[Profile] Linda Malone | Iam Yoga | Blu Matter project | #WellbeingWednesday

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Putting the finishing touches on her newly constructed yoga studio, Linda Malone can add “construction worker”, “project manager” and “designer” to her extensive and impressive list of experience.

The new-and-improved 6000 square foot Iam Yoga is set to open at Yonge and Bloor in late March, just across the street from its previous location which Malone opened in 2009.

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Malone got her start in the yoga industry when she took a leave-of-absence from her marketing career to work as a manager for a midtown yoga studio. “I reached a point after years in marketing where I wanted to help people more directly” she says. “I took that as an opportunity to explore the industry. It’s one thing to enjoy a yoga class every now and then, it’s different if you live and breathe it.”

The word “Iam” translates to “present” or “mindful” in Latin.

“Life is short, we live in a city that’s so fast-paced and we’re surrounded by so much change that it means a lot to be able to slow down and have authentic interaction with people” says Malone. “Technically we sell yoga classes, but we’re in the business of creating the space and the experience so that every customer coming through the door feels better, more grounded, healthier and happier when they leave than when they enter.”

After a year of business at Iam Yoga’s previous location, Malone started looking for a new location. “A building as large and beautiful as the current one is somewhere I can grow a business” she says. “From the perspective of the needs and wants of Iam Yoga’s customer base, this space is going to give us the opportunity to offer a full range of classes.”

The new building was designed in 1883 by E.J. Lennox, the same architect who built Casa Loma. Malone plans to add aerial yoga and ballet barre to Iam Yoga’s range of classes, which already includes core flow and “sweaty balls,” a pilates-based class including exercise balls.

Malone’s desire to improve the well-being of Torontonian’s doesn’t stop there.

Her younger brother, Michael, passed away from suicide in 2012. After a few hard months and many days when she felt she couldn’t get out of bed, Malone founded Blu Matter Project, a not-for-profit initiative that aims to connect those with depression and bipolar to the practice of yoga. Blu Matter Project has a research partnership with U of T and raises mental illness awareness through social media and public events.

“We could put a lot of time and money into trying to figure out what we already know, which is that yoga helps everyone” says Malone. “But we’re looking into taking what we’re learning and finding ways to reach out to people who are still struggling or finding it hard to self-motivate.”

Blu Matter Project has upcoming initiatives, like free workshops and a yoga therapy training which is expected to start in 2015.

 

<<Click the Image Below to Learn More about the Blu Matter Project>>

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By Emily Westover, Staff Writer

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