Yoga for a buck?

[Vues sur la Bourgogne, Vol 5, no 1 – Spring 2016]

Yoga teachers from a popular Griffintown studio have been heading to Little Burgundy to hold weekly classes at the Little Burgundy Coalition. The 45-minute sessions are open to everyone in the community, even for those who have never tried yoga before.

Best of all: it only costs a dollar to attend.

Classes take place Thursdays, from noon to 12:45. They work on a pay-what-you-can basis, with the suggested donation set at just a loony. Yoga mats are provided, so all it takes is some comfortable clothing for easy stretching.

Studio Breathe, which had already been hosting donation-based community classes in its own space for some years, started the Little Burgundy sessions in 2014, initially as a way for staff at the Coalition and their community partners to unwind through yoga during their busy week. While the yoga sessions have always been open to anyone who lives in Little Burgundy, many neighbourhood residents are unaware they exist. Both the Coalition and the studio are eager to put the word out and have more people join in.

“We wanted to have bigger outreach to other people,” agrees Kimiko Fujimoto, co-owner of Studio Breathe and one of the yoga teachers who volunteers regularly at the Coalition.

A typical class sees around 10-12 people show up. Classes are bilingual, and Fujimoto says the diversity of the attendees is a big part of what makes the classes so welcoming:

“Yoga can become this universal language. I’ve had older people, I’ve had younger people, I’ve had all [types] of cultures and ages and family members. Sometimes the parents bring their kids. So it’s a very eclectic group, and I think that people feel comfortable seeing that everybody’s here.”

Haha yoga, offered in the community classes, is a gentle form of yoga that focuses on breathing. “It’s a chance for you to relax and let go,” says Fujimoto. “It’s not like a gym workout.”

She also urges people who are new to yoga not to be intimidated by what may sometimes seem like a fitness trend reserved for those in peak physical shape.

“You don’t have to be a yogi to do yoga. Yoga is really for everybody. [It’s] a chance for you to be yourself, and we teach in a way that helps to optimize that in your body.”

Donations collected from the classes go to the Coalition or other community organizations.

Studio Breathe’s Griffintown space is a 7000 square-foot loft overlooking the Lachine Canal. Breathe offers a variety of yoga classes, including hot yoga, as well as fighting sports like boxing, kickboxing and karate, in addition to pilates and a range of fusion classes. Members can purchase unlimited passes or class cards to attend their choice of classes at the studio. The studio’s Karma Energy Exchange Programme allows community members to provide their time and energy in helping to keep the studio clean in exchange for access to classes.

Learn more about Studio Breathe by visiting: or visit the studio: 1744, rue William.

Community Yoga Classes
Thursdays, 12:00pm-12:45pm
741 rue des Seigneurs
(514) 931-4302
$1 per class

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