Solis Movement is my new favourite fitness studio. I checked out this bright and spacious lounge-feel fitness spot just before the pandemic broke out. I had plans of heading back to beautiful Etobicoke based studio weekly, making the trek cross town for the deliberate intention of a) maybe some time off for mom, catching up on podcasts on my drive out and b) the workout is insane!
Solis Movement has been taking their programming online during lockdown, utilizing Instagram Live to get their core contingent moving. The pause couldn’t really come for a worse time to anyone who opened recently, the CERB payouts barely cut it and the heavy burden of a big build-out are still looming.
The concept is based on the popular HIIT x Hot Yoga classes that owner Laura Parise taught at BeHot Yoga in Old Town. She saw an opportunity out west and asked if they would be open to franchising- they weren’t, and Laura saw an opportunity to branch out and make the concept even better.
With her partner in life and now business by her side, Laura set her sights high and got to work with Jeffrey Whale. They’ve been together for over 9 years, but didn’t set out to work together too. Jeffrey walked me through the studio that sunny day, and it was a clear love letter to Laura. He absolutely gushed about her vision, her design, her dream, it was quite lovely to hear someone’s partner so devoted to not only them, but the realization of her happiness. There’s blood, sweat and tears poured into this space, Jeffrey shared the painstaking details that went into the design, the devil in the details that sets this space apart.
Acting as General Contractors, the couple set their sites on a beautiful second story space flanked with floor to ceiling windows and a view of Lakeshore Blvd. Both held down their full-time jobs during the renovation, with Laura chosing all the components and design details. On top of the long hours and missed weekends during their build out Jeffrey suffered a nasty foot injury requiring surgery to fix the break. Converting the once bachelor apartment to a meticulous and yogi friendly space was ambitious but paid off. The big open room proved perfect for their flavour of hot yoga and HIIT classes, which Laura dictated must be infrared technology, a genius move considering how most hot yoga studios rely on a steady flow of heat from some icky HVAC ventilation systems. Here, the heat is delivered precisely through ceiling panels designed to deliver the optimal experience, with Solis’ studios hovering from 30°C and up.
Infrared heat isn’t just cleaner for your lungs, it’s also detoxifying, good for your skin and mood. The panels mean the heat isn’t wafting in from one gross corner, it flows down and meets you on your mat. It’s proven to boost your mood and lift your spirit, just another fundamental of Laura’s practice. The classes are taught by a host of fitness enthusiasts, Laura’s BFF and Mom also teach a few classes. Not relegated to just yoga, Solis brings everyone together with Mom and Baby classes, beginner yoga to intense high heat HIIT offerings that will remind you why you’re thankful for their sumptuous bathroom accommodations.
The goal of this community minded studio is have their members leave happier and healthier. Simple, right? But Laura and Jeffrey are acutely aware that not everyone can can afford a fitness routine. From the start, a karma (or free) was on schedule, and even during this financially difficult time, they’ve put their members first and continued their offerings virtually.
“It’s been the best experience of my life, hands down,” says Jeffrey. We can’t wait to return and feel the warmth in person!
Thank you to Solis for introducing Auburn Lane readers to your space!
All photos by Libby Roach.