I heard about Toronto Yoga Mamas from a good friend of mine and attended one of the their shopping socials about six months ago. It’s safe to say that I instantly fell in love with the overall atmosphere of this space from the moment I walked in and when I finally had the opportunity to take I class I was completely head-over-heels and couldn’t wait to tell everyone I knew about it.
Yoga has been a part of my life for a long time now, and in this second pregnancy it really was the one of the things that was missing. It felt amazing to be back on my mat and practicing at TYM. As an expecting mom the class was such a calm and relaxing experience, it was exactly what my mind and body needed. The flow was gentle, but I was still challenged by it and the instructor was so in tune to our needs; checking in throughout the class and even bringing me an extra blanket during relaxation because she could tell that I was getting cold.
The studio is completely set up for you when you walk in for a class, mats ready to go, blankets for relaxation and a pillow on every mat as well. You don’t need to bring anything with you to the studio except yourself, which is amazing! Motherhood has made me a little forgetful and I am always leaving the house forgetting something, so this was perfect. There are water/ tea stations and gorgeous sitting areas set-up throughout the multilevel studio so you can take your time before and after class, making your yoga practice more of an outing and giving you the option of socializing rather than just practicing and heading back home. I felt like I was at a spa and wholeheartedly embraced the whole experience.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with Toronto Yoga Mamas’ Founder and Director Jamie Kalynuik about the story behind this spectacular space. Jamie’s story is one of passion and persistence; her love for yoga, beautiful spaces and making mamas feel special comes through in every aspect of the TYM experience. Jamie is so connected with her clients and has developed a way for mothers to not only make time for self-care, but to also connect with each other through shared passions and experiences.
I am so happy to share Jamie’s story and this blooming boutique with all of you this month!
- Toronto Yoga Mamas is such a great concept and feels like a calm, serene escape for mamas, babies and families. What inspired you to develop a space like this?
So much of this came organically out of my love of yoga, business and my experience with dual training, it all came together to help me connect with moms on a different level. I started to see a relationship with yoga and birth (especially in the breathing techniques) and wanted help moms to bring their yoga practice into the labour. People come to their yoga mats to let go, reconnect and renew. I wanted to take this feeling and infuse it throughout our entire space. My hope is that when mamas walk in they are immediately greeted with feelings of peace and relaxation.
- Toronto Yoga Mamas is a yoga studio, but it’s also so much more! What makes TYM so unique?
We started with yoga and then simply grew with our community. The mamas were asking us for recommendations on education offerings and so we partnered with some of Toronto’s best educators and started offering educational workshops. This grew into doula care services in 2013, our baby retail boutique in 2014, and then lead to our wellness centre expansion in 2015.
- As someone who loves to be a part of a community TYM seems like the perfect space to be a part of. What was your overall model when developing the concept behind TYM? What makes it such a welcoming space for mamas, babies and families?
Everything we do from the décor, studio layout design, yoga schedule and complimentary organic tea is there to facilitate a sense of welcome and connection for our mamas. We create space between classes (slower transitions between classes) to give people time for connections. Opening prenatal classes with a round of intros, sharing things and breaking down that barrier that sometimes happens in a regular class. The space between classes, the tea time, the questions before class are all intentional to help create the sense of community.
We understand that pregnancy and motherhood can be an overwhelming journey and pretty isolating at times, so we wanted to offer up something more than being just a yoga studio. We wanted to become a place where mamas could relax and connect with each other, ask questions, share advice, make friends. It is amazing how many genuine friendships have grown between mamas meeting at our studio.
- From the moment I walked into the TYM East End space I felt calm and relaxed, it feels like a spa oasis! How would you describe the design aesthetic of the space?
Clean, fresh and welcoming. I love the beach and the feeling of relaxation it invokes, so I infused our style with aquas and whites. The music we play is relaxing to keep in flow with our wellness services. Our team takes great pride in our space so it is always clean and polished, but remains inviting and warm.
- There are so many amazing things offered at TYM; from yoga for expecting moms to doula training and educational workshops. What are some of the most popular options that you offer for mamas, babies and families?
Yoga is by far our most popular service, with over 40 classes offered a week. We love practicing prenatal yoga with the mamas throughout their pregnancy and then welcoming them back with their little ones for baby yoga. We offer free education sessions and wellness options like prenatal massage as well. We also rent out the space for baby showers!
- In addition to all of the regular classes, wellness options (like massage) and educational elements you also host some pretty awesome events! Can you tell us a little bit more about your shopping socials and other events?
The shopping socials grew from a simple idea of having a sale in our retail boutique, to adding champagne and making it more like a celebration to bringing in complimentary manicures and shifting it to an event where we could treat our community of mamas to a really beautiful experience that was much more than just shopping. This is one of the ways that we can give back to our clients, a way to say thank you.
- With a toddler at home and a little one on the way, I often find it difficult to take yoga classes, but after reading about your childcare options I was so excited! This is such a fabulous idea! How does this option work and what made you decide to add it to the TYM community?
Thank you! This new service was inspired directly from our mamas saying how they wish they could do as much yoga with their second baby as they did with their first…but they can’t because they now have a toddler at home. We are continually listening to our growing community and shifting and evolving our services around them. The response to our new childcare service has been beyond amazing. Not only are mamas enjoying yoga classes, but they are also treating themselves to wellness services like massage, while their little one is upstairs in childcare.
- It seems like every time I come to an event or check the website there is always something new and exciting happening at TYM. What are some of your hopes for the future of Yoga Mamas?
That is a big question with so many answers! I care so much for the business and our community. I love seeing mamas come back to us in their second pregnancy, I love hearing stories of mamas meeting in a yoga class and then growing into best friends. Our teaching, education, wellness, doula and admin team are beyond incredible and it’s amazing that we have created a business that is not only supporting mamas, but also employing so many women working in the birth industry. I have a lot of dreams for where I want Yoga Mamas to be, but the future is always shifting…so right now I am enjoying the journey and am so grateful to be working in something I love every day.
Toronto Yoga Mamas is celebrating it’s fourth anniversary this month! Be sure to head over to their website (here) for some fantastic giveaways and deals.