Yoga – Humble Beginnings
I’ve never been one that was much into Yoga. It never really went with the Hockey player status, which is a shame as it would’ve been quite helpful to be much more flexible whilst getting creamed, crushed and crunched all over the ice.
But, I’ve come upon Yoga in a few places in my travels now, first in Thailand in ’08 and then in Ecuador in ’11… I’ve always figured that it would be something to get into. But how do you get into something like Yoga?
Well… you go to India of course.
Rishikesh is probably the most well known place for getting going on Yoga, so I didn’t go there. In fact, of all places I was deep in the Thar Desert, in my days living in a giant sandcastle in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
In between realizing the hazards of being a small town traveler in India and going out for a Camel Christmas, I made a really good friend in Amie who happened to be a Yoga teacher… along with her and our other good friend Leticia, we started doing some classes, and I got much more comfortable… It’s all about getting out there and giving it a try.
Unfortunately, I sort of let the Yoga fall off the mat for awhile afterwards. It wasn’t until I was back settled in a place, living on an Eco-Farm in Nepal that I got back into it.
I was now by myself, trying to remember what I had learned… oh and copying other positions that other volunteers (especially Jade) would do whenever I saw them Yogaing… but shhh, don’t tell them 😉 … And what a cool experience. Even had some of the local kids from time to time coming up to copy what I was doing.
Then we headed off to Bandipur, this great little town near the Himalayas. What a beautiful place. With the backdrop of the Himalayas the other two volunteers (Etienne & Olivia) started to follow us in Yoga… I still feel like I know absolutely nothing, but Olivia was learning from Jade and Etienne learning from myself…
Talk about the blind leading the blind! I mean, I move from one position to the next with the grace of a lumberjack attempting ballet… and hold my positions with the poise of a newborn Wildebeest; the elegance of Mike Tyson and the balance of a large bobble head… (have you properly pictured me doing Yoga yet?)… add this to the fold: I’m dead serious when I do it… as if I intended every blunder, planned every tumble and foresaw every fall… Oh, and I’m not flexible… but hey, I’m out there and it’s wonderful.
I’m pretty sure that had we continued to do more Yoga in the same place, the locals would’ve started to come and watch.
“Watch the white man fall” they would say… I’m sure of it. They would take bets. They would think themselves so smart for speaking in Nepali right in front of our faces. Oh… but I know your language (kind of), I know your petty games (or at least my insecurities imagine the games you might be playing), I know your silly wagers on those weird white people that make a sport out of falling over.
This is just a little example of some of the things that you pick up when you’re traveling, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and being exposed to new things…
Most of all, it’s important to remember that you always have to try new things. And remember, never be afraid to embrace the awkward.