When I first came to Framewrk to do Essentrics, I was a new mom and had neck pain, back pain, wrist pain and foot pain that came and went and I couldn't seem to relieve it through classes or treatments. I am not willing to take pain meds so was searching for a way to strengthen and balance my body. Now after about a year with Framewrk doing their Essentrics program, I am stronger, more toned (in places I didn't even know about!) and I can honestly say day to day I have no pain. I feel more confident in moving around as I am less prone to injury, such as sudden tweaks of my neck. I find Essentrics to be a really unique and valuable program that creates the strong foundation and balance I need for everyday life. Even just going an hour for 1-3 times a week allows a maintenance of my now great physical health. I'm constantly recommending Framewrk to friends and colleagues because I truly believe it can improve your life.
-Jennifer (Riverside neighbourhood, Toronto)
Framewrk is an integral part of my community in Riverside. It is such an invaluable asset to have in our community. The vibes and energy are open, honest and welcoming. The instructors are very skilled professionals with great attitudes and have been amazing motivators. The studio itself is a place of light (those windows!), energy, positivity and love. My quality of life is better because of Framewrk and I am so proud to be a part of its community!
- Thalia (Corktown neighbourhood, Toronto)
I've described Josephine's Essentrics classes to friends as body movement based/grounded in dance/ballet foundation building, which releases so much stored resistance in the body ... however, she comes at it genuinely knowing plenty about musculature and observing and listening (to me) to my body and seeking movements that will redress/address. Early results have been revelatory and wonderful in sports pursuits and my comportment in general.
- Bruce (Midtown Neighbourhood, Toronto)
Framewrk’s warm & welcoming vibe sets the tone for the sort of workouts that offer the really good hurt you weren’t expecting! Workouts are always challenging with a side of mindful thrown in for good measure. The studio offers a variety of functional movement options like Essentrics, Pilates, Yoga and Strength training. Each instructor is truly a master of their craft and takes the time to know you, your body and any injuries or issues you may be experiencing. Framewrk’s lovely owner, Josephine, lives and breathes by the studio’s motto of ‘what you believe is what you create’ and it’s impossible to not let this drive your energy and set your intentions for your workout.
- Jenn (Leslieville Neighbourhood, Toronto)
I was pretty intimidated by the idea of starting Pilates as I have far more chip eating muscles than core muscles and I haven't touched my toes since 1987. However, I was put pretty immediately at ease by Framewrk and Jackie, who is so friendly, so kind and so easy going that I felt like I could trust her not to make me look stupid (or feel stupid). I find the class pretty challenging (in a good way) and rewarding as I feel myself get stronger, but it's also totally non-judgey - everyone is on their own journey. Jackie and Framewrk, create an environment where it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing, just that you are pushing yourself, listening to your own body and finding your own challenge. Jackie is also funny, which definitely helps when something seems completely and ridiculously out of reach! Great class, killer workout, delightful teacher, thanks Jackie!
- Sara (Riverside Neighbourhood, Toronto)
It’s no accident that I followed Josephine when she made the leap to open her own studio. I had been hoping that Josephine would take that step because I knew that the community she would bring together would be welcoming and supportive- a true reflection of Josephine herself. Framewrk is so much more than a fitness studio.
- Lisa (Leslieville Neighbourhood, Toronto)
Jackie’s Framewrk Core class is the perfect way to start a Saturday! It’s tough but allows you to modify based on your body’s needs. Jackie is a great instructor, with a fantastic personality. She has a deep knowledge of the human body which enables her to choreograph the perfect workout.
-Tiffany (Cabbagetown Neighbourhood, Toronto)
FINDING BALANCE THROUGH MODERATION
I was at our Airbnb in Melbourne, sorting through photos from that day on our recent trip to Australia, a trip that was filled with wine and dining out and three trips to McDonalds to get chicken nuggets (I literally never eat McDonalds, and for some reason, that Aussie sun made me crave them on the daily. Weird.). But I stopped flipping through the photos suddenly when I saw a capture of myself laughing candidly, unaware, with cellulite on my legs and looking about 15 pounds heavier than I thought I was in my head.
“What’s up?” Damien hovered over my shoulder and looked at the photo.
“Damien!!!! Look how big I am!” I cried out.
“What do you mean? That’s how you look.”
I literally almost killed him.
The truth is, he wasn’t being snarky, but in his own way was telling me that he didn’t see anything wrong with the photo and I look great and to stop freaking dafuq out. But there was no going back from that pic in my head. Sure, I’m used to seeing snaps of me with cellulite – no biggie, everyone has it – but seeing myself a completely different way than I’d ever seen myself before really threw me off. I didn’t recognize the person in the photo. And for someone who practices self love, I was surprised at the shame I felt. I didn’t feel good about myself, but I also didn’t feel good about hating on myself either. It was all very confusing, guys.
In my state of ‘Who the eff am I anymore?”, I came back to Toronto and vowed to go cold turkey with my old habits. I made a plan to cut out wine and sugar and ‘bad’ food completely and I was going to work out every damn day, drink only water and go to bed at 10 pm every night. I told Damien he could use the code word ‘quinoa’ to remind me of my focus every time I reached for chocolate or wine (basically a safe word for him to not get his ass kicked). I was determined to be ‘healthy’ and steadfast in my approach in hopes that a lifestyle change would transform me back to the person I saw in my head.
DISCOVERED A NEW WAY TO WORK-OUT
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m never gonna love cardio. And that’s okay. Instead of forcing myself to run every day, I tried a few new workouts and found one near my place that I actually love, in a studio that I love even more. The first time I stepped into Framewrk, I never looked back – it’s a beautiful loft space, with a relaxed and welcoming vibe and an owner (Josephine) who makes you feel like an old friend from the moment she meets you. I signed up for the Essentrics class, not having any idea what the hell that was, and after an hour of fluid movements to lengthen and strengthen, I felt amazing. My ass and legs were on fire, but I felt amazing nonetheless. It was the first time that I found a workout I couldn’t wait to do again, in a space where I look forward to spending an hour of my day. If you want to improve your fitness game, it’s so important to find something that excites and motivates you – otherwise it feels like a chore and you’ll start putting other things before it.
Photo by Bettina Bogar
Although I’ve just started these changes in my life, I already feel a difference in the way I think about myself and my actions. I focus on the positives rather than the negatives. If I skip a pilates class to sleep in, I think back to the three other classes I did during the week. If I have some wine on a Friday night, it’s no problem because I ate fairly clean during the week. I love my body, aging and evolving, and I want to take care of it, but also want to make sure it has a little fun too.
And if Damien ever says the word ‘quinoa’ to me again, it better be to let me know what we’re having for dinner.
FRAMEWRK – WELCOMING NEW STUDIO IN THE EAST END
We recently had the chance to take a few classes (both essentrics and pilates) at framewrk, a brilliant new studio in Leslieville/Corktown. Its creator, Josephine Cuthill, graciously answered our questions about what a ‘wellness’ framewrk means, how she hopes to create a community around her incredible space and more.
Well TO Do: Please introduce yourself and framewrk to the Well TO DO readers.
Josephine Cuthill: Hi, I’m Josephine and I, along with the help of my awesome partner Jonathan, amazing instructors and a growing community, have started a new studio in Toronto’s Riverside neighborhood called framewrk. Framewrk is a movement studio. We offer a full range of movement practices in a fun, relaxed and welcoming space. Our goal is to be a place where everyone feels like they can challenge themselves without feeling judged and to help people grow, become stronger and go out into the world and build healthy communities.
WTD: Please give us a bit of a intro to essentrics – what is it, exactly?
JC: I teach the Essentrics class, a full body dynamic stretching and strengthening program. The roots of the technique are drawn from ballet, tai chi and physiotherapy and the program is designed to promote lengthened and toned muscles, increase flexibility and decrease injuries. It’s a fluid, non-stop, body weight workout with movement designed to unlock muscle chains, tone and decompress body. Expect to start with big rotational and long movements in standing work and then doing the ab and leg work on the floor which is followed by a deep dynamic stretch sequence to end. Elite athletes have used this technique as a stretch and mobility program for many years and it resonates well with people looking for a movement practice that feels fluid and challenging all at once.
WTD: We know you used to teach essentrics at a variety of studios across Toronto. What prompted you to create your own studio?
JC: I really loved moving around between studios and gyms in the city. I learned a lot by working with successful and influential professionals in Toronto fitness but when one of the studios I had worked at for a long time closed down it suddenly left a lot of my students looking for a new place to do Essentrics. I considered teaching at another studio but the opportunity to create something was too good to be overlooked. I wanted the chance to see what it could look like to create a space that combined awesome classes, great teachers, a warm and open environment and lots of open conversations on issues in wellness and society. I wanted to bring some of the incredible people I knew together in one space and see how that could resonate through the community.
WTD: Can you tell us the story behind the name “framewrk”?
JC: For months I threw around different ideas about the name of the studio. Four weeks before we opened I still didn’t have a name but I had been introduced to Rachelle Saevil at Saevil Row who did great work for Spokehaus and I was explaining to her how nothing seemed to fit what the vision of the studio was. When she asked me to describe that vision I said I wanted to build a studio that focused on fitness but incorporated nutrition and mental heath and mindfulness and that I wanted this to be a framework for overall wellness. She stopped me immediately and repeated the word framewrk. It was the easiest decision to go forward once I heard the name. It’s fun but meaningful and it sums up the what we want to be, a framework for people to build on.
WTD: How do you choose your class offerings, schedule and instructors?
JC: Everything was designed to present a challenge to the body and the mind with instructors who knew how to get the best out of the students in a positive way. Classes, offerings, schedules and instructors are based on what the community wants and how it fits into the studio’s mission of creating community through movement. Our members want challenging classes with good instructors who are personable and know their craft very well. Weather it’s a strength and conditioning class or a restorative yoga class it must challenge the body in new ways. I tried to set the schedule up so that you can often do a very high intensity class and follow it with a rebalancing practice to feel well rounded at the end. Choosing the instructors was based on how approachable and knowledgable they are in their field and how focused they are on creating a fun and memorable experience for their students.
WTD: Strength and flexibility are completely interconnected with mindfulness and overall wellbeing. How do you/your classes incorporate mindfulness?
JC: Mindfulness isn’t just about resting and being still and even though we have some classes specifically designed to provide just this type of mindfulness all our instructors are amazing at reminding students to pay attention to their body and movement patterns during even the most faced paced workouts. Mindfulness comes from knowing what your body and your mind does and noticing when it is at rest and in action. Notice where you resist physically and mentally. Notice your movement patterns, your mental patterns and evaluate their contribution to your overall health. By trying different movement you will learn a lot about yourself and be mindful of the areas where strength is needed or where we need to learn to relax. This type of realization can make a significant impact on your everyday life.
WTD: What role does community take at framewrk and how are you growing that community?
JC: Community is probably the most important part of framewrk. In a community we learn from each other, support each other and grow. We build something special where the individual feels they belong to a bigger movement than just their own existence. When you are comfortable in a class you work harder, relax faster and enjoy it more. We build community by encouraging students to meet, mix and share their experience. We are building a community with our neighbours by partnering to share our wellness ideas and our services. This month we’ve partnered with Impact Kitchen and Torq Ride to give our members perks at both locations.
WTD: What’s next for framewrk?
JC: We are looking at doing more workshops, opening up the space to other wellness providers and business that can offer the community new ideas and food for thought about what it truly means to be healthy. Nutrition and mental health are two of the top priorities.
WTD: What’s exciting you most right now about the Toronto wellness scene?
JC: I personally love the authenticity that is happening in the wellness scene. A lot of well respected fitness and health leaders are opening up about struggles in their lives and inspiring conversations that need to be had. Sheading light on some of the darker places that we all work through at some point in our lives helps people on levels that will resonate across communities and inspire much needed improvement in the lives of people. It’s real wellness. The kind that can’t be found by hiding from the difficult topics.
A MINDFUL MOVEMENT STUDIO: BARRE AT FRAMEWRK
written by Megan February 27, 2018
Exercise isn’t a one-size-fits-all activity. Everyone has their own exercise(s) of choice and it should really be about what makes your body feel its best. For me, exercise in the form of a mat workout or standing next to a barre is my go-to. I love the burn of a good Pilates class, the mindset of feeling strong during a barre workout, and the feeling that I could stretch and breathe for hours during a yoga class. What I love most about these workouts is the way my body feels after them: refreshed, strong and healthy.
It’s all about mindset when it comes to exercise – if you feel good about the exercise you’re doing, you’ll be able to accomplish an effective, healthy workout.
I’m always on the lookout for yoga/Pilates studios that make me feel comfortable, “at home”, and empowered. When I came across Framewrk, a mixed movement studio in Toronto’s east end, I was immediately intrigued. They’re all about mindfulness when it comes to working out – which I’m all about! I first discovered the studio on Instagram and after checking out their website, I was super interested to see what their classes would be like.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Founder and Owner, Josephine Cuthill. She took me through one of her full-body barre classes and as I extended, flexed, pointed and engaged, she explained the importance of mindfulness when it comes to practicing barre. I’ve always loved barre workouts, but after her class I was even more in love with it. She really had me working my mind as much as my body, as I focused on tiny movements of muscles I hardly ever use – all while making sure I breathed and kept a proper posture.
As we chatted and worked out, Josephine provided me with the three main benefits of barre:
Increased body awareness: with the emphasis on form and small muscle execution you have to be super aware of how the work is happening in your body, where it is coming from and what needs to happen in order to perform the movement better.
Improved posture: there is a huge focus on the postural muscles in the back, shoulders and abs – all which help in creating improved posture.
Gains in strength in definition: barre classes focus on specific movements that involve many small muscles that are typically inactive in a modern lifestyle. With continued barre movements, the inactive muscles get fired up and are more likely to become tone and defined.
I love these benefits, including the feeling of length and strength once I’ve completed a barre workout.
read the entire entire at http://www.theommlife.com/barre-at-framewrk