From Luna Yoga to Banff Yoga Festival
I spent my twenties living between Montreal and Banff. This beautiful dichotomy of mountain and city life was thrilling but sometimes left me wondering where I truly belonged. I found a sense of belonging at Luna Yoga, a beautiful studio in Old Montreal. I knew I found it because regardless of how much money I had or how far I lived, I found myself walking across the city, through the coldest winter months, just to get to class.
This was a place where yoga, music, and chanting could not only could help you get through your Vīrabhadrāsana II, but could even help you realize that your boyfriend, in last's nights argument, was just trying to do the best that he knew…
Fridays in Montreal became like Sunday service . This consisted of Jenn’s noon class followed by lunch with my favourite people at Olive & Gourmando. It was never missed. and if it was, life was a little more chaotic, busy, and just a little bit harder.
I went on to do my yoga teacher training with them in 2011. Still, I find that the teachings from Luna Yoga and Jivamukti have become a source of inspiration for what I do and who we involve in the Banff and Okanagan Yoga Festivals. It’s often assumed that the teachers and spaces with the biggest Instagram following, the best website, and the best yoga photos should be the ones chosen to teach at our events. That probably would be a great driver of ticket sales.
But Luna Yoga is a precedent for the type of event BYF and OYF seek to become. Luna’s longevity is a testament to its authenticity. It’s one of the longest standing Yoga Studios in Montreal. And I think, It's because it has never veered away from their values, lineage, nor the traditional teachings of yoga.
At BYF & OYF, I seek the Luna Yoga’s of the world. I seek the Jennifer Maagendanses, Terri McCulloms, Jeff Mahs, Mark Darbys, Mystee Maisonetses, Lydia Zamoranoses... The Erins, Randelles, Kates, Jillaines, Tiagas, Trishs, Lauras, Taras, Kristens, Andrews… The humble teachers you would walk across the city on the coldest day for. These teachers act as a vessel to the teachings of an ancient lineage, none of us should ever claim as our own. Their goal is not to be Instafamous but to help you build a consistent relationship with yoga. And while sure, I just name dropped, they would never. They would tell you not to practice only with them, but to find yoga in everything and everyone.
They help students build a consistent practice with yoga. How beautiful is that? And alas, this has become what the BYF and OYF seek to exude; consistency, foundation, and authenticity. That is, if I am a slave to the trends in our society, then I will always be at the mercy of their fluctuations. Sure, we will be vulnerable and open to these trends, but only to reinforce who we are and what we stand for. Yogaś citta vṛtti nirodhaḥ. Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. This experience leads you to the present.
I found a sanctuary and a sense of belonging in a quaint, character studio amongst the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, whose teachings and community have inspired what I do today. And now, when I work, and when I travel, I seek to find authenticity, consistency, and the experience of Yoga.
Don't miss Jenn at the Banff Yoga Festival June 1st - 3rd!