We recently had the opportunity to speak with Keri of Muse Movement, an incredible movement studio in Toronto.
Well TO Do: Please introduce yourself to the Well To Do readers.
MuseMovement: Hey WTD readers, I’m Keri, a Movement Instructor and Creator of Muse Movement Studio in Toronto. Along with my amazing crew of teachers we provide classes that are fresh, fun and relevant to a modern and urban lifestyle. Various movement practices have changed our lives and so we are excited about sharing our passion and trying to bring that inspiration to our students.
WTD: Can you share with readers how the vision of Muse Movement became a reality?
MM: The students that come to the studio and the enthusiastic crew of teachers that work here, the Muse community, have turned it into a reality. I had an idea and got crazy lucky in finding the perfect location. But the magic is what happens in that space.
I wanted to create a studio that provided more than just a pilates or yoga class, but provided an experience for people. People are investing their precious time and money into their movement practice and so it’s important to me that they feel positive about it from the moment they walk in the door. They are also trusting us with their bodies. That’s a big deal and we don’t take that for granted. An inclusive, un-intimidating, fun, relaxing and humorous atmosphere is of utmost importance to me as is knowledgeable and approachable instructors so that people feel safe and can ask questions and get engaged with their practice. There was a lot of non-sexy, hard work on the back end that went into making this vision a reality; lots of missteps, a lot of stubbornness, tenacity and an unwillingness to have it any other way. Ultimately though, just showing up every day, being present, being real, teaching with passion, caring about each student and the small details have really contributed to making this dream a reality.
WTD: Muse Movement offers pilates reformer classes, yoga classes and movement based classes. Please explain why this diverse offering is important to the studio.
MM: Variety is the spice of life. I think what’s really special about Muse Movement is that the teachers all have different backgrounds and contribute something unique to the studio. What we have in common is that we are able to think on our feet and accommodate who walks in the door while also challenging them. I have seen so many people with injuries from repetition in life, whether it’s from your work or your practice or your habits. I just think that one way of doing things is dangerous, unbalanced, boring as #$^%, and ultimately, stagnant for your body, brain and soul. You gotta shake shit up. We get a lot of inspiration from different places. Listen, Joseph Pilates created his method almost a hundred years ago. Think about how much our lifestyles have changed since then. We wouldn’t be doing anyone a service if we didn’t incorporate new modalities, new and constantly changing understandings of the body and diversity into how we teach.
WTD: In addition to the variety of classes that are offered at Muse Movement, you offer a Movement & Creativity series. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
MM: My tag line is Move Your Body, Move your Mind, Move Your Heart. When we move and connect to our bodies, we open ourselves up to creativity in all aspects of our lives. This past fall, our workshops and classes were inspired by this theme. Each season offers a new theme. This winter, we are doing an Empowerment Series. We will be focusing on finding your power (which I think is connected to your creativity), both on and off the mat. We’ve added a Strength, Grace and Function Class to the schedule as well. I will be participating in a field trip to Washington for the Women’s March in January, leading a collective intention and power meditation as we drive into the city. We will also be adding some educational workshops, like anatomy 101, and we are working on more collaborations with other strong and inspiring female entrepreneurs in Toronto. So stay tuned – there is going to be a lot of cool stuff happening at Muse Movement in the next few months!
WTD: There is a strong sense of community within the studio. Why is creating an environment where the community can come together essential to you?
MM: Oh gosh, community is key. Sometimes you wanna go where every body knows your name. No one wants to feel like a number. It’s so important to feel a part of something and to have a safe place to go. There can be a lot of disengagement in this fast-paced metropolis, and I feel that community is the antidote to that. Working out can feel like a chore, or really intimidating and daunting. By creating an inclusive community and a collective sense of achievement, we hope to make it a positive experience. Sometimes I look around the room and think, “man, this is all really happening” – it’s working because just look at the amazing and inspiring folks that Muse Movement is attracting. They all get it and are interested in doing this collectively.
WTD: The studio is located in the Artscape building at 180 Shaw Street. Why was this location the perfect space for Muse Movement?
MM: Artscape is such a wonderful organization that brings people together, also with a strong mandate for community and creativity. I mean, even the story of how Artscape Youngplace came to be is so inspiring. It used to be a school and it was about to be taken over by developers, who were probably going to tear it down, and Artscape came along and engaged the neighbourhood to come up with its current concept of an open to the public “community cultural hub.” It’s brilliant. The fact that Muse Movement is in a converted classroom is so perfect as we are trying to help people learn about their bodies. And it’s such a gorgeous and healing space with all the good JuJu!
WTD: Congratulations is in order as your 2-year anniversary is coming up on January 10th! What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned so far on this journey?
MM: OMG! I cannot believe how many there have been. Do I have to choose one? Patience. Passion is infectious. Team is key- invest in the right people. Just do you and don’t spend time worrying what people think. Your instincts are correct. Don’t make decisions when you’re tired, and don’t force things. Self-care is key.
WTD: What’s next for Muse Movement?
MM: A teacher-training program is in the works. I mentioned the empowerment series and some collaborations. We’re going to be doing some more pop up dance classes because those have been a hit. You know, people “just wanna dance.” They want have fun, let loose and giggle and we are bringing more opportunities to do so to the studio. But mainly, just continuing to grow the community and give Muse a little massage time. The last two years have been a whirlwind learning curve and I’d like to sit back and just appreciate what has formed.
WTD: What’s exciting you most about the Toronto wellness scene right now?
MM: Again, it’s empowerment. People are understanding that health and wellness means body, brain and soul. I see that people are educating themselves and making informed holistic decisions about their well-being. I am thrilled when my students ask me questions. This is them taking power, not just doing things because they were told to, but actively engaging and taking an interest. That is mindfulness. Right now, more than ever, this is important. We need to wake up collectively and that starts with each individual doing what is best for their own physical, mental/emotional health.
WTD: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
MM: YES! Well to Do Readers – we wanna move with you. Here is a Promo Code for you to try out one of our classes with a 15% discount: WTDR. If you are interested in any of our Empowerment Series Workshops and to do’s, keep and eye on our social feeds, @muse_movement and on our website.
Thanks to Emma Arkell for the fabulous photos.