◊ THE CLASS: Still ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Dress in whatever your heart desires as long as it’s comfy enough to sit in for half an hour
That’s it – all other gear and chillness provided
Good Space is one of the newest studios to open in Toronto and they’ve entered the market with a calm, feminine and soft *bang* as they bring meditation to the mainstream. Being a yoga and meditation studio, there are only three classes offered; Move, Ease, and Still (meditation) which means meditation is getting more air time. There are definitely places to meditate in Toronto, many yoga studios for example, have a meditation class on their schedule, but none that have brought it to the forefront quite like Good Space is doing. Having opened in early April, this beautiful space is located in the heart of Parkdale in Toronto’s westend in a historical building that’s kept all the old brick and wood foundations but brought it into 2018 with perfectly placed plants in pastel planters (holy alliteration) and turkish towels mindfully scattered throughout the space. Yoga mats are provided for every class, which is a lovely touch, and they’ve rounded up a wonderful team of some of the city’s best meditation teachers. Our class with Gizem was interesting because it was L’s first meditation experience ever and it was my third so we’re both tooootal newbies. It’s so interesting to try and explain/review guided meditation classes because a) it is SUCH a personal experience but mostly b) because it’s hard as hell to try and remember what even happened during that half hour of mind wandering, breath focusing, quiet goodness. And finally, we’re pretty obsessed with their philosophy; “Life can be tough. Yoga and meditation can help you through it. Abundance will flow from a clear and attentive mind.” So there.
Good Space is located in Parkdale in the historic Radiator building on the southwest corner of Dufferin and Queen. Once going in the doors of Unit #106, you’ll see a sign for Good Space and it’s up a small set of stairs to the right. Easy access by public transport, the Queen 501 streetcar and Dufferin 29 bus go right by the studio and if driving, there are a handful of paid street parking spots in front of the studio on Dufferin. Otherwise Melbourne, Gwynne, and Elm Grove are good side street options. Bike parking is also available on Queen Street in front of the West End Food Co-op or, alternatively, the building has a bike rack located in the parking lot out back. This beautiful space can also be rented by the by, so email them directly to enquire (contact info below.)
Good Space offers three styles of classes; Move, Ease, and Still. Move, which is broken down into either Move Light or Move More, are most similar to traditional Vinyasa yoga classes, that move through strengthening sequences with an emphasis on the coordination of your breath to postures. The Ease class is a yin/restorative yoga style with postures being held up to five minutes for maximum chill and a deep stretch. And finally, the Still class (what we took) is solely focused on meditation. Always thirty minutes, these are guided meditation classes and are suitable for everyone from total meditation virgins to gurus. Although we totally appreciate that the style of guided meditation will vary from teacher to teacher and that this is also a very intentional simplified schedule, we kind of wish we saw a little bit more variety in the classes offered for meditation specifically, perhaps different lengths or different styles for example!? There is also a 45 minute Good Space Fundamentals class which is a combination of Move, Ease and Still with approximately 15 minutes to focus on each style. Instruction is a little more clearly and slowly outlined, making it an ideal class for beginners.
There are typically three to four classes offered per day from Monday to Friday and only one on Saturdays and Sundays (Move More and Move Light respectively). Although this is quite a limited class schedule right now, we’re sure that as they’re open for a few months and uncover the best times that suit their community, the schedule will expand, but until then be sure to sign-up ahead of time online. We were a little sad to see that the Still class isn’t offered every day since this is one of our favourite things about Good Space and what we believe sets it apart, however, we loved to see that they offer a pay-what-you-can Still class two-to-three times per week, geared towards those who want to dip their toes in the meditation pool for the first time and are hesitant to commit to a full drop-in price or membership. Finally, in addition to their core classes, Good Space hosts regular workshops, lectures, and events in the beautiful space that will always focus on mindful engagement and collective learning. Like this guy – every second Sunday of each month starting in June they’ll be hosting 2 hour Still Life Drawing classes with a model and materials provided. How amazing is that!?
As far as prices go, Good Space also has a simplified menu with a 10 class pack, drop-in, and two membership options. Prices are pretty in-line with competing yoga studios in the area, but the by-donation option gives them a leg up. There’s also a current intro offer for three weeks unlimited for $40.
- Single Class: $22
- 10 Class Pack: $170 ($17 pc)
- 10% discount for students and yoga teachers
- Light (up to 6 classes per month): $75 ($12.50 pc)
- Unlimited: $120
- 15% off merch and workshops for members
The vibe at Good Space is easily one of our favourite things about the studio, full fruits fer sure. The decor is everything we would want in a yoga and meditation space because it immediately evokes feelings of simplicity, serenity, and openness, no doubt by design. Walking into the open concept, bright space you’re greeted with a simple sign-in desk and a nook to the right for shoes, bags, and coats (no lockers here but there is always staff at the front desk during classes to watch everyone’s things or doors are locked). It then unfolds into a wide open room that acts as a lobby/hangout space containing washrooms, change rooms, and a wicked metal barn door. The space consists of one studio and it’s a beaut with it’s glass walls to one side, white brick walls to the other, and windows looking onto Dufferin the other way.
The crowd for our Still meditation class was a wonderful mix of all walks of life. Guys, gals, fresh faced teens, elegant grandma’s, and a number of denim clad hipsters sprinkled in there for good measure. It was so awesome. Standing out immediately was how everyone wore completely different garb, everything from jeans to yoga gear, to PJ’s to dresses – literally anything goes as long as you’re comfortable. Our class was full with about twenty people and we were comfortably spaced out.
- Two washrooms
- 3 changerooms
- Yoga mats provided for all classes
- Water is always available from the water dispenser; no water for sale here. Cups are not (yet!) available so bring your own water bottle.
- Mini retail space with candles, Gold Apothecary products like their steam facial (amazing), turkish towels and Good Space branded merch
Good Space was founded by Megan Alexander who had dreamed up the idea of this kind of studio and has been working tirelessly for over a year to make it a reality. Megan believes “we do our best when we feel our best” and she wanted to create a space that encourages mindfulness in all practices and aspects of life. She’s rallied up a team of nine instructors of yoga and meditation specialists, who also teach in other studios around the city. Many of whom teach more than one style of class at Good Space, but all of whom have a super cute bio on their website. 🙂
Gizem was our instructor for our first ever Still class and her smiley face and exotic accent make her hard to forget. She specialises in the Ease class but describes all of her classes as “centering, opening and connecting”. As are all classes at Good Space , Gizem led us through a guided meditation class, meaning she talked us through ways we could focus on our breath and body rather than our wandering thoughts. Her thick ___ accent, although gorgeous, was difficult to understand at times which had both of us feeling a bit lost and trying to make sense of her instructions rather than allowing the guided meditation to act as more passive and soothing background noise. She broke the class up into three chapters (which we’ll talk about later in the Level of Difficulty section) with each chapter bringing a different focus to our breath, but she also fell silent for a lot of the class, letting everyone focus on their practice in their own way. It was very interesting, because I have attended a few guided meditation classes before and, although no guided meditation is ever the same, I have been more guided than what Gizem offered us with so much silent time. I found that hard for me, personally, because my mind wandered like crazy (which is the whole thing with meditation) but in my experience the more constant verbal queues from the instructor brought my focus back to “meditating” more than with the abundant silent time. On the other hand, L, who has never tried a meditation class until this, found Gizem’s guided meditation more distracting than helpful and would have preferred even more silence.So it REALLY depends on your personal preferences, and all we can say about Gizem’s style is that she has a very calm and soothing voice, an open and sweet energy, a killer accent, and hangs out somewhere between full guided and totally quiet.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
We’re rating this class Hella Chill and a full pineapple but it’s VERY subjective as to how difficult you may or may not find meditation as a practice. So first off – what even IS meditation, really?! We are by NO means experts or have any kind of technical training in this field but we get that it’s about changing your relationship with thoughts and feelings. It’s about learning to view them with perspective and take time out of your crazy busy lives to sit in stillness for anywhere from one minute to however long you want (but in this case half an hour) to purposefully dedicate your attention to learning about those thoughts and feelings. It’s likely, and normal, for you to get distracted while you meditate, and half the journey is being able to acknowledge that with zero judgement and train your mind to come back to focusing on your body and your breath. We also learned there are many different styles of meditation – it seems like it’s one of those things that once you dive into it, you uncover an ocean of deeper meaning, knowledge and technique. So for our half hour class at Good Space, Gizem broke the class into three “chapters” which we thought was cute. Each chapter was about seven minutes and introduced a different way for us to focus on our breathing. For example, in chapter three we would count before each breath and go from one to ten and once hitting ten we would start again. If you lost track, you would start over at one. That’s IT, very simple, and after each chapter we would sit and see how/if we felt different in our bodies and our mind. We both finished with the sense that we could let anything roll off our backs in that moment and we wouldn’t have the instant need to react – which apparently is a common result and hella important for ALL HUMANS TO DO. Overall, we are officially hooked and have since crowd sourced the best apps so we can manipulate the free trial periods for the next year (when we can’t get to a class) so we can be in a perma state of, in the words of Good Space, it’s all good. 🙂
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Good Space’s contact info below:
Web: www.goodspacetoronto.ca Phone: 416.840.4262 E-mail:email@example.com Instagram | Facebook