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Wednesday, I went to my first yoga class in Chinese!!!

On Sunday, on my way to the market to buy a water pot, I noticed a flyer on a bulletin board on campus (Foshan University) that said “India Yoga” and lots of other stuff in Chinese that I don’t yet know how to read. It listed two numbers, I took down both, and asked a Chinese teacher at my school to call and translate for me.

There are classes every evening except for Friday and the studio is on campus, so walking distance from where I live. Since the classes are intended for students and faculty of the University, they’re super cheap. I get to try out a class for free to see if I like it and if I do, I pay 400 Yuan for four months of unlimited classes. 400 Yuan = 63 USD!!! I will be able to make four classes a week…4 classes/week X 4 weeks/month X 4 months = 64 classes for $63. How can you beat that? CRAZY!!!

But let me not get ahead of myself. I went to my free trial class and enjoyed it well enough. Not the best class I’ve ever taken, but definitely worth the price and convenience. And a great way to stay limber, relaxed, present, and strong-ish.

Renae, the other female foreign teacher, went with me. We had to ask for directions to the building three times before an elderly woman recognized that we were lost and offered to lead us to the right place. She took the lead and walked ahead silently while Renae and I followed behind like two baby ducks.

The class: The biggest detractor for me was the fluorescent lighting. I’ve very sensitive to fluorescent lights and have gotten quite attached to the mood lighting that’s popular in the yoga studios that I’ve frequented in the States.

That Enya song “Only Time” played on repeat throughout the entire class. I found that very funny. If it were any other artist, I would have been very annoyed, but Enya tends to affect without distracting, and I hardly noticed the music after a bit.

There were two teachers. One lead the class and the other assisted the students. The assistant teacher was very gentle and attentive, and she gave me a brief leg, foot, neck, and shoulder massage at the end!!! To be fair, she gave everyone a massage at the end, but I’ve never experienced that in a yoga class before. That massage sealed the deal for me.

The OM: So I’m not a yoga master or anything and my facts could be wrong, but isn’t the OM supposed to be at a certain frequency to be most effective? Isn’t that why there are OM tuning forks? The OMs in this class were easily an octave higher than what I’m used to hearing. It caught me off guard and for five minutes I was struggling to choke back laughter because it sounded so absurd to me. I’ve observed that a lot of Chinese women have naturally high pitched voices, so it made sense that they sounded the OM at a high pitch as well…but come on! There was one woman who didn’t get the memo (or was tone-deaf) and sounded a lower OM, which really clashed with the other sounds and made me want to laugh even harder. She had good breath support too because it was loud and long, and it cut through the other sounds like a train.

Phone etiquette is quite different here. During the class, two students’ phones went off. They didn’t seem embarrassed or apologetic at all. In fact, both actually answered the calls and talked for about 30 seconds in a normal volume as if they weren’t, you know, in the middle of a class. The teacher and other students completely ignored them and class went on seemingly uninterrupted.

On another subject, classes are going well and I’m enjoying my students very much. I’ve learned that if I leave my hands dangling idly in a group of four year olds, little hands are sure to find mine and latch on within only a few seconds.

During breakfast, I started noticing the smell of something burning. It was the leaves. They burn the fallen leaves in Foshan (in China?). I have no idea why. The smoke was pretty bad. I had to teach one class of kindergarteners in a different classroom on the other side of the school so that we could breath more easily.