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YOGA Pranayam Centre is situated on the Danforth, just steps away from Chester Station. The studio offers Kripalu Yoga, Tai Chi Chuan, and workshops focused on yoga and meditation. Owner Brigitte Kortright may be as great a storyteller as she is a yoga teacher. Sitting comfortably in lotus position, Brigitte tells of the time she was attending her first meditation class at 14. “We had to visualize a rose. I couldn’t because I’m not visual. So meditation, I decided, was not for me. Because I couldn’t visualize roses,” she explains.

Thankfully, her instructor had set out a selection of books for sale. Brigette picked up a little red one, Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda, and sifted through the book, stopping at a particular line that mesmerised her. Brigitte recalls the idea: if an individual has a soul, they should be able to experience it. “It’s about paying attention to what’s inside a person. Being present in the inner life of you,” she explains, “So I bought this book and it was my red thread all through.”

And a strong thread it’s been; Brigitte has continued to study yoga ever since that fateful day and has been teaching yoga and meditation practices on the Danforth since 1989. Throughout the years, she’s been known to end her classes with an interesting idea for students to ruminate. If they're lucky, the message will be delivered in the form of a suspenseful, dazzling tale.

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East end Toronto yoga studios

East end Toronto yoga studios

Offering a choice of four classes a week in kripalu yoga – a kind of gentle hatha technique – you can also take advantage of a meditation session once weekly to complement your practice. The focus is on beginner and intermediate students. You can drop in class-by-class or purchase 10 or 20 yoga class passes, which work out to be cheaper. If you want some personal attention, private lessons are an option. Mats are provided.

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