11 August 2015


This past Friday I was privileged to take a special Bikram class. For the past month. we have had a visiting instructor from Colombia named Monica. As a treat for all, she taught her final class with us completely in Spanish. 
This special class had been announced a week earlier and instantly people were talking about it and wanted to be a part of it. For myself, I had a choice to make: take the class en Español or take my second Core40 (intermediate) class. I wasn't sure what I would do until a couple of days prior. Since Monica was staying at the studio (there is a tiny room with a bed for visitors) she got to see the work-study crew quite a bit. So on Wednesday when she gave each of us a small gift of high quality chocolate, the decision was made. Honestly, give me chocolate and I will do almost anything...

Anyway, Friday arrived and an unexpected errand had me rushing to make the 4:30 class. Looked in the room and there was already quite a crowd. I grabbed a spot and stretched as much as I could. The gong sounded and Monica entered to a hearty round of applause. She was taken by the moment and expressed her gratitude at how many people were there. She then told us that there would be no more English spoken in class, to come to standing and ,"Have fun!".

Now, I am by no means fluent in Spanish, but I did take four years of it in high school. Every so often I do have to use it to try and help a Spanish speaking customer, but it's very broken. One extra help: one of my yoga buddies is Hispanic and was set up in front of me so I could take visual cues if needed. 

"¡Vamos! Inhale... Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis... Exhale..."

I could pick up bits and pieces about keeping your  codos (elbows) up and out. The first thing you notice is how many words are used and how quickly they are spoken. Monica did say that there are twice as many words in the Spanish version of the diálogo. Despite the language difference, it wasn't terribly difficult to keep pace. Once into the postures, it seemed easier. We bent our bodies a la derecha, then a la izquierda in Half-Moon; each time being challenged to, "Empuja. Empuja. ¡Empuja!" In Standing Bow we were exhorted to. "¡Patea mas alto!". El Triángulo is still difficult regardless of the language used. We all learned very quickly that the command "Cambio" meant "Change". When she gave a correction and the student complied, she would happily say, "¡Eso es!" ("That's it!"). I recall that most of the Sanskrit names were used for each asana. The memorable exceptions (apart from Triangle) were La Media Tortuga (Half-Tortoise), El Camello (Camel), and El Conejo (Rabbit). After each posture we were reminded to, "Respira por la nariz."


1) Because the language was different, no one could really get a jump on a pose. It seemed to me that we were moving in unison far more than in a normal class. It also seemed that everyone was giving maximum effort; pouring themsves out on their mat. The result? Less extraneous movement and much better, more pure energy flowing through the room. 

2) Personally, it was one of the best experiences I've had in that room. Joyous. Simply joyous. Because of the language change, I was actually listening for the first time in quite a while. I was involved again. Had to be to avoid looking silly. I got my hands under my heels in Hands-to-Feet for the first time since the challenge ended. I worked so hard in that pose that my heart was racing much faster than it would in a normal class. My pulse kept racing through Triangle but it felt fantastic. I felt alive!! After a while, the words became more like music to me and I floated into the yoga zone, that blissful, safe place where one is truly one with the universe inside you. That place where the rest of world disappears and it's just you and your breath. The class flew by so fast that suddenly we were doing Rabbit then stretching and breathing and I just wanted to slow time down and savor every second. One of my top yoga experiences. 

The applause at the end was even louder that at the beginning. Everyone was smiling and in such a great mood. In the lobby afterwards, there was champagne, laughter, and hugs. A marvelous afternoon of yoga. A beautiful event that I was privileged to be a part of. 

If the chance arises to take class in a foreign language or in a foreign port, DO IT!! You might just get a lesson in how interconnected we truly are. 



  1. This post made me :)

    1. Thank you Cristy! I am glad you enjoyed it. Do you practice?

  2. Yes. Been practicing for about 9 months. And am absolutely in love with it. I hate yoga, I am not flexible, I am not down with the intense heat, I cannot quiet my mind, but there's something about this that I can't get enough of! The physical and mental aspects are all so challenging, but then the tiniest little improvement is exponentially rewarding. And I love reading about others' journeys. So thank you for sharing for your story. Love your blog. Rooting for you! :)