The Move Room is redefining fitness, one yoga class at a time
This local fitness studio is creating a safe space where community and fitness can come together
Located on Ottawa Street in downtown Hamilton, the Move Room is a community-centered fitness studio offering everything from yoga and pilates classes to workshops and studio rentals. With the variety of classes and workshops, the studio strives to offer something for everyone.
Jo Gale, the studio owner, wanted to create a space for fitness instructors to lead the classes they want to offer. Gale strives to create an inclusive and safe space for everyone to get together and find connection through movement.
Gale grew up in Burlington and later moved to Toronto to pursue a career in art. She is a trained textile artist, but ended up working in retail. It was after leaving retails that Gale eventually began to teach yoga.
Her first yoga classes were held as outdoor pop-up sessions at Gage Park. During the pandemic, Gale rented her friend’s basement on Ottawa Street to hold classes for eight people. With her sessions quickly selling out, she began looking for studio spaces to rent out and two weeks later, she opened The Move Room.
Currently, she teaches five in-person classes and one virtual class a week while managing and meeting with people to facilitate potential renters of the studio space. For Gale, this is a good way to meet different parts of the community and create connections. After a long period of disconnection during the pandemic, this was a welcome change in the constantly growing Ottawa Street.
“We hope to bring all kinds of people into the space who maybe don't feel like they fit into traditional fitness spaces . . . [The Move Room is] about bringing people together and making people feel really comfortable in their bodies,” she stated.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Gale admitted it was difficult as people were not comfortable with going to in-person classes. But since last September, The Move Room has been gaining popularity and Gale trying new things to keep people coming. Gale is excited to see what the new year has in store.
The Move Room has also done many collaborative classes in the past with other community members. For instance, the studio has collaborated with Rachel Chegahno, an Indigenous owner of Good Stuff Pots, by selling her products at the studio. Gale enjoys working with people from every community to create a platform for Black, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQIA+ folks by showcasing their classes and work in her studio.
Gale hopes clients leave The Move Room feeling connected to their teachers, others and comfortable coming into the studio.
“[S]eeing people feel comfortable coming in — or even better when those folks start to bring their friends or their family as well — that's like a really cool thing to see,” Gale stated.
In May, The Move Room has an upcoming Makers’ Market on Ottawa Street. The studio is worth checking out for fitness and community in a challenging workout sure to leave you feeling good about yourself and your body.