I have a friend, her name is Caitlin.  Like all the ladies that I have the pleasure of meeting and knowing both in friendship and in my work she is strong and beautiful, intelligent, complicated,  feisty and real!  Caitlin, who grew up as an athlete has spent much of her adult life struggling with her weight. In the last year has lost a whopping 100 pounds and has rediscovered her inner athlete and goddess.  She started coming to MuseMovement is the first month of the studio opening. She mentioned that she was in the maintenance stage with her weight and was nervous to stop almost obsessively going to all the combat and cardio classes (not to mention her Jillian Michaels videos) she had been attending that had helped her lose the weight and come back to her body.  I offered Caitlin a free month at MuseMovement Studio, confident in the guarantee of a regular practice of both yoga and Pilates. I wanted to show her what it could do for her body in this maintenance stage and perhaps in relieving some of that internal fear.  It has been a delight and a pleasure watching Caitlin's practice develop. She brings a determination, and eagerness to learn, to her practice that is both inspiring and contagious.  Caitlin has successfully maintained her weight but something else, something magical happened as well.   In her own words.....

“Communion urges us to come again and again to the place where we can know joy, to come and to celebrate, to join the circle of love” 

-Belle Hooks. 

"Who wouldn’t want to try as many yoga and Pilates classes as time would allow over the course of a month?  To be honest, a year ago, I would have said no.  Largely due to a discomfort I felt, a feeling of disconnect between my mind and body.  The person I am now, said yes, and cannot say enough about what I discovered at MuseMovement Studio. 

I have found a space to come again and again to access communion between mind and body, and to feel a sense of community.  Let me explain, because there is a backstory.  After a year of hard work, of using my body as a tool, I have lost close to 100 pounds and reached my goal weight. I have regained a healthy relationship to my body by remembering how to use it, to tame it, in turn rediscovering my inner athlete.  I spent a year driven by mind over body, a relationship of domination you could say.  What was missing is the opportunity to find communion, an experience of mind in unity with body.  I was reaping the benefits of improved health, but I had not experienced the sensation of harmony, one that accesses spirit.  Ultimately, and with great joy, this is what I have discovered at MuseMovement.  Now, I can safely say that it is my happy place, and I urge you to come and know this joy too.

Housed in the Artscape Youngplace, a building bustling with community and creativity, the MuseMovement space itself has a simple elegance and warmth reflective of the owner herself, Keri O’Meara.  There are art installations adorning the halls that seem to change weekly, encouraging patrons to leave with food for thought. Whether enjoying a morning class under beaming natural light coming through the windows, or whether delighting in an evening class under luminous candlelight, a view of the C.N Tower in the background, I find a welcoming energy in every class. 

The reception one feels is not simply about the space, it is about the wonderful teachers who inhabit it.  In my month of discovery of all that MuseMovement has to offer, I was guided in my practice by skilled women, whose teaching styles are diverse in tone yet share a common mood.  Each teacher has energy and style all her own, while keeping the atmosphere of grace and warmth that is MuseMovement’s vibe.  

Against likely the richest soundscape you’ll have the pleasure of hearing in any studio, I tried a variety of yoga and Pilates mat classes offered at the studio, and treated myself to the experience of reformer classes that open a whole new level of enjoyment. I challenged myself in different ways, from Yoga Flow or Pilates Flow classes in which the movement is more dynamic, playful even, to Yoga Deep or Pilates Deep mat classes in which the movements and poses are longer held to access stability and a deeper opening up.  I have found that I really love the mat class called Harmony, which blends the two practices, drawing on Pilates exercises to prepare for yoga poses.  Whatever the class, I was sure to experience a rewarding workout.  Having kicked up some heat, and calmed my mind, I would leave feeling a sense of wholeness.   The coolest experience, though, is definitely found in the reformer classes, which include a Cardio Reformer class.  The ability to add resistance and weight in the workout adds challenge and precision, and the machines are sleek and so fun to use, which makes the workout feel like a treat for yourself, one you want to commit to making part of your ritual. I am not the only one who loves the reformer classes, and demand for them is high, so I encourage you to sign up online to ensure a spot.  

In all the classes, I was encouraged to learn about my body in more ways than one, again because of the guidance of skillful teachers.  I revelled in Keri’s knowledge of anatomy and her ability to share this in a manner that is accessible to the new student, to use it to help us to visualize how to access the muscles in movements and stability in poses.  I was guided to use my body as an entrance point in opening my mind and spirit, using breath to create calm or verve.  The teachers all have a way of creating a safe space that encouraged me to move in ways I didn’t think possible at first.  In taking healthy leaps in the movement of my body, I was able to open my mind to what I was capable of doing – I was reminded of how thought can impede or inspire action, and MuseMovement inspires you to know joy in mindful effort to stir your body.  In doing this, in turn, you get to celebrate your spirit – creating a sense of communion that rejuvenates – one you can take with you beyond the studio. 

Whether being moved to feel those lovely happy tears evoked by endorphins, or to feel that good muscle soreness the next day, I found that I was regularly checking the schedule to see how quickly I could return.  In the end, my experience this month, and this kind offer from Keri O’Meara, is by far the best gift I have ever received – one I am grateful to have been in a place in my life to accept.  So whether you are new to yoga and Pilates like me, or practice regularly and are looking to make a new studio part of your routine, I urge you to come to MuseMovement; it is a wonderful space where you can commune with your mind and body, experience warmth of community, and find great joy. "

-Caitlin Burgess