Shala Ashtanga Yoga Centre is the first review we've ever done of a traditional Ashtanga yoga studio and a Mysore style class at that (where students practice independently at their own pace). And know this - as soon as we knew we were doing a Mysore style we were like...uhhhhhh. Even though I've been practising for over 15 years and Sydney and I go to a squillion yoga classes, we were still very intimidated. BUT - turns out there's no need to fret. We'll explain why going to a Mysore class as a beginner to Ashtanga might actually be the greatest thing ever and why this hidden sanctuary in the middle of downtown Edmonton is one of the greatest places to learn.
MINDSET Brain Gym is one of Toronto's newest types of gym, one that focuses solely on the brain. Even though meditation and mindfulness studios are having a major moment, the concept they've brought to life is like nothing else in the city with state-of-the-art meditation rooms and the latest meditation technology set in a modern and futuristic environment. They've created a still space in a nonstop city, giving people an opportunity to focus on mental fitness instead of just physical fitness.
Rumble Boxing in Calgary is one of the new age, next gen boxing studios that we're seeing now. Gone are the days of the dirty, hardcore boxing clubs that may give you tendinitis and a black eye - enter the boutique boxing studio that opens the underground boxing ring up to the masses. Rumble does it well by still owning a level of hardcore with a killer workout, but serving it up in a pretty package with covetable boxing gloves, amenities galore, and in a beautiful setting. Rumble is creating a space where anyone can lace up their proverbial boxing boots and learn how to throw a right hook/undercut/cross jab combo in a well-paced, club-like, safe environment - and not have to worry about their neibs ruining their face for their Tinder date. Winning.
Studio Lagree is, like, a big deal. Any fitness studio regular has heard of or (more likely) been to and subsequently become obsessed with, Lagree. The workout is a hybrid of HITT and pilates, with the entire class done on an oversized megareformer pilates machine. Despite the fact this is a Pilates studio, the vibe is hardcore and the sweat is real. The class focuses on toning and lengthening your muscles to build a lean physique and don't be surprised that, even with the lack of cardio and high intensity, how tough that road is. The class killed us, and there's no doubt you'll feel a burn you didn't think Pilates could dish up.
With the enormous schedule, membership flexibility, and a massive roster of some of the most influential and popular yoga instructors in the city, this yoga brand is a must visit that we'll visit again and again.
Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre is the type of yoga studios that focuses more on their community than, say, growing their presence on instagram - that's not the type of thing they care about. This giant studio in Toronto's west end has one of the most diverse yoga schedules we've seen and a cutting edge co-designed meditation space that's worth getting into meditation to try it. There's a true sense of calmness resonating through this studio and we walked away feeling like we should talk a little slower, say hi to a stranger, and look up at the sky instead of down at our phones. Om to that.
Bang Fitness is like no other gym in Toronto. They've been here long before the boutique fitness trend really took hold and based on their fiercely loyal members and unique service offering, they'll be here for many moons after. This full service membership gym is best known for creating programs that are custom-tailored to you and it's like getting a personal trainer that teaches you how to stand on your own two feet, so to speak. We went back multiple times to get a truer sense of the gym, as it's not just about a one-time sweat session to see how many calories you burned or how sore you are the next day. Bang Fitness is a commitment and they're about longevity, education, and teaching you how to build practices into your life so you can be - their words - SAF*.
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 space itself is premium and vibrant, 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.
Coming up on their two year anniversary, MOVE fitness club stands out from other Toronto boutique gyms in a big way. This beautiful group and personal training gym is created for women exclusively and they've thought of everything that women want. Smoothie bar, nutritionist services, child minding, high-end products, sauna, plus way more all in a non-judgey and ACTUALLY supportive environment?! YAS please!
Pop Physique hails from the capital city of beautiful bodies (LA) and you can tell they know what they're doing. This luxe, femme fatal, flawlessly marketed barre studio, expanded across the States quickly after first opening in LA, and finally up to Canada where they opened in Toronto's midtown last year. We're reviewing two classes, Pop Yoga and their signature Pop Physique, which is a ballet-barre based workout heavily focused on 'tucking', 'pulsing' and 'scooping' to hone in on very precise muscles. This class is less aerobic than some other Barre classes we've taken like as Barre3 or Barre Body Studio, but if you follow instructions, keep your form in check and challenge yourself, you'll feel the burn the next day in teeny tiny muscles you didn't even know you have.