Rama Lotus Yoga Centre’s Story
The Rama Lotus Yoga Centre was founded in 1994 in Ottawa, Canada by Robert Hay. It was the first of its kind in Ottawa, as Robert followed his vision of opening a centre devoted solely to Yoga. The small centre began with a handful of Kundalini yoga classes offered each week, and a warm and vibrant community! It moved to Somerset Street and became the first in Ottawa to offer heated yoga classes. Along with Kundalini and Hatha yoga, new classes in Bikram yoga and Power Yoga became very popular. In 1999 we introduced Yoga Teacher Training programs. We are proud to have trained hundreds of yoga teachers since that time, many who experienced profound transformation and some who even went on to open up their own studios in Ottawa and other parts of Canada.
We eventually outgrew our little location on Somerset St. On May 1, 2000 the doors were opened at our new location at 342 Gladstone Ave. With this move Rama Lotus had expanded to 3 yoga studios, a dedicated boutique space and was offering Reiki and other healing modalities. By 2006 another space in the building became available and a 4th yoga room was added. Momentum was moving forward and the 5th room was introduced in 2009. At this time Rama Lotus was offering over 115 classes each week out of its 1 location, operating with close to 10,000 sq ft of space.
After fulfilling his vision for the centre, Robert decided to focus his energy and expertise on a new Yoga resource for the Ottawa community – the creation of an outdoor Yoga retreat called the Yoga Garden Retreat Centre www.yogagarden.ca.
In May 2008, Tara Cartland became the new owner and director of The Rama Lotus Yoga Centre. A certified yoga instructor, long time yogi, and a Manager of the centre since January 2002, Tara’s transition to this new role was a smooth and natural next step for the Rama Lotus. Tara’s husband Abe joined the business soon after, and they now oversee operations together, aided by a group of fabulous people.
It is our philosophy that yoga is for everybody. If you can breath you can do yoga. It does not matter how young or old you think you are; how bendy or inflexible, how big or small, or how financially well off you are. We are here to serve everyone, and invite you to become part of our community!
Rama Lotus’ instructors are among the best and most respected in Ottawa. All of our teachers are professionally certified, and have a true love for the yogic experience and way of life. They have been chosen for their ability to create a great experience for students. They are compassionate and caring individuals who are eager to share their vitality with others. Our teachers honour and respect each student on their own individual path and encourage a non-competitive environment, where students come to accept and embrace where they are (both on and off the mat).
We are located in the heart of downtown Ottawa at 342 Gladstone Avenue, between Bank and O’Connor, and are very accessible by car, bus, bike or feet! There is ample street parking all around our building.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is yoga?
- Do I need to be flexible to practice yoga?
- If I am injured, can I still do yoga?
- There are so many types of yoga – how do I know which one is right for me?
- Why practice yoga in a hot room?
- I am interested in trying a class, when and where do I start?
- What should I wear to class and what do I need to bring with me?
- How many times a week should I practice?
- What services do you offer at Rama Lotus?
- What is Om?
- What are the Eight Limbs of yoga?
- Can’t find the answer?
“Yoga is the name given to an ancient practice that helps to create a sense of union in all aspects of ourselves; in body, mind and spirit. People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years in order to feel at peace with themselves. Moving your body into poses and exercises is the most commonly known form of yoga. In yoga you will become more aware of your breath and the inner workings of your body and mind. Yoga also helps you become healthier and happier by circulating vital life energy through all your body systems.”
(Source: “KISS Guide to Yoga”, Shakta Kaur Khalsa)
Forget those images of acrobatic backbends and pretzel-like postures! You are not required to be flexible nor in perfect physical shape to start your yoga practice. Yoga is very adaptable and exercises can be modified for different levels of flexibility.
We recommend consulting with your doctor first. After obtaining permission from your physician, you might want to consider starting with Hatha Beginner or classes taught in the hot room (Hot and Bikram yoga). It’s a good idea to notify your teacher of your injury before beginning the class. Most importantly, always listen to your body and make sure you’re never pushing beyond your own limits.
As a beginner, we recommend starting with either the Yoga Flow (Gentle), Kundalini, Bikram or Hot yoga. After attending a few classes, we suggest exploring the various classes we offer in order to identify which style and teacher is best suited to you.
Your yoga practice will be what you make it to be: gentle/vigorous, relaxing, spiritual, etc. Anyone can participate: men and women of all ages are welcome!
We practice yoga in a hot room (usually between 100 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 to 41 degrees Celsius) in order to stimulate detoxification of the internal organs and increase flexibility and endurance. In general, our bodies are more flexible in a hot room than they are at normal room temperature.
We offer classes on a drop-in basis, therefore you can start your yoga practice at any time. We ask new students to arrive a minimum of 15 minutes before the start of their first class to fill in a new student form and to receive a short orientation session.
The recommended clothing depends on how strenuous the class is and the temperature of the room. In general, we suggest wearing something you can move comfortably in. Light, fitted clothes are preferable for any of the classes in the hot room. Yoga is done barefoot therefore you do not need any special footwear. Please be mindful that some clothing can gape and even be see-through when bending and stretching in yoga postures. For the comfort of yourselves and others, it is recommended that you make sure your clothing is appropriate.
When attending a class you will need a yoga mat (your own or one rented at the Centre) and water. For classes in the hot room you will also need a towel and a large bottle of water. Please note that mats are mandatory in the Hot room and also that rental mats are limited in number and therefore subject to availability, first come first served!
A daily practice is ideal but not accessible to all of us. We recommend a minimum of one 90-minute class per week. Any yoga is better than no yoga! It has been proven that transformation will occur more rapidly if you can sustain a regular practice.
We offer several services to make your experience a pleasant one. The Centre is open seven days a week and offers over 100 classes per week in styles that include Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Hot, Kundalini, Power and Prenatal, Yin, Yin/Yang and more. We have weekly workshops and host Yoga Teacher Training programs.
We offer rental services for mats, towels and lockers. Our facilities include showers and changerooms for both yogis and yoginis (in case you’re wondering, “yogis” are male and “yoginis” are female yoga practitioners). The Rama Lotus Boutique offers a variety of books, videos, candles, incense, accessories, yoga clothing and more.
We offer “Permission Stones” in each of our classes. If you would like hands-on assists from your teacher, please place a Permission Stone in front of your yoga mat. This will indicate to your teacher that you are open to hands-on adjustments during that yoga posture. If you change your mind during the practice, you can always slide the stone out of view, and the Teacher will refrain from physical touch until the stone is present again.
Note: Not all teachers at Rama Lotus Yoga Centre offer hands-on adjustments and there isn’t always time to offer adjustments to everyone. We will do our best to offer adjustments to all students who want them, however placing the Permission Stone on your mat does not mean you will get an adjustment. You will never find hands-on adjustments in Kundalini Yoga classes.
The sound of Om represents everything. The material world of the waking state is symbolized by the large lower curve. The deep sleep state is represented by the upper left curve. The dream state, lying between the waking state below and the deep sleep state above, emanates from the confluence of the two.
The point and semicircle are separate from the rest and rule the whole. The point represents the turiya state of absolute consciousness. The open semicircle is symbolic of the infinite and the fact that the meaning of the point can not be grasped if one limits oneself to finite thinking.
Approximately 200 years AD, a physician-sage named Patanjali divided the science of yoga in 8 basic beliefs.
- Yamas- The Yamas or restraints (Dont’s) are divided into five moral injunctions, aimed at destroying the lower nature. They should all be practiced and developed by the letter but also more importantly in the spirit. They should all be practiced in word, thought and deed.
- Ahimsa – non-violence
- Satya – truthfulness
- Brahmacharya – moderation in all things (control of all senses)
- Asteya – non-stealing
- Aparigraha – non-graspiness
- Niyamas- The Niyamas or observances (Do’s) are also divided into five and complete the ethical precepts started with the Yama. These qualities are:
- Saucha – purity – this internal and external cleanliness.
- Santosha – contentment
- Tapas – austerity
- Swadhyaya – study of the sacred texts
- Ishwara Pranidhana which is constantly living with an awareness of the divine Presence (surrender to God’s Will)
- Asanas – The Postures
- Pranayama – Regulation or control of the breath.
- Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses in order to still the mind.
- Dharana – Concentration. When Dharana is achieved, it leads to the next step:
- Dhyana – Meditation is that state of pure thought and absorption in the object of meditation. There is still duality in Dhyana. When mastered Dhyana leads to the last step:
- Samadhi – The superconscious state. In Samadhi non-duality or oneness is experienced. This is the deepest and highest state of consciousness where body and mind have been transcended and the Yogi is one with the Self or God.
(Source: “KISS Guide to Yoga”, Shakta Kaur Khalsa)
There is still free parking available on Gladstone Ave. between Bank and Metcalfe. There are also plenty of ‘Pay and Display’ street parking spots in the area. Depending on the street, the parking is valid for 2 hours Mondays to Fridays and is free Saturdays and Sundays. There is a parking lot 2 blocks away at Gilmour St. and Lewis St. (between Bank and O’Connor).
Please do not park directly across the street in the private parking spaces, in the Miele Gallery customer parking, in the Hulse, Playfair & McGarry Funeral Home parking spaces, nor in front of the PAI driveway. Many Thanks!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 613.234.7974.