It occurs to me that we never spoke about yoga, here. And still, there are so many things to say about it. The fact is, I didn't really know how to start. So, what about beginning with how I started practicing yoga?
Yoga. I can't really tell since when I thought about it. It always attracted me. An exercise which is, by definition, good for your body, and also, good for your soul? Weird? Strange? Could it be true? I often laughed about it. I would not define myself as calm and peaceful. That is why I had to try it.
It waited until I moved in in New York, in 2010. Practicing yoga there is easier. EVERYBODY does yoga. In France, practicing yoga is too often seen as something for hippies or weirdos. In NYC, I am pretty sure you can't find anybody who never tried yoga.
So, I was living in NYC and I decided it was time for me to go for it. I took my first class at my gym. And, it was such a disappointment. Nowhere near the revelation I was waiting for. Almost all the clichés you can have were there. The only ones missing? Incense and Sanskrit singings. It was slow. The teacher was speaking a strange, foreign and unknown language. Same words again and again. And, at the end, a relaxation which lasted forever. Not what I was looking for, AT ALL. I was so disappointed. Because, really, I WANTED to love yoga. So, I didn't give up.
In NYC, there is one super cool thing (ok, there are more than on cool stuff there...):
Bryant Park Yoga. Free yoga classes held in Bryant Park, in the
middle of Manhattan and its famous buildings. It takes place every summer, twice a week (one class in the morning and one class in the evening).
Classes are given by various yoga teachers of the city. (At least, it was this way when I was there.) Bryant Park was just around the
block from my office. In summer 2011, I decided to take advantage of it. I bought a yoga mat. Every Thursday, I changed in the toilets of my
office, sprinted to the elevators and into the street, and placed my mat in Bryant Park lawn surrounded by hundreds of yogis.
That is where and when I started to understand what this fuzz around yoga was all about.
Honestly, at first, I was lost. I didn't know the names of the poses. I didn't know how to position myself. But, with so many people around, it
is fine. Nobody is laughing at you and you can check on your neighbours. The yoga teacher was different every week, and, with that, the type of
yoga too. That was my eye-opener: yoga is not always slow and boring! I loved it. One day, we were doing dynamic yoga. Another day, we
were working hard on our balance. And another one, we were twisting our body in ways I didn't even know I could.
My muscles were working. I was sweating. I was learning to breathe. The day after, my whole body was aching. And, little magic trick, after the class I was calm, on my little cloud.
It was what I was looking for in yoga and it still is what attracts me: toning my body, getting some flexibility and balance, learning to focus on myself through breathing. After a good yoga class, I feel relaxed, calm and full of energy. I can assure you that you get addicted to it.
These yoga classes in Bryant Park were where I finally get it. I carried on with yoga back in France. Here, in California, I still didn't find a class which suits me and I miss it.
How about you? Did you try yoga? Did you like it? Do you want to try? Do you already practice? What did yoga bring to you? Tell me!
Photos : Wadi Rum desert, Jordan, March 2013 - Downtown Manhattan from the Reservoir in Central Park, August 2011 - Bryant Park, August 2011 - Bryant Park, August 2011 - Bryant Park, August 2011