Monkey see, monkey do
I have never been more excited to know the words for 'right,' 'left,' and random body parts in French than I was last week during a free outdoor yoga class.
The whole class was in French, obviously, and for the first 15 minutes I thought...what did I get myself into?
Normally at the beginning of a yoga class, the teacher sets the tone for what you're about to do with some nice relaxing mantras and breathing exercises. I'm pretty sure something similar was happening at the beginning of this class, but I wasn't picking up many words and was really just waiting to hear something along the lines of "ouvrez les yeux" (open the eyes). That's a yoga fail. You're not supposed to be anticipating the next thing or over-thinking anything, but I gave myself a break given the whole I don't really speak French thing.
After the opening mediation, we started a flow, and I in turn started to feel a little more confident. I'm not to shabby at getting my chaturanga on, so it was more a matter of trying to match instructions in a foreign language with what I thought the poses were. Being surrounded by people who could understand what the teacher was saying definitely helped, but I was quite proud of myself when I figured out which pose the teacher was leading us to and got to it at the same time as everyone else.
A couple things that I realized are true regardless of the country you are in: convincing yourself to try something new is hard but worth it, saying "ommmmm" in sync with a bunch of people will feel stupid unless you just let go and find comfort in the vulnerability of your breath and your body (so zen), and also, I don't care how cool your yoga pants are, everyone looks like a damn fool trying to do bakasana for the first time. Your arms buckle, you lose your balance and tip to one side, or, the best, you tilt forward too far and fall on your face. And that's okay. Namaste.