The Aloha Yoga studio space on a sunny day (image via alohayoga.ca)

The Aloha Yoga studio on a sunny day (image via alohayoga.ca)

Oh dear, I’m getting behind on my Passport to Prana requirements! I’ve been going to classes, but haven’t had a chance to write about them ~ so I’m going to double up here. Last week I went to a class at Aloha Yoga, and the week before I went to Centre Kinèsphere. I’d only been to Aloha once, and I’d never been to Kinèsphere, and both studios were outside of my neighbourhood. So this adventure is actually starting to feel like an adventure, as I venture out of my comfort zone and into new territory!

These studios are at opposite ends of the yoga studio spectrum: Aloha promises “traditional yoga,” in a small and cozy street level space, whereas Kinèsphere is a contemporary studio, offering yoga along with Pilates, Feldenkrais, and lesser known modalities such as “Gyrotonic/Gyrokinesis” and “Wuji.”

First up: Centre Kinèsphere, where I went to a lovely Wednesday morning class with the charming Marie-Daphne (who looks like a yogic Betty Paige). The schedule promised a “Vinyasa Hatha” class, although she led us through a non-flowing practice, gentle yet focused with a Kripalu flavour. Although the class took place in a warm and bright yoga room looking over Avenue Mont Royal Est,  it was surprisingly quiet. This studio was one of four in this open-concept facility, which had a loft-like feel.

The Pilates studio was in the same space as the front desk and little hang out area, and I was fascinated by all the strange contraptions. I also saw my first Pilates reformer! In one of the other studio spaces, people were rolling around on balls, and a person received a private yoga class in another room. Kinesphère has a quiet and contained energy, and the space is beautiful and relaxing.

The following week, I went to a Thursday morning class at Aloha Yoga. It’s located at the corner of Bellechasse and Châteaubriand, and I think the space used to be a dépanneur or store of some sort. In one corner of the studio, there are big glass windows and a door that opens right onto the intersection (although this door isn’t used and the corner is blocked off with bamboo shades and plants). However, it’s not a particularly busy intersection, and the street noise doesn’t distract from the practice. Instead, it actually became a welcomed element, and made me feel very connected to the world.

I showed up for an 11am hatha class, with little idea of what to expect. To my surprise, the teacher was Angela Chiarella, the excellent former co-organizer of Dharma Punx Montreal, and it was lovely to see her again. I was the only person who showed up, so I got a blissful private practice! She lead me through a gently invigorating series, also with a Kripalu flavour. The Aloha space is cozy and laidback, and I actually felt like I was practicing in my living room.

So there you go: two classes at two studios, in different neighbourhoods with very different approaches to yoga. And both provided high quality instruction in a welcoming environment. Perhaps they’re not as different as they first appear…

Aloha Yoga
6089 Châteaubriand

Centre Kinesphere
1565 Mont Royal East

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