Afterglow Yoga leaves you with a glow. Or, at least it left me with a very big smile on my face. Liz Harmer and Julie Watson instantly make you feel at ease, and are the type of people I'd love to hang out with at a juice bar. Harmer and Watson are mothers (seven kids between them), and yoga lovers.
Watson had ruminated on the idea of owning a yoga studio for seven years, and after returning to Toronto from California with her family, everything fell into place, including a chance meeting with Harmer.
What you get at Afterglow is a relaxed atmosphere of yoga flow without the serious mood that some studios have adopted. California's stature as the mecca of yoga has inspired the look and feel of the studio - there's an anything's possible, positive mantra that exudes from the studio.
My favourite thing about the studio is the relaxed atmosphere in the class - you can actually talk to the teacher, and there's soft music playing in the background. The sun streaming into the room upgrades my mood and the quality of my Sun Salutations.
Everything is based off of Vinyasa, and most classes get you back to the basics of alignment and movement. The studio I was in had a butterfly with a scene of the CN Tower painted on the wall created by Sarah, our yoga teacher.
There are no mirrors in the studios to remove the competitive feeling from the yogic experience. "It doesn't have to be a hard core spiritual experience each time," says Watson.
Afterglow captures the modernity of yoga. The reception area is both a lounge and retail space with a communal table where guests can hang out and work before or after class. You can buy outerwear and essential oils like Vancouver-based brand Inner Fire, Toronto-based Fellow Citizens, and California designers Spiritual Gangster.
Watson and Harmer are proud to say they've got something for everyone, Vinyasa 101, Vinyasa Flow, Power Flow, Fuel HIIT, Yoga HIIT, kids classes, pre- and post-natal classes and nutritional workshops. Power Flow is a Vinyasa workout but with more lunges and push ups.
Yoga HIIT is a fun combo of Vinyasa with power and high intensity workouts in the second part. No matter what you're doing, the teacher always brings you back to your breath and makes you focus, even while jump squatting.
On top of regular classes, you can rent the studio for private events, host a workshop or take in a private yoga session. With bright teachers, painted walls, and music flow, Afterglow doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's one of the reasons why I enjoyed my experience so much.
Photos by Jesse Milns .