga class because there’s an assumption that you’re body just can’t do the same things. Which in some cases might be true, but in some cases it’s not and the choice should be up to the mum to adjust. It wasn’t very tailored to pre-natal either, only one reference to what people should do over 34 weeks, besides that there was no mention of how anyone might alter the positions for their pre-natal bodies depending on what they might be experiencing or what stages they’re in. Granted there were 20 people in the class and it may be difficult to cater to everyone, but there was very little education as to what our bodies need or what they’re going through. I was in my third trimester for the class and my girlfriend was in her first, which is a much more sensitive time and there was no mention of things to stay away from for her, just a general “listen to your body” guidance which isn’t necessarily the best advise if you’re new to working out while pregnant and don’t know what you don’t know.  The class moved through all three warrior positions, a few balances and a lot of floor and breath work, but we felt like we either wanted to hold the poses longer or work up more of a flow in our bodies but we were uncomfortably in the middle, the whole class. I could see it being an ok class for women towards the very end of their pregnancy who are not able to be very active, and a class predominantly focused on stretching and easy, short flows is all their bodies can handle – however if you’re more of an experienced yogi or fitness fanatic and looking for a class that will still challenge your preggo bod, this probably isn’t it. 

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see YogaSpace’s contact info below.

Web: www.yogaspace.net
E-mail: contact@yogaspace.net
PHONE: 416.516.9940
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