By Katana Kaji
Deadlines! Waistlines! Where can one go for some respite?
Old Hull seems to be the place. Yes, you read correctly. In this little corner of the National Capital Region that you wrote off in the 1990s now stands a yoga centre called Studio Mouvement. The name points to the fact that it is not only a yoga studio but also a place where movement – in all its forms – is honored and celebrated.
This is no yogi sausage factory. It’s not a place to come just to climb the rungs of yogic hierarchy. There are no tests and no graduations into any coveted “next levels.” The hot yoga that you’ll find here comes from the heat generated through your practice, which speaks to the philosophy of yoga in its wholesome state. To that end, Studio Mouvement offers yoga classes varying from Restorative to Power, Akhanda Sonique (accompanied by live percussion) and flow, meditation and exploratory dance, movement and percussion workshops. For example, every third Friday night of the month, passersby can shimmy down the street to the sound of percussive instruments under the ambient, flickering lights emanating from the windows above street level. Walk up the stairs and join a gathering of people finishing their week with a good sweat and a liberating dance to the powerful pulse of percussion and an intentional selection of musical journeys. Welcome to Elaborhythm, which, along with Rhythohm and Soul Movement, are workshops where people of all ages, sizes and walks of life are invited to explore through movement and sound a liberating meditation in movement. No previous experience is required, just a willingness to play and Be.
“Why cross the river just to go to yoga?,” some might ask. First of all, it’s not just yoga. Studio Mouvement offers a warm and welcoming place to practice yoga, yes, but also to play, dance and safely experience something out of the ordinary. Secondly, you ought to know that the studio is closer to Parliament Hill than say, Chinatown, The Museum of Nature, The University of Ottawa and Scotiabank Place. The number 8 bus, not to mention the multitude of STO (that’s the Quebec equivalent to OC Transpo) buses that take you downtown can have you back to your regular commute in just a few minutes. You did it for beer when you were 18, why not do it now for something that will give your mind, body and soul some care, rather than take away your dignity (c’mon, we were all there)?
The best reason to go, however, is that in the year and a half that Studio Mouvement has been open, the quality of the classes and of the service has only gotten better. The community is growing, evolving and the vibe keeps getting ever more dynamic. Regulars at Mouvement note that the establishment is always pristine and the staff always kind. “It’s a moment of peace in my day; nothing I can do brings me more concentration at work or keeps me calmer,” says one client, a public servant who works practically across the street from the studio and who one day decided to take a walk to shake off her harried mood after a particularly difficult meeting. Wishing that she had some kind of respite, she stumbled upon the studio’s storefront sign and suddenly noticed that her feet were taking her up the stairs. “It’s just the best present I’ve ever given myself,” she says about her 10-class pass.
This kind of testimony is normal chatter among the clusters of students who leave the studio. You can hear them sighing in satisfaction at how good they feel, sipping on a cup of complimentary tea after Tatiana’s Akhanda or Restorative classes or how holistic and peaceful Joel’s Yoga Soleil lunchtime class is. The pair are partners in the studio and in life. They bring a loving sense of belonging to anyone who walks in. They go above and beyond to ensure that their students and staff are comfortable and are often heard doling out encouraging and empowering statements. “We chose to live and open our business in Vieux-Hull to help raise the energy in our community and to share with others the benefits of play, joy, connection and community that movement – yoga, dance and music – bring to enrich life. It’s a safe place to be free and authentic and to meet like-minded folk, to just Be you.”
With everything Tatiana and Joel are pouring into this endeavor, they have also been pioneers in the building of a conscious community in Vieux-Hull. Just a few years ago, Eddy Street was synonymous with drugs and the sex trade. Now, a stroll down Eddy Street will bring you to a tea shop, a vegan food restaurant, a trendy clothing store with items made from reused materials, an organic, fairly-traded chocolate purveyor and, of course, Studio Mouvement. Furthermore, everything you will see inside the studio has been consciously selected. The owners know where it’s from, who made it, whether it was organic, biodegradable, recycled or equitably sourced. They recycle, compost and offer filtered tap water and a glass in lieu of selling plastic water bottles, thereby reducing plastic waste. The hardwood studio floors are unfinished to reduce the amount of chemicals used. The paint on the walls is C2 LoVo, which emits fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than regular paint, reducing the amount of ground-level ozone contaminants into our atmosphere. As much as possible, they use local or Canadian suppliers. Their designer, tea supplier and printer are all located on the island of Vieux-Hull. Every inch of the space is good for you and good for the planet.
As a resident of Hull for many years, I can attest to the changes that have manifested recently in the area. I can also write until my fingers fall off, but you really have to walk through Studio Mouvement’s doors to feel it.
Studio Mouvement is the epitome of “holistic meets realistic.” They aren’t pushers of the latest yoga pants and they don’t subscribe to trends that drive focus towards comparison and competition… all that doesn’t matter, because you come as you are and all you need to bring to your mat is your compassion and awareness. This is the real deal.
For more information and to reach Studio Mouvement:
69 Eddy Street – 819-205-0979 firstname.lastname@example.org