Passport to Prana: Kula & The Yoga Sanctuary

I’ve been doing yoga, off and on, for about five years now. When we moved to Toronto, I became a dedicated student of Emma O’Neill for about two years, attending her Sunday morning class at The Yoga Sanctuary religiously. Emma is great and I highly recommend her, but once I started running, I found that I couldn’t do both long runs and an intense yoga class every weekend. So the yoga had to go. Since then, I’ve been bouncing around, trying to find the right mix of yoga and running, and trying to find classes that fit my hectic work schedule.

I haven’t found that yet. So I got a Passport to Prana.

For those not familiar with Passport to Prana, it’s an annual pass that let’s you try different yoga studios in the city. It’s available in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria, Vancouver, and Winnipeg (in addition to Toronto, of course!) and it’s A STEAL at $30. That’s right: $30 gives you access to what feels like a billion (it’s actually about 70) studios in Toronto, Oakville, Burlington and the surrounding areas. Even if you only go to three classes, it’s totally, completely worth it.

So I decided to try to chronicle my Toronto-yoga journey here. I have 52 weeks and plan to use the pass once a week, trying out as many studios and different kinds of yoga as I can.

Kula in the Annex

Class: Wednesday, 8:30pm Hot Hour
Teacher: Leah
Score: Nailing a headstand (with the teacher’s help and wall-support)

This class is a bit of a cheat. I’ve been to Kula before (it’s the home studio of my pal JK) and I love it. The temperature is right, and the teachers offer the right mix of challenges, playfulness and therapy. It can occasionally get too hokey for my tastes (a class I took near Valentine’s Day was love-themed), but overall, it’s my favorite studio I’ve been to so far. It’s just too far from my house to go to regularly. Boo.

Leah was a sub, and she was a new teacher. Her theme for the class was based on a card she got at a fairy reading — something about being playful and seeing things from a new angle. It worked better than some of the other themes I encountered. Leah’s transitions were rocky, but the class was exactly what I needed in the middle of CBC Books Giller madness.

The Yoga Sanctuary: Danforth

Class: Monday, 7:15pm, Yin
Teacher: Sue
Score: Almost falling asleep in savasana

Another cheat. Shhh, don’t tell the yoga studios! Sue’s yin class is the class I go to whenever I need to stretch and don’t want to do other yoga. I’ve been to a handful of yin classes at Moksha, but this one is hands-down my favourite. Sue is very cheerful and explanatory, which I enjoy, but she is repetitive. For example, she explains her theory behind how deer pose got its name in every class. Once a month is all I need here. But the studio is lovely and has the added bonus of being uphill and near a grocery store, so I can grab dinner supplies right after and then soar down Broadview on my way hom. (Okay, I get that this isn’t exactly fair crieria in my judging of yoga classes, but I’m new at this. Give me a break.) This class attracts a lot of newbies, which is great (welcome to yoga!) but it also means that if you look like you know what you are doing, you won’t get a lot of attention. And I like attention. I’m insecure like that.

That’s it. No more cheating. My next class needs to be a studio I’ve never been to before, with a teacher I’ve neve rhad before. I’m scared. And excited.

I just hope by the end of this I’ll be able to do a headstand.

I’ll also take real pictures next time.

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