In a matter of months 6 of our youth committed suicide. The community was shattered, people were angry, hurt, confused and above all, feeling totally helpless. I became desperate, almost frantic to help my students. I forgot most of my yoga teachings and went into survival mode. If a student didn’t show up to class I was terrified. Where were they? Who were they with? Did they need my help…
In an effort to help students deal with their grief and move forward, we would spend Friday afternoons brainstorming things they could do that weekend to keep themselves occupied. We quickly realized there was not much out there for them. There was no youth centre, no community hall with activities, I wanted them to have things to do so they wouldn’t be sitting in their rooms thinking of their lost friends, feeling sad and alone. I wanted them to be supported, loved and surrounded by positivity. It was around this time that I realized there was more that I could offer.
Doing my Yoga Teacher Training had been on my “To Do List” for some time but I always convinced myself I was too busy. I knew that bringing yoga into the community could help in the healing process, give people a healthy outlet and hopefully offer some mental health benefits as well. I immediately signed up for my teacher training and took the first steps toward creating Boreal Yoga.
I shared my story and my goals with many people and was fortunate enough to make connections with Lululemon and Project Echo who have been integral in helping Boreal Yoga get off the ground, they have offered so much support and lots of logistical help. Being in the north can present some unique challenges. Like getting equipment or connecting with graphic designers when you don’t have working internet most of the time.
Boreal Yoga now offers 2 evening classes a week (free of charge) in the Community of Cross Lake and we are adding weekend workshops to our schedule soon. Almost every night we have new students joining the class. Our classes are a joyful mix of adults, youth, first responders, healthcare providers, parents and many more. We hope that each time someone comes to their mat in a Boreal class they find peace, calm, positive energy and a quiet moment for themselves.