Tag Archives: Yoga mala Montreal

As Within, So Without

I had an interesting thing happen last week that I’ve been mulling over ever since…figured I’d share it, as it’s been fascinating me. Shortly after the Montreal Yoga Mala wound down, I found myself mentally going over the whole planning process and remembered that I hadn’t yet watched the CTV news spot I did to promote the event, so I sat down in front of the TV and played it back. I remember doing the same thing with last year’s promo spot, and this year brought about the same reaction: I didn’t recognize the guy on TV as being me. I could obviously see, hear, and understand him, but as much as I sat there with the knowledge that I was watching myself, I felt completely detached from that person, as if I was watching someone else.

I found myself thinking about this over the next few days, especially when I found myself post-shower, getting dressed and looking in the mirror. The reflection I saw looking back at me was more familiar, someone I knew and identified as myself, someone I was familiar with. I then thought about (and checked out) some of my photos around the loft and on Facebook, and saw other versions of myself I knew well, and then started comparing and contrasting all those versions of myself…from TV to my reflection to photos of me. And I came to somewhat of an epiphany: I’m all of those people, but mostly, I’m none of them.

I truly think that when we hear our own voices and immediately cringe from barely being able to associate it with being an extension of ourselves, when we see ourselves in photos and think “Is that what I really look like?”, and when we look in the mirror dissecting our reflections, it’s because on some level, we know that what we’re seeing is of very little significance. Yes, we live in a world that’s unfortunately becoming more and more steeped in superficiality, and yes, we react favourably to those who appearance pleases us on whatever level speaks to us…but I really believe that once we remove the ego from our discriminative faculties, what we’re left with is a consciousness that speaks to and identifies with the essence of what is essence, and not with the shell it’s contained within.

Watching myself on TV really showed me how the way we see ourselves is less dependent on how styled and groomed we are, and how the intention and energy we infuse our words, actions, and, ultimately, our lives ends up conveying monumentally more than the sum total of all the elements that comprise our aesthetics. Maybe we need to get out of our own way a bit…perhaps the self-scrutiny that we seem to be obsessed needs to be pushed aside in the understanding that we can make the efforts to look good and tweak our appearance, but if we’re devoid of humanity, love and kindness for others, the attempts at looking good are all for naught. If we all spent as much time examining what lies within, that which exists superficially would quickly follow suit. Think about it! It’s inevitable…and most probably a great thing.

Non Nobis Solum

We’re three weeks away from the 5th Annual Montréal Yoga Mala, one that is slated to be the most successful in terms of attendance, and, potentially, money raised (this year all funds are donated to Santropol Roulant). Dawn Mauricio originally started the initiative five years ago, and I joined her as an organizer last year. The growth in the response from the yoga community, even in the last two years, has been huge. The 2010 Mala attracted 46 yogis and yoginis, who joined us in Parc Jeanne Mance along with the nine different yoga teachers we had enlisted from nine different yoga studios around Montréal for a celebratory 108 sun salutations. Each teacher taught 12 salutations in their own style, and by the end of the event, after all the prize-drawing, post-yoga eating, and mingling, we had raised over $7500 for that year’s charity, Le Garde Manger Pour Tous. In terms of pre-registration, this year has almost double the amount of people, with more expected to join us at the event!

Becoming involved with the Mala allowed me to accomplish two main goals: I was  able to affect change and delve into a little philanthropy, but it also gave me the opportunity to bring the Montréal yoga community together as one united movement. Having been a yoga student far longer than a teacher, I have definitely felt a disconnect from one studio to another, and even amongst teachers. Whereas cities like Toronto often have town hall-like meetings for their yoga circles, where businesses and teachers come together and share their experiences while offering insight and advice to each other, Montréal’s community has seemed more the sum total of many individuals doing their own thing, often struggling through the challenges of starting up as a teacher or studio owner. Becoming involved with Dawn’s project allowed me to actively join forces with a woman I respect and admire so that we could unify our community and allow that unity to be seen by the students that so often rotate from one studio to another in any given week, and who maintain that cycle of visiting different studios so that they can be exposed to different styles and energies. An amazing byproduct of our efforts was seeing the teachers we had assembled mingling, leaders in our community talking together, laughing, and basking in the glow that accompanies a coming-together of intentions that the Mala offers.

This year’s Mala once again brings us to a place of unity, where the excitement that builds as we get closer to the day of the event becomes palpable, enough so that we’re seeing double the amount of people registered compared to last year. Ironically, this year’s Mala is slated to be the last one, mainly due to the demands that the organization and execution of the event places on Dawn and myself. Our teaching aside, we’re both incredibly busy and the preparation and orchestration of everything that needs to be done to make the Mala a success is, in itself, another full-time job for 6 months out of the year. And so we feel that it’s time to let go of it, making this year’s Montreal Yoga Mala the last one of its kind with us at the helm. Having said that, we are actively looking for someone, or a group of people, who are interested in taking the reins from us…who have the time and energy to devote to it. The benefits of being able to bring people together to give up our time and funds to people who could benefit from them are immeasurable, it’s just question of being able to commit to something and then honor that commitment.

If you feel like this is something that interests you, something that you could really be able to manage and execute, then please let me know at bram.levinson@gmail.com or feel free to contact Dawn at dawnmrcio@gmail.com.  Despite the decision that Dawn and I have made, we would be ecstatic to see the tradition carry on with new energy infusing it from new organizers driven by passion and a desire to give back. It has been a highlight in my life and my career to accompany Dawn throughout the process that the Mala offers, one that should be lived by us all…

Montréal’s Yoga Mala takes place on Sunday, May 29th in Parc Jeanne Mance on the corner of Duluth and Esplanade from 10am-1pm. Rain or shine. For all information concerning the event, please visit the Montréal Yoga Mala website and/or Facebook page.