Day 72

Style: Hatha
Teacher: Shantidas
Studio: Sivananda Vedanta Montreal

I miss Ashram life. Hanging around on this cold, dreary gray day in Montreal, I lazily contemplated where I should do my practice. In the middle of the decision making, I felt my mind drift off into a daydream, imagining my time spent at the Sivananda Ashram. Life was so simple, so peaceful. I wish I was back there. It was then I remembered that the original Sivananda yoga center was first created in Montreal. In 1959, under the instruction of Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnu-devananda traveled to North America to spread the word of yoga. It was decided that the population in the west was finally ready for the teachings. Vishnu-devananda eventually settled in Montreal and opened the center on St. Laurent street. After a while, he noticed that the Montrealers frequently traveled to the Laurentians for vacation, and soon after he ventured out into the mountains himself. It was there he created the first Sivananda Ashram, the very place I spent the weekend a month ago. Since then, Sivananda has gone international, with Ashrams and yoga centers all over the world. The very first center still stands as it did way back in 1959, and today I decided to check it out.

Walking in through through the front the door, I'm immediately hit in the heart chakra by a warm nostalgia. The same fragrances of incense linger in the air, the same photos of the two founding Swamis hang on the walls. I even ran into a Chilean yogi I met there who was calling the Ashram home at the time. The class began with the various breathing techniques and I felt that familiar peace of mind penetrating my being. Moving into the postures, listening to the instruction, I became aware of the historic significance of the place. This was where it all began. From here, Vishnu-devananda traveled the globe, spreading the teachings of yoga, embarking on a life-altering adventure that would not only change his life, but the entire world as well.

After the timeless experience I've come to the decision that, as soon as the snow finally melts and the Sun starts to warm up the planet, I'm going back to the Ashram. I can't wait.


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