Iam Yoga

By on June 20, 2011

I can still remember it as if it were yesterday – it was our last day of high school and the crew from our all boys’ school were going on a massive cottage trip. We were all meeting at a friend’s house who had an older brother who was absolutely obsessed with working out. This guy was massive and preached about the benefits of steroids and growth hormone. His daily diet consisted of what seemed like a thousand protein shakes and one chicken breast. At that point in our lives, we all really didn’t care about fitness. We could eat the worst cafeteria food imaginable and still burn it off in seconds while playing one of the many sports we participated in after school (not to sound like Al Bundy but we were city rugby champs!). In a flash, however, this monster of a juicehead changed our lives forever – he popped in Pumping Iron and we were instantly glued to the television set watching. People were showing up ready to hit the road for the cottage but we didn’t care as this movie was mesmerizing. Arnold was not only living the life but he had this incredible physique and attitude. We were sold! Once we all returned from our weekend of debauchery up north, we were all getting in the best shape possible. I wanted to be Schwarzenegger ripped ASAP (without the ‘roids, of course!)

After years upon years of working out, my friends and I were at a standstill. No matter how many plates we benched or how many reps of grunting squats with thousands of pounds on the bar we did, we weren’t getting Arnold-huge. Our DNA, without outside assistance, just wasn’t that of a bodybuilder. Then things changed. As the mid-2000’s rolled around, physical fitness changed. Gone was heavy lifting and huge gorilla bodies – it morphed into a more dedicated balance of lean, long muscle – athleticism was in! When you really break it down, that’s probably what God intended. Working out changed too. It was no longer lifting as much as you could but finding other ways to work out with exercises designed to work multiple muscle groups at once and, more importantly, stimulate the mind too. Alternative workouts also entered the mainstream. One such a way was yoga.

Yoga has literally been practiced for thousands of years. Yoga in itself refers to traditional physical, mental and spiritual, originating in ancient India, whose goal is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility. However, in modern day Toronto, yoga has become a workout-de-jour for the young adult set. It’s not uncommon to see a bunch of folks walking around with yoga mats strapped to them as they walk down the street or ads for hot yoga joints all over the place. I was interested in giving it a try. Why not? I’ve never been praised for my flexibility so I thought I should at least give it a shot.
Recently, I visited iam yoga (iamyoga.ca) for a taste of what yoga was all about, specifically hot yoga. Linda Malone, teacher and owner, was kind enough to sit down with me in advance of the session to explain exactly what was ahead of me. With the influx of yoga studios popping up all over the city, I was given a synopsis of the history of the practice and how it’s been adapted to modern day society. Yoga has become a bit of a trendy thing to do but the practice has deep roots and there is a succinct rationale to every movement and pose. Linda’s classes would focus more on flows which suited me just fine – I wanted to sweat and work my pipes.

I entered the room – Jesus was it hot – like an afternoon on South Beach but sans the mojito. The next hour and a half consisted of perhaps one of the most intense and challenging workouts I’ve ever experienced. I was so proud in my youth to bench 225 and here I was unable to do more than 5 sun salutations because I was worn out! What was going on!?! However, the great thing about yoga is that it’s all about yourself. I didn’t have a bunch of ginos observing my every rep but had a number of classmates who were so focused in their own practice that competition is not in the cards. Additionally, Linda was extremely helpful in correcting technique and form. Exactly what I needed since I’m about as flexible as a ruler. The greatest benefit? It was a workout for the mind as well. I came into the class with a very busy brain but, as the class went on, I found myself increasingly relaxed. By the time final shavasana came around, my mind was clear and re-energized.


The workout was amazingly intense – perhaps one of the most challenging I’ve ever experienced in my life. My body was forced to do things it had never done but rather than feeling fatigued the muscles felt alive and energized. The best part was the post-workout shower. As I peeled off my sweat engulfed clothes (and I used engulfed because they were literally as wet as they would be coming out of the wash), my body was ready for some relief. As I took a nice shower, I felt like so many toxins were pouring away from my skin and down the shower drain. So many impurities were leaving my body. How can you go wrong? A great workout, a clear mind and a deep cleansing of the skin? You can’t ask for more!

Not only do I highly recommend hot yoga to even the most macho of men but I have to give full props to I Am Yoga. Kudos to Linda on her very welcoming and friendly environment but, most of all, for the personalized and generous touch she gives to each and every person who practices with her! Considering his recent personal troubles, maybe Arnold should give it a try too!


iam yoga
661 Yonge St. Suite 300
Toronto, ON
M4Y 1Z9

@iamyoga @lululemon @iamyogalinda #toronto #yoga

About Mike Black

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