Day 40

Style: Hatha
Teacher: Pierre
Studio: Sivananda Ashram

A place of refuge. On the road to Montreal by 8 am, I'm feeling a host of butterflies migrating with me, keeping up with my car on the highway. I'm not sure whats causing this nervous energy, but it's probably tied in with a fear of the unknown. What am I walking into? A full-fledged cult waiting for their next human sacrifice to arrive for a 3 pm check-in? Luckily I won't be alone. Meredith, my girlfriend, will be with me to share the experience. Arriving in Montreal, I pull up in front of her apartment. I still can't believe I'm doing this.

After an amazing breakfast at a near-by diner in the Plateau, we're back on the road, on our way to the Laurentians. As time drifts into the past, the city recedes and melts away, making way for the rolling hills of the Quebecois countryside. Having some company on this journey is already filling me with relief. About an hour later we're approaching the Ashram and the butterflies are back. Stepping out of my car and looking around, I'm instantly drawn in by the beauty of this place. Stone statues half hidden under fresh white snow stare back at the two newly arrived strangers. After checking in at the reception area, we are told that a yoga class begins in a half hour. After walking down a few hallways, we find our living quarters for the weekend. It's a small room with two single beds, a closet and a window looking out at the frosty wilderness. It also has a washroom with a shower. It's more comfortable then I'd anticipated. Stretching out on my bed and staring at the ceiling, I have a strange feeling, almost like I'm expecting to be here for longer then three days. Moments later I'm drawn back out of my daydream by the sound of a bell ringing in the distance, signalling that the yoga class was about to begin. Changing and grabbing our mats, Meredith and I lock up our room and head to the studio.

Okay. The people here seem fairly normal. The class features a wide age-range, a mix of people who are arriving for the weekend, some who are about leave, and a few who are living at the Ashram. Our teacher started the two hour Hatha series off with thirty minutes of pranayama breathing excercies, including alternate nostril breathing, which was a first. Afterwards we made our way to the dining area where we found a delicious vegetarian meal waiting for us. The food was unbelievable. Eating all we could, once again we're back in our room. As Meredith quietly dozes off, I open my journal and press my pen into the paper, gathering my thoughts. I'm feeling right at home. All my preconceived notions are falling away, leaving me with a clean slate, ready to learn. Soon another bell will sound off and we'll make our way to the Krishna temple for Satsang, the heart of life at the Ashram. I don't know what to expect, but I feel ready.


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