April 2016: new studio directors recognize the founders of Yoga on the Park
The Joannes met as young mothers in Franklin, Quebec, when Joanne Ransom was pregnant with her first child and Joanne Gormley was chasing a two-year-old daughter through the apple orchards on her sister’s property. Later in Montreal, as single moms they quickly became friends, taking the kids camping and sharing cottages up in the Laurentians.
One summer they landed, without the children, at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts for an unusual and transformative weekend. They slept on the floor, ate cantaloupe for dinner and held yoga postures for ten minutes. The yoga component spurred them both to take the 200 hour basic teacher training and from that point forward they were dedicated practitioners and have taught uninterrupted since 1990. Kripalu was their spiritual home, with its emphasis on compassion and community. They augmented their studies with various teachers from different traditions earning their 500 hour professional level certifications.
They have taught at many Montreal locations: church basements, Kundalini centres, and renting space at established yoga studios. Often the talk was about opening their own yoga studio as teaching took on more of a central role in their lives, but it was not easy to find a suitable location. Three times they came close to signing a lease and each time the difficulties of solidifying the right terms caused them to back away. Then they found the location of Yoga on the Park and with the help of family and friends were able to create a space they could call home for thirteen years. Each of them had a loyal clientele which made the move to studio ownership fairly smooth. Students were happy to continue to build the community already in place while learning and practicing in a spacious room with beautiful, changing seasonal views on to the park: a studio with a view.
Mixing business with practice was both challenging and fruitful. As with any dedication, the personal benefits of repeated effort in home practice, both asana and meditation, were the sustaining force of the studio and their relationship as friends.
As the desire to write and spend time with her grandchildren coincided with reaching the magic age of retirement, Joanne G. took a less active role in studio management. As she began to step back, Joanne R. began the search for new managers; not wanting to continue solo, very much wanting to continue to have such a beautiful space to teach in, and not wanting the NDG community to lose a vibrant centre for the practice of consciousness based yoga and meditation. The timing was right to begin to look for other owners and when Malcolm and Julie and Emily and Julie stepped forward, the deal was made. The transition is still very fresh, but they find it wonderful to now have the space and the freedom to focus solely on teaching