by Morgan Craig
New season, who ‘dis? Chunky knits, dark hues, and layers on layers are already in heavy sartorial rotation. Cool early mornings and late nights are bringing a new chill, but lucky for you, we know the secret to staying warm this fall.
If you’re a Toronto native you may already have the divine pleasure of waking up or ending your day at MISFITSTUDIO, where twinkling, amber lights adorn the ceiling, plant sanctuaries scatter along the walls, and candles cast a magical glow. With a cult-like following, those in the know go to the studio to socialize as often as they do to sweat.
The studio’s undeniable draw – or its “great magnetic pull” as MISFITSTUDIO’s enigmatic founder Amber Joliat describes it – comes as no surprise once you meet her. Spend an hour in one of Joliat’s movement classes and you’ll leave physically and emotionally transformed – or at the very least, with a sudden surge of inspiration to start on a new journey to self-improvement. And what better time to start than at the beginning of a new season?
Autumnal equinox brings more than only visible changes, and no one knows how to weather change quite like Joliat. After nearly 10 years of operating MISFITSTUDIO, she’s mastered the art of opening new doors when old ways won’t work. After closing its flagship Queen Street studio back in January, Joliat hosted a series of pop-ups before finally announcing her biggest endeavour yet: a beautiful, light-filled studio at Toronto’s Bloor and Dovercourt corner, which opened last month. “Moving into a brand new neighbourhood is interesting, it feels like a new start, and that to me is exciting, creating a new rhythm with a different community.”
Instead of mourning the end of our #hotgirlsummer, we turned to Joliat to help us hone in on new #feelgoodfall energy. From her life’s simple pleasures to her favourite beauty routines, she let us in on a few little secrets that we’re using to show up for ourselves this season – are you with us?
MISFITSTUDIO has been alive for nearly a decade now. As you approach 10 years, what’s the one thing that you learned about yourself during the process that had surprised you the most?
Ooooooooooof. THIS is a question!!
Resilience, hands down. I knew I was strong, but good lord, I’ve learned I’m stronger than I thought. Overcoming obstacles with grace, choosing to seek the ‘lessons. Finding the treasure amongst the mess. My resilience has surprised even me.
What are the simple pleasures in life that you enjoy?
Rituals. Slow breathing. Clean water. Long walks as the evenings cool.
Do you believe there is such a thing as guilty pleasures? What are yours?
I really don’t, but I do take great pleasure in cooking, buying fresh and wild ingredients, and opening a bottle of wine. Making a slow meal, listening to music, talking for hours during the process then setting a beautiful table with freshly picked wildflowers and savouring the meal. Now that’s romance.
Do you have any personal mantras? Can you share them with us?
I have a few! My favourite is the serenity prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Also, “This is only temporary” is a powerful one.
The popularity of practicing mindfulness has spread like wildfire over the past couple of years. Can you explain what mindful movement is, and tell us what is the simplest way someone can incorporate it into their daily routine this fall?
I describe mindful movement as the art of practicing presence, honouring the choice you’ve made to SHOW UP for yourself.
What I mean by that is to simply be present in the moment, not in the chaos of living in the future or repeating stories in your mind of the past, but RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW.
It’s attention. It’s awareness. It’s necessary to really live life. Otherwise, you’re stuck. And let’s be real, so many of us are stuck in the past, hanging on to heavy old shit, projecting into the future of things that typically never happen.
We’ve lost our attention span, the ability we once had to be present with ourselves and each moment regardless of what we’re doing. We’ve forgotten the beauty and the power of stillness. Stillness from the inside out. THAT is where the magic lives. It’s where intuition lives. It’s where the wise woman inside us all knows what to do.
The famous Law of Attraction says that “energy attracts like energy.” The energy you, your studio, and your teachers exude are no doubt part of the reason that students feel connected to MISFITSTUDIO. How would you describe your own personal energy? What do you do to hone in on it?
I PRACTICE THE ART OF BEING PRESENT VERY MOMENT. And when I slip, I own it, because I’m human. When I’m feeling really off, I tap into movement medicine. Movement is a clearing channel, always a fresh start.
How can someone change their energy frequency if they are in a negative mindset?
Here is the practice, to observe, to notice, and then to DO SOMETHING about it. We all have fucked up dark negative thoughts, we are in the human mind. Being able to recognize them, and remember that you are NOT your thoughts, you are your consciousness.
Using movement as the quickest way to clear out the old (and by old, I mean a thought, a conversation, a feeling) and remember that it’s not about forgetting, it’s about choosing to release the heaviness from your physical body. Releasing and clearing in the physical form helps to untangle the knots we carry in our emotional body.
The more we get behind this process, the more we understand that WE ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT CAN CHANGE OUR ENERGY. It’s the energetic body that attracts other energy. And if you are radiant and clear and open, you will attract that into your life – you can imagine what happens with the opposite.
Recently there was a sign in the Ossington MISFITSTUDIO that had a saying similar to “when you hit a roadblock, carve out a new path.” What is the first thing you do when you hit a mental or physical roadblock personally? Professionally?
THERE HAVE BEEN MANY!!!!!! I get really still, I slow way down, I reassess, I carve out what is necessary in the moment. I’m GRATEFUL for the magnificent supportive MISFITSTUDIO family to sound off with, to talk
and talk all the options out. But first, get still and gain perspective.
What does beauty mean to you?
Real beauty shines from the inside out. It’s the way someone holds themselves, how they walk through the world, with grace and confidence in their own skin, dancing through the highs and lows of life, choosing not to get knocked down.
Are there any secrets you can let us in on about how you maintain your healthy, glowing skin?
I’m a massssive water drinker!! Clean, pure water all day, all night. And face oils. I love Province Apothecary and everything they create.
What are your daytime and nighttime rituals?
I begin each day with meditation and gratitude prayer. Lots of sleep, hydration, eating clean, from the earth and I move my body everyday. I have a whole nighttime face wash ritual that I look so forward to!! Yummm, that’s my self care.