Every Wednesday night, I gather with a group of friends in an Ottawa basement. We light candles, burn incense and we chant in unison, all under the watchful eye of a strange-looking cat called Yogi. Secret society or clandestine ritualistic cult, you may wonder? No – it’s Wednesday night yoga with Yogi B!
My friend Barbara, a.k.a. Yogi B., spent some time in India a few years ago to study yoga. Since her return, she generously shares what she learned with a group of her friends each week.
In the fall and winter, we gather in her basement/yoga studio where she guides us through an ashtanga, yin or bikram series and occasionally throws in a few kundalini exercises, just to keep us on our toes. In the summer, we often take it outside to beautiful Brentwood Park to stretch and twist while looking out at the Rideau River.
Most of the members of our little group are runners, skiers, cyclists or otherwise active people. Age-wise, we range from our 71-year old friend Chris, who still runs the Boston Marathon faster than many of my much younger friends, to new mom Kim, who used to bring baby Noelle for some mom-and-baby-yoga. Involuntary comic relief is occasionally provided by our friend Simon, who stands in tree pose as if Hurricane Juan was blowing furiously around him, or by anyone to whom “wind-releasing pose” actually does what it is supposed to do.
The great thing about yoga is that no matter what your level of fitness, flexibility or balance, everyone can benefit by practising to the best of their abilities. As a runner, I love stretching all those tight running muscles and building my core strength.
Line, one of our regular participants, has been absent from our little group for the past few months. She took off to travel Southeast Asia and is finishing her journey with a stay in India, where she is studying at an Ashram. We look forward to having her back in the coming weeks to hear about her adventures and to see what she will bring to our classes.
An integral part of each and every one of our sessions is the relaxation, or savasana, at the end of the class. After 10 minutes, during which Barbara guides us through a meditation and some relax so deeply that the occasional snore is heard, we chant a few “ohms” and then head upstairs to the living room to further deepen our relaxation with a glass of wine or a cup of herbal tea. I love Wednesday nights. Namaste!