In the last couple of months, it seems Toronto has taken a bit of a wellness minded shift when it comes to classes. That’s not to say that anyone is ditching their spin or HIIT classes, but my inbox has been full of new spaces and classes designed to tap into mind-body harmony and balance than just getting a workout. In fact, many of these places aren’t for working out at all. Instead they offer meditation or movement classes. They stress the need for quiet places to sit, or a check in with both your mind and body. In fact, I’ve visited all of these places and I’ve yet to break a sweat—but I did leave each one feeling a little calmer and a little bit more committed to my own mind-body balance.
If you’re seeking calm for you body, mind and soul, here are 7 wellness centres in Toronto to try:
The Quiet Company
The Quiet Company offers meditation classes first and foremost, and it’s a nice change of pace for someone who has struggled to meditate solo. Classes are conducted by an expert, with others struggling to sit still beside you. Most classes are 30 minutes, but you can find quickie 15-minute options too as well as hour-long sessions for the ambitious and workshops if you really want to get involved. Ask about the classes with sound baths too—they really add to the experience. Classes start at $10 for 15 minutes or 30 or 55 minute sessions at $22. You can also get class passes just like at any gym.
Soul 7 is an interesting addition to the Toronto wellness scene. They offer up scientifically-backed sessions that help to target your specific ailments. Using Health-Canada approved Pulsed-Electro-Magnets, and frequency technology like sound, light and vibration. The classes are developed by experts in fields like Cybernetix, molecular biology, bio physics, sports psychology, among others. I opted for a session that targeted stress, and spent the first half of the session listening to specific frequencies and having jade rollers run up and down my body. The second half was sound and light stimulation. It was weird, but it also actually felt helpful, and with a focus on offering alternative health care, I wouldn’t be surprised if this space becomes incredibly popular.
Mindset Brain Gym
Consider this the spot for meditation if you think meditation is a bit too spiritual for your taste. Mindset Brain Gym was founded with the belief that many successful (even corporate) people credit meditation with part of their success—meaning you don’t need to be into crystals to reap the rewards of daily mediation. This gym is as outfitted as any Equinox, with lockers, quiet spaces to hang out and kombucha on tap. Plus the space uses Muse—a meditation device that measures your brain activity—to make sure that you’re on track. So if you love stats and measurable progress, this is the spot to meditate.
Silk & Palm
If you’re after a more familiar spa experience, why not swap out your regular facial for one that incorporates acupuncture? I’ve had acupuncture before (at another Toronto go-to spot, Province Apothecary), but I decided to try Silk & Palm which is new. It’s a simple set up, and your first visit will be accompanied by plenty of questions that will help determine any ailments that are bothering. Expect to answer questions about past injuries, bowel movements and stress levels—yes, I’m taking about your facial. Next, you’ll have your face cleansed before the acupuncture starts. Depending on what your ailments are, your acupuncture will be tailored to fit your needs. For example, I have some jaw pain from a break as a child, and I was given differently sized needles in that area to help with any lingering tension. All in all, I’m a fan of acupuncture, if for nothing else than it really forces you to lay still for 30 minutes.
The Good Space
The Good Space in Parkdale is “dedicated to movement and mindfulness.” It makes sense then that I was privy to a meditation class when I went last month. The space is light and airy with plenty of space. The mediation classes are guided, similar to The Quiet Company, but you’ll also find here you can sign up for Vinyasa, restorative or mediation classes. Classes start at $22 but you can also purchase monthly passes that offer unlimited options.
New to Toronto, and opening on September 20th 2018, Hoame offers up all sorts of newness when it comes to wellness. There’s a light meditation room (with plenty of greenery), a dark meditation room (a quiet, cosmic space), a Himalayan rock salt cave (an incredible subterranean area) and an infrared sauna (which utilized light therapy). You can expect plenty of extras too—charcoal lemonade, impressive seating areas and elixir shots.
At first glance, Province Apothecary looks to be a fairly straightforward spa facial experience. But the brand has grown and it now offers many more opportunities to indulge in wellness in a mindful and organic way. Opt for acupuncture treatments, sign up for the 21-Day Radiant Skin Reset Program (which includes recipes) and rituals to help improve your skin and contribute to a healthy respect for our rituals help calm our minds.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Alexandra Donaldson)