Yoga – Humble Beginnings


Amy doing Yoga in the desert

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.

Yoga - Humble Beginnings

Amie doing the warrior pose… this one I can do 🙂

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.

Yoga - Humble Beginnings

My first student… already outdoing me

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.

Yoga - Humble Beginnings

Our view during Yoga… just served as a great juxtaposition as I flailed about

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.

Jonny Jenkins

Jonny Jenkins

My name is Jonny, my friends call me Stef. I'm Canadian born, but don't find my identity based upon some borders that man drew hundreds of years ago. I have begun to make my way through the world, travelling and living in many different countries and cultures. I believe whole heartedly in staying longer and going deeper to get the best understanding possible of many different perspectives of life. In order to do so, you have to speak the language. I am no polyglot, but have started to put more emphasis on learning languages in the last few years. I have learned Spanish, relearned French, and started in on Portuguese, German, Indonesian and Malagasy. When it comes to the third world, I am willing to help where they (and not I) decide they need it... in the first world, I am hoping to inspire and motivate people to live more engaging lives.

10 Replies to “Yoga – Humble Beginnings”

  1. Adrian Ann says:

    Yoga is something I have always enjoyed and wanted to learn more about. It seems like you’ve been able to experience it all around the world, including where it began India. Just one more reason to get my butt to that part of the world!

    1. India is an absolutely spellbinding country, and ya, Yoga is one of many reasons to get your butt out to that part of the world 😛

  2. Alli says:

    I am huge into yoga, even when I travel! I truly believe in its abilities to soothe and strengthen the mind. Good for you for giving it a try and appreciating what it has to offer!

    1. Very well said!!! … oh and thanks 🙂

  3. I was really into Yoga a while but then I dont know what happened and suddenly I wasnt doing it anymore. Though my boyfriend is into his hot yoga which he does at least 3-4 times a week. I love yoga but I just cant take the heat 😉

    1. Totally hear ya Bianca… My commitment to Yoga goes in and out. I’ll go through fazes where I manage to flop around incoherently every morning for a few weeks and other fazes where I don’t even make the attempt… Not a huge fan of hot yoga myself, but to each their own

  4. Very useful post. Yoga is always very important for body and mind. It also keep our mind fresh in our working place.

    1. It most certainly is and does Sally… It’s amazing how beneficial it can be even when you’re no good at it 😉

  5. Tam Gamble says:

    I have always wanted to try yoga but have put it off thinking that I am not flexible enough (meaning I am not flexible at all!!!) and whilst living in the UK it seems to be more of a money-making scheme for most so in order for me to learn the basics from someone I need to shell out between £10-£15 an hour for the privilege which seems a bit steep to me! I have thought about getting a book but I am worried about doing myself more damage than good because I haven’t had someone guiding me! Even the local Buddhist centre charges a small fortune per lesson! I would definitely love to pick up some tips and give it a go though, maybe I need to rethink the book idea! 🙂

    1. I totally hear ya! I would say that I was certainly held back by the exact same things that you’re currently finding as your obstacles. There’s this funny notion out there that we need to know exactly what we’re doing just to get started in Yoga, and as such we should be paying people large sums to learn; pay large sums for the equipment and really start hanging out at the Yoga gym… But it doesn’t have to be that way. A book & a friend are all you really need to get started… do a few minutes each day (you can even look up a short routine online)… a towel makes for a fine beginner’s Yoga mat… and a little companionship goes a long way… Find a friend that is willing to laugh at themself (and you) and you’ll have a blast and push each other ever so softly towards becoming more and more flexible.

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