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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, coaching, effective communication and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free food and good movies.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Yoga in the morning & the courage of being the best version of yourself

What's the all yoga hype is all about, right?
Is this just mambo-jumbo for trendsetters that have nothing better to do with their time?!
Do those people think that they are something special?

I have to confess that this is what I was used to thinking.
Until six months ago, when I started to practice Bikram Yoga myself. Yep, I joined the dark side. Or, to put it better, the brighter side.
In the case of Bikram Yoga, I probably joined also the perspiring side.

Berlin is a very yoga-friendly city and yoga studios are everywhere. Bikram Yoga studios are, however, way more rare than other kinds of yoga studios, because not every studio has the right equipment for Bikram Yoga classes.
We are talking about a kind of Hatha Yoga that people practice in a room heated to 40°C with a humidity of 40%.

[My yoga mat is Purple, of course!]


Also known as Hot Yoga, Bikram Yoga is practiced in classes that run for either 60 or 90 minutes and consist of 26 postures (called "Asanas"), with 2 breathing exercises at the beginning and at the end of the class. Tools of the trade are only a yoga mat, a beach towel and a 500 ml-1 liter big water bottle, with, since it's normal to sweat a lot.

The name originates from the founder of the system, Bikram Choudhury, and while writing this post I have discovered that Bikram Yoga is very "in", as it has been practiced by Hollywood stars, famous singers, burlesque beauties and David Beckham in the last couple of years.

I am not very good at it, so far, but this is not a big deal at all. While practicing yoga one has to stay focused on the Asanas, to live in the moment, to not compare himself or herself with other people. So it is not so important that I am not a very talented yogi yet and that other people are better than me, since I have to focus on my own experience, on my own body, on my improvements. 

Invested time, regular exercise and constant repetition of the postures make the master, so I am on my way to become a better yogi, class after class. No pressure, no stress, no dissatisfaction. As they say: the journey is the reward, the path is the goal, the way is the aim. And so on.

["The journey is the reward" - famous on the net 
as a clever Steve Jobs' quote that he used as a title for one of his books,
it is actually a very old Chinese proverb,
related to Confucianism]

After some experiments, I have found out that Sunday morning is the perfect time of the week for me to practice yoga.
So today in the morning I was in a new yoga studio, about to start a new class, and I noticed a blond, skinny girl with a pink tank top and sunglasses. Sunglasses in the bathroom of the yoga studio?! At the beginning, I found that a little bit strange, but then I realized that she was visually impaired.

In the class, I was practicing not far away from her and even if I focused on my Asanas, I looked at her often, with great admiration for her courage and determination.

I was happy to have her in the class and more than once I found myself thinking about how often we are used to complaining about problems and barriers, even if our barriers are - most of the time - not real.
Her barrier - not being able to see, not being able to look at the teacher's postures - is real, and yet she has the courage of being the best version of herself, to run a normal life, to do what she wants.
To be the only visually impaired person in a room full of people who can see her, while she can't see them.

[Most of us tend to take their eyesight for granted, 
even if it is not, not for everyone.
Still, "what is essential is invisible to the eye",
like this brave badass yogi showed me once more, with her example]

A Bikram Yoga class is very rewarding, but also physically exhausting, and goal number one is always staying in the room for the whole class, even if one is not able to complete all Asanas. The girl stayed in the room the whole time. She was quiet, motivated and she did every posture, without help. 

Seeing her being the best version of herself gave me strength.
I hope to see her next Sunday. I am going to be there.

Tags: Bikram Yoga, Hot Yoga, Courage, Being visually impaired, Diversity

What to read next:
Yoga is just a little bit like everyday life, or the importance of staying consistent with what you do


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