A group of students at the Bodhi Tree Yoga Studio came together at the end of February/early March to give the studio a much-needed face lift. In it’s 12th year, the Bodhi Tree has been under the loving care of Melanie (Om Shanti) Charlebois and her husband Rob since September 2017. Although they have made some small upgrades since they took over, Om Shanti says she definitely had a vision for a new and updated look for the studio. “12 years is a long time to go without any change,” she says.
At the end of February, Melanie travelled to Nepal to take a few students on a yoga and trekking trip. Before she left, she gave dedicated students, Janine Falk and Catherine Humphrey, permission to rearrange the studio as they saw fit. What she didn’t know is that the pair, along with a couple other Bodhi Tree members, would give the studio lobby a complete makeover, including new paint on the walls, and even a new reception desk. “When the cat’s away, the mice will play,” Janine says smiling.
When Melanie returned to the studio a couple weeks ago, she was in complete shock. “It felt like five minutes before I was able to say a word,” she says. “I was in awe of how much love was put into everything. To me this is what love looks like.”
Janine says she was inspired to do this for Melanie and the Bodhi Tree because, for her, it has become a second home. “It’s also a business, and it needs to be kept up to date and be relevant,” she says. “It seemed like the right time.”
Melanie says it is a testament to how comfortable people feel at the studio. “I’m in awe that students and other people around here know me enough that I love it as much as I do,” she says. “It’s new and fresh, but still holds the soul that has been here for years.”
The studio makeover seems to be a jumping off point for Melanie and her students to expand the Bodhi Tree community. On Friday, March 8, Melanie and Janine visited St. Michael Catholic High School’s Wellness Day, where they were invited to teach a two-hour class to students and teachers. Om Shanti says it was a privilege to teach what turned out to be a fully female class, especially on International Women’s Day. “Women weren’t even allowed to do yoga until the 1940s,” she says, which is surprising, because it is so female-dominated in the Western world.
The studio is also organizing a yoga brunch with Salamanders restaurant in Kemptville, and they are looking to partner with local charities to help make a difference in the community. “We want to get the Bodhi Tree and the benefits of yoga out there,” Janine says. “Even people who work on construction sites can benefit from yoga,” Catherine adds.
Janine hopes that, with the studio makeover and community outreach, more people will come see what the Bodhi Tree has to offer. “It’s such a home for us,” she says. “With the changes, we hope people come see it for themselves.”