I find myself driving around this new-to-me city over-and-over again. I’ve moved here without research. I came to slow down, to afford life, to not be in the “other city” with all its anxiety.
I’m cruising the gritty streets, but what am I looking for? I’m still shrugging off the panic and hurry mixed with snobbish entitlement to speed of service and round-the-clock entertainment.
Months have gone by and I find I am falling in love. Scattered among the crumbling architecture south of the Gatsby-esque ash heaps, I have found the most beautiful art, coffee, and food, and now … yoga.
SURU (meaning to begin, in Sanskrit) is a small yoga studio located in Barton Village, a three minute drive from Ottawa Street. Owned and operated by Karen Parucha, who is a fellow ex-Torontonian whose dream it was to start her own studio in Barton Village and buy a little cottage outside the city.
The cottage hasn’t happened—she ended up in a house in the village—but half of her dream has come true. I’m not sure she knows the positive impact it has had on her new community.
Karen has been practicing yoga for 15-years and her qualifications allow her to not only guide all the “usual” classes, but she also does athletic yoga for runners, corporate yoga in boardrooms for Hamilton Health Services, and she took yoga therapy training which she uses in her classes.
I had not done yoga in six years and the idea of it has been terrifying to me. I’m out of shape and inflexible, two things that seem to contradict yoga itself. However, today, at approximately 15 classes in, I have no pain. The physical pain that I have been experiencing, has finally started moving out.
I had not done yoga in six years and the idea of it has been terrifying to me.
SURU used to be a gallery, I am told, and Karen’s vision was to elevate yoga in Hamilton by making it inclusive and accessible. The teachers are all beyond proficient in their practice but this is the first time ever that I have not felt the sighing, eye rolling, displeasure of an instructor becoming impatient with people like me for not being able to keep up.
There are pay what you can classes, a cannabis friendly class, all the usual classes that studios offer, as well, there are rainbow flow classes that hold space for the LBGTQ+ community. They provide the mats, blankets and all the props.
There are pay what you can classes, a cannabis friendly class, all the usual classes that studios offer, as well, there are rainbow flow classes that hold space for the LBGTQ+ community.
Karen incorporated in 2018 and began her build-out which includes single occupancy washrooms, showers, and larger change rooms. The studio is completely grounding with its original oak flooring. The lighting is soft, overhead, dimmed and mixed with candles. During final Vinyasa some of the teachers offer to help with grounding by applying pressure to your shoulders (with firm hands doused in essential oils) to sink you deeper into relaxing bliss.
If you’ve been looking to add some meditation and movement into your new decade, I would highly recommend SURU as a place to land.