Plus Size Yoga in T.O.

If you live in Toronto and have been wanting to try yoga but did not want to join a thin and trim class of awkwardness then there is another option. Suzanne Gracan of YogaZonePLUS emailed me today to let me know about their yoga classes/workshops created specifically for larger people. woman in sitting pose

They currently have two classes a week that run for 8 weeks each. New classes for Wednesday (6:00 to 7:00 p.m.) start on March 21st and new classes for Sunday (9:45 to 10:45 a.m.) start on March 25th. Currently these classes are held at 509 Bloor St. W.

At the moment the prices seem a bit hefty to me but I am not familiar with the cost of yoga classes in T.O. Their 8 Class Package is $160 ($20.00/class) for once a week. If you want to go twice a week it is discounted to $288 ($18.00/class).

YogaZonePLUS currently rents spaces and is looking for suggestions for other locations (and times) in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can get 6 friends (max 10) together to start a new class and have a location suggestion give them a call.

Update: Suzanne gave me an explanation of the pricing –>

“First, our classes aren’t the ‘typical’ yoga studio classes, they are a beginner workshop. If you compare our prices to other beginner workshops, we are very competitive. I’ve seen workshops charge up to $40/class. Our only plus size yoga competitor in Toronto charges $30/class for a package of 6 classes. We include all equipment such as yoga mats, straps and bolsters and maximum class size is only 10 people so we can provide individual attention and modifications to allow for body size and various medical conditions. In Toronto, the average class price is $16-18 for a drop-in, they don’t provide individual attention or modifications for larger people, equipment rental is an extra fee and there are usually upwards of 40 people in a class.”

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Topic Links
* Learn more about YogaZonePLUS’s plus size yoga classes at official website
* Learn more about DIY plus size yoga

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Comments

  1. I’m so glad to hear of more yoga classes available for bigger people! I am “the competitor” (I prefer to see us all as complementary to each other rather than competitive!). I’ve been teaching Yoga for Round Bodies™ in Toronto for over eight years and am glad I am no longer the only one! Welcome to the block!

    Good luck, Suzanne, I hope you’ll be in touch,
    Tiina

    (btw, my 1.5hr classes are $30… the 1.25hr classes are $25… I have also received occasional feedback that my class cost is higher “than usual”… my maximum class size is 10-12 and I too provide all gear… I don’t feel that our fees are out of range at all. People forget to consider that many $18-20 drop-in classes may have upwards of 20, even 30 students (sometimes even more, gah). When the numbers get this high, the opportunity for personal attention disappears. I think your fees, and mine, reflect the quality and safety of the experience for students. Not to mention rental fees in downtown Toronto are astronomical… classes have to be sustainable to continue.

  2. This sounds great but I agree that the price is still up there. The other class that is $30 a pop is a 1 hour and 45 min class – and that is too much money as well.

    It would be lovely is one of these forwarding thinking women would consider holding plus size yoga classes in a bigger studio space to allow for larger class sizes and therefore lower prices. There are certainly enough plus size people in Toronto to fill a larger studio space. This would be win win for the instructor and the students. A plus size person should not have to pay any more for a yoga class than a less plus person. That would be like a massage therapist saying they have to charge a plus size person more to allow for modifications and medical conditions.

  3. Hi Jennie,
    I appreciate your feedback, and perhaps the following will help to illuminate further.

    Personally, I don’t want to teach more than 12 students at a time, whether the students are plus-size or not. It allows me to actually *teach* a class, as opposed to only *leading* a class. BIG difference. In big classes, the opportunity for personal attention disappears, and in my opinion, this can also lead to injuries, especially with beginners. I can keep students safer and address some individual issues in my classes because of their small size, which I would not be able to do in a big class.

    It’s not all as simple as it sounds! I’ve been teaching Yoga for Round Bodies™ in Toronto for over 8 years, and for the first 5 years it was very difficult to find reliable studio space, and I was constantly moving the class. It was impossible to get the program really going until I had a dedicated space. It is downtown Toronto where rent is very high and gets reflected in the end cost to the consumer.

    In my classes, students have an exceptional experience precisely because the class size is small, which means I can keep a close eye on everyone, and they get personal attention and modifications, keeping everyone safe, which is always my highest goal. My fees would be the same whether I was teaching plus-size people or not, especially if they’re beginners. It’s got nothing to do with charging plus-size people more, it’s got to do with the size of class, and the location. I am also able to share my extensive clinical experience and anatomy knowledge with my students… most certified yoga teachers have 200-350 hours of training, some 500hrs… I have over 1,500hrs (yep)! To boot, as an RMT, Ontario massage therapy education is 2,200 hours (as compared to the U.S. where most states require only 500hrs, and only two states require more at 1,000hrs). Further, I am an anatomy educator. Students get the benefit of all of this when they attend my classes. When students come to my class, part of what they are paying for is being kept safe by being in a small group and the benefit of my knowledge. (Some places offering yoga classes require teachers to only have “YogaFit 1″–a certification system more common in the U.S. but is used here, too–to teach classes, which is less than 20 hours of training!! Please check credentials when you are seeking a yoga class. Would you want anyone with 20 hours of training to have anything to do with your body?) As a long time RMT, I have seen too many yoga-related injuries cross my table to want to teach large classes, especially with beginners.

    We need more and more knowledgeable teachers out there teaching these special classes. My contribution to make this happen was to begin offering comprehensive trainings for yoga teachers to learn the art of teaching Yoga for Round Bodies™ classes, so it will spread to more and more communities. Maybe one of my grads will end up near you, in a cheaper space than mine, with lower class costs, who knows? :)

  4. Hi Tina, I wrote back to Maureen after she posted the piece explaining the reason for our pricing because she had mentioned she thought they seemed ‘hefty’. I never expected her to post the update (but am very glad she did) I meant no disrespect by calling you the ‘competition’. I think you are a very intelligent, very well qualified yoga instructor and I have the utmost respect for you. Toronto is a huge city and there is certainly room for both our businesses to thrive. Once I complete my 200hr certificate I look forward to getting certified by Yoga For Round Bodies.

  5. Jennie, I’d like to address one more reason why YogaZonePLUS classes are a little more costly than average. (Tina covered all the others) Most of the students that attend the larger body yoga classes are absolute beginners or have done a few classes here and there. They require more attention and modifications to poses to allow for curves and individual ability. As Tiina said, to ensure individual attention, classes must be kept very small, thus making overhead very expensive. You’re not comparing apples to apples. Compare our classes (and Tiina’s, if I may speak for her) to beginner workshops at regular studios and then you have a more fair comparison. As I said above, I’ve seen workshop classes that were $40 each for a series of 8.

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