◊ WHO THIS IS FOR ◊
people who appreciate a biggie reference, a homey vibe, and authentic connections.
WHAT YOU NEED
Absolutely fkg nothing
Chi Junky is like no other yoga studio in Toronto. It’s a homey and inclusive studio in Toronto’s east end that successfully draws hipster millennials just as much as corporate big wigs because it oozes authenticity centred around a love for music. They’re “music forward” so every class is accompanied by a killer playlist that perfectly matches the vibe of the yoga style and every yoga class ends with an essential oil massage. They’ve created a full service spa-like ambiance across the two story “home” with complimentary yoga mats, towels & organic tea service so you literally just need to show up and they’ll take care of the rest. We tried two of their most popular classes, Restorative With Essential Oil Massage and Hip Hop Flow, and we were instant. fans.
Read on for the full article of Chi Junky
Chi Junky is located on the cutest little Toronto street in the east end neighbourhood of Leslieville. They’re literally surrounded by parks and charming quintessential Toronto Victorian homes and it might feel like your GPS has malfunctioned sending you down the back alley, but it’s correct, and it’s adorable. Just south of Queen Street East, they’re easy to get to on public transport, and parking is available, albeit limited with a few spots directly in front of the building, and on McGee and Queen Street.
Chi Junky predominantly offers yoga classes with 10 class styles regularly on the schedule. With everything from Hip Hop yoga (a class they’ve become very well known for) to Slow Flow, Slay & Stretch (great name), Pilates, and their signature Sweat Flow classes, they satisfy an extensive yoga appetite. Another cult classic is the Restorative with Essential Oil Massage class (more details below) which is exactly as heavenly as it sounds. But in fact, one of the things that stands out at Chi Junky is that EVERY class ends with a gentle essential oil massage in savasana. If you’re not into it, no worries. At the beginning of every class you’re given a cheeky card to indicate your willingness to participate. As a beginner, they encourage you to start with Hatha or Slow Flow classes (if you’re looking for movement) and build into the Sweat Flow classes that are definitely more challenging.
Events and workshops are a big part of Chi Junky with things like ELDOA workshops (the spine magician classes) Myofascial Recovery for Runners, and Momma/Poppa Bear & Babe Yoga classes. The Momma/Poppa classes are held at 11:15 on Wednesdays for care givers with 1 year olds, or younger, and are based on the Slow Flow class. BYOB&B (bring your own blanket & baby). Private yoga is also available upon request.
Classes start as early as 6:30am on Wednesdays and Fridays and go until as late as 8:30pm during the week. The weekend schedule is nicely padded with 5 classes on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00am-4:00pm, thanks for not closing by 11:00am on Saturday, guys. Drop-ins are welcome but proceed with caution, as the class you want might be sold out so they encourage sign up in advance specifically for evening classes. Be mindful that classes on the main floor studio only fit 12 people.
Chi Junky DOES accept ClassPass however all ClassPass reservations and cancellations are made through ClassPass as a third party booking system. Chi Junky can’t change or alter a ClassPass reservation and any issues regarding a ClassPass booking has to be addressed directly with them.
Prices are reasonable and perfectly in line with their yoga competition in Toronto at $22 per class for a drop-in. There are plenty of packages that bring down the cost per class so it’s absolutely worth considering buying in bulk. Highlight – Chi Junky offers 50 class packs that mean individual classes are only $14 per class. There are two membership option; one auto-renew that requires a 3 month commitment (and 2 month cancellation notice) and is cheaper at $150/month, and the one-month unlimited for $190. It makes more financial sense to take the membership route if you plan on attending class more than 3x/week. One of the best things they do though is allow the 10, 20 or 50 class passes to be shared with anyone you like. So good.
Note – they only accept Visa or Mastercard- with the exception of a few select Community Classes for $5 cash only. Check the schedule here to hunt those down.
- Drop-in: $22
- 5 Class Pass: $95 ($19 per class)
- 10 Class Pass: $180 ($18 per class)
- 20 Class Pass: $340 ($17 per class)
- 50 Class Pass: $700 ($14 per class)
- 1 Month Unlimited: $190
- Auto-Renew Unlimited: $150
The vibe, aesthetic, and energy at Chi Junky is like a comfortable and welcoming spa nestled into your home. They have gone to great lengths to ensure that everything is taken care of for you so you can literally show up with nothing but the clothes on your back and sink into complete relaxation. By having credit cards on file, you don’t even need your wallet, and every class is set up with yoga mats and any accompanying props needed for that class. There’s alkaline water and organic tea available and if you get sweaty in class, they have towels for you. That said, Chi Junky does not have showers, so plan accordingly if that’s a must for you.
The studio is in an old home that’s maintained the integrity of the original brick and wood features and they’ve added pops of musically inspired design details to make it feel modern and cool AF. The space includes four studios, three washrooms/change rooms, and three lounge/chill areas spread across 2 floors. The vibe is realness, with signs all over the studio indicating their punchy personality and saucy sense of humour. There’s no doubt the essence of the studio has come directly from the beautiful & generous founder Rachelle Wintzen who’s obsessed with gangster rap and sweaty flows. I mean, who isn’t?
There’s also a Wellness Centre within their walls that includes treatments in Reiki, Holistic Nutrition, Fascial Stretch Therapy, and Chiropractic. The wellness space is on the main floor by the tea station and appointments can be booked directly through their website here.
The great thing about the crowd at Chi Junky is although they’re unmistakably “cool” and drawing in the hipster millennial crowds, they’re also attracting a wide demographic of ages and experience because they’re such a neighbourhood studio. That said, they have created SUCH a special place that we know at-least a quarter of our Hip Hop class, for example, went out of their way to come to the studio. In our Restorative class we were surrounded by mostly women and ages ranging from late teens to 60+, and our totally full Hip Hop class had at least 5 men grooving through their Vinyasa, a similar age range to the other class, and almost all regulars and experienced yogis.
THE CLASSes 🍍
restorative With Essential oil Massage W/ jennifer polansky
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
First off – this heavenly class is an hour and 15 minutes and only held in the evenings at 7:30pm on Wednesdays. Secondly and as mentioned above, they set everything up for you. So let me just set that scene for you. You’ve just come from a long ass day at work (work being with the kids, at a coffee shop as a freelancer, or at a corporate job – they’re all work) and your tired AF, but you walk through those beautiful big steel doors at Chi Junky and drop your shoes, grab some tea and head upstairs to read some magazines and kick back amongst 5 pillows and watch the people stream in. Naturally, you’re already feeling more relaxed and that any stresses from your day are slipping away and you DO NOTHING. You just sit. Maybe say hey to a friend, or stare into space. And then at 7:20pm you saunter into the curtain drawn, dimly lit room that’s playing some lovely, catchy chill melody and you find your
nap station that’s pre-loaded with your yoga mat, bolsters, yoga blocks, blankets (yes, multiple), and an eye mask. Okaaaay.
The rest of the class moves through 10 poses, max, and EVERY SINGLE pose comes with an opportunity for a gentle massage from the instructor or the assistant with the use of therapeutic essential oils. You’ll likely fall asleep, you WILL feel relaxed, and you’ll give space to the much needed areas of your body that need some opening and letting go. *Good for everyBODY
HIP HOP SWEAT FLOW W/ RACHELLE WINTZEN
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
Ok lemme start by saying that I have been DYING to get to this class for a long ass time. I have been hard-pressed to find many studios in Toronto that offer Hip-Hop yoga classes, and after my time in Melbourne where I fell in love with this particularly unparalleled hip hop yoga studio (Yoga 213) in South Yarra, I have been searching ever since. So anyway, I finally made it. And it was everything I hoped for.
Before we even got in the room, Biggie was blasting and TuPac made an appearance and I found myself feeling instantly cooler and re-connected to my 1995 self. And she was fly. Just like the Restorative class, everything was set up for us. Although the class was full, our mats and yoga blocks were nicely spaced out and there was a comfortable distance between our neighbours. Rachelle asked the class if there was anything we wanted to focus on and with a fairly quiet reaction she read the room and immediately adapted the class to be more chill. Having said that, I’d still consider this a Hard class considering the number of vinyasa flows was aplenty, and there were many opportunities to up your game and turn your chaturangas into three legged ones, for example. The class moved through a standard flow with standing postures first, all the warriors, some balances and many sun salutations, and then we moved to the mat to bring our heart rates down. All in all, you’ll get sweaty, you’ll want to dance a little bit (although no one reaaallly did) and the class will end with an essential oil massage in savasana. *Parental advisory/explicit content warning.
Tabs is a freelance brand and marketing strategist, 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 (likely at the same time), and eating popcorn.