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Annie Langlois

In conversation with the entrepreneur, stylist, designer, and yoga and breath-work instructor.

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Annie Langlois is the co-founder and president of MyVirtualYoga.com, as well as a certified yoga (hatha, vinyasa, kundalini) and breath-work (Alchemy of Breath) instructor. She is the author of the Ma Retraite YOGA à la MAISON and the creator of ‘Living Yoga’ line of mala jewellery, which is handmade in Bali. She divides her time between Bali and Quebec, where she teaches several retreats and workshops.

Annie’s mission in life is to inspire people to put their health first, whilst teaching them to love themselves through gentle techniques that they can integrate into their daily lives.

So, how did it all start ?

I feel like I’ve been on a mission my whole life. I’ve felt that ever since I was very young. I always knew I wanted to create something big. I come from a small town in Quebec and left home at 17, heading to Montreal. And, from there, I just kept going. Failure was not an option for me. I used to tell myself, “there is no reason for me to fail”. In my twenties it was all about fashion; first working as a model, then as a designer and a stylist. I ended up going over to the States to work before returning to Canada, driven to always work for myself. I still feel like I’m on a mission, it’s just that my mission has changed.

What changed ?

I lost my first child in my thirties and I changed my life. Actually, everything has changed since then. I lost the baby and I just crashed big time. I became really ill, my whole body was hurting all the time. The pain was unbearable. I was depressed and I just didn’t want to do anything anymore. I didn’t want to leave the house. I had tried everything on the medical side, so I started my own search for ways to heal myself. Once again I was on a mission – just a different kind of mission.

And then I came across kundalini yoga. At that time I was already doing and teaching hatha vinyasa yoga, but with kundalini it was different. I noticed that, when I practised the pranayamas, my pain was going away and I realised there must be something there. I trained in kundalini yoga but it was when I started teaching it that things started to change.

That must have been a very hard thing to go through, how do you cope with the pain of loss ?

The anxiety and all the pain from the loss of a child is still there. I don’t think you can completely heal from something like that but you learn ways to live with it and to manage it. And that’s what I’ve been doing all these years. I became really passionate about ways to heal and every year I’m training, and building on the knowledge and the experience I have. For me, it’s fascinating what’s going on in the breath-work, in terms of how much healing we’re doing on ourselves.

How did you first come across the breath-work that you taught at Wanderlust Tremblant (where we met you) ?

Ah, well that’s a bit of a Wanderlust story! I also first experienced it at Wanderlust, but six years ago. I remember that class, because it was instant for me. I felt vibrations all over my body and it was so significant because I had this fear of dying and yet at that specific moment I felt so alive. All my cells were calling out, “You’re alive!”. I suddenly felt like I was on a new mission. I remember telling myself: “I feel alive and I’m going to teach everybody how to be alive!”

Two years later, I was at Bali Spirit Festival and experienced the breath-work again, this time with Anthony Abbagnano – Founder of Alchemy of Breath. Then, I took the training with him and now I teach breath-work. I work mostly for trauma release. To be honest, I wasn’t really looking for it, it just found me.

Tell us about the launch of myvirtualyoga.com ?

It was an idea that came to me while I was doing my first teacher training in hatha vinyasa yoga, before the kundalini. I needed more practice and, at the time, I was living in Canada, far from the studio. So, I decided to create my own business: A virtual yoga platform, which meant I could practice from home. So while I was doing my teacher training I was building up the company, talking to teachers, recording sessions, designing the site – everything. And then the moment I got my teaching qualification, I launched the website with 100 videos.

Where do you call home ?

Bali. We love it over there. We travel a lot though, so I’d say we’re mostly nomads! The key is, we always travel together. I am always with my husband and our seven-year-old daughter. Three years ago, things were very different. Our ‘home’ was a big house in Canada, with two big cars in the driveway – and we were working like crazy to pay for it. One night we realised it wasn’t what we wanted. So, we decided to leave. My husband sold his business and, in two days, we had sold the house and pretty much everything in it. We left, not too sure where we were heading but started in Thailand, then Cambodia, Malaysia and finally Bali. When we got to Bali, we decided to stay a little longer… And that’s where our base is now.

You refer to yourselves as nomads. What helps you stay sane / calm / balanced and in harmony on the road / while you are travelling and going from place to place ?

My breathing practice, heart coherence and my essential oils (lavender, peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus, oregano). My yoga and my blessings.

And, travelling with a 7 year-old in sometimes challenging countries ? What is your secret ?

Showing her that life is an adventure and how much she is privileged to experience life all over the world. The best way to achieve that is to live in the present moment.

What defines home for you ?

My family – my daughter and my husband.

How, what and why have you changed over the last 10 years ?

I’ve changed a lot. I’m still on a mission, and I’m still throwing myself out of my comfort zone all the time. But now, I feel like my life revolves around three major pillars: teaching, training and joy, and my family is at the foundation of all of that, especially joy!

A thread throughout your life seems to be the mission you’re on, even if it has evolved over time. Where do you think that comes from ?

I never really thought about it, since it’s always been present in my life… A profound desire to walk the path of love, the path of my truth, and make a difference in people’s lives.

What is your mantra ?

“Sat nam”, which means truth is my identity.

Where is your favourite Health + Wellness destination ?

Bali, my home.

What do you do to make the world a more sustainable place ?

By helping people – by planting small seeds. My daughter helps me to understand all the more why I’m doing this; because I want to pass on something beautiful to my child and to other people.

Who or what inspires you ?

Definitely my daughter, she’s my guru. She’s the one who has given me the biggest lessons in life. She’s lovely. And, of course, my husband is great. He’s a great coach. He’s involved with me in all my businesses and that’s wonderful for me because we’re always together.

What’s your biggest fear ?

My biggest fear is still a fear of dying it’s just that I manage it better. I want to live until I’m 100 years old and I still want to be teaching when I’m dying.  I don’t want to be 100 years old and sick. I want to be healthy and still doing what I love.

What is the one book that has helped you discover your path and yourself ?

There are so many! Just Breathe, The Presence Process, Waking the Tiger and Breathing in Light and Love.

What is your secret to success ?

Staying out of my comfort zone is my most challenging thing but I do it all the time, and my husband is the complete opposite. He’s the most adventurous person I know, so he’s always pushing me to go forwards. He encourages me and I just keep doing what I do. But, it’s great – I mean that’s exactly what I need.

And thoughts on the future ?

Once you find your way, and by that I mean, what you’re supposed to do here – your dharma, everything just comes. I don’t even know where I’m going to be in three months, I just know that life’s taking care of it.

And finally, what is your ikigai ?

My daughter, my husband and our life together. The reason I get up in the morning is because of this life that we have to live, even if I believe in past and future lives, this one is unique and I’m going to make the best of it.

Interview by Stefanie Young.
Photos by Jimmy Hamelim.

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