I wrote before about doing yoga on my travels and I made a recent habit of researching yoga studios in all cities I go to. However, I did not expect to see a full-week schedule of yoga classes just by the elevator of my Tel Aviv hostel (by the way, one of the best hostels in the world!).
This is just too good to pass up on: morning yoga by donation at 9:30am, just downstairs! One Facebook message later I was signed up.
So how pretty can a hostel basement yoga studio be? Well, see for yourself (below)! I was surprised: pretty mosaic-like ceiling, beautiful turquoise walls, good size, and most importantly, a warm welcome hug from Rony 🙂
I believe there were about 7-8 of us practicing that morning, and certainly not only hostel guests. Our teacher Rony led the class in perfect, academia-level English, and started off with a brief meditation. She reminded us of the many objectives people set for themselves when they come to yoga class: getting toned, becoming fitter… All reasons that distract us from what our body needs – and often, all we need is to just let go.
Throughout the practice, Rony preached awareness, sensitivity and care for ourselves. It was not a slow class though, but very dynamic, engaged and focused. Rony’s voice was soft, eloquent, motivating but not pushy. We practiced quite a few mini-flows mainly in standing, alternating with balancing poses. I can definitely say, Rony is a fan of warrior 3, boat poses and also pistol squats grrrr…
The background music was also modern, mainly pop style, very fitting to the pace of the class. I was not the only one who noticed the playlist, as we even had a discussion on it after class. Tip: listen to I Need a Forest Fire by Bon Iver and James Blake!
In the last 15 minutes we slowed down the pace and did twists on our backs. The best and more unexpected part for me was when we turned on a side in embryo pose – our first position and actually naturally our most safe one. We enjoyed a few moments of relaxation there and Rony quoted a beautiful poem which really touched me: Keeping Things Whole by Mark Strand.
A few minutes later we did some final movements to engage the whole body (yes, incl. boat poses…) and then sunk into shavasana.
We were woken up by gong sounds – nice extra to an already amazing class. Rony didn’t officially close the class, but gave us all time to revert to our bodies. When we were ready, she waited just outside the room to thank us for our practice.
What I learned in our post-class chat was that she is part of a pretty cool new US project that aims to bring yoga to hostels all around the world: Yoga to the People. Makes a lot of sense, right? As many yogis are backpackers and many backpackers wanna do yoga!
I’m so grateful and excited to support this initiative and I really hope this gains traction in Europe as well 😉 We need more travelling yogis ♥