I love taking Yoga classes while visiting other countries. I don’t care about understanding the local language; Yoga works even without words – or perhaps it works better without words. A recent example from Tel Aviv: my favorite teacher at Ella Yoga Studio immediately remembered my name – very endearing. It was probably easy, seeing as I was the only one constantly out of step.
I was grateful for the scraps of Sanskrit here and there that gave me half a clue – a blessing. After a few classes I even remembered and recognized a few Hebrew words. Inhale/ exhale, for example, sound gorgeous. Oh, yeah – and the Hebrew word for Savasana stuck with me, too. That one I longed for, as even the Level 1 classes are in Tel Aviv are tough going.
Yoga is universal and yet so different from place to place
At the Yoga conference in Stockholm I took a class with a really inspiring teacher – which reminds me that I wanted to Google her name. I just listened to the sound of her voice and let it carry me, no time or desire to worry about if I was doing everything right.
Warsaw wasn’t quite as laid back. I found myself intensely focused in an Iyengar class. This style is known for its seriousness, and it was fascinating to see how earnestly the students were doing their thing. The teacher was merciless, scolding me in his language. He didn’t speak a word of English or Sanskrit. It was great to feel like a total beginner, brought a bit of humility back to the practice.
Give it a try – it’s worth it
I highly recommend checking out local Yoga studios on your travels. It doesn’t matter at all if you speak the language or not. You’ll gather a completely new set of experiences for your body, mind and your entire practice. Something shifts at a deeper level when you dare to try something new and unfamiliar. Peak concentration. Pure awareness. Wide awake. And it’s just so exciting to see how Yoga works abroad. So, don’t be shy!