◊ THE CLASS: Pure Power (Hot) & Pure Beats (Hot) ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Yoga mat (can be rented for $2)
Big towel for your mat (can be rented for $2)
Small towel for your sweat
Change of clothes, cuz you’ll b sweaty
Pure Yoga first caught our eye with their very cool, very inclusive company ethos. They want to share their passion for yoga with every body, shape, size, age, and status; employed, or between jobs, student, or retiree, single or divorcee, mother, father, grandparent – you get the idea. LOVE that. The studio itself is premium and vibrant, with concrete and rich colored walls, neon signs, tiny succulents and Moroccan rugs decorating the space. The team is funny and vivacious, and the hot yoga classes were challenging and actually FUN – which is not usually the first adjective I’d use to describe a yoga class. Whether your new to yoga, or a seasoned Gumby, it’s most definitely worth heading to Liberty Village to check them out.
They’re located in densely populated,
yuppy puppy central, Liberty Village, at the corner of Liberty Street and Fraser Ave, in the basement of a v unassuming building on a quiet street. Taking the streetcar is super easy with the #514 stopping at Dufferin Street (a 5 minute walk away) and there’s plenty of street parking and a parkade at nearby Lamport Stadium. Also, School is across the street from Pure, and if you don’t have the ‘Super Cheesy Bacon French Toast’ after class, you’ve missed the point of going to hot yoga.
Pure Yoga is a hot yoga studio first and foremost. The class schedule is one of our favs even still, bc they have an impressive variety of over ten styles and they always seem to pepper in something extra and fun (ex. Candlelight Flow & Live Music Yin). All classes are considered doable for beginners, however the majority of the classes play on the Yang side of the yoga coin and are designed to be more vigorous and faster paced. We’ve taken Pure Power and Pure Beats which are two of them and also happen to be two of their most popular. Pure also offers a ton of covetable workshops and specialty classes that fill up fast because they’re so awesome. Think Save our Scruff where you first down dog and then mingle with adorable ones available for adoption, or Big Rock Brewery Yoga which is exactly what it sounds like – yoga in a brewery. They also have a fabulous online studio that gives you access to everything from five minute tutorials to 90 minute live classes that you can take anywhere (as long as you have a good wifi signal). Our review of that one here.
As for the schedule, it’s well laid out and super consistent with six classes during the workweek and four on the weekends. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday there’s an early bird 6:30am class, and the latest class is the Candlelit Flow at 9:00pm on Thursdays. Isn’t that just the loveliest damn way to ease into the weekend?
Prices are hella reasonable and some of the lowest we’ve seen in Toronto at $20 for a drop-in pre tax. You have to fork over an additional $2 each to rent mats or towels, so bring your own, if possible. The package deals are worth looking into like the 4 Month Pure Membership (that auto- renews) that gives a 30% discount from drop-in prices and works out to $7.50 per class if you went once a week. Woot. All up – full pineapples for this section hombre’s, they hit it out of the park.
- Intro Offer $40 for 1 month
- Drop-in: $20
- 5 Class Pass: $85 ($17 per class)
- 10 Class Pass: $160 ($16 per class)
- 4 Month Pure Membership: $120
- 4 Month Purest Membership w/Mat and Towel Service $135
- Unlimited Monthly Membership: $180
Once you walk through the basement door of 47 Fraser Avenue you’re smacked in the face with the vibrant decor that is Pure Yoga. The studio has a good flow to it, as you weave through the narrow hallway where you leave your outdoor footwear, it opens up to a spacious front lobby with plenty of space to chill, shop, and play with Lisa’s dog that will likely be milling about. The studio has two hot rooms that sit at 32-33ºC for most classes (which is less than a typical Bikram studio btw). The smaller studio off the main lobby contains a clean and organised mat storage unit that doubles as decor, which caught our attention bc most member mat storage options are a minimalists’ nightmare. The main studio is large with floor to cycling mirrors, basement windows that let in natural light, and newly renovated light grey cork floors. Outside the main studio is an overflow waiting area that’s constantly instagrammed, with the “Namaste Bitches” neon sign, Moroccan rugs from Design Republic, mini succulents scattered about, and a mix of modern crisp furniture and 70’s crochet plant hangers and a peacock wicker chair. The separate mens and womens simple change rooms are brightly coloured and contain washrooms, showers, hooks and storage for your things – but no lockers. There aren’t a TON of extras offered in the change rooms in terms of complimentary products and hair tools (a hair dryer is provided and shampoo, conditioner, and body wash) so bring your full toiletries bag.
The crowd at Pure, not surprisingly, reflects the Liberty Village tribe with both of our classes filled with young professionals between ~25-35 and not a grey hair in sight. It was a great mix of levels of experience though, with a number of men, some beginners, and a bunch of seasoned yogis.
- Mens and womens change rooms, washrooms and showers
- Mats and towels for rent ($2 each) or $15 per month fee added to a membership.
- Mat storage available for members and they’ll clean them and look after them for you after class (v considerate)
- Filtered water
- Water dish for dogs (adorable)
- Retail boutique including new local natural skincare brans wildcraft, Brunette The Label, and S’well bottles, amongst much more.
TEAM & INSTRUCTOR
Pure Yoga began in Ottawa by co-founders Amber Stratton and Jen Dalgleish, who have grown the brand to three studios in Centretown, Downtown, and Westboro and three Pure Kitchen locations in Ottawa (watch this space, Toronto). Pure Yoga came to Toronto in December of 2016 by Amber and Jen’s friend, Lisa Walker, while chatting over a few glasses of wine about what was missing in Liberty Village. Lisa was a chef in her previous life but fell in-love with yoga after finding Moksha (and casually attending 7 days straight the first time she ever tried yoga, NBD). Lisa has now built a team in Toronto of over 12 staff that include some of Toronto’s most well known yoga instructors like Jaffer Hussain and power couple, Jonathan and Queenie Phair.
Lisa happened to be our instructor for both the Pure Power and Pure Beats classes. Her teaching style is totally real, funny and approachable, and she makes everyone around her feel welcome in her studio. You’ll find Lisa speaks through most of her classes, giving verbal queues and spending the majority of her time walking the room and providing hands-on adjustments rather than demonstrating postures. So her classes tend to be more ideal for seasoned yogis that understand the language. She’s punctual and starts her classes right on time (points) and her experience is evident in how seamlessly she guides you through convoluted postures and connected transitions so you’re never not moving. For both classes she maintained a good pace that wasn’t too fast, but was consistent and challenging. Most appreciated tho, is she keeps things light and reminds you that yoga is fun, even in the hard times. Hard times specifically meaning 108 push-ups in Pure Power. Dying.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
This class is done in 25-30ºC heat and is a dynamic and energetic class, designed to help build strength, flexibility and concentration. And, hombres, this is a sweaty one.
The class started out like many others, with a warm up to waken the body, an opportunity to set intentions and a short introduction of basic poses for the newbies in the room (who didn’t know what they were in for). Five minutes in, the easy part was over and it was time to work. The class was full of sun salutations. So much so that Lisa decided it would be a fun surprise to smatter 12 push-ups into every sun salutation. Hence, the 108 pushups we complained about earlier, and hence us not being able to lift our arms post class. Each sequence built on the last, and we had the opportunity to try more advanced balances like side crow and birds of paradise. Lisa spent most of the class tweaking our form and helping students get into positions they were working on, so it was definitely a class geared towards experienced yogis. Overall, there was a strong focus on advancing your personal practice and pushing to your edge so it ended up being v challenging (Hard) and earning a full fruit from us.
This class is set to music, obviously, and the vibes are awwwwweesome. Designed to challenge you in the 25-30ºC heat but allow you to loose yourself in the wide range of music and let go, this class is ideal for the familiar yogi wanting to improve their form. Lisa didn’t have a mat set up at the front of the room, which says a lot in terms of the number of regulars that frequent this class, so people knew to line up their mats with the little Pure Yoga mat stickers right up to the front mirrors.
Right on time, Lisa started the music and asked us to get into child pose. She led us through a few stretches as we got accustomed to the heat and then introduced herself and and let everyone know what they were in for. Before going too far into it, Lisa talked through a proper cobra (i.e. NOT pushing with your arms to lazily show off your bendy back but actually engaging your lower body) and she was great about explaining that a proper chaturanga required you to move into upward dog only half way through the push-up. We moved into crescent lunges to stretch out dem hips, exalted warrior, and chair pose. Unlike many yoga classes, we didn’t build on each sun salutation and continue to do the same sequence – so it was never boring and you always had to pay attention to what she was asking you to do. We did each sequence once each side, and switched it up by adding twists to our crescent lunges, triangle, wild thing (which is one of my favs) , half moon, and walking our hands to our feet from a three legged dog, down to a standing split (Hard PS). We spent the majority of the class standing, and didn’t get to the ground until 10 minutes were left to do bridge, practice our crow poses or tripod, and do some ab work. We ended with a long-ass pigeon pose, a twist and the final savasanna, which Lisa encouraged us to stay for longer if we had the time and asked everyone to leave quietly. Which was hilarious bc it totally didn’t happen and about 15 people kicked their water bottles across the room. Close.
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Pure Yoga’s schedule here.
See ya next week, fineapples!