The Best Yoga Studios in Toronto
The best yoga studios in Toronto are where many of us sweat some balance into our crazy workweek or regain some sanity when it's over. Toronto is actually a big, big yoga town, and many of its teachers are considered world-class.
Yoga is all around us - in the studios listed below, and many more, too. It's on Lake Ontario this summer, with paddleboard yoga class takers splashing and laughing all around. It's in your neighbour's backyard, where he's learning how to do a proper lunge from his partner while the BBQ heats up. And in your boardroom, where your boss has secretly taken on Ashtanga or Bikram to make sure his ticker goes on strong.
For those who have never taken a yoga class, read up and try out a class from the ones below. Most offer one-week unlimited access deals to first-time customers. You could even try all of them sequentially this way, practicing for a song for the next 3 months. I'll be very surprised if you stop once you're done.
Here are the best yoga studios in Toronto.
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Please note: Comments made up until July 10, 2012 reflect the previous list that was published on March 1st, 2011 (as well as the version of the list published prior to that). Top photo from Misfit Studio's Facebook page.
Octopus Garden is the manifestation of Scott Davis and Pat Harada Linfoot’s dream of building a community space for yoga, health and balance, and a community of yogis. The Centre has two spacious, sunny yoga studios and a therapeutic clinic offering massage, traditional Chinese medicine, osteopathy, ayurvedic care and private yoga consultations. Urban Herbivore's cafe at street level offers a place to nosh and hang out between sessions. Post-ashtanga classes are demanding but respectful of individual student needs, with a focus on remaining safe while honing one's edge. Restorative yoga, one of the studio's sweet spots, is available most every day. A great place to learn how to own your practice and to make new friends, whether you are a beginner or a yoga teacher elsewhere. More »
Kula, which stands for community, is a studio where you can both go to work on a strong practice, or find your strength when you need a soft place to land. This positive space offers anasura-inspired, power flow, prenatal, Baby and Me, yin, queer and brown girl classes. Teachers passionate about their personal practices come together to create community, growth, and serious fund of alignment knowledge. The Annex studio offers both classes heated to 28 degrees or and regular ones. The Reiki restorative class is bliss. More »
Downward Dog at the corner of Queen and Tecumseth has been seeding the world with awesome Ashtanga instructors for more than 15 years. This is, quite literally, one of the mother nodes for learning this discipline. Diane Bruni and Ron Reid understand bodies and how to tease them into flowing, hot vinyasa as few teachers do. For all the Ashtanga knowledge here, though, this is not a purist space. New strands of practice are constantly integrated, with regular visits by exciting instructors from around the world. Start with an intro class if you’re brand-new. If you’re experienced, don’t miss the Ujjayi Pulse classes with live drumming. More »
Having practiced yoga for over a decade now, there was a time where after a few years of all-out crazy love, disenchantment started pointing its ugly head. I’d hurt myself by being a keener and I doubted I’d ever enjoy doing yoga again. And then I landed at YogaSpace, where I found my mojo back. This studio exudes love. For long-term practice, self-discovery, the overall healing benefits of yoga, and its students. Not surprisingly, it was also one of the first to have a Therapeutics program and clinic. YogaSpace is well-known for its prenatal classes and prenatal yoga teacher training, as well as its restorative yoga classes. More »
889 is dedicated to offering a best-in-class yoga experience to its users, be they beginners or avid practitioners. This is perfectionism at its best, yoga-style. A beautiful space, inspiring teachers who’ll make you sweat hard (watch out for these Core classes!) or find your still point depending on what you need that day, an authentically friendly vibe, and a spa for those days where all you need is refuge. If you’re out to develop a steady personal practice, check out the new 200-hour LivingYoga program. Beyond their Rosedale headquarters, 889 has a second location on the third floor of the Thompson Hotel. More »
Unlike most hot yoga studios in this city, Bikram Yoga Beaches, as obvious from its name, follows Bikram Choudhury’s 26 asana series. There’s no two ways about this practice. You’ll either love it or stop. This is a good studio to discover the essence of this lineage, with well-established teachers certified by Choudhury himself. Don’t be intimidated. Students of all levels and ages gladly report how practicing here has improved their health, flexibility, and quite simply made them love yoga. More »
I’m an ashtanga girl myself but this is where you’ll find me doing hot yoga close to home. The Downtown Moksha studio differentiates itself through its excellent teacher lineup, reporting that students (lots of young professionals for neighbouring condos and Queen West hot yoga afficionados) love the fact that they can show up anytime because it will always be a standout class. The standard Moksha sequence is followed but demanding Level 2 ones are added to challenge more advanced practitioners. Spacious, spotless showers allow you to go out still glowing (but smelling much better) right after. More »
Breathe prides itself on the precision of its knowledgeable Ashtanga instruction. It has a well-deserved reputation for having one of the best teams of Ashtanga teachers in the city, many of whom are independently sought out for their expertise. Nothing is spared to ensure that you learn ashtanga with proper alignment, and continue to practice in a nurturing environment with uniform heat, self-practice supervision, challenging classes, classes for mothers and babies, mothers-to-be, runners, tweens, stiff men. A great place to start and to grow. More »
Misfit Studio is what happens when you take out the incense and put the rock’n roll into yoga, adding lots of Pilates, Ashtanga, anatomy and dance expertise into the mix. Owner Amber Joliat and her merry crew of teachers operate out of quirky open space at Queen and Euclid. Enter through the back alley and discover creative classes where conversation, music and experimentation are encouraged. Asstastic Pilates, Broga (for guys, but not limited to them), sweaty Fusion and Playtime self-practice. Go on, have some fun on that mat, already. More »
Staring at the downtown skyline through the tropical plants lining the loft-like windows of The Yoga Lounge while taking a deep, centering breath, it’s hard to believe I’m just 6 minutes away from my office. Susan Emery has put a lot of thought and care in creating this haven, offering both hot yoga and Hatha or Iyengar classes in a soothing environment under the guidance of engaging, attentive teachers. A home away from home. More »
Ahimsa Yoga is one of the Annex’s favourite yoga studios and J-P Tamblyn-Sabo, its owner, is the key reason why. A long-time Ashtanga practitioner, Tamblyn-Sabo has grown his practice around the notion of ahimsa (non-violence) and other principles from Patanjali’s sutras. This translates into intelligent instruction that teaches you to respect your body’s needs and limitations, while engaging you to go just a little bit farther to discover your strengths. There are magic moments to be had here. More »
Spynga yoga and cycling studio just South of St. Clair on Bathurst offers yoga and cycling classes, a surefire winner given how many yogis in this town are also devout cyclists. There are two main class streams. SpyngaFlow, which start on the bike for a breath and balance workout and finish on to the mat either with a flow or yin sequence, and full-on yoga classes offered by top-notch Jivamukti and vinyasa teachers. A great place to practice with a partner if you both love yoga and cardio, but in different proportions. More »