Ah summer. If you are a student, chances are you are peering ahead into a few months of untapped potential. More free time means more time for self improvement, and a world of possibilities lays at your finger tips, right? Right!? If you are anything like me, this prospect tends to be less inspiring and more foreboding.  I often feel overwhelmed and off course when faced with lack of structure. This usually manifests itself in my spending money frivolously on things I don’t need, drinking inappropriate quantities of alcohol at inappropriate times, not washing my hair, even losing all concept of the English language until I begin to communicate solely in grunts. Steer clear of this dreadful fate, reader, by taking part in some these fun, local, TOTALLY FREE workshops to stimulate your mind and occupy your hands, lest you can’t keep them away from those things you wish to be free from! (You and I both have no excuse to spend the next 3 months sitting around doing bong hits and watching fresh prince re-runs.)

1. The Ben Navaee Gallery offers a variety of ongoing arts- oriented classes before and after gallery hours. They believe that free education is a basic human right, and I whole heartedly agree. Their classes include Yoga: Saturday 10 – 11 am, Life drawing : Wednesdays 7 – 9 pm, Mixed media painting:  Tuesdays 7 – 10 pm, Dance (waltz, tango, salsa) Tuesdays 5:45 – 6:45 pm, Acting: Starts June 6, each on the second Sunday of the month from 4 – 7 pm. They are located at 1111 Queen St. East. Check out their website for more details on this amazing volunteer run organization http://www.tecap.org/first.html .

2. Your all encompassing zen resource is closer than you may have thought. The Shambhala Meditation Center has a weekly open house every Wednesday from 7 – 9 pm, and consists of an accessible group meditation instruction then practice. Their website has information about their many programs and classes, (including Japanese flower arranging!) http://toronto.shambhala.org/.  They are located at 670 Bloor Street West, Suite 300.

3. A karma yoga class will be held at the Gladstone library (1101 Bloor St. west) on Wednesday June 9th at 2:00pm. A donation is suggested. The class will entail beginner friendly gentle hatha yoga. Call 416-539-0234 for more details, or simply show up.

4. Writers boot camp is a series of free open houses on May 25th and June 1st at 6:30 – 9:30 pm, consisting of a small group workshop that provides writers of all levels with a space to develop their voice and confidence.  Bring a pen and a notebook and let your imagination run free! To reserve a spot, visitwww.startwriting.ca/news.php or call 416.602.5256. Be warned: open House sessions are limited to 12 participants, so don’t delay!

5. Free introductory salsa classes are highly conducive to improving your rhythm and swagger and probably indirectly, your love life. On Friday June 5th, from 7 – 8 pm, attend this beginner’s class at Toronto’s premier school for salsa and Latin dancing and improve your body language. Steps dance studio is at 1643 Dufferin st, second floor. Check out their website at stepsdancestudio.com.

6. The acclaimed Pilates for Life studio at 27 Yorkville has a voucher for a free class up for grabs on their website, pilateaforlife.ca, for newcomers to their studio. The concept of the free first class is sort of similar to the reverse cover at the club thing, insofar as once you’re in; you’re probably going to get roped into spending more cheddar. But pilates, unlike drinking beers, is fucking hard, and if you can manage to get roped into attending more classes, then you probably won’t regret dropping bills for it.  

7. The free drop in improv workshop at Bad Dog Theatre will not only do wonders for you social life and ability to speak in public, but will probably add another 5 years on your life due to laughter being the best medicine. The drop ins happen Saturday nights at 7 pm. The theatre is at 138 Danforth ave, also known as “the improv hub of Toronto”. Baddogtheatre.com. It’s probably the cure for what ails you.

8. Esewingworkshop.com is a site that has free, super informative online tutorial video’s covering the basics to the most intricate lessons in DIY clothing. The site offers 400 online video chapters, ranging from info on hemming pants, adding zippers, skirt alteration, and much more. Videos range from 16 minutes to 300 minutes. Get your free membership at sewingworkshop.com to gain access to forums and unlimited videos. Learning to sew is the one money saving endeavour that will actually ensure you have original threads like no other.

9. Epic natural food market The Big Carrot (348 Danforth Ave) offers free Thursday evening workshops from 7 – 8:30 pm to instil the key lessons of natural healing. Upcoming sessions will happen May 20 – where you can learn how naturopathic medicine can treat acne and eczema, and May 27 – where the natural solutions to allergies, headaches and migraines will be unveiled. More info at thebigcarrot.ca.

10. Decrease anxiety, release stress and boost your libido by hula hooping away your troubles. Thursdays, until June 3, get in touch with your inner child and get down with an unconventional workout by attending this pay what you can hula hoop jam 4 – 5 pm at the Dovercourt House (805 Dovercourt).  Contact instructor Caitlin for more details swirlingspyralz@gmail.com.