Featured Communities - Toronto & Ottawa
Toronto is the first place Yogi Bhajan’s feet touched the soil of the West when he made the decision to leave India in 1968 in order to begin sharing the teachings of Kundalini Yoga. The 3HO® Toronto community is rich with history and vibrant with many teachers, students, and seekers. Above is the current group of Kundalini Yoga Teachers in Training who are inspired to serve in many dynamic ways with the teachings. They have specific interest in the healthcare industry as a whole, including mental health, medical professionals, and woman’s clinics. Sat Dharam Kaur, lead teacher trainer and long-time 3HO Community leader in the Toronto area, has a vision to create an International Health Center to train teachers specifically in the area of Kundalini Yoga and health.
Toronto Level 1 Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training group includes teachers in training from Toronto, Cambridge, and Montréal. Flowers were given by Har Prakash Singh in honor of Mother’s Day, which followed the White Tantric Yoga Course in Toronto.
I had the opportunity to visit the ashram and meet a few of the people who call the ashram home. The ashram was described to me as an image of the Golden Temple with doors open to four sides welcoming all who want to live in the sacred vibration offered, which mirrors the spirit in which the Golden Temple was built as a place for the many different spiritual traditions in India to come together in devotion. Sikhs, Kundalini Yogis, devotees of Sri Chinmoy, and devotees of Ammaji are currently living in the ashram.
Guru Ram Das Ashram Toronto
Sat Karam Singh, ashram caretaker; Santokh Kaur, previous resident of the ashram; and Nigama, a devotee of Ammaji who has been living in the ashram for 13 years, describe Guru Ram Das Ashram as “a magical place where so many come together from different denominations and acquire peace. There is no place like this.”
Karpani, devotee of Sri Chinmoy, preparing lunch in the kitchen of Guru Ram Das Ashram. The kitchen was described as the ‘heart’ of the ashram.
The city of Ottawa has developed a strong Kundalini Yoga community and has five Kundalini Yoga studios that also offer other types of yoga. Each yoga center offers a unique facet and approach in offering the teachings of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®. We were able to visit a handful of the centers and share our findings with you.
Navjeet or Nina Sidhu, owner and director of Yoga & Tea and Panch Nishan Kaur, 3HO International Community Relations
Yoga & Tea Yoga Center
Yoga & Tea is unique as it sits on ten acres of land in the suburbs of Ottawa. Beautiful gardens have been created as an asset to the center. As activities such as horseback riding, curling, and gardening are popular in this area, Yoga & Tea has been successful in developing classes tailored to such activities for physical and mental clarity. Yoga & Tea is in the process of becoming a 3HO Yoga Center Partner. Navjeet nurtures Yoga and Tea with great love and devotion and has created a very cozy and welcoming space to bring together community and share the teachings of Kundalini Yoga.
Navjeet/Nina Sidhu on the teacher’s bench at Yoga and Tea
Rama Lotus Yoga Centre
Rama Lotus is one of the first yoga centers in Ottawa to offer Kundalini Yoga and opened in 1994. They have since grown to offer many disciplines of yoga and have expanded into 5 yoga rooms within the building, with 40 teachers and 9 staff, and are still growing! Rama Lotus is in a University neighborhood and offers a generous student discount attracting more young people into yoga classes. Forty-day sadhanas are hosted amidst a plethora of workshops, trainings, and programs. Rama Lotus Yoga Centre is interested in becoming a 3HO Yoga Center Partner. Rama Lotus is a high energy, dynamic center with lots of opportunities for students to participate in both serving and taking diverse classes.
One of the 5 yoga rooms in Rama Lotus
A dynamic team, Tera Kaur/Tara Cartland is the current owner of Rama Lotus and Tara Porter is the general manager. Tera/Tara Cartland describes the yoga center as a university—an opportunity for learning, spiritual growth, and a way to be of service.
Shunnya Centre is a very sweet one room center in a great location in Ottawa. Believe it or not, Shunnya was converted into a yoga center from a dry cleaning business! One of their specialties is to offer Sat Nam Rassayan® healing classes.
Shunnya’s yoga room
Kulmeet Kaur, owner of Shunya, on the teacher’s bench. Kulmeet describes Shunnya’s philosophy: “It’s about each person that comes through the door feeling a sense of nurturance and peace.”
Because Shunnya is a smaller studio they have the ability to give individual attention and build community in this fashion. Shunnya is in the process of becoming a 3HO Yoga Center Partner. Kulmeet has created a great Zen-like space to practice yoga—clear, clean, simple, and sweet.
Adi Shakti Yoga Centre
Adi Shakti Yoga Centre is the only yoga center in Ottawa that offers Kundalini Yoga exclusively. It has been open since 2003. Adi Shakti offers a variety of specialty workshops such as Bhangra dancing, cooking classes, Kirtan evenings, and more. It is a sweet and sacred space in East Ottawa.adishaktiyogacentre.com
Vegy Bed & Breakfast
Harimandir Singh & Siri Bandhu Kaur, owners of Vegy Bed & Breakfast and long-time students of Yogi Bhajan have been in Ottawa for decades serving to build community and sharing the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. Vegy Bed & Breakfast offers rooms for guests, conducts weddings, and has hosted weekly Kundalini Yoga Classes for years.
PranaShanti Yoga Centre
PranaShanti Yoga Centre, a 3HO Yoga Center Partner, is a newer Yoga center in Ottawa offering Kundalini Yoga along with other forms of yoga. Designed to be eco-friendly, PranaShanti’s three yoga rooms, are clean and modern, each holding a distinct sacred vibration.
PranaShanti store front
Devinder Kaur, owner of Prana Shanti, playing the gong. Devinder has put an incredible amount of time, love, and devotion into the creation and sustenance of PranaShanti producing a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere for people to practice yoga and gather in community.
PranaShanti hosted a class for 3HO Foundation International Representative Panch Nishan Kaur where meditation and stories about how 3HO is growing around the world were shared.