Yoga Unplugged – Jock Yoga

This is jock yoga. You’ve been warned.

What: Yoga Unplugged
When: Saturday, June 23 @ 4:00pm
Where: 889 at the Thompson (550 Wellington St. West)
Who: Michael DeCorte


I found a new love one Saturday afternoon on top of the Thompson roof top. It was going to be another Team In Training run in the morning, yoga in the afternoon kind of Saturday, but this Saturday will forever be different than any other. For I discovered Jock Yoga and Michael DeCorte.  My new found love comes in three forms: Jock Yoga, Michael DeCorte and Madonna! When blended together (with just the right amount of each) makes for one ultimate yoga experience.

And that is exactly what happened this faithful Saturday on June 23rd.

Ever since Cecilley and my first yoga roof top experience I was counting down the days to the next class. Madonna infused Jock Yoga — how could I miss that!? As luck would have it, Cecilley and I were actually not running late this time. This was a good thing because I would NOT miss this class, even if it killed me. I was prepared to die either getting there or in the actual class. With the name Jock Yoga this was not going to be easy and I was mentally preparing all day long.

For all the yogis out there ready to amp up the endurance level on your practice, Michael is just the man to see. I was blown away, not only the amount of planks, flows and side bends we did to the point my shoulders felt like jelly, but the fact Michael has an incredible physical sence to each pose he instructed. The crazy thing is you don’t notice it until your in it. When that that “eureka” moment hits and you just know and think “Ya, this is how it’s suppose to feel.” My eyes usually pop when this happens, and in my head I’m like “Whoa.” You don’t notice it until that point because Michael does an excellent job distracting you with a million plank style flows in between each series.

I honestly felt each hip rotation, each shoulder movent and each bend, in that “new to yoga” way, something I wasn’t expecting nor have felt in a while. For me, when I hear the word Jock I think a really hard class and not necessarily attention to mechanics. Don’t be fooled this was a very active class! I was tired out afterwards and I do yoga a lot (in case you don’t know that). Michael, you are one Jock Yoga Man genius.

This class was special for a number of reasons – my friend Michelle from Moksha Downtown came for her first Yoga Unplugged experience and so did Madonna (not in person, obviously, although doing yoga with Madonna would be amazing!). We vogued, we flowed through the Ray of Light, and stretched to the sky during Like a Prayer.  And that’s only a touch of what we did. If you don’t appreciate Madonna now, you will after doing a jock warrior sequence to Vogue (this may have been the highlight of the class for me). Or just watch one of Madonna’s world tour concerts when she comes out on stage in a headstand. She is truly a yogi and a jock. I will be the exact same. One day.

This was another jam packed class, and Michael owned it. He taught to each of us individually and his instructions were bang-on. And being the super challenging class that it was, I was not once afraid or felt any desire to hold back. I wanted to push myself and had the confidence to go there. This is where Michael’s teachings really shined. Being the Jock Yoga Guy, there was zero ego, only support. I loved the feeling of wanting to power though and rock this class. And knowing afterwards Michael even spotted Michelle in amongst the giant class, made me very happy.

I had to feel bad for the 40 people turned away, they (along with everyone else on the planet!) missed one awesome yoga experience. Like I said last week you have to arrive early!

Michael began the class by introducing his two favourite things – yoga and Madonna. These are now two of my three!



Yoga Unplugged


What: Yoga Unplugged
When: Saturday, June 16 @ 4:00pm
Where: 889 at the Thompson (550 Wellington St. West)
Who: Nicky

This Saturday for me, began like any other. I woke up much too early for the weekend, ate my breakfast of peanut butter and toast, and a banana, with coffee and water, then hopped on my bike to meet Cecilley for our morning TNT run. But this Saturday was different. We were doing yoga after our run! Free yoga! Outside! At 889 at the Thompson Hotel! I was super excited (in case you didn’t already get that). For two reasons mainly, 1) we were going to yoga on a rooftop patio, and 2) this was totally Cecilley’s idea! My fit girl regime is totally rubbing of on her.

Cecilley and I getting ready for our giant yoga class!

So after a solid morning of running with Team Ontario – Cecilley and I may have arrived a bit late – this run was the first time it really took me a while find my groove. I guess it serves me right for arriving late. But that didn’t stop me! I still ran the marathoner’s route, all according to my new training plan.

Cecilley and I had an epic Saturday planed out, on top of running and free yoga. I waited all week for this day to come! After running with TNT, we would spend several hours lounging by the Thompson Hotel pool (don’t worry, we had a plan around the slight obstacle being a members only pool), then we’d yoga it up on the rooftop patio for 889 and Lululemon’s free summer yoga series Yoga Unplugged. And to end the night we were heading to the Wine & Spirit Festival at Sugar Beach courtesy of a bullfrogpowered event sponsorship. Thank you, Scott!

It would be an epic Saturday indeed.

Unfortunately, our plans didn’t exactly follow suite – the pool was closed because of a private function, and again Cecilley and I were running a bit late. So we don’t actually know if our Get-Into-The-Thompson-Pool plan would have worked, oh well. Something to test for next time.

Haven been to a class at 889 at the Thompson before, right around the time they opened, I knew outside yoga was in the works for the summer. But I had no idea to what capacity. There had to have been 150 people doing yoga on the roof for the kick off.

Can you spot me?! Thanks Yoga Unplugged for capturing Cecilley and me in action. 

The only slight downer — very minor, but for a class of this size kind it’s of important — some of Nicky’s instructions were unclear. I was left slightly confused several times with what arm was going where. And it didn’t help I couldn’t see her at all. Lucky for me (and every one else I’m sure) the Lululemon gals in their hot neon pants (I really want a pair) were easily spottable for a visual aid. I liked the fact they were also taking the class. I also had Cecilley there to correct me when needed. But having walked away with a free mat and yoga shirt from Lululemon as a present for being there, I will stop complaining! Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed this class and I love that things like this are happening in our city! But the best part of class – looking up to the sky every time we twisted. Or maybe spotting the onlookers from the hotel rooms and condos. You completely forget that people do live there.

Look for this every Saturday all summer long, I highly recommend it at least once. And with a different music theme each week you’re bound to find something that appeals to you. But arrive early! Spaces are limited.

I was already pumped for the following Saturday to strike a pose! If you haven’t guessed, Madonna was the theme.

Yoga Heaven has expanded, Hallelujah!

Being the yoga junkie I am there is no better deal out there – that I can think of anyway, better than the Passport to Prana. Yoga is an expensive hobby, as most hobbies are. But, if you’re like me and commit to doing yoga at least three times a week (and that’s usually the minimum) classes add up and fast.


All these yogis are in heaven. Just like me. (Thanks 889 Yonge for the pic!)


So when a friend told me about the Passport I was instantly sold. For those not familiar with it I’m telling you now go treat yourself and buy one. It’ll be the best 30 bucks you can spend. I promise. And now the Passport is good for an entire year (even more reason to get one!). This magical card offers one drop in class/studio/year. I told you it’s amazing. It’s great for yoga newbies, for those who can’t afford to do yoga any other way, or for those still in search of their perfect yoga sanctuary– which is also a great spot you can try on the passport.

Now, I have to take a moment to reflect on my first visit to 889 Yonge. I still often dream about it. My “yin yoga partner in crime” and I made a pack the summer of 2010 to try all the yin classes possible on our passports. It was love at first sight when we walked into 889 – Yoga Heaven dawn its name. I remember the white, glowing walls, the soothing music, and the free lockers and towels were to die for. So when I found out a second Yoga Heaven now exists, I am have shed a tear. This tiny, little studio, quaintly tucked away on the 3rd floor, instantly teleports you out of the Thompson Hotel and off the busy strip of King West. When you’re felt wanting to curl up on a cloud and float away – that’s a serious yoga buzz.

The practice room overlooks the roof top patio, which can make for awesome outdoor summer classes. At least I hope that’s the plan. If not, it needs to be.