WLTR: Yoga Beyond the Pose
A few weeks before Wanderlust Tremblant, I injured my shoulder. It wasn't a serious injury, but it limited my ability to do many yoga poses (especially downward dogs and chaturanga dandasana, those darlings of modern vinyasa yoga). As we got closer to the festival date, I began to feel distressed. I wasn't going to be able to "do yoga" at a yoga festival!
But, of course, we all know yoga is more than poses, right? And there's never a better time to explore that than when you can't practice yoga poses. As I looked over the Saturday schedule for Wanderlust Tremblant, I realized it's actually possible to program the whole weekend without doing any postural-based yoga classes. While the poses may be yoga's posterchild, there's much more to the practice.
So, I set a schedule for the day: "Yoga Nidra" with Bram Levinson, "Transformative Breath Journey" with Genevieve Laquerre, and SUP (standup paddleboard) yoga with Nadia Bonenfant.
For a person with an injury, yoga nidra and breath work are healing and safe. The yoga nidra practice gave me a deep rest after a short night's sleep. In the transformative breath work class, I just laid on the floor and practiced a very cool breathing technique sent me into an altered state. Both teachers emphasized that our practice is perfect, no matter what happens.
In both classes, I just laid on the floor and received the practice. No downward dogs, no chaturangas. My injured little shoulder was happy.
I was excited for my first-ever SUP yoga class in the afternoon, and Lac Tremblant seemed like the perfect place to try it. Standup paddleboard yoga, as the name may indicate, is a series of yoga poses practiced on an epoxy paddleboard, shaped similarily to a surfboard, while floating on water.
However, in the end, I didn't actually make it to the SUP yoga class. As I was walking to the beach where the class was happening, I bumped into some friends from Montreal, we ended up chatting and then I decided to go watch my friend Matt Wiviott play music for an AcroYoga demo in front of the Lululemon d'Om.
From there, I ended up poolside at the Marriott and then just lounged around in hot tubs for the rest of the afternoon under a brilliant blue sky.
Yoga takes many forms. The poses may be one of the most represented aspects of the practice, but there's much more to it. Yoga is deep relaxation, connecting with the breath and letting go of ideas of perfection. But it's also connecting with people and being part of a community. Sometimes this happens during a unified sun salutation - and sometimes this takes the form of meaningful conversation and good friends while sitting in a hot tub on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
~ Roseanne Harvey is a writer, editor and geeky girl who lives and loves life in Montreal. She is a co-director of Yoga Festival Montreal and the co-editor (with Carol Horton) of 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics & Practice. Roseanne writes about yoga and culture regularly on her blog, It's All Yoga, Baby.