I confess – the first thing I googled about Beijing while we were still in the application process for China (it wasn’t even sure if the relocation would be granted or not) was not apartments, plane tickets or language schools but a yoga studio. In my mind the move to China was also equivalent to a more routined and disciplined yoga practice, as I imagined it to be similar to the Singaporean yoga scene, which is reasonably priced and has a great variety of styles and studios. Needless to say I found myself a tad dumbstruck when I realized I, or rather Beijing, wasn’t even close to that. Clicking through the net like a crazy person I by chance came upon an article that announced the opening of Lululemon in Beijing. Bingo! Since that day Lululemon Beijing was tucked away into a dark corner of my mind, to be revisited upon arrival. And tada, the showplace opened yesterday with its first community class.
Of course I arrived way too early (that’s the German in me) but hey, the early bird gets the better mat space! 😉 A few minutes before the class is about to start, the instructor comes up to ask me in Chinese if it’s alright that the class is conducted in Mandarin. “How hard can this be?” I think to myself and let her know I will just look at the others if I do feel lost and can’t follow her instructions. In theory – not that difficult. In practice – extremely stressful…
And of course I didn’t understand a thing as my Mandarin only allows me to tell the taxi driver to turn left/right, buy a beer or an apple but not how to “bend at the knees”, “bend forward”, “down dog” or “lengthen your sides”. This left me practicing the “Owl Pose” for the entire class – turning my head far left and far right to see what the heck everyone else is doing. It’s either you look around and flow with the rest of the class or you try and rely on your non-existent mental dictionary and attempt to decipher verbal cues, constantly leaving you a few steps behind. That definitely was the most taxing yoga class I ever took as I was not only challenged physically but also mentally. I’m proud to say that after that sixty minute class I can now distinguish left from right in Mandarin as well as raise my left or right leg.
Needless to say the spying on others has left me with a pinch in my neck but also with determination to expand my Chinese yoga vocabulary. For now however, I have decided to stick to my English yoga classes.