by Morri Mostow

Yoga develops a following in Knowlton

With three strikes of the bell, the yoga class begins in earnest. Instructor Cheryl White, a smiling pixie in white with masses of curly red hair, guides the class’s attention, keeping her students present in the moment as they breathe rhythmically, working their bodies slowly through a series of basic postures. In what seems like an instant, the hour-and-a-half class is over, with the last chimes of the bell and a final chant of “om.” A dozen people arise refreshed, infused that sense well-being that hatha yoga has been inspiring in young and old for centuries.

White has been leading five yoga classes a week in Knowlton since September and has developed a following of several dozen dedicated students. “I brought yoga to Knowlton so people wouldn’t have to travel to Sutton or Cowansville,” explains White, a former triathlete and marathoner, who has been studying yoga for seven years with Joan Mathews at the Sutton Yoga Centre. Last August, White completed a month-long teaching certification program at the Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health, in Lennoxville, Massachusetts, considered to be North America’s foremost institution for this kind of training. (She is also a certified Kripalu massage therapist and gives massages at Salon Christina in Knowlton from Saturdays to Tuesday.) In the 80s and until she moved to Knowlton in 1994, White worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in Montreal.

“I finally burnt out from all that athletic training,” says White, who still jogs and bikes for her cardiovascular workout. “Yoga gives me a greater sense of health and well-being and is part of my spiritual path.”

White teaches hatha yoga, an ancient Indian discipline of the physical body that combines breath and movement. Her classes are appropriate for all ages and all levels, even beginners. “If I see that people are more flexible or more advanced, I simply demonstrate a more advanced form of the postures,” says White. There are only 25 basic yoga postures, although each one comes with dozens of possible variations. For maximum benefit, yoga should be practiced at least two or three times a week.

White’s classes, which cost $10 each, run all year except for the month of August. New participants are welcome, but don’t forget to bring a mat and a pillow!

Classes are held in the Recreation Room at Manoir Lac Brome, 28 Mt. Echo Road, Knowlton. Mon. & Wed. from 8:00-9:30 a.m.; Mon., Wed. & Fri. from 5:30 – 7 p.m. For more information, call Cheryl White at (450) 243-5952.

Local wines and cheeses at Le Relais

There are still a few days left to celebrate fine Eastern Townships wines and cheeses at Knowlton’s Le Relais Restaurant-Bistro. Quebec’s small cheese producers have been promoting their cheeses with a three-week competition in May called Sélection Caseus (caseus means cheese in Latin). As a participating restaurant, Le Relais chose three Townships cheeses from among the dozens of competing cheeses, married them with a selection of regional vintages, and has been serving them on three consecutive Friday evenings, from 5 to 7 p.m., the last being this Friday, May 24.

The cheese competition gives restaurant patrons a chance to win one of seven vacation packages worth $350 each by simply tasting and ranking the cheeses on the ballot.

For $12.95, at Le Relais, you can sample three different cheeses from the Fromagerie de l’Abbaye St- Benoît, along with two glasses of wine from the Dunham vineyards of L’Orpailleur and Les Blancs Côteaux. You can also order the competition cheeses with your lunch and dinner and vote for your favorite cheese anytime until the end of the competition on Sunday, May 26.

The three competing St. Benoit cheeses at Le Relais are: L’Archange, a firm white goat’s milk cheese; Bleu Bénédictine, a semi-firm blue; and Le Saint-Augustin, a firm orange cheese. Le Relais will feature four wines, two from each Dunham vineyard, during the competition.

Le Relais Restaurant-Bistro, 286 Knowlton Rd, Knowlton. Tel: (450) 242-6886.

New store showcases blown glass

Boutique Cassandre, which just opened last weekend in the Mill Pond Plaza in Knowlton, is the first retail outlet for Quebec blown-glass artists Sylvie Bélanger and Diane Ferland. Until now, the pair have been selling their signed, limited edition glass creations to U.S. and Canadian stores for seven years from their Ste. Rosalie workshop. In addition to their own work, the store will also carry glass by other local artists.

Customers will find all kinds of decorative art and sculpture, as well as glass tableware, clocks and wall lamps. Bélanger and Ferland will also produce custom orders,” explained store manager Lisa Cousens. “So if you’re looking for a large glass punch bowl or an original set of plates in a particular colour, this is the spot!”

Boutique Cassandre, open 7 days a week, from 10 a.m. 264 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Tel: (450) 242-5833


The Ultimate Garage Sale

Ambiance du Garage is now open for the summer season. This converted carriage house behind the Heritage England Hill boutique stocks an eclectic mix of original items for your garden and picnics: gardening tools and accessories, hand-painted bird houses, cement and metal lawn ornaments, baskets, picnic accessories, even backpacks that convert into a chair when you arrive at your destination!

Dedicated gardeners will find a complete line of Burt’s Bees special gardening soaps, lotions and salves — “definitely the best line I’ve found for cleansing, hydrating and soothing,” says owner Jean McLeod. “My professional gardening friends swear by it.”

Look for the crafts display set up by the Atelier Boutique La Caserne, a workshop affiliated with the non-profit Sherbrooke organization La Maison Jeunes-Est, which helps unemployed youth integrate into the community by developing social and professional skills. Proceeds from the sale of their handmade, hand-painted wooden crafts — perpetual calendars, napkin holders, trivets, mailboxes and other household accessories — help fund this worthy cause.

Ambiance de Garage is open weeekends until the June long weekend, then seven days a week until labour Day. Located behind Heritage England Hill, 104 Lakeside, Knowlton. Tel: (450) 243-5303


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