Culture & Conversation

Relax, Refocus, Regroup

If you’re trying to move away from social media, switch off your smart phone, or disengage from the current political situation in Montreal, then you might want to head down to the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique de Montréal for the last day of the first annual Yoga Festival Montreal. There are numerous sessions to work on your breathing, unblock your chakras and reach new depths of consciousness. This is a great way to relax and regroup, but more importantly the perfect means for silencing the background noise in our lives.

Yoga Festival Montreal, brainchild of the Yoga Community of Montreal (YOCOMO), is a grassroots initiative aimed at recognizing the breadth of yoga practice and skill. The purpose of the Festival is to empower individuals and connect the city’s vast range of traditions and practices, and celebrate its vibrant diversity. More than 30 different sessions have been scheduled in the spacious conservatory studios, and the cheerful volunteers will direct you to your session of choice.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a session on ayurvedic yoga with Bita Bitajian, who trains at the Ayurvedic Institute with Dr. Vasant Lad in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ayurveda is the traditional Indian system of health that recommends a daily regimen of yoga to offset imbalances, while respecting our life stages and the changing seasons.

In the last session of the day, I heard the wise words of Dr. Madan Bali, the founder-director of the Montreal-based Yoga Bliss. An inspirational example of a healthy lifestyle, 88-year-old Dr. Bali has been credited with introducing yoga to schools, hospitals, community centres and corporations, as well as developing yoga as a complementary form for treating psychosomatic disorders.

If your yoga experience involved small dark studios with wooden floors groaning under your every movement, I recommend you stop by the conservatoire today to luxuriate in the large luminous studios. In fact, I don’t think that YOCOMO could have found a more inspiring venue.

You still have a chance to catch some enlightening sessions today. Here are three sessions that should not be missed. Dissolve the negativity in your life by meditating on the image of light with Juniper Glass, learn about the dynamic sacred art of Nritya, the yoga of dance, with Amrita Choudury or engage in a discussion on the interplay sex and yoga (Brahmacharya) with Lauren Rudick.



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