yoga in montreal: crowdsourcing community

mmm, tasty yoga! (image via http://www.yogasitasf.com)

I love community. I love the community that has sprouted up around it’s all yoga, baby, and I love the wider community that the blog has connected me to. I love that blog comments and Twitter allow me to connect with people all over North America, from the comfort of my living room (or on the bus, at the café, wherever I happen to be).

As much as I love online community, I love real community even more. But I have to admit, it’s harder. I have to leave my house. I have to fit it into my schedule. And often, community, or my ideal of community, can be difficult to access. Last summer I went to Toronto for the Yoga Festival Toronto, and I was amazed (and even a little jealous!) of the yoga community there. I saw a celebration of diversity, integrity and progressive ideas. When I returned to Montreal, it seemed pale in comparison to what’s happening in Toronto. I wondered: What is happening in my own city? Where do I even begin to find it?

I wrote a blog post about this, and somebody read it, then we had coffee. That lead to a small gathering with a couple of others to listen to a Yocoto town hall, which we didn’t even listen to because we were too busy talking. Brainstorming. Dreaming. By the end of the conversation we had decided… to organize Montreal’s first yoga festival! It seemed crazy, but we had enthusiasm, energy and commitment.

These conversations have lead to yocomo (yoga communauté montréal), which made its foray onto the internet with a group blog and Facebook Fanpage. I see it as not necessarily an effort to build community, but to draw out and unite the little sub-communities (often centred around studios or teachers). From the yocomo blog ‘about’ page:

The goal of yocomo is to unearth the gems of the everyday yoga community. Together, we can span ideology, tradition, culture and language, and break down the barriers between lineages. We can connect and share our personal experiences for the growth of the community. We will talk, laugh, sing, eat, celebrate, dance, enjoy life.

We are here to connect the community of yoga practitioners in Montréal in a way that supports dialogue, creativity and growth. We are committed to empowering individuals, connecting the vast range of traditions and practices, and coming together to support our community’s growth and celebrate  its vibrant diversity.

It was soon time to get off the computer and into the ‘hood! Yocomo had a little debutant party in the spring with a public conversation: When is yoga a healing art? We’re excited to host our second public event tomorrow, a community picnic in a Montreal park. We’re doing it with zero budget or sponsorship, making the food ourselves and asking attendees to bring their own plates and utensils.

And I’m nervous and excited. What if nobody comes? What if people do come? What if they come with expectations? What if they have no expectations? And this is when I realized: real live community is a risk. It reminds me of my humanness, of my vulnerability, my dorkiness. As a shy extrovert, it reminds me that I’m often more comfortable with my fingers on the keyboard than face-to-face with human beings.

The picnic is an experiment in crowdsourcing: the intention is to draw out the community, to ask people what they want and what they can give, to discover who has talent and energy to invest in a grassroots yoga festival. It’s an open call to design an event that reflects the vibrancy of this city. It’s exciting and scary and inspiring.

Yocomo Community Picnic
Tuesday, July 12th 1:30-4:30 pm
Parc Lafontaine, at the picnic table area just east of the Calixa-Lavallée Cultural Centre/lawn bowling area
More details on the Facebook invite!

And check out our first press on the Montreal blog, Midnight Poutine!

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  1. Hey! I love your blog. 🙂 I am also a yoga teacher and writing articles (not on my blog) partially focusing on crowd funding in Sweden.

  2. Looking forward to hearing all about the picnic – it is today ! Sending solid vibes for a gathering of likeminded people – maybe next year I’ll make it to Montreal

    • sigh- what a FUN idea!! love love. I hope the weather is nicer in Montréal than it is here in Halifax right now and wishing I were there for it! Can’t wait to hear more about it. Also, I love the idea of creating a website- fan page with a group of different yoga instructors. I think what is key, which you’re doing, is connecting with yoga instructors from different studios/traditions.

  3. btw- WOW on yocomo’s website and blog! I am in love with the fabulous posts and jealously wish there was something similar for Halifax… I’m going to pass it along to a few teachers I know here and see if they’re inspired 😀
    (annnnd I’m going to follow the bloG!)

  4. This is just awesome! And timely!! I’m looking to start something similar in my area and am in the process of getting input/buy in enough to get it going… This is so inspiring, your goal speaks to my heart and what I’m shooting for! I am quite excited about it, and also nervous – I’ve received some great encouragement, but also some cautions and I would love to know how it is going for you – and this event you have planned, SO awesome. I look forward to reading about it!!

    • thanks for your interest! i’ll definitely be blogging about the project here and at yocomo.org. i know exactly what you mean about “encouragement and cautions” – i’d love to hear more about that, in your experience!