My first time doing yoga was at a modest studio in Pointe-Claire Village. The practice started a newfound love for the Village as I discovered there was an area where I grew up in the West-Island that was actually worth my time. I went to the health food store on the first floor of the studio a lot for months afterwards, and sometimes would head upstairs for more yoga.
My last few months living in Busan I signed up for yoga classes twice a week at a new studio in Hwamyeong-dong, a neighborhood where I would go to tutor a high school student sometimes after work. Only by the end of my teaching contract in Busan did I really start to appreciate the uniqueness of Korea. I felt like I was intergrating myself well by joining a class, especially a start-up business run by young and friendly Korean yogis. One of the female instructors had the cutest little baby, and everytime I walked into the studio the baby was there to greet me at the reception desk.
One of my most favourite towns in China (you should all know this one), Dali, in Yunnan Province; I discovered the beauty of that city through yoga. The good classes I did every morning in Dali were the reason I stayed in that city for over two weeks instead of my planned few days. Some of the yoga theory that I learned from the teacher I still remember today. It was the first time I heard about chakras. Nothing helps you retain information about chakras better than when you learn about them over the sound of drills and hammering early in the morning. A lot of the outskirts of Dali was (and still is, I assume) under construction and our yoga classes were on the roof of a tiny, old-style Chinese apartment building.
On our afternoons off, I would do a few yoga moves with my fellow turtle lovers in our dorm room. This was in Costa Rica, my first volunteer trip back in 2008.
On my 29th birthday, I had nothing else to do but go to yoga. It was a Saturday, and I went with another good friend. This time it was Moksha Yoga (one of the "hot" yogas). While doing Moksha on my birthday, I meditated on where I'd been in downward dog, and was thankful for it all.
I spent the winter of last year going back to that studio on Friday evenings for the cheapest class. For a $5 donation it was an hour Moksha class, called "Karma" yoga. It became the only routine that stuck. I was in a period of an awkward transition and didn't know what decisions to make (in fact I still don't). Everything was chaos, I even went to different Sunday Masses every week. The only thing I kept was Karma, 9 p.m on a Friday. I would sweat the week out, along with 30 or 40 others. Even though the studio is always packed for Karma, in my opinion the most frugal customers are usually the most spiritual ones, because everytime I walk into that studio for the Karma Yoga the energy is so peaceful.
While I was unemployed last spring I'd go to the Moksha studio whenever free classes were offered. They would always be held at inconvenient times, like three o'clock in the afternoon. Sometimes I was one of the only yogis in attendance, and the friendly greetings I got at the reception were usually the best parts of my non-productive day.
From forcing myself to blog (or just write something) everyday, I'm coming to truly embrace the beauty of routine and stamina. One of the greatest examples I have of that was something I witnessed in Seoul last summer.
I had just returned to Korea, and gave myself five days in Seoul before returning to Busan. I was browsing in a secondhand bookshop when an elderly man came in, sweating and sporting marathon gear. He went to the cash counter, said a few words to the cashier and made himself a glass of blueberry juice, which he downed before taking off again to the big city streets. The cashier told me: "He runs many kilometers everyday, and he is 84 years old."