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889 Yonge - Can Yoga Get Any Greener?


If yoga can get any greener, Christine and Emily Russell might have found a way. Last March the sisters opened 889 Yonge, an environmentally conscious urban retreat for yoga, holistic spa treatments, medicine and eco-shopping. Located south of Rosedale subway station beside Civello, the three floor building has been conceived, designed, constructed, furnished and operated using environmentally friendly and sustainable materials.

On the wall the sisters have posted what they refer to as their 889 Green Initative. They use cork floors, 100% recyclable carpet, chemical-free cleaning products and finishes, FSC certified wood and they're Bullfrog Powered. But to say 889 Yonge is just about being green would also be doing it a disservice.

As one might expect from a business nestled between Rosedale and Yorkville, the quality and service here have not been overlooked. The top floor has three spaces for yoga (one for private classes) and a tea lounge. Below level are a series of rooms for spa treatments and changing. And the main floor has a well stocked lifestyle boutique and private offices to consult the on-staff Naturopathic doctor.

I recently emailed with one of the founding sisters, Christine Russell, to find our a bit more about 889 Yonge. Read my interview below:

What are the most popular services you offer?

Everything has been carefully crafted, but our most popular to-date include: our 4-week Beginner Yoga Program, our Infinite Yoga Membership (unlimited Yoga!), Customized Yoga (a one-on-one experience), our Body Conscious/Weight loss Lifestyle program guided by Dr. Dempster our Naturopathic Doctor and Jennifer Findlay our Yoga Director, and our Winter Warming Facial (it's divine!). Oh, and the Detox Massage. It's definitely a favourite!

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Who is your typical customer?

Someone who wants to explore finding their optimal health from the inside-out. Many of our clients are new to dipping their toes into the world of holistic living and 889 is the beginning of the journey. Many of our members and regulars are our close neighbours...we love them! They stop in to say hi when they are just passing by.

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What are some of the most popular items for sale at the Lifestyle Boutique?

Definitely our REN Skincare line from London, UK which is 100% paraben (preservative) and chemical-free skincare. It's so fresh that it expires 9 months from opening. It is free of all chemical nasties: PEGS, petrochemicals, parabens, synthetic dyes/fragrances, animal testing. It has been featured as a product to watch in InStyle in the last two issues. Also, we can't keep eco-clothing lines on the shelf: Uluru (cashmere), Stewart & Brown (organic cotton), Edun (by Bono and his wife), and Loomstate (organic cotton).

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What used to be at 889 Yonge?

889 is a late 1800's Victorian home. The back end of the building was built in 1957 as an edition. For many, many years it was Paisley Antiques (you'll see the Paisley name on the sign at the top of the building if you're driving south!) which now has a new home in Yorkville on Bellair. Most recently it was a Framing gallery and studio owned at the time by a wonderful couple Harold and Angie.

We are proud to be the current inhabitants of 889 Yonge. Harold and Angie sold it to us for significantly less than they were offered by a condo developer because they believed in our vision to keep 889 a business to benefit the neighbourhood and their customers. Great karma! It is a wonderful home; we are so grateful for it and love it.

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