Toronto: An Ashtanga Yoga Heaven

The CN Tower downtown Toronto

I travel a lot.  It is the benefit of living with a sought-after speaker. It usually happens at short notice, and sometimes leaves me with not enough time to check all the Ashtanga Yoga studios of wherever it is we go to.

On top of things, our visit to Toronto last week was cut short by hurricane Sandy.

We had to return quickly, and good thing we did, otherwise who knows how long we would have had to stay in Canada and how much more damage our house would have suffered?  As it stands we only lost a couch, James comics, a mattress and a few other things, but nothing compared to the magnitude of what is happening in Queens, New Jersey or Staten Island.

Water coming from the floor up into the kitchen
at the beginning of the surge.
We got 2 feet of water at the peak

As it was I only had one day to enjoy the Toronto’s Ashtanga scene, a Friday (as Saturday I take for rest day -in the traditional way- and we flew back Sunday). It turns out it is an Ashtanga Heaven.

During the dinner with about 50 entrepreneurs on Thursday night (at James’s talk) only one of them mentioned yoga, he said he went to Downward DogHe had no idea what class he took “just the regular” he said.  I have heard wonderful things about the studio and had considered attending their Mysore program but I could not. It was on hold because Mark Darby visiting from Montreal  (Thanks Jayme for the correction) Petri Raisanen , was offering a week intensive.

The choice ended up being between two studios I found through Google, and I opted for the one that was closest to the hotel: The Ashtanga Yoga Shala run by Rachel and Paul Gold.

The street sign for the shala

The space was cozy and warm, I arrived right after 8 AM and was ready for some Mysore practice.  Paul rented me a mat and I got to work, received a few good adjustments too.  And on top it was nice to see a few familiar faces.

I think Toronto is very serious when it comes to adjustments, for example someone Tweeted to me that I should have gone to another shala where “they ‘push’ you a little more”.  Gosh! As if I needed more pushing… But I do appreciate the enthusiasm, don’t you?

I had a grand time practicing in the hot room with the vibrant energy of all those around me.  At the end I asked if they [Paul and Rachel] would allow me a photo, told them to feel free and say “no” if they did not want to.  They were very gracious and agreed to the photo even though Rachel said her hair may not be up to photographic standards to which I pointed my own.  You decide.

I had one sweaty practice! –
Here with Paul and Rachel Gold, wonderful teachers.

What I like about traditional Ashtanga studios is that many times they are very simple, just like this one.  The curtain separated the entrance from the shala floor, past it there was just asana. And you had two teachers focused on about 15 of us at all times.

Then there is, of course, David Robson who teaches at the Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Toronto.  This will be for my next trip I hope.  This shala is also the place where the Twitter enthusiast was pointing me towards.

And, just found out through the Pattabhi Jois website that there is yet one more Mysore program in Toronto, it is the one at Sundara Yoga, run by Emma O’Neil.  I wonder if there are more.

Here is hoping there will be more Canada in the travelling schedule ahead!

3 Responses to Toronto: An Ashtanga Yoga Heaven

  1. Claudia November 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    I am glad you are safe and that there was not as much damage as there could have been.

  2. Claudia November 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Thank you Tanya

  3. Claudia November 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    Hi Claudia,<br /><br />Glad to hear that your home did not sustain as much damage as I have been reading with regards to homes in your area. Whew.<br /><br />I very much enjoyed this post. Paul is such a kind teacher. Many of the questions that he has posted and answered on his blog were from me. Where a paragraph would have sufficed, he would write 4-5, for example. I hope to visit their shala