I Went Looking for Peace at a Yoga Retreat

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It’s 5:30 a.m. when I’m awoken by the sound of a big bell ringing just outside my window. It’s quite dark out, but I lazily pull on yoga pants and a sweater before heading outside for morning meditation. It’s my first day at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp in Val-Morin, Quebec, and though I am here entirely by choice, I’m nervous about stepping out of my comfort zone in such unfamiliar surroundings. Aside from maybe a nudist colony, it’s basically the last place on earth I thought my tightly wound self would end up. 

A small group congregates outside the dorm building, and we begin the satsang, which is a common yogic practice that revolves around spiritual discussion and literally translates from Sanskrit as “in the company of truth.” It’s basically a group meditation session in which people meditate and chant Sanskrit mantras, and it concludes…

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