In her days as a litigator at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Laura Baron often turned to yoga to re-energize, ease back and neck pain and improve focus. But there were no dedicated yoga studios near her Bay Street office, just a few gyms that happened to offer classes. “As a lawyer, it’s hard to justify a hefty monthly membership when you can’t commit to going on a regular basis.”
Baron spotted a business opportunity. So, she left Faskens, where she worked for almost four years after summering and articling at the firm, to found Yoga Be — which opened in August with a full roster of classes, some specifically geared towards the needs of hardworking lawyers and other professionals. For instance, a 3 p.m. “Better than Coffee Yoga Break” class is just 20 minutes long — and Baron says you can do it in your suit. And “Computer Back” focuses on stretching and strengthening the muscles in the neck and back. “Whether it’s 20 minutes or an hour and a half, it’s just taking that first step and getting on the mat that counts.”
Yoga Be’s classes start as early as 6:30 a.m. and clients have a choice of a 45-minute or 60-minute class at lunch. With either option, you can pre-order a meal from the popular vegan and glutenfree Kupfert & Kim and pick it up from Yoga Be staff as you head to the office. “This way, you don’t have to choose between a healthy lunch and doing your yoga practice,” says Baron. (As a bonus, you won’t have to wait in Kupfert & Kim’s notoriously long lineup.) Located in the MetroCentre on Wellington Street West, Yoga Be is also the first dedicated yoga studio to open in Toronto’s underground PATH system.
Baron insists that her move from litigator to entrepreneur wasn’t a response to burnout or dissatisfaction with the legal profession. “I loved being a lawyer. I still use my legal skills in contract negotiation and business management,” she says. “But I saw an opportunity and felt called to follow my dream.”