Meet a Yoga Teacher: Tanya!

Hello everyone! Meet Tanya.


Tanya has been teaching here at the Yoga Lounge since summer 2014. She teaches a challenging HOT Power Flow class at 4:30pm every Sunday. Her class will coordinate movement and breath for a moving meditation. The focus will be on strengthening poses followed by long stretches to ground and centre the mind and body. Expect to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping!


1. How did you discover yoga?

In the mid 90’s as a teenager I discovered an old book my mother had on Hatha Yoga. The book was really exciting as the yoga philosophy and fundamental yoga postures exposed were new and different. With guidance of the book, I developed a personal ritual and self practice then shortly after attended group classes.

2. What excites you about your own practice? 
My practice is about the “my time” dedicated to connecting and embracing with my inner self, my soul, my breath and body. Most importantly I embrace what it does to my mind. For example, the way I feel in a pose and those feelings that arise learning things I thought were not possible is a process more important then the pose itself.
3. How would you describe your classes and your teaching style?
I have experience teaching different styles (hatha, ashtanga, fusion, power, vinyasa, pranayama and meditation) and levels (beginner to intermediate). As a teacher, my joy is in creating an atmosphere where students can enjoy their time on the mat and allow whatever journey they’re on to transpire.
4. What inspires you, personally?  OR What gets you going every day?

I’m inspired by music and chocolates :) I have a tendency to continuously set small and large goals personally, professionally and spiritually. The process of setting goals is a driving force that grounds me to live in the present moment and as a lifestyle helps  me to continuously grow and evolve.

5. Where do you think yoga, as a movement, is heading?

The “physical” practice of yoga became a fad in the mid 2000’s and today I see the “meditative” practice of yoga heading towards becoming a fad. There has been a huge movement recently bringing meditation mainstream.  While there is always pro’s and con’s, the essence and tradition of the purpose of yoga is becoming lost in translation.

Fall One-Day Mini Detox!

It’s official folks. It’s fall. We’re fresh out of a summer of blissful indulgence, and about to dive right into a season of harvest indulgence. This is a perfect time to hit that soft-reset button with a quick, one-day detox!

Check out this link for a few great ideas, thanks to MindBodyGreen.

Pick a day, and clear your schedule as much as you can. Put your phone away! Turn off the computer and the TV.

I love their idea to pair this with a de-cluttering job. I always find taking the time to re-organise part of my home can be a great way to clear the cobwebs out of my head.

Yoga Lounge Fall Newsletter: Bollywood Vinyasa, Pre-Natal, and New Classes!

Hello Yogis!The Equinox has passed, which means it’s officially, formally, 100% fall. We were blessed with one last week of summer-like temperatures, but the leaves don’t lie. Can you feel the shift?

It’s common to feel out of sorts as we move from one season to another. Change is good, it rejuvenates us, brings new life and energy, but it can also leave us feeling unbalanced. And that’s okay!

Pay attention to what your body and heart are telling you, be kind to yourself, and stay committed to your practice. Give yourself some extra time to focus on yourself, and do the self-care that you need to pull yourself back to your centre.

Remember, it’s natural for us to shift from balance to unbalance, back and forth. It’s like in Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, where we pay attention to how our weight moves around our feet. Forward, then back. To, then fro, Never quite settling in one place for long. Those shifting sensations of balance are a part of being alive in a world that is always, always changing.

Thinking of things that are always changing… we have a lot of new classes, and new teachers to announce! (How’s that for a smooth segue?)

We also want to take a moment to say a quick goodbye to Deanna, who is sadly leaving us, but joyfully moving on to new and great things abroad. This is her last week, so come by and see her off on any of her classes on Tuesday or Thursday!

Bollywood Vinyasa!

We’ve been looking to add something fun and irreverent to our schedule for some time, and we think we’ve found it. Esmé Ward’s new class on Wednesdays at 8:00pm is a solid, energizing Vinyasa class set to some of the distinctive music of Bollywood films!The songs that come from Bollywood films tend to all share the same sort of joie de vivre that we love here at the Yoga Lounge. Come down and try this exultant combination of cheerful music and a high energy, celebratory Vinyasa Flow!

Esmé’s new class is starting this Wednesday, October 1st, at 8:00pm. Keep your eyes on the schedule for a couple of other Bollywood classes coming up soon!



We will be running another Pre-Natal workshop series, Saturdays at 4:30-5:30pm, starting on November 11th.

This special 5 week program requires advance registration, at $80+hst. Send an email to, give us a call, or stop on by to register!

Course description coming soon.

New Classes

With the changing season comes a changing schedule. Here’s the full list of all of the new or updated classes.Sundays
2:00pm Hatha – Jillian.

7:00pm Vinyasa – Sarah Anderson (Starting October 7th!)

8:00pm Vinyasa – Sarah Anderson (Starting October 7th!)



8:00pm HOT Bollywood Vinyasa – Esmé Ward

9:00pm HOT Vinyasa Flow – Esmé Ward



5:00pm – Some Like it HOT Vinyasa Flow – Ana Von
6:00pm – HOT Vinyasa – Ana Von (Starting October 9th!)
7:00pm – HOT Vinyasa – Stefanie Osadchuk


11:00am – HOT Intensity Meets Playfulness – Stefanie Blackmore

3:00pm – HOT Vinyasa – Sarah Anderson (Starting November 8th!)

4:30pm, – Pre-Natal, $80+hst Advance Registration Required (Starting November 8th!)


As always, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or stories you’d like to share.



Meet a Yoga Teacher: Esmé Ward

We’re thrilled to introduce Esmé Ward today! Esmé will be rocking out late Wednesday evenings in the HOT Studio. Join her for a fun, joyful Vinyasa class set to Bollywood music at 8:00pm, followed by a second Vinyasa class with a more down-tempo soundtrack at 9:00pm. With both of her classes, you can expect steady, energizing movement connected to breath with an emphasis on core. A variety of levels are welcome, from beginner to level 2.











Y.L. How did you discover yoga?

E.W. When I moved to Toronto in my late teens for university, I was completely unsure of myself – what I was doing, where I was going, and what I was feeling. I discovered yoga at my mother’s urging through the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Toronto, as she had gone on their Bahamas retreat in her early twenties and had really enjoyed it. She felt that yoga might help me find some purpose, and it definitely became an extremely positive part of my life at the time. Now, it is an even bigger part of my life.

Y.L. What excites you about your own practice?

E.W. I care deeply about my own practice as an instrumental tool for grounding myself and bringing myself back to awareness of the things that feel right in my life. It helps bring me back to me every time I get onto my mat. When I’m practicing, I get a sense of accomplishment and confidence when I realize I can take something a little further. Gaining stability off the wall in a handstand or realizing I can actually do a certain arm balance is exhilarating.

Y.L. How would you describe your classes and your teaching style?

E.W. I would describe my classes as having a constant flow of positive energy and intention, and there’s nothing like having that tangibly reciprocated by a student. When I teach, I am always trying to be aware of the comfort level of the students in front of me, both physically and emotionally. Since everyone has different communicative abilities, it can often be difficult to read where people are at, and I feel like I am constantly honing this skill every time I teach. I like being able to show my students that I can work with their energy no matter what it is, and guide it as positively as possible.

Y.L. What inspires you, personally?  OR What gets you going every day?

E.W. I am inspired by people. Whatever it is that they are putting out there, whether positive or negative, there is always something that can be learned. Truly positive energy inspires me to find my own. Negative energy reminds me of my own beliefs and wisdom, and inspires compassion in me. Reminding myself of how far I’ve come as well as having faith in myself and the future is what gets me going every day.

Y.L. Where do you think yoga, as a movement, is heading?

E.W. With the commercialization of yoga in Western society, there has been a real straying from its original essence. Although the shift from yoga’s roots as a spiritual practice to yoga as big business can be seen as unfortunate, it is making yoga accessible to all sorts of people in places you wouldn’t expect, like offices and churches. Simply the introduction of yoga is a great thing to those who normally would have no real idea about or interest in it. People can decide for themselves once they’ve begun as to where they’d like to take their practice and how much room they have to infuse spirituality, but the practice itself will likely open up their minds and hearts to asking certain questions of themselves that will no doubt be related.

Meet a Yoga Teacher: Katrine Maroukis

Katrine teaches a beginner’s Hatha class on Sundays, from 6:00-7:15pm. Expect an emphasis on proper alignment, and step by step instruction of yoga fundamentals. Not just for people who are new to yoga, this class is also useful for more experienced practitioners. Go back to the basics and discover something new!
YL: How did you discover yoga?
K: A longtime friend was practising yoga and told me that she “guaranteed yoga would take 20 years off my body!” Now this very sweet, loving and supportive friend also possessed the habit of exaggerating things. But I decided if it only takes 10 years off my body I’m in!
I’m happy to say the “10 years off your body” is a guarantee! As long as you practice at least once a week for 3 months straight. At least, that’s been my experience.
YL: What excites you about your own practice?
K: Practicing with an open mind and an attitude of metta. Metta is a Buddhist term which can be translated as compassion, kindness and love towards others. I like to include myself as part of “others”. It’s a helpful reminder that I practice yoga to create a positive affect in my mind, body and spirit.
My mat is one place where I always make an effort to release from the idea of rating my performance of yoga and simply observe and learn more about myself.
I love when I make that connection to the power of energy/life which is deeper than muscle, bone & determination.
YL: How would you describe your classes and your teaching style?
K: My classes depend on who shows up.  I ask everyone attending before class what they are looking to gain from yoga and where they hold tension/tightness in their bodies. I then structure the class according to the students.
It keeps me in my toes!
My teaching style is an effort to create a meditation in movement through constant awareness of every moment. The focus is to become conscious of our mind, body and spirit connection. I also include a “workshop” aspect of breaking down the foundations of the yoga poses.
YL: What inspires you, personally?  OR What gets you going every day?
K: Love, beauty, hope and community.
YL:Where do you think yoga, as a movement, is heading?
K: There’s something for everyone.
So the directions are limitless.

Labour Day Long Weekend Schedule

Hi Yogis!


Is it really almost September already? Wow!


We hope you have exciting plans for this final long weekend of summer. If those plans involve some tender loving self-care, note that we will only be running Master Yuan’s Qi Gong class on Sunday, August 31st, and will be CLOSED on Monday, September 1st.

All regularly scheduled classes are ON for Friday and Saturday!



First (ish) Hot Yoga Experience: Just Enough

Four years ago, I tried Bikram yoga. A studio close to my house had a deal for thirty days of unlimited yoga.

I went twice.

I didn’t do yoga again for three years.

The class was too intense, too much, too fast. I couldn’t deny that I did feel good after the class, but that feeling wasn’t good enough. During the class, I was on the verge of panic at almost every moment. I would try to breathe, and would start to calm down, but another wave of heat would wash over me and I’d be back into crisis-control mode, angry at myself for not being able to do it Right. Not worth it, I told myself.

In time, I found my way back to yoga, and I have so far stayed away from anything calling itself “hot” yoga. Now, the paradox here is that I am a heat lover. This cool Toronto summer has been a big disappointment, and the 40 degree hot room at The Yoga Lounge has been a sweet temptation. It’s been whispering to me since I started working the front desk in July. I’m still a solid beginner, but I’m starting to feel more confident in my practice… So, today, I decided to face the challenge of hot yoga head on.

Michelle is a nice and gentle gal, with a twinkle and a sweet sense of humour. Her 6:00pm Hot Vinyasa on Monday nights is described as “A strong, fluidly sequenced class with the extra challenge of heat. Expect to build strength, flexibility, and core stability… and sweat!” I talked to her before the class started (always talk to your teacher when trying something new!), and she advised me to take it easy and to be gentle with myself.

Here’s a secret. Don’t tell anyone. But I sweat. A lot. I know, everyone sweats, but you need to understand that I sweat a LOT. I’m a really skinny guy with a high metabolism and a high internal body temperature.  Even in regular temperature classes, I perspire heavily. Heck, sometimes I’m dripping just sitting down.

As we float back into maybe our second downward dog, my very own salty river poured into my eye. And in case you didn’t know, that stiiiiings. Boom, there goes my focus, there goes my breath.

But this time, it was a little different. It was okay that my attention shot up to my eye. I found my breath again, I slowly wiped the sweat away, full inhale, deep and complete exhale. There. I was back.

Later, my internal heat rose. I could feel my heart racing, my breaths getting shorter. I started to shake… but I paused. I let myself feel the fear in my chest, and then full inhale, deep and complete exhale. Again. I’m okay. There, it’s passed.

As the class went on, I tried to treat the shifts between being okay with the heat and feeling overwhelmed like a game.  When I started to feel anxious, I’d try to smile instead, and would take an extra moment, wherever I was, to have a full inhale, then a deep and complete exhale. Maybe two if I needed it. And so I made it to the sweetest Savasana you could imagine.

Biking home, I thought about the difference between my two experiences with hot yoga. Four years ago, I would be frustrated with how overwhelmed I felt by the experience. My frustration  fueled the anxiety from the heat, and kept me battling the entire class. Today’s class showed me that I have begun to learn how to, in Michelle’s words, be gentle with myself. I tried not to fight with myself. Instead, I went back to the one thing I know I can always do, no matter how hot it gets: breathe. And smile. That was all I needed. That was just enough.

My route home takes me along Davenport, right below Casa Loma. There’s this great stretch by Spadina Road, where these huge trees bend down over the road. Tonight’s sky was fading from the palest blue to the simplest gold. I was still sweating from the class, but that slice of beauty reached out to that place of peace deep in my heart. My body felt good. My mind was calm. Hot yoga was hard, there’s no denying that. But I learned something very good from it, and I don’t doubt that I and the sweat in my eyes will be back in that studio before too long.

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-Benjie Kibblewhite

Iyengar Yoga for Back Care

Hello Yogis!

A lot of students have been expressing their appreciation recently for the positive effect our Alignment Based Iyengar classes have had in reducing their lower back pain. These classes encourage an increase in the mobility of the spine, while supporting and strengthening the lower lumbar. Susan and Carlyn’s classes have a focus on meticulous alignment with ample use of props, chairs, and the wall. They teach sequences that are designed to be done regularly that a student can adapt to include in their home practice.

Yoga Practice for the Back by Hillari Dowdle

We want to share this article from Yoga Journal with all of you. The author talks a lot about Viniyoga, a style that emphasizes the therapeutic benefits of yoga, much like Iyengar. In fact, the original study referenced in the article talks specifically about Iyengar. (“Therapeutic Application of Iyengar Yoga for Healing Chronic Low Back Pain”)


If you’re experiencing “garden-variety” lower back pain, Hillari’s article includes a short series of asanas that you can do right now at home. We also encourage you (as always!) to arrive a few minutes early and talk to our teachers before a class if you’re working with any pain or tightness that day. Our teachers do their best work when they have a better idea of where their students are at each day, so don’t be shy! This is your practice, and we want to help you make it the best practice it can be, right now, this day, with whatever is on the table.



Meet a Yoga Teacher: Annabelle Vincent

Annabelle is a relatively new teacher at The Yoga Lounge, and teaches a fun, playful Vinyasa Flow class every Sunday at 2pm.

Annabelle Vincent

Y.L. How did you discover yoga?

A.V.To be honest, I discovered yoga through boredom. I had nothing better to do one day a few summers ago, and then after the class I realized I really didn’t. I went every day for a month after day 1 and haven’t stopped since.

Y.L. What excites you about your own practice?

A.V It’s always evolving, I think that’s the best part.

Y.L. How would you describe your classes and your teaching style?
A.V. I teach vinyasa flow classes which are a balanced recipe of alignment, play, deep breaths and ease. We flow through all movements riding with the breath, working from the basics to the not so basics in an easy way, leading to the integration of all your layers and parts.
In my teaching I simply do my best to voice the messages that are coming through me that day, making them relevant for the bodies in the room. I never want to pressure anyone’s practice to be any certain way. All I am to do is to serve people, to serve their highest wisdom and to, over time, help them realize their own wild beauty and intelligence, and to give them the space to process this. The most important part is to tune in to the messages we receive in the moment, and all I am trying to do is to create space for others to receive this.

Y.L. What inspires you, personally? OR What gets you going every day?

A.V.This is the most difficult question by far…it’s a big cliche but everything inspires me. Everyone I have ever met and every place I have ever been. My top inspiration is my intention to serve others and the highest good. Everything else is secondary.
Y.L. Where do you think yoga, as a movement, is heading?

A.V. I think yoga has been moving for a long long time, and it will keep doing so. People tend to think its a fitness fad or it’s now too mainstream or whatever…I think it needed to go mainstream, that was completely necessary. And now it has. Everything is in a constant state of flux, nothing is ever really static. I think it will keep changing and I think that’s beautiful, and necessary. The raw realness will always stay. I think it will always be a beautiful way for people to plug into themselves, because that’s at the core of it all.

August Long Weekend Schedule

Hello Yogis!

This long weekend, The Yoga Lounge will be closing early on Saturday, will operate with a reduced schedule on Sunday, and will be CLOSED on Monday, August 4th

Saturday August 2nd

Olessia’s 1:30-3:00 Power Vinyasa class is CANCELLED. Regular schedule will apply for the rest of the day.

Sunday August 3rd Reduced Schedule

1-2pm: Hero Flow with Sal

3:15-4:30: Qi Gong with Master Yuan


Enjoy your long weekend! We will be back on Tuesday with our full schedule.