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Fitness Clubs

Downward Dog Yoga Studio

Posted by Staff / Posted on March 1, 2011

Downward Dog TorontoMy experience with Downward Dog began with a Level 1 class, led by studio co-owner and 30-year yoga veteran, Diane Bruni. I mistakenly overestimated my abilities - "Level 1" does not mean "easy", and while I'm not really a beginner anymore, the Level 1 class was amply challenging, delving into handstands and poses that were out of my league. For newbies, Downward Dog offers Intro and Prep classes - a good place to start if, like me, you're unsure of your level. Which, by the way, was not 1. The Queen Street and Beaches locations offer a mix of traditional Ashtanga and fun classes like Jock Yoga and Yoga Jam.

Discussion

18 Comments

JJ / March 1, 2011 at 11:58 pm
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Best yoga studio I've ever been to by far. The instructors were all wonderful, the studio was beautiful, such a nice escape from the chaos of Queen Street below, and the classes were a challenge, but always worth it at the end! I was a little intimidated when I first began, being a newbie and all, but I learned a lot from their Prep Classes and was soon confident enough to move into Level 1.

I no longer live in Toronto and it is definitely one of the things I miss the most. Downward Dog gets two thumbs up from me! I think they even offer a free class once a week!
Daze / November 16, 2011 at 06:33 pm
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Having recently moved into the West Queen West area, I was very excited to discover that the Downward Dog Yoga Studio was just up the street from me, as I had heard great things about it, plus it looked so great from the outside looking in.

After perusing through their schedule online, I decided to pay them a visit with the intent of purchasing a week pass from them. Unfortunately to my dismay, my first experience at this studio definitely left much to be desired. The first contact with any business starts with the receptionist, and the lady I spoke to was, for the lack of a better word, presumptuous. Upon stepping into the studio, I was immediately thrown a registration form to fill out without even being asked whether I wanted to register. My first thought to this was "this is a yoga studio, not the emerg ward..what's the hurry?"

In overlooking her gesture as mere protocol, I tried to inquire about what the process was for obtaining the week pass that they had advertised on their website. Her response was vague and non-committal. Then I asked her for a copy of the class schedule, and as she was handing it to me with the knowledge that I had frequented the studio's website before visiting, she said "the schedule is also available online".

I'm sure you know where I am going with this. Although my review is not about the quality of teaching at Downward Dog, which I'm sure is good from what I've heard, but the customer service at this studio disappointed me.
Sooks / March 12, 2013 at 01:07 pm
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Hi I had the same issue with you Daze about 3 years ago, I never went back, it's amazing almost word for word. I did attend one class, and was amazed how the instructor went up to me right away asking if I was a beginner. I'm a size 12, but that doesn't mean I can't do yoga. They didn't even know the meaning of the word I think.....I'm East Indian and I was pretty taken a back. This place is for rich yuppies I think, unles it's changed.....which I hope it is! Very unfortunate, but like I said I haven't gone back in 3 years. Yoga Sanctuary, Kula and Moksha are pretty good.
Great location, but... / January 19, 2014 at 08:26 pm
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DWD is known to be the pioneers of yoga here in TO, but I don't know if I'd recommend this studio to anyone other than a master yogi. The classes are challenging, which is a good thing, but the room is uncomfortably hot, like can't breathe-or-think straight-hot because it smells like a dirty sweat room.

It's obvious the instructors are experts at their craft, however many of them are arrogant and patronizing (Sheldon and Kathryn, please try to be more accommodating and welcoming).

On a good note, I found the customer service/front desk staff to be friendly - always responded to my emails and phone inquires.
tracy / January 24, 2014 at 05:23 pm
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What sets this studio apart from the rest are there world-renowned teachers and range of workshops to cater to any yogi looking to deepen their practice. I highly recommend the hand balancing workshop - it's a refreshing approach to arm balances and developing upper body/wrist strength!

Worth noting: I find the classes can get extremely stuffy, which makes the practice a bit uncomfortable for me - I just wish the starting room temp weren't so high!
Josh / January 31, 2014 at 03:57 pm
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I love going to classes at Downward Dog!
Before I began any of the weekly classes, I decided to attend the Yoga Basics Workshop to get a firm grasp of the poses and body positioning needed to practice properly. After completing the workshop, I went straight into Level 1 and was able to keep up quite well.
It becomes apparent within a few minutes of the class that each teacher has a deep understanding of the practice and that you are in good hands. I would recommend attending different classes with different teachers to figure out which one, or more, mesh with your own personal practice and yoga goals.
Overall, I love the studio and the teachers I have encountered. I will keep practicing here as long as I'm in Toronto
Joanne / February 7, 2014 at 02:52 pm
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Reading through some of these reviews. Sure DWD is not perfect but which studio is. At the end of the day, the classes are taught by down to earth and "real" instructors who are incredibly skilled as well. They challenge us. I've also noticed that they all have this common kindness to them. I walk away from each class feeling lighter -- physically and figuratively -- and that the experience has somehow made me a better person. Almost as if the slate has been wiped clean and I have a chance at a fresh start.
Angela / February 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm
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I've been working two jobs for about a year and a half and have been going to Downward Dog when I can for a little longer than that. As a yoga instructor myself, this is the studio I go to to LEARN..the teachers are next level. Joy's adjustments are amazing. The practices and flows of Sheldon, Cecily, and Amica are creative, challenging, and deep. Ron is the man...period. Grace is one of the best people and teachers you will ever come across. While most of the classes I've been to are more advanced, I've also taken Jennifer's prep classes because there's no one better to get back to basics with. Josh's restorative/meditation classes bring me back from my long weeks immersed in science and yoga and get me ready to start another. This place is for everyone.
S Smith / February 9, 2014 at 11:06 am
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DWD is my home studio. It consistently challenges and inspires me to be a better teacher. The only complaint I have is the arrogance and feeling of being unsafe I experience in Sheldon's classes. All the teachers are extremely knowledgeable and the studio always feels welcoming.
G Tanner / February 10, 2014 at 09:07 am
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I've been going to Downward Dog for over 5 years now and it is consistently great.

As others have mentioned, all of the teachers at this studio are dedicated experts at their craft. I always leave classes at Downward Dog with a better understanding of yoga & anatomy, and I always leave feeling better than when I walked in.

I did the Teacher Training program which I would also recommend - it is well structured, well rounded, and involves a variety of Downward Dog's awesome teachers which opens you up to different teaching styles.

As a few people have mentioned, it's a good idea to try a few different classes to figure out which one works for you. From Josh's restorative classes & Jen's Gentle Flow Class to the Level 2/3 Yoga Jam classes there is truly something for everyone. This is where yoga teachers come to learn yoga.

Rebecca / February 16, 2014 at 11:24 pm
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I have been practicing at DWD for many years now. The teachers here are knowledgeable and well-trained. Students will find a variety of classes ranging from beginners and advanced.
Its unpretentious and authentic atmosphere, however, are what keep me coming back.
Ali / February 21, 2014 at 11:51 am
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I have practiced on and off at Downward Dog for several years. Their teachers have decades of experience and have low turnover. They are a safe and trustworthy place to learn how to do yoga. THey offer classes for varying levels from newbies to experienced yogis. The studio has a cool, earthy vibe and the teachers are laid back and you leave feeling calm and centered.
Alison Smyth / February 23, 2014 at 03:56 pm
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Downward Dog is a phenomenal experience everytime. Because of the knowledge and experiences that happen through Downward Dog, my practice has expanded beyond asana to entire lifestyle and mindset. I plan to take their teaching training course this year. :)
Cesar / March 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm
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This studio provides an excellent space coupled with superb instruction. It allows one to feel safe, free from criticism and harassment. Downward Dog's relaxed environment made me feel like part of the family-like community. I recommend it highly.
e. / March 8, 2014 at 11:12 am
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I was first introduced to the Downward Dog studio by a friend who specializes in sports medicine. Up until then, I'd gone infrequently to various yoga classes across the GTA in gyms & fitness centres. In all my experience, I have not yet found another yoga centre or class that consistently offers the challenge & complete workout I get in attending a DWD class. I have tried bikram hot yoga, hatha, moshka...DWD's ashtanga practice offers a more vigorous flow but there is also the restorative classes for those looking for relaxation rather than a overall workout.
Richard / March 8, 2014 at 11:19 am
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My wife has been going here for years and after my first experience I understand why. The instructor was very attentive, not only correcting my form on a few occasions but after noticing a scar I have from a new injury she showed me an alternate way to do a pose to lessen the strain on the joint.
I had a wonderful first experience and will definitely be attending classes here on a more regular basis.
Lisa / May 16, 2014 at 02:55 pm
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At Downward Dog Yoga Centre you are guaranteed a teacher with a strong background in yoga and teaching. One may assume this at any yoga studio where customers pay hard-earned money to attend a class. As a long-time yogi in Toronto, experimenting with different studios about town, it is more than often not the case. This is why, year after year I return to classes at Downward Dog. The majority of teachers have a level of quality you will find hard to equal elsewhere. Put aside your feelings about desk service, or change rooms or other irritants you may think of when deciding where to practice. Think of what really matters as a student, and what you will benefit to gain from a deep, thoughtful, strong practice that can be found at Downward Dog.
Julie D / June 15, 2014 at 05:25 pm
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My experience with a downward dog yoga was excellent. I moved out of the area and am disappointed that I do not get to frequent the studio as often as I would like. I have tried so many studios all over Toronto and the GTA as I have been doing yoga for over 10 years. The quality of teachers and the classes is top notch. I agree I also go to this studio to learn.
Anyone can nitpick about the tiny details about a studio that they like or don't like, but overall the studio is aesthetically beautiful and a very spiritual uplifting place

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