YFM: Focus on Your Breathing Montreal

With the recent political demonstrations in Montreal, many have been biting their nails about the potential loss of tourism dollars. Although festival season is still a few weeks away, I have found the perfect remedy for anyone feeling stressed or conflicted about the future: it's the Yoga Festival Montreal (YFM), from June 8 to 10, at the Montreal Music and Dramatic Arts Conservatory, 4750 Henri-Julien, Mont-Royal Metro.

If you've always been curious about yoga but were overwhelmed by all the different choices, YFM is a great place to start.  In addition to offering classes in the more traditional forms of yoga, such as Sivananda and Kundalini, the festival also has classes in the more modern practices (Moksha Yoga and Jivamukti). What's more, there will be end-of-day panel discussions and lectures to help orient newcomers to yoga. I look forward to the lecture on the Pursuit of Perfection: Health, Happiness, Healing and Wholeness by Dr. Madan Bali, which is also open to the public.

Downward Facing-Dog cc 2010 Witold Fitz-Simon
Before I had my two children, I used to take Sivananda classes on St-Laurent Boulevard in the Mile End. I quickly learned that yoga was about a lot more than just the sun salutations. In fact, if you've taken classes that focus strictly on the postures, and you cringe at the thought of downward-facing dog, then you haven't quite discovered it. Yoga involves  postures, deep-breathing, meditation, music, philosophy and politics, all things that can be found at YFM.

In my pre-children days, I once took part in a yoga festival. On the Friday, I attended a seminar on meditation, which isn`t as easy as it would seem and requires practice. On the Saturday, I took two 90-minute classes and made tremendous progress in some of the postures. I left feeling relaxed and peaceful, but was unable to honour my dinner plans later that evening. I went home and took a nap only to wake up at 10:00 am the next morning, feeling rejuvenated.

I highly recommend YFM for those who want to learn more about yoga or for those who just need to chill out. I few high-profile candidates immediately come to mind...

Links for further info on YFM
The festival schedule (Classes in French and English or Montreal-style: bilingual)
Teacher bios
Registration information

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