The New Social Order

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Behind the Scenes—Thompson Toronto

Out There

NAME: Christine Russell

ROLE: 889 Yoga + Wellness Spa co-founder

Take the elevator to the third floor of Thompson Toronto and you’ll find yourself in the 889 Yoga + Wellness Spa, a full-service studio open to everyone, including our guests. For the full story on this relaxing hideaway, we spoke with co-founder Christine Russell.

How did you become interested in yoga? What about it appeals to you?

I began yoga hoping to meet people and make friends, and I fell in love with it right away. It offers so many benefits far beyond the physical. Yoga meets you exactly where you need it in your life. All you have to be able to do is breathe.

Tell us about 889 Yoga. Why did you decide to start your own studio?

My sister Emily and I decided to start our own business many years ago with the mission to inspire happy, healthy lives. We narrowed our focus to yoga and wellness and opened 889 Yoga + Wellness Spa. We’re celebrating our 5th birthday this month.

How did your partnership with Thompson Toronto come to be?

The hotel approached us when they were under construction. We did a walk-through of the space in hard hats when it was concrete and studs and knew right away it was meant to be. The sun was pouring into the space offering the uplifting energy of natural light. It felt just right.

What advice would you give to frequent travelers trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Take time every day to breathe and stretch on the road. The more prana energy you can breathe into your organs and body, the better you are going to feel. Drink tons of water and get a massage to flush out the jet lag.

Do you have any local recommendations for guests hoping to maintain a healthy lifestyle while staying in Toronto?

My favourite healthy dining spots in the area are Fresh on Spadina—try the beet root frappe—and if you’re looking for a vegan greasy spoon, try Sadie’s Diner on Adelaide. I definitely recommend a walk up to Trinity Bellwoods Park.


Favorite pose: Halasana (or Plow Pose). It gets prana energy moving up and down my spine in my lower back; it’s totally invigorating.

Favorite 889 Yoga program: Our Group Private Event yoga program. We host all sorts of fun occasions at our studios: yoga birthday parties, bachelorettes, work team-building, engagement parties and launches. If the weather is nice, we can even take the party outside on our deck or the Thompson rooftop.

Guilty pleasure: Pain au chocolat with a maple syrup almond milk latte.