Day 39

Style: Hatha
Teacher: Julie Salter
Studio: Adishesha

I'm going to live at an Ashram. No, really. Only for the weekend though. A few months ago I bumped into some friends early on New Years Eve, telling me they were on route to an Ashram near Montreal. There would be chanting and meditation, yoga and contemplation. The idea of an Ashram reminded me of a secluded hut somewhere remote in India where you could go and learn ancient secrets from a wise Guru. Never imagining there could be one so close, I filed that information away in the back my mind for future use. Yesterday I decided to do some research. After giving the website a quick scan I spotted the phone number. Asking for some information, before I knew it I'd booked a room for two nights this weekend.

Today was a beautiful, warm winter day with a hint of spring in the air. I decided to head over to Adishesha, the cozy one-room studio in the Glebe. I'd been here a few weeks ago after hearing high praise for the owner, Basia. When I got there I was informed that she was in Costa Rica. Today I find out that she has in fact left for Costa Rica once more, having departed only this morning. Standing in today was a woman named Julia, leading the way through a satisfying Hatha sequence. It was conducted in a more open-ended fashion, taking requests and narrating the class with a lovely British accent, reminding us to keep a "noble posture". There's something really nice about this studio, not to mention it's a five minute walk from my house when the canal is frozen.

The Ashram I'll be staying at is called Sivananda. It's located an hour from Montreal, tucked away in the scenic Laurentian Mountains. There are close to eighty Sivananda locations around the world, and the organization has trained more than 10,000 yoga teachers. I'm not really sure what I've gotten myself into. Looking at the daily schedule, I notice wake up is at 5:30 am. I'm beginning to understand that this might not exactly be a leisurely weekend getaway. By 6 it's meditation, chanting, and discussion on the philosophy and psychology of yoga. After that it's a full yoga session. And all of this before breakfast! All meals are vegetarian, served twice daily. While not quite a herbivore myself, I am a huge fan of vegetarian cuisine. I'm really just a fan of food in general. Reading on, I notice they are quite adamant, explaining that no meat, fish, eggs, garlic, onions, narcotics, alcohol or smoking are allowed at the Ashram. No cell phones are allowed. Silence must be maintained from 10pm to 8am daily. Oh, and please dress modestly. I'm not sure what to expect. Is this going to be a weekend at the convent with a bunch of yogi-nuns? One way or another, it'll be an experience, and I will pass through it with an open mind.

The total ban on technology does present a bit of a challenge blogging-wise, but the solution is simple. During the three days at the Ashram I'll log the experience in my journal, the old fashioned way. Upon return Sunday night, I'll transcribe the entries and post them chronologically. Crisis Averted.


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