Yoga Bodies (formerly Hot Yoga Wellness Richmond Hill) [Defunct]

January 2020:  New year, a new change in the schedule again.  The Tuesday and Thursday 6:30 a.m. classes have been eliminated.  RIP.  Oh, seems like they’re back again.

December 2019:  Co-owner Amanda is back at the Richmond Hill studio.  She brings a new class Barrelates as well as a completely revamped schedule.  There are new banners and an advertisement board outside the studio facing 16th Avenue as well as more steep discounts for students ($350 for two classes a week for a year!! which comes down to $3.50 a class.  Their latest promotion is FIVE classes a week for a year for just $550 = $2.39 a class after tax if you manage to hit full attendance.  I’ve never seen any yoga studio offer such low prices before).

The new schedule includes the new Barrelates classes, elimination of the short-lived Pilates Fusion class, and changing most of the afternoon/evening classes from having a 30-minute gap to a 15-minute gap between classes.

I’m not such a big fan of this minor time change although I can see the pros and cons of it.  The pro is that students who are taking double classes won’t have to wait as long for the next class to start, and that classes will end 15 minutes earlier each day.  The con is that when you only have 15 minutes’ buffer between each class and you have students who like to arrive early to class or stay late in class can’t do so anymore.  Students must leave class promptly in order for the next class of students to arrive, which takes away a bit of the yoga experience (to calm down, take things slowly, relax).

I’m curious about the new Barrelates class and like that this insertion didn’t change much of the schedule (it’s a new 11 a.m. class slotted into the schedule).

November 2019:  Lots of changes continue at Yoga Bodies Richmond Hill since August.  I’ve continued to attend classes regularly despite my first impression rants of the new management (as seen below).  I’m hoping for more classes to choose from (bring back the Saturday community $5 class and the daily $10 economy classes and restorative classes as well as a good Yin instructor update: co-owner Aasif is actually really good at guiding a Yin class).  These were the great things that previously kept students coming.

The reception desk is beautified and lots of new decorative pieces have been added to give the place a new look.  They no longer sell snacks or yoga mats or yoga attire.  There is no longer a comment box where students can leave feedback.  There is a new water station cooler in each of the female and male changerooms.  The hot water station for hot water and tea has been removed.

I have noticed Yoga Bodies Richmond Hill has been continually providing steep discounts for yearly memberships since September 2019.  Is business going poorly?  Why are there so many huge discounts for yoga memberships at this studio all of a sudden?

It’s coincidental that I somehow talked to another student earlier this month (when we both arrived 15 mins early to a class but found the doors locked due to there being no reception person stationed at the front desk) who also expressed her displeasure at the new management.  She had been attending this yoga studio for the past 10+ years and been through every new change of management since the beginning.  She said this was the worst management to take over and that she was planning to move over to Yoga Tree after her current number of classes at Yoga Bodies was completed.  Just like me, she was also greatly disappointed at the changes that the new management had brought into place.

I’m not planning to leave this studio (as long as my yoga practice continues to serve me), but it’s interesting to document the changes I’ve been seeing.  Thank goodness there are still a good number of great instructors at this yoga studio.  If these quality instructors left too, there would be no reason for me to continue.  A great instructor makes ALL the difference to the yoga practice.  A great instructor sets the tone, atmosphere, and positive learning space in which to grow — physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I also overheard three ladies chatting in the changeroom about their displeasure at the new roster of instructors and a desire to exit their memberships.  Thus, I might be one voice out of many, but I’m not the only one expressing criticism of the changes.  Perhaps the new management could look outward and conduct an online anonymous survey asking all the students for their feedback of the studio so far.  This could provide some valuable insight into what the most important individuals of this studio are thinking, and ultimately want, in a yoga studio.

– – –

August 6, 2019:  First of all, RIP to Hot Yoga Wellness Richmond Hill.  This yoga studio at Leslie and 16th has recently been acquired by a new owner and revamped into “Yoga Bodies” (which already has a prior location in Vaughan).

Why change a good thing?!  I first attended my first yoga class at HYWRH in 2018 thanks to a Groupon deal.  It was a good studio close to home, and it wasn’t until June of this year that I started attending yoga classes religiously (we’re talking daily classes which morphed into sometimes twice a day).  I loved the practice, the carefree studio and instructors, and took it all for granted until now.  (This is the first time in about 8 years since the studio has changed hands.  I didn’t have any reason to think a change like this was coming at all.)

Since I had become familiar with more of the instructors over these two months of practice, I grew fond of several instructors and what they had to offer.  I loved their classes.  I know change is inevitable, but it seems like the changes are quite drastic under this new ownership.

  • Already, new splotches of paint have been tested on the walls, the hot water fountain has changed locations in the lobby, one of the shoe racks have been removed, etc, etc.  Why is all of this necessary?  Of course, the new signage is also up.  The new owner seems intent on getting rid of all of the old to make way for the new branding. :/
  • Worst part was coming to the economy yoga class today and receiving a dumbed down version of the class that usually is not like that.  Economy classes shouldn’t mean that the class is intended for beginners.  I’ve attended so many these in the past two months where most of the economy classes were just as good and challenging as the regularly priced classes.  That was what made it good and worth attending.  If all the economy classes are watered down, why attend?
  • Second hit was when the yin class turned out to be a pre-natal focused class just because it used to be the timeslot for the pre-natal class.  Um, your class schedule says a “yin yoga” class, not “prenatal yoga”.  Had I known that 50% of the participants were going to be all heavily pregnant women, I would not have attended.  The instructor geared all poses towards those with child.  Um…. WTH.  Also, the type of yin yoga today was more active and not passive as it should be.  It was such an uncomfortable class.  It should be a balance.  Yin is supposed to be a passive practice that allows gravity to do more of the stretching, not making active poses!
  • Thus, they got rid of the exclusive prenatal yoga class from the schedule.  Why!?
  • It’s tragic to see the $5 economy Saturday afternoon class disappear completely from the schedule. 😦 It was such a great class to bring beginner students to introduce them to yoga.
  • The restorative class has been eliminated.
  • An instructor who taught yin beautifully and an instructor who taught restorative yoga are also outsed from the staff list.  That yin instructor was rich with experience and didn’t just let us practise to music.  She actually guided us with thorough tidbits and background about seasonal changes and what poses were best for each season and so much more.  She was so kind, caring, and a serious gem of a yin instructor.

So many disappointing changes.  All of these changes started on August 1 when the new management came in.  Today’s only August 6.  I’m crossing my fingers that this is the extent of the unpleasant changes to this yoga studio.

This blog post content may be premature in judgment of the new management, but first impressions are everything.  Hopefully, the new owner will listen to the feedback being provided by the customers to change things accordingly.

– – –

August 18, 2019:  This morning 8:30 a.m. class frustrates me and doesn’t relax me at all like all the other yoga classes at this studio.  Why continue teaching a pose when you can see that more than half the class is unable to do the pose?!  It’s very discouraging.  I know it’s about trying to aspire to new levels and pushing the students to do better, but when there is literally only one person doing the pose in the class and the rest are sitting there looking around, you should not linger on that pose anymore and move on.  Too much time was spent on the pose.

It’s not just this part that’s discouraging.  It’s when you spend most of your criticizing and correcting the student to get them to get them into “proper” pose than complimenting them.

Another instructor at this yoga studio said something early on in my yoga journey that blew me away and was so inspiring:  “Yoga is not about the poses.  If you’re here to do the poses only, get out.  Yoga is a practice between the breath and movement.”  Clearly, this 8:30 a.m. instructor doesn’t understand this concept.  She makes me feel incompetent for being unable to do the poses.

Thankfully for me, she’s not on the roster often so I don’t regularly attend her classes.  However, when I’m strapped for time and need to take one class and it happens to be her class (my second time) with her, it doesn’t energize me at all to be criticized and made to feel less than.

– – –

Sorry for all this ranting about the studio.  Things are good, and I absolutely adore this yoga studio otherwise.  I still attend as much as I can to get the most of my practice.  These are just some things to get off my chest about particular classes and instructors.

About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and new mom who loves to share her experiences with the world.
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6 Responses to Yoga Bodies (formerly Hot Yoga Wellness Richmond Hill) [Defunct]

  1. Jennifer K says:

    I think it had changed ownership a few times since I practice there. Moksha RH, My Yoga Studio and then Hot Yoga Wellness.

    I went to class today for Yin Yang with checking the Schedule and ended up being a Hot Hatha Flow Class. But thanks for your information, I will now skip that Tuesday Yin class.

    It is sad to see Stephanie left and same with Kyle. I did enjoy his Restorative class.

    Most of the new teachers are from Yoga Tree or used to be from there.

    • stenoodie says:

      Ah, I see. Thanks for the information. From what I can gather from the instructors talking, it seems this most recent ownership change is the most drastic. :/

      • Jennifer K says:

        I was so sad when Rachel left 2 months ago. But seems like all the teachers that left recently all been replaced by teachers from Yoga Bodies. So probably the takeover started at least 2 months ago.

      • stenoodie says:

        I never had the pleasure of being taught by Rachel. You definitely know more than I do.

  2. Mick says:

    Any idea where the Kyle and Wen-Li teach? I really enjoyed those two instructors a lot!

    • stenoodie says:

      No clue where Kyle went (unfortunately I wasn’t able to go to his very last class where he probably informed the students), but Wen-Li still teaches at Yoga Bodies (check the website schedule; she’s not on as often as before though).

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