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. 😦
- 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 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 a.m. instructor doesn’t get 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.