◊ WHO THIS IS FOR ◊
the spiritual & the FREE-FLOWING seeking yoga therapy
WHAT YOU NEED
You can get away with bringing absolutely nothing besides comfy yoga gear
Laya Spa & Yoga peacocked it’s way into my line of sight with it’s vibrant moroccan pillows in the windows of the Spa on Queen West and their bright orange door leading to the yoga apartment next door. It’s truly a hidden gem that’s so damn charming and grounded you’ll feel like you’ve escaped in the city into a healing sanctuary of chillness. The friendly staff made me feel like we were taking a class in their actual apartment (which we kind-of were), so it’s not a studio that’s jacked with amenities because that’s not their vibe. You can find powerful Vinyasa Flows and Thai yoga, but where Laya really kills it is in their yin styles, like the Restorative classes, Aroma & Restore, Gong Meditation, and Womyn’s Circles. Truly one worth adding to the list.
Read on for the full article of Laya Spa & Yoga.
Laya Spa & Yoga is located on Queen Street West east of Ossington Avenue, before Shaw St. The spa part of Laya is at 984 Queen Street West and literally one door down is the bright orange door of 986 Queen Street West that leads to the yoga apartment. With it being nestled in the heart of Queen West, it’s easy access by public transit, walking or driving. Parking is the most difficult with side streets being your best bet, but that’s TO. Waddayagonnado.
Most commonly, you’ll find yoga classes at Laya that are focused on the therapeutic and traditional aspects of yoga. They sync their practices with beautiful melodies and sounds of calming music, live drumming, and sound baths that help students connect to their breath, and all group classes are suitable for all levels. They have Vinyasa classes and Easy Flow, but they stand out with their classes like Chakra Restore, Wild Woman Earth Medicine Circle, Yin, Ayurveda Yoga & Self Care, Spiral Healing, and Shakti Flow. One of the classes they’re most known for, partially because it’s been offered since 2012 when they started, is the blissfully wonderful Restorative classes. More to come later, but the infusion of Thai Massage, essential oils, and lying around on comfy bolsters is what we fantasise grown-up nap time should be.
One thing about the intimate and family-like vibe that exists at Laya is that no matter what class you try, the class will be very tailored to the needs of the students that day. No same same power flow found here. Worth noting – since the yoga apartment doesn’t actually process payment, its ideal to sign up through Mindbody prior to class or arrive early to prepay and sign a waver on the main spa side.
Laya’s pricing is super competitive in the Toronto yoga market. First of all, yoga mats can be borrowed for free, but since they have limited inventory it’s still a good plan to bring your own. All other equipment is included. Drop-in rates are $20 per class and go as low as $15 per if buying a 20 class pack. Memberships make sense if you attend class more than 3x/week. See below for full pricing structure!
- Single Class: $20
- 5 Class Pass: $80 ($16 pc)
- 10 Class Pass: $160 ($16 pc)
- 20 Class Pass: $300 ($15 pc)
- Monthly Unlimited Annual; $89/month
- Monthly Unlimited: $150/month
- Annual Unlimited: $999/yr
Laya Spa & Yoga DOES accept ClassPass. However all ClassPass reservations and cancellations are made through ClassPass as a third party booking system. Laya can’t change or alter a ClassPass reservation and any issues have to be addressed directly with ClassPass.
The atmosphere at Laya is very very homey and it truly feels like walking into a friends apartment and that friend is really knowledgeable about essential oils, meditation and succulent care. The bright orange door off Queen Street leads up a v narrow old-ass staircase, where you leave your shoes half-way before continuing the climb. 100 stairs later (maybe an exaggeration) you walk into the front room which has been converted to the main yoga studio that has bright open windows looking onto Queen West and a beautiful sexually accepting piece of art at the back #loveislove. Capacity of the studio comfortably hosts 10-12 people. The hallway leading to the back of the yoga apartment is lined with storage where you can find all the gear your yogi heart desires. Mats, pretty floral bolsters, smaller bolsters, bands, blankets, and yoga balls (like the two balls in a sac – I have seen NO ONE be able to describe them differently). There’s a washroom including shower (which would double as a change room), and two treatment rooms for overlow from the spa.
As far as the clientele that Laya typically sees, it’s often a very feminine tribe. During my chat with studio owner and director, Allessandra, one of her biggest goals for Laya is that they provide a welcoming and accepting place for all walks of life, and there are actually a LOT of male regulars that attend the spa, but Aless can’t deny the power of being a woman and she gravitates to providing female workshops and educational gatherings that often draw a more feminine audience.
THE CLASS 🍍
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
Vinyasa 1 is considered a slower paced level that “allows for a deeper connection to your body, moving with awareness and focus”, which is pretty damn accurate for what I experienced. Alisa guided us through a very smoothly structured flow that incorporated some balances, took a pit stop in all warriors and grounded us with sun salutations in between each sequence that we built upon. We moved to the ground for bridge poses and hip stretches at the end of class and ended in a blissful savasana. None of the class was a surprise and we didn’t do any positions that were new to us, so it was a very familiar and comfortable class.
The Restorative class was also what I expected in that we held each position for 4-5 minutes and utilised many many props to assist in our quest for maximum relaxation. With a smaller class size and only five of us in the room, Louisa was able to spend a considerable amount of time on each one of us. She would explain each position and in some cases show us how to set-up and she was very diligent about guiding us so that the positions worked best for each individual, resulting in the five of us often being in totally different versions of the pose. She would then rub essential oils on our temples, or hold it above our sinuses, or (what was absolutely my favorite part) she would give us mini Thai massages in EACH POSE and assist our stretches just a tiny bit further. Honestly, it was SOOOO GOOOOOOD. I’m feeling very nostalgic rn and would just like to time travel back to that exact moment in time. Le sigh.
And becasue we want you to experience Laya as well, we have a contest going on RIGHT NOW to win an 11 class pack! Use for yourself or gift for the holidays, just tell you what you prefer in when you win! Enter on this instagram post, Hurry hurry, contest closes at midnight tonight!
Tabs is a freelance brand 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.