In the last decade, yoga has taken the nation by storm. It’s been hailed as the fitness saviour of the twenty-first century, which goes some way to explaining the hundreds of studios that have popped up around the country. The problem is, with the learning curve involved, yoga can be a bit intimidating for those who choose to get involved late in the game. Some studios make it easier than others to participate. Rooted in community, team building and self-improvement, here are our picks to help you get started and follow your needs as you progress. Sure, money can’t buy you happiness, but we’ll happily take complete tranquility as a runner-up.
Whether you want to focus on developing your core strength or relieve stress through restorative meditation, Naada covers every base. Founded by husband-and-wife duo Jason Sharp and Elizabeth Emberly, this is a studio that truly keeps it in the family, making you feel like you’re one of them. Naada welcomes beginners and seasoned teachers alike, offering a supportive environment that helps visitors decide which class fits best. The studio also backs ongoing lectures and concerts in the neighborhood, which are not only good ways to get involved in the community, but also ways to make good-spirited friends in the process. 5540 Casgrain Ave., 514-510-3274.
Miranda Chapman travelled the world practising and teaching various forms of yoga before returning to Montreal, where she eventually started renowned Ahimsa Yoga. Chapman holds a training certificate from Trimbakeshwar, India, so her classes are serious affairs (there are a couple entry-level classes, but the studio mostly focuses on improving those already acquainted with the basics). Additional perks? A number of classes are PWYC, and from Monday through Thursday you can stop in for a pre-class $5 vegetarian dinner. 5369 St Laurent, 514-813-9642.
One of Montreal’s more expensive yoga studios, and one of the most popular. To make things enticing, Moksha offers first-timer discounts and has a program called “Energy Exchange,” where volunteering for eight hours gets you unlimited classes for the week; depending on how often you’re thinking of going and how much free time you have, it could be extremely worthwhile. Moksha invites you to bring your own gear — yoga mats, towels, hydration — but there are on-site rentals for those who prefer to travel light, or fence-sit. 3863 St Laurent, Suite 205, 514-288-3863.
Studios Vert Prana
Sick and tired of the same old routine? Don’t feel like downward-dogging yourself to nirvana? Vert Prana is another renowned, pricey Montreal options that has recently made waves for introducing hula-hoops to the yoga scene. Skeptics and know-it-alls be warned: Hooping is great for burning calories, is a competitive alternative cardio, builds core strength, and boosts libido. Looking ahead, one of the advanced levels is “fire hooping” (both self-explanatory and badass, in an organic, mindful kind of way). You know you want to try that, or at least watch others. 4365 St-Denis street, Montreal, 514-523-8717.
Image courtesy of flyzipper.