The next stop on my Passport to Prana journey is the appropriately named Equilibrium studio, conveniently located above a health food store just a couple of blocks from my house. Formerly known as the Yoga & Meditation Institute, the studio offers a diverse range of classes. It’s rooted in Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan (of the 3HO foundation ~ and the guy who inspired Yogi Teas), but also offered are Kripalu, Vinyasa, Pilates, Prenatal, Kids Yoga, Yin/Restorative classes, along with Kundalini Teacher Training. There’s also a massotherapy clinic with massage, reiki, and shiatsu.
Equilibrium is a beautiful studio overlooking St Laurent Blvd, with three large practice rooms, lots of space to hang coats and store baggage, and a welcoming front desk. There’s even a cozy juice bar (Le Jubar, with vegan and gluten free cuisine) and sitting area. The whole space feels very cared for and purposeful.
Since the studio is one of the few places in Montreal that offers Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga, I decided to jump right into a class with Shabad Saroop Singh Khalsa, co-founder and director of the centre. He’s been teaching for 30 years, and the Equilibrium website describes him as having a “warmth, humanity, wisdom and a sense of humour.” All of these qualities came through in his teaching. He wore the traditional all-white clothing and turban, sat on a white skin rug and had a full grey beard. Next to his seat was a big gong, which he banged during the final meditation, sending awesome vibrations through the whole room.
“In Kundalini Yoga the most important thing is your experience,” says Yogi Bhajan. “It goes right to your heart. No words can replace your experience.” That’s good to know, because I have no idea how to describe the practice, which I really felt on a very subtle level. A Kundalini Yoga practice combines breath, mudra, eye-focus, mantra, body locks, and postures in a precise, conscious manner to affect body, mind, and soul.
The session ended as all Kundalini classes do, with a round of the “Sunshine Song”: May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you, Guide your way on. Guide your way on, guide your way on, Sat Nam. Bilingual, of course (actually, the whole class was in French, and I was able to keep up, mais oui!). It was a nice sentiment to end with, on a grey and dreary February morning.
4812 St Laurent Blvd, Suite 101, Montreal