Train Your Brain at MINDSET Brain Gym

There’s a new gym in town, and instead of training your muscles, this gym trains your brain.

MINDSET Brain Gym opened, last month, at 56 Cumberland Street, in a two-level space created with the Bloor-Yorkville resident, visitor and worker in mind. Co-owner, Sean Finnell knew that the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood would be perfect for his space, as he found that in the hustle and bustle of our thriving area, people are now seeking alternatives to lifting at the gym, or going for a run, for release of stress.

“MINDSET Brain Gym is aptly named, because it is a gym,” says Finnell.  “We see meditation and journaling is an important part of a fitness regime, and is something as necessary as a cardio or strength routine. We go into fitness to optimize our potential, and you can do the same, if not more, by strengthening our mental capacity through meditation. People don’t realize that meditation is not just a tool for spiritually finding yourself, but also for reaching your highest potential.”

This is reached via a meditation experience with intention-oriented classes and brainwave sensing technology, which can improve cognitive performance, strengthen resilience, reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disease from brain aging, and improve overall mental health and well-being. For some, the noticeable difference is immediate. “Most people walk out feeling significantly less stressed. Eventually, with regular practice, client’s might notice that they are losing their cool over little things less frequently. You learn to respond, instead of react,” says Finnell.

The space is simple and beautiful. A sense of calm is easily found, upon entry. There are several living spaces where you can relax before, or reflect after, a class. Another room has a single, zero-gravity Stillness Pod, for private meditation with audio recordings for guided practice.

The main practice room is set up with several seating pods that are ergonomically-designed to make it possible for all bodies to sit in a comfortable, crossed-legged position. The blue-lighting changes throughout the class, and a signature blend of essential oils is infused, promoting focus, clarity and relaxation.

There are several classes to choose from including; “Performance”, which focuses on sharpening concentration and cognitive function; Resilience”, to minimize the negative impact of stress and anxiety; and, one that is very intriguing, “Human”, to increase empathy, self-compassion and emotional intelligence. I attend the lunchtime “Recharge” class, with the promise of focus and energy to continue my workday.

I leave my things in a locker that offers high-speed charging for your phone, which is an excellent opportunity for both my phone and I to leave the space fully charged!

I choose a pod, which, as promised, is very comfortable to sit in. Finnell offers me a headband that monitors your experience with EEG technology, tracking your brainwaves and breath. The A-type personality in me wonders what per cent of concentration I will get (it was 66%).

The class is hard to describe, as I was easily able to connect with others in the room and fall into meditation. I did leave feeling relaxed, but perhaps not as recharged as I thought. However, the morning was jam-packed with meetings and the 30 minutes of meditation certainly allowed me to leave any stressors at the space.

There is complimentary tea or kombucha on tap, a perfect way to reflect on the experience. A small retail area has literature to purchase, including the MINDSET Journal, which is specifically designed with daily prompts to promote gratitude, introspection and healthy habit formation.

Clients should also take a few moments to enjoy the recently-opened art gallery in the lower level of the space. “We had this large space in the basement that we didn’t know what to do with,” Finnell explains, “so we created a transformative space for visitors to enjoy at any time. We worked with Visual Artist Peter Tunney, and his work will be shown for the next 100 days. All of his pieces are just full of great messaging and his exhibit brings such good energy to our space.”

Classes are available at Mindset as either drop-in/pay-as-you-go at $25 per class and $100 for a 5-class package, or through unlimited memberships that start at $150 per month.

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