Breaking the mold with yoga, meditation
People migrate for many reasons, most of them to improve their lot economically, others to find peace after war and others to find themselves after being rejected by their families and others because they did not correspond not their idea of what it is to be human.
Serge Salvador, yoga meditation instructor at Yoga Public, didn’t fit the mold, so he went looking for a place where he would be accepted for who he is. Canada fits this bill.
“I feel like a child, I don’t want to grow up. I live in an imaginary world where people love each other. Discrimination makes me very sad,” Salvador said.
Originally from a small town in France, Vic-la-Gardiole, near Montpellier. When Serge first arrived in Canada, he learned that both of his parents had died in a car accident. His partner accompanied him home for support.
“Even during this traumatic time, I felt rejected by my family. When my sister saw me, she said ‘gay people are coming’ and that was not a term of endearment. It was a rejection to because of my sexual orientation. I felt rejected and had to leave.”
Serge’s first stop in Canada was Vancouver in 1999. His neighbor was a 75-year-old yoga teacher.
“I started following his yoga practice, I found it helped me relax and feel at peace. I was on a path,” he said.
“In 2002, I took several yoga teacher trainings. I was looking forward to learning more and more. Yoga helped me come to terms with death and loss.”
After some time, Serge started taking classes from a yoga teacher in India and would travel to India for four months at a time doing yoga retreats.
“I experienced Raja yoga, which involves meditation and mantra,” he explained.
In 2012, Serge created a yoga retreat in Nicaragua with his partner, Jarvin, which they ran successfully for a few years. However, owning a business can be time consuming with mundane things, so they gave up and went to live in a cave house in Andalusia, Spain, before moving back to Canada when Serge accepted a position with Yoga Public.
“It’s a great place to work and I can do what I love,” he said. “As well as teaching yoga classes, I teach special meditation classes that incorporate soul movement dance, mantra and breath work, concentration, detachment exercises and, finally, meditation,” he said. “I also do the yoga teacher trainings, which are very satisfying. I love it all.”
Serge said that while many teachers use asanas (physical movements and poses) to introduce students to yoga, he focuses on the breath because he believes it’s the foundation of any proper yoga practice. Inhaling and exhaling through the nose is the fat that relaxes the joints and muscles to allow a person to do yoga poses more easily.
“It’s also a way to open the doors of the mind,” he said. “I love meditation. If I never did asanas, I wouldn’t miss as much as if I didn’t meditate.”
Asked what draws so many people to yoga these days, Serge replied that people are looking for an oasis from the stresses and confusion of life and yoga offers a bit of that.
Serge wants a better world, a world in which people will be judged only on their character.
“We are all spiritual beings and there is no gender or color,” he says. “Why can’t we accept this instead of judging each other? If I can’t change the world, I can change the way I react to the world and I always respond with love. I’m not perfect but every day I try to be better. I practice yoga by being present, loving and compassionate.”
Beatrice Watson is Community Correspondent for Fort Rouge.