Inside Mindset, a new brain gym in Yorkville
The rise of alternative fitness classes like CrossFit and aerial yoga have given Toronto’s fitness junkies trendy ways to tone their bodies, but the latest way to get into shape is less about physical gains and more about mental stamina. A new meditation-focused gym opened at Bay and Cumberland this summer, and its appeal extends to anyone whose search for enlightenment includes a touch of regimen. Mindset was co-founded by Sean Finnell, a McGill business grad with a background in marketing strategy. He discovered meditation a few years back, but was more interested in the practical applications of the practice. “Most people channel mantras and chakras,” he says. “I was more inspired by people like Ray Dalio—a hedge fund guy who uses meditation as a tool in fitness.”
Inside the studio, members ditch their shoes at the door, check their phones into a charging station and are welcomed into a calming space bathed in soft lighting and infused with a custom essential oil blend. The meditation room can fit 25 ergonomic vegan leather bolsters and the main wall is lined with Nanoleaf LED light panels that alternate colours and patterns. Class members are given Muse headbands, which measure mental activity throughout the session, and an instructor guides them through meditation. “It’s not about quieting the mind,” says Finnell. “But rather returning to the breath.” Clients can choose from a range of straightforward, intention-based classes that focus on topics including creativity, focus and dealing with stressful situations.
On display at the entrance is Mindset’s meditation journal, in which members can record the results of their sessions:
There’s a library with a selection of books devoted to mental fitness:
Each locker has a built-in charging station for cellphones:
Inspirational quotes are painted on the gym’s walls:
The lounge area is a peaceful place to relax, with birch trunks as decor:
There’s also a bar with complimentary kombucha on tap:
And a special blend of green tea they made with The Honest Leaf:
Here’s the meditation studio, which has space for 25 students. At the end of class, students can check their statistics to see when their brain activity spiked or dipped. Anyone who prefers a private meditation session can book a small room called the “stillness pod” and choose from pre-recorded meditation sessions:
Drop-in classes are $25 and a five-class package is $100. Students can also purchase unlimited memberships that start at $150 per month.
62 Cumberland St., mindsetbraingym.com.