We love any unique take on a yoga class, so when we heard Chi Junky was introducing a hip hop yoga class, we ran right over to try the first session.
It may seem like an unlikely pairing, but hip hop beats and yoga are a perfect pair. If you were at our Zen Things I Hate About You event in June, you experienced Chi Junky’s unique take on hip hop yoga firsthand. Imagine beats from Kendrick Lamar and Lauryn Hill guiding you through your practice, or Beyonce playing as you flow through a vinyasa. That class, called Sweat Flow: Hip Hop Edition, is now a weekly fixture on the Chi Junky schedule and we headed to the studio to check out the first installment.
Chi Junky is a hidden gem, nestled on a quiet street in Leslieville. In a city packed with yoga studios, owner and instructor, Rachelle Wintzen has created a completely unique boutique yoga space. Open for four years, Chi Junky offers small class sizes (no more than 14), killer playlists, complimentary yoga equipment, organic tea, alkaline water and towel service.
When you walk through the front door, you immediately realize you have found a special place. The wood floors, high ceilings and exposed brick create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The reception room/office has a couch and chairs and many yogis chilled there or on the chairs inside the main door as they waited for class to start.
Inside the practice room, there are no mirrors and this is an intentional design feature. The idea is to help yogis let go of what they look like and focus more about what they feel like. You have to listen carefully to instructor cues and how your body feels, rather than focusing on the person beside you or how your new workout top looks in the mirror.
As a former dancer, Rachelle tapped into her love of music to create the studio’s newest class. Music makes people move and feel, so what’s better than cranking up the volume and giving yourself the time to be out of your head and in your body?
Candles and soft lighting set the mood before class, which begins in child’s pose. We moved into downward dog and soon began our hip hop yoga flow. Rachelle and her assistant made their way around the room to adjust yogis who indicated they were open to adjustments, and assist by deepening the stretch. Soon the promise of a good sweat was delivered and as we moved from pose to pose, the music keeping us motivated and energetic. Our classes ended as all classes at Chi Junky do, with their signature essential oils massage during savasana.
What would Rachelle want someone new to say about her studio after leaving their first class? “I’m addicted I’m coming back!” It’s this philosophy and the little touches at Chi Junky that make this studio unique and a must visit.