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The language of love: my Paris yoga experience

On my seventh morning in Paris, I am reflecting on the amazing urban yoga retreat I've been on. By the time I leave tomorrow, I will have attended a total of 6 classes, thanks to a brilliant schedule put together for me by my personal #yogayoda Yogateau

Really, truly: yoga is my passport.

This is the first time I’ve had the anchor of the practice while here, in the City of Light, although I’ve been here many times. It’s also the first time I’ve had such a homebase thanks to my sister, who now lives here, which of course also makes an enormous difference.

But the yoga?

That's been amazing.

Yoga is my my lingua franca, this universal practice that crosses boundaries and allows me to be anywhere. No matter where I find myself, if I can be on my mat with others, then I’m home. I am re-grounded in the oneness of everything and all of us, even if I know the next second I'll be staring at a map trying to figure out which Métro line I need to my next assignation.

Some of the yoga has been very different -- super-mellow and old-school like the Yogis du Coeur event, a first of its kind, gathering 700 yogis at the Orangerie at Versailles; and super-meditative and mind-blowing like the Yoga Nidra session I attended last night. All week, though, I've practiced in gorgeous spaces with teachers speaking English or French, and felt everywhere this sweet embrace, that cozy Aaaaaaaah at walking into each studio:

here is my language, here is my people.

Triangle is Triangle, wherever you go.

It's a little funny. I worry about it a bit. Is my yoga just a Starbucks, a way of making the world into something I recognize so that I can be insulated from cultural difference? Is it a way, as my mother said when I rode Paris buses in my early 20s listening to "my" music on my Walkman, a way of not really being here, of wrapping myself in the familiar as a hedge against the not? Is it? I wonder.

But is there anything more universal than breathing? 

What's true for me is that more than French, yoga is the language of love. A language I'm still learning, and practicing, no matter where I am, everywhere I am.


* * * * *

If you're curious about the who and where of my Paris yoga retreat, here's my Agenda. Big THANKS to my sister, Martine, the charming genius behind Yogateau, for making this experience so perfect.

Anne Vandewalle, Guerilla Yogi Paris at the American Church

Amanda Dates, Vinyasa Flow, Paris Yoga Shala

Marc Holzman, Thrive 75, Yoga Village

Nivedita, Yoga Nidra, Satyanandashram

Hélène Duval, free yoga session, rooftop at Galeries Lafayettes!


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