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Yoga in Shawinigan with Janny C. Charbonneau, founder of Niyama Yoga

We’ve been following Janny Charbonneau for a while already and her journey always fascinated us. From travelling to the West Coast of Canada to surf and spending solo weekends in the forest to regain energy, Janny finally found her true calling and launched her own yoga company, Niyama Yoga. Her down-to-earth attitude and her calming voice instantly soothe your soul and that’s probably why she’s an amazing yoga teacher.

We’ve asked her a few questions during a coffee date at Tous Les Jours Dimanche, a local bakery situated in the heart of Shawinigan, Quebec. Get to know her more and learn more about yoga along the way.

When did you decide that you wanted to teach yoga?

When I was still a beginner. The place I used to go closed for the summer and I was running quite a bit at the time, so I proposed to my friends to do yoga in the park or anywhere after our workout session. I told them that I would prepare some stuff. I realized that I really liked preparing yoga training plans, even though I wasn’t sure if it was good or not! Afterwards, I heard of a training course so I decided to do it. I didn’t have a big yoga history, but it was calling me; sharing my passions with other people is something I always liked.

With so many yoga teachers around, how would you describe yourself?

I’ve really been inspired by the yoga school NAI’A, which is a community that is inspired by the nature. I encountered so many beautiful people at the school and what called me to give back people their own power. It’s a practice, but also a moment for ourselves to see all the positive things that surround us and to focus on it. The breathing tells a lot, so to calm the breathing and to deepen in it to find our true spirit.

You have recently launched a yoga class in Shawinigan, Quebec, how did people react? There is not much yoga classes in small cities…

People are really interested! It’s also different with what I bring, like the SUP Yoga and the Trance Dance Yoga—I could talk to you about it for hours! It’s another world: a spiritual travel through our energy led by the breathing and our spontaneous movements, like the dance.

Whoa, I didn’t know something like that existed!

Yea, it’s really cool, it’s like a rave without alcohol or drugs [laughs]. You are high on life! It’s all connected with the Earth’s elements and the music, it’s like I am a DJ. I know it seems so intense said like that, but it’s the way I see myself as a teacher. I want people to reconnect themselves with the beauty of life and what we have, what we are.

Can you tell me more about the positive aspects of doing yoga?

Yoga is something that reminds you to take time for yourself, which we often forget. We can take the time to observe our movements and the way we feel. If we do a lot of sport, it’s really good for stretching, learning to know the limits of our body and understanding our breathing. People sometimes think it’s just something to do when you want to relax, but there are a lot of different yoga styles in the world for all different needs and wants.

We often say that the original yoga culture is from India. Is it a place that you would love to go visit?

Well, the last trip I did was in Indonesia, where the yoga is really popular as well, along with the spirituality and prayers. This is a nation really connected to what surrounds them, so it really inspired me. Of course, India is one of the next trip I want to go experience, but we have the chance these days that yoga became more popular and we all know India is the base. I want to go there, but I’ve been lucky to have been inspired by other teachers that left from there and lived different experiences from other countries and culture such: Indonesia, Hawaii Spirituality, Inka…

You are currently living here, in Shawinigan, but you would like to go explore new places eventually. What are your goals?

My goal is to make my project Niyama nomad. Yes, I love my hometown and I am passionate to share it with the people that lives here, but I want to travel and be next to the ocean. I want to make a choice for me, to know the feeling of waking up close to the sea. Maybe leaving a long time, maybe just retreats, we’ll see … this is still a project at the moment.

I really hope you will, travelling would be a blast! What can you bring to Nouvelle Vague?

It would be to share tips on how to associate the yoga practice with our love for the sea, how to take care of the ocean, and what it brings us to have that passion for surfing even though we are beginners. I think about the practice of surfing and other sports that are in the water and we need to take care of the nature. With yoga, we take care of ourselves and everything that surrounds us. I think it’s a good platform for that. 

Check out her Facebook Page and read her first article
with us, How Yoga Changes my Life.

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