◊ WHO THIS IS FOR ◊
ABSOLUTELY EVERY DAMN PERSON
WHAT YOU NEED
Whatever you feel comfortable sitting or laying down in
In May 2019, +focus mindspace became the newest meditation and mindfulness studio to open in Toronto. Coming off the heels of The Quiet Co, Mindset Brain Gym, Good Space, and Hoame opening in the last year, they are living proof that there’s a shift happening in the industry towards people seeking out more opportunity for balance, to slow down, and to take their mental health as seriously as their physical health.
Located in Ossington, +focus mindspace is nestled on the second floor in a simple, no-fuss setting with local artwork decorating the walls. They offer mostly half hour meditation classes, competitive prices, and set themselves apart with community vibes, recovery and trauma focused classes, and promoting inclusiveness by having classes held in a circle and encouraging group sharing.
Like most things, the essence of the studio comes from the founder. Heather Cameron, a creative arts professional, executive coach, proud LGBTQ+ and mom of two, embraces both the hustle and the stillness of life fully. She told us “the heart of the recovery community that I have experienced is built on non-judgement, openness, compassion and a healthy dose of reflection and contemplation. I feel every human needs these things. Our beautiful teachers are here with the intention to hold this space for all students. It is why we are here in this space, for all of us, right now.”
Read on for the full article of +focus mindspace.
Located in the heart of one of Toronto’s raddest westside neighbs, +focus mindspace is the new kid on the block in Ossington. Only a two minute walk from Queen West they’re between Vietnamese resto Pho Tien Thanh and Ollie Quinn, and surrounded by some of the cities best restaurants, shops, and Bang Bang ice cream. Nuf’ said. There’s no wheelchair access, unfortunately, since you need to climb a steep flight of stairs to reach the studio on the second floor, but besides that, all thumbs way up for locale.
They have meditation classes, mindful movement, soundbaths. and recovery & trauma informed focused practices (LOVE this). Considering +focus mindspace is so new, they’re passionate about listening to the community and adding or removing classes based on what the peoples are asking for. Based on feedback already, they’ll be hosting a number of workshops and special events in the coming months, so stay tuned.
Almost all classes are half an hour, which makes mediation here both convenient and approachable. Currently the class schedule is quite light with 1-3 classes/day, with some weekly noon sessions, but most classes after 6pm. Weekends only have one class/day, but are an hour and are likely a sound bath or recovering focused class. See the full schedule here.
+focus mindpsace is right on the mark compared to the meditation competition in Toronto. Both Good Space and The Quiet Co. charge $22/class for half hour meditation classes and have a 5 class pack for $17.60/class, so +focus is same same. One standout though is the karma class on weekends (focus for recovery) which is a sliding scale of $5/$12/$22 per session, i.e. pay what you can. ICYMI, find out if its a karma class by clicking into the description of the class on their site here. Also, all equipment (blankets, mats, and cushions) are included in the price.
- $88/5 classes ($17.60 per)
- $40 unlimited classes for the first month
- $46 workshops
The studio is simple, the vibe approachable, and the art is local.
Through the door on the second floor, there’s a small reception desk (and quintessential neon sign) that opens up to a decently sized studio space with windows to one side, and stunning, purchasable art everywhere else. Art is a key component of +focus mindspace, with in-house curator Nadine Prada, bringing attention to local talent by filling the walls with the work of a different artist every month. Each piece is hung like an art gallery with a plaque stating the name of the piece, the inspiration, and the price. LOVE this. There’s a coat/boot area to the side, a washroom, and a small kitchen with filtered and bottled water (for sale).
For classes, the cushions and blankets (which are BYoga BYW and gorgeous) are set up in a circle so everyone is equal no matter what their experience with the practice. During our time here, the crowd was so refreshingly dynamic and diverse with 4 men in our class, 15 women, and ages ranging from 20’s-40’s. But the most exciting? Almost every person was either a “sporadic” or “baby” practitioner (read on – I explain), and it was so inspiring to see so many curious, open-minded souls seeking out meditation.
THE CLASS 🍍
Meditation W/ TALIB HUSSAIN
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
As to be expected, physically, this was a Hella Chill class. The most strenuous physical activity is deciding what meditation position to get into that minimises dead leg. The “reps” as Talib described them, is in the ability to recognise when a thought comes to your mind and you simply acknowledge it, perhaps label it if that’s a technique you’re working with, and then let it go and bring your attention back to your focus point (which might be your breath, a spot on the floor, your fingertips, etc.) And that work and “level of difficulty” can vary greatly from day to day, depending on what you have going on and how busy or full your mind is.
We started by going around the room giving our name and experience with mediation as “consistent”, “sporadic”, or “baby” (which is the best descriptor of a newbie to meditation I’ve ever heard, and it made the “babies” crack a proud chuckle). The majority of the room were babies or sporadic meditators, so Talib reminded us about some of the myths associated with meditation like there’s no such thing as being “bad at it” and that the goal is not to sit there and think about nothing.
Talib’s approach was so cathardic and his energy so warm and inclusive, he made even the most inward student feel comfortable speaking to everyone in the room. He stressed the importance of equality and that no matter what our experience with meditation, we are all the same. We all have a heart, a mind, thoughts, feelings, and can breathe, however we’re all uniquely different like in our iris’s and our finger prints, and that there is so much beauty in our differences. He reminded us that even if we don’t speak to anyone in a day, we still exchange energy with the person walking beside us on the street. And that by living in such a busy metropolis with energy surrounding us in constant vibration, it’s important to acknowledge the need to slow down and re-center.
We had soft music playing in the background and Talib left a good chunk of the half hour class in silence so we could focus on our practice. We wrapped the class by going around the room and each saying two words that described how we felt. Responses ranged from “roller coaster” to “random thoughts” to “sleepy”, “centered”, “euphoric” to “bouncy in thought”. I finished the class feeling so incredibly energised yet centered and calm. And although I only successfully did about 5 “reps”, I felt incredibly refreshed and like I’d had taken the half hour for myself, my mind, and my heart.
Tabs is a freelance brand and marketing professional, co-host of The After30 Podcast and creator of Fit-City Guide. You can find her in a fitness studio every week, chatting up the instructors and fellow class goers on their experience, and generally being a creep in the background taking photos of everything. When she isn’t writing for Fit-City Guide, Tab is chasing her toddler son, drinking bubbly (maybe even at the same time), and eating popcorn.