When yoga changes your life

When yoga changes your life

  • October 27, 2017

Since the opening of Espace Banyä earlier this year, Nordik has been able to add yoga to its extensive range of wellness services starting this fall. Spa lovers can now enhance their relaxation experience with a yoga session led by a professional or practise their own yoga routine in a multipurpose room any yogi would love.

Yoga always makes me think of my sister, Nathalie Charron, who lives and breathes yoga. In this post, I want to share her story, simply because it’s so inspiring. When she discovered yoga, it changed her life.

The Discovery!

In the mid-90s, when Nathalie was about 25 years old, she began looking for a physical activity to transition to after having practised dance throughout her youth. Yoga, a little-known discipline at the time, seemed like be the right solution. The many benefits of the poses maintained her physical wellbeing the same way dance did, without the added stresses of staging, performing and an end-of-year production and selling tickets to her peers. Yoga gave her the exercise, strength, and flexibility she needed without having to be a member of a dance group and without rhythmic music. “With yoga, the rhythm comes from inside you instead of from your surroundings. It’s your own breathing that sets the pace. It was then that I realized how good it is for me,” Nathalie confesses.

At the very beginning, yoga classes were more like meeting spaces for friends, a pretext for some girl time. But these meetings quickly became essential wellness breaks for her physical and spiritual balance. Yoga classes became a need over the months, and slowly, they took all the space in her life that dance had once occupied. “The woman who led my classes was the first real yogi I encountered. She literally shared her passion with me, explaining every pose in detail. Today, when I teach yoga, I still draw inspiration from her. It’s amazing how life puts the people who make a real difference on our journey,” Nathalie continues.

A sanctuary

At first, yoga was essentially a physical exercise. Gradually, my sister became fully absorbed in a philosophy of living a healthy and balanced life, which would guide her, like a code of ethics, to feel good, to make good choices, to feel at peace, to forgive herself, to love herself, and to make the right decisions. What’s amazing is that this philosophy can be applied to every aspect of life. What you practise on the mat can be applied to your life. For example, deep breathing and meditation in yoga is essential to your wellbeing, particularly when you’re feeling stressed, exhausted, or overworked. It became an ally, a balance, a sanctuary, a guideline.

“Yoga is my guide. It’s the way I balance my life, inform my actions, and make the right decisions.”

From interior designer to yoga teacher

“Yoga was such a positive addition to my life that I wanted to share its benefits with others.” So she registered and completed 200 hours of training to become a Kripalu yoga teacher (including yoga ethics, poses, breathing, anatomy, and philosophy). This training helped her discover the power of our thoughts and their effects on our bodies. In fact, it was while completing this training that she decided to make a major career change. She continued her studies in group interventions and leadership to develop her newfound calling to spread wellness and use this power that every person has within them.

“My work as an interior designer focused on embellishing décor and the surface layer. I needed to go deeper by focusing on my inner self. Teaching yoga makes me feel like I’m reaching my full potential, leaving my mark, and fully accomplishing my personal mission: to give without expecting anything in return and to help other people feel good about themselves.”

She now teaches restorative yoga twice weekly at Corps-Esprit. “It’s a dream I’m accomplishing. Besides establishing my own self-discipline, I feel like I am making a difference in the lives of my students.” Each class is different, but each begins with an intention based on one of the Yamas or Niyamas, the foundations of balance. This sets the direction of the session and helps students maintain their focus, centre themselves, and distance themselves from negative energy. It’s not just physical exercise: yoga is time we take for ourselves to internalize and to stop and clear our minds.

“Before going to my classroom, I prepare my lesson and I put myself into the right mindset. I draw inspiration from my day and let my intuition guide me to discover my own intention. Sometimes, when I am at a loss, I bring a box of positive messages and have my students draw one. It’s important for me to set the tone and create the right atmosphere. Here’s an example: For this class, I will suggest satisfaction with yourself as the intention. For each breath you take during the class, accept how far you have come. Be lenient and forgiving with yourself. Be compassionate, be proud, and be satisfied.”

A way of life

The mat is always unrolled in her living room, ready to welcome her. She practises yoga every day for a few minutes, half an hour, an hour. It has become essential

for her, her whole way of life. Even her daughters and her cats join in. It’s contagious! ”Yoga brings me the chance to connect with myself, as well as wellbeing of my body, mind, and soul.”

Nathalie’s story makes it hard not to want to try something new to connect with yourself. Whether through yoga or another activity, it is important to find your own path and invest yourself in it to find your own balance. If yoga interests you, Nathalie suggests trying different types of yoga, meeting different teachers, and even visiting different centres before officially committing yourself to one. Figure out your needs, ask questions, and get moving. Namaste.

Learn more about Nathalie Charron, my favourite yogi. (French only)


Anne-Marie Charron

Wellness blogger