I was intimidated at first to try yoga classes in Spanish, but I've learned that yoga defies language barriers. Even if the teachers aren't using Sanskrit names, there's a fluidity to the postures and flow that makes it easy to follow even if I'm not understanding the words. I think an open mind, and a willingness to giggle at yourself are the only skills required to step outside your comfort zone. The teachers I've met have been encouraging, kind and more than happy to have me attend their classes.
There have also been some wonderful benefits from attending classes that I wasn't expecting. I've found that traveling for this long can leave me feeling a bit lost. I begin to feel like I'm not sure of what I'm doing and I begin to worry about what we are going to do at the end of our trip. I get anxious and upset about something that's in the distant future and Yoga offers me a space where I can just focus on the moment and be present in my body and it's poses. This washes away the tension and stress that build up and if it's a hot yoga class, I feel the sweat cleansing my anxiety and releasing my muscles. It hits a reset button in my mind and is a great activity that can be done literally anywhere to refocus and prepare for the days adventures.
If I am going to classes at a studio, it's great to add a bit of structure to days that otherwise are fairly free flowing. Having somewhere to be makes me feel a bit more connected to the regular world and I love meeting locals in the classes. I've met so many kind men and women, and exchanged emails with several, receiving tips and hints and even invitations to dinner and art exhibitions. Having a sense community is important, even if it's only temporary. A feeling of place in the world offers me an anchor to settle down, and I'm always looking forward to an opportunity to meet new people and learn from them. I've found that the sense of belonging makes me feel like I have a little island of security before I jump back into my ship and move on.
Somehow, being in these classes also makes me feel less self conscious. Knowing that I'm already going to stick out like a sore thumb frees me to just relax and not worry about how else I might feel or look silly. Since I know that I likely won't see most of these people again I'm carefree and able to push myself more. Concentration is a breeze since most of the instruction is in a language I do not understand and it allows me to stay more inside of my head and focus solely on my body. On the flip side, I am often giggling silently to myself since I occasionally get left behind when I can't see other people in the class and they have all moved on to the next pose; I don't realize until the teacher gently taps me!
Maintaining a yoga practice while traveling has shown me a side of the communities I have been to that I may not have otherwise seen and is a gentle reminder that we all share more similarities than we imagine.
I'd love to hear how you find balance in your life. Have you ever done yoga? What do you do in your life to love yourself? Feel free to comment below or email me at email@example.com.