I have long been an admirer of yoga but not a very successful practitioner. My first introduction to the practice was a class so physically intense and beyond my capabilities it put me off for many years. But many of my friends are yogis, and not only do they as a rule have strong supple bodies capable of contortions that amaze me, but most of them have a palpable sense of balance in the mental, emotional and spiritual parts of their lives, as well as the physical.
It's certainly no secret I could use more balance in my life, so I've continued, intermittently, to catch the yogic bug. I started classes again in Seoul shortly before leaving there for China but they still just didn't seem to suit.
But like any new skill, it all comes down to finding the right teachers. Which I've achieved here in Beijing, and I have to say I am hooked.
A friend who lives a floor down from me recommended the Yoga Yard in Sanlitun, an area that is a major expat hang-out in Beijing, and I noticed they had a weekend introductory class so signed up to check them out. Then signed up for a passel of courses and have been attending a 90 minute class Tuesday mornings since then, and feel quite out of sorts when the class isn't on (as happened last week because of the holiday schedule.
I joined a gym here also, as part of the "getting old, need more maintenance self-improvement plan" but can see me spending more time at yoga than doing cardio and weight work there. The teachers are amazing and guide the class seamlessly from one pose to another, with no two classes exactly the same, and do so in flawless English and Chinese. I can feel the muscles I use in the poses just as I would from working in the gym but the experience is incredibly calming and grounding also. Mediation in movement would be the best way I can describe it and the center itself is a relaxing haven. I've found my safe place, and I even enjoy the 30-40 minute bus ride there on a double-decker bus, as I usually manage to take a front seat up top and watch daily life in Beijing, which is endlessly fascinating.
So, I've finally discovered yoga with teachers I like, trust and respect. I may not be balancing my whole body on one hand for some time yet, if ever, but it's definitely helping me balance the rest of life a little better.