Hotel X Toronto is combating travel woes by being the site to a new pop-up yoga and fitness experience featuring 50 private, clear, geodesic domes standing 7 feet tall and 12 feet wide with 110 square feet of personalized space.
LMNTS Outdoor Studio, pronounced elements, has partnered with locally based 10XTO, Solis Movement, BeHot Yoga, Mula Yoga, Common Ground, Chi Junky, John Victa of Body by Chosen, Beverley Cheng of Born to Sweat, and Kelsey Rose Fitness in offering up to 6 wellness classes daily, 7 days a week now through July 31.
“There have been many moments, either when I’m practicing in my own dome or teaching a class up on stage, that my breath is taken away from the sheer beauty of this experience – looking up at the clear blue sky or evening stars,” expressed Kay Ghajar, a yoga instructor at 10XTO, located inside Hotel X. For the passed 3 months Ghajar has been teaching virtual classes but still felt disconnected. Beyond not being able to provide her students with proper feedback on their practice, online classes became a cause of distraction. Without fully immersing in the present experience, it’s all too easy to look at the clock, check emails, or send text messages. “We’ve all been working hard to connect with our students during the pandemic. I feel grateful to be amongst humans again and hopeful for where we are headed despite so much being uncertain right now.”
Founder of LMNTS Outdoor Studio, Steve Georgiev, has a background in “bringing innovative ideas to life.” The domes, made in Canada, are actually repurposed from a former pop-up event, Dinner With A View.
“Now more than ever, Torontonians are looking for things to do and ways to get outside again while maintaining physical distancing. We wanted to provide a creative way for people to do just that while supporting local businesses,” Georgiev said. Thats when he brought in Laura Parise, founder of Solis Movement, to incorporate small studios struggling during the pandemic. “We pride ourselves on providing our community with a safe and responsible fitness experience, supporting local business, providing jobs to instructors across the city, as well as supporting mental health in our community.”
Courtney Henderson saw the classes advertised on Instagram and craved the in group setting, something sorely missed since March. “I knew friends that had attended classes and feedback was positive. The whole experience exceeded my expectations. It was glorious to be with a tribe again. The experience itself was super unique – I mean how many people can say they did a bubble workout?”
The workouts take place at the Stanley Barracks (North Plaza Patio) of Hotel X. Each dome aims to emulate a hot yoga studio, where temperatures exceed 100ºF, adjusted appropriately using heaters and fans. The classes are an hour apart to ensure that, before and after every session, 1 of 12 full-time professional cleaning staff thoroughly sanitizes each dome “using botanical disinfectant that eliminates 99.9% of known viruses.”
It’s a creative way to stay active, healthy, and distantly mindful. The intimate yet open concept creates a sense of security mixed with the enthusiasm of a group setting once again. Brianna Taggio, owner of Ontario based event floral design company Sweet Stems Floral, noted, “The team did a great job at following protocol. This experience was great.”
Infusing the classes with the outdoors creates an element of serenity to support mental health during otherwise stressful pandemic. Students and instructors alike find themselves connecting again, in a way that felt began to feel lost.
“As a yoga instructor, teaching online has presented its challenges. The real magic and transformation happens when we’re flowing in community, feeling each other’s energy, uniting our breath and sharing love. LMNTS has provided that opportunity to come together again and share those experiences. It has truly been a beautiful process, meeting new faces, seeing old friends, and creating magic in this unique setting,” said instructor Carlene Karuna.
Kayla LaChance teaches yoga variations, sculpt and tone, and hot HIIT Pilates. “After a sunset, slow flow class a student came up to me and thanked me. She realized that there is no other feeling like the peace of mind at the end of an in person yoga class. Another student said that it took her from a state of perpetual unknown to something comfortable and inviting.” As an instructor, LaChance has found calm in the process through connecting to others in a community setting, something virtual teaching can never replace.