Montreal’s Mile End neigbourhood will be welcoming the arrival of Naada Yoga, a yoga space which will be opening its doors on May 16. The studio is just up the street from my house, so I’ve been watching the developments over the past few months. I was intrigued by the simple sign hanging on the front of the building: ‘naada: yoga, sound, tea.’

Last weekend, I took a pre-opening class to experience the space, and it was all the sign promised. And there are a number of things which set this space apart from other studios.

“Naada is the English transliteration of the sanskrit word nada, meaning sound,” said co-founder and yoga teacher, Elizabeth Emberly. “We chose this word because of our emphasis on sound as an accompaniment to the asana practice.”

Elizabeth started off the class with a short meditation while she played a crystal singing bowl, sending healing vibrations and good energy through the whole room. During savasana, Elizabeth played recorded music which was amplified through a sub-woofer in the centre of the room and 6 speakers installed in the walls. students feel as if they are in a world of sound that embraces and supports their practice. “The idea is that students will feel as if they are in a womb-like world of sound that embraces and supports their practice.”

With a background in contemporary dance and involvement in Montreal’s art and music communities, it’s natural that Elizabeth would integrate the yoga of sound into her asana teaching. “Sound is a means of bringing focus to my practice by providing an environment conducive to meditation. It helps me to calm my mind and steady my breath throughout my practice. I’ve also become more receptive to the concept of energy as vibration by having my own clear and physical sensory experiences.”

There is a sense of care, beauty and intention throughout the the whole Naada Yoga space. According to Elizabeth, the studio structure and the tea bar, desk and benches were built with materials reclaimed from construction sites. A bamboo floor was installed in the studio because of bamboo’s efficient growth and energy sustaining qualities. Artwork on the outside of the building and inside the studio was provided by artist/activist, Roadsworth.

Naada Yoga opens its doors to the community on Saturday, May 16 with a whole day of yoga and sound. Here’s a brief outline of the festivities:

  • 10 am  108 Sun Salutations
  • 12 pm  Yoga Demonstrations
  • 2 pm    Traditional Tea Ceremony
  • 4 pm    Movie Screening of YOGA NYC
  • 7 pm    Music by Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire)
  • 8 pm    Music by Sam Shalabi and Friends (Shalabi Effect)
  • 9 pm    Prize Draw

On May 17, kirtan artist Dave Stringer will be performing. The following day, the studio will swing into full action with a schedule of Hatha and Ashtanga classes, and “Naada Live” – asana practice accompanied by live musicians on Saturdays from 12pm – 2pm.