If Yoga Means Union… Then what better way to find connection and union with others! Some of the benefits could also mean that you find your Self learning new languages, exploring new cultures and meeting new local friends.
One of the main reasons people choose to travel or move abroad is to find new connections – Connection with new things that provide inspiration, with new friends to share experiences with, to explore new food and more! I am assuming that you are reading this blog post because you also love yoga too? Let me share some ways in which yoga has helped me when I move to a new place.
6 Yoga Tips For Your Journey:
🌟 Book a class in a local yoga centre….
“Where can I find yoga classes in English?” – This is the common question I get from expats who move to Barcelona. Maybe, this is exactly the place and perfect starting point to put our yoga into real life practice! When we move abroad, it can be comforting and normal to want to find things/places/routines that are familiar to us, especially through our language. But why not expand our comfort zone by doing the same things we love in a different way?
Doing a yoga class in a different language is a different way of connecting with a language. I have done yoga classes in Catalan, German and Spanish – Each class and teacher had a totally different way of expressing their Self through the same instructions (much like in English)… it just sounds so much more interesting in a different language and local expressions. It made me change my mind about how I saw each language too. For example: I confess that I used to think German was a harsh sounding language – but after staying at a yoga ashram with a German group and doing a few classes in it, I find the language very soothing!
Local students in local yoga centres. If you go regularly to any yoga space, you’ll probably start to recognise the same people who come to the same classes. Why not start a conversation with someone who you see sharing the same class as you all the time? At least you’ll have 1 thing in common to talk about 😀
🌟 Kirtan groups…
Here is something for music lovers! If a full-on yoga class in a new language sounds too scary, why not attend a kirtan class/session instead? Come as you are, take off your shoes and enjoy a group of people who love to sing and connect.
There is no need to know the words… they are usually mantras. Most of the time, the mantras and songs are sung by the musicians first, then the group follows… So even if you are completely new to singing yogi tunes and mantras, you’ll easily pick it up.
Watch how the energy of the group shifts. I find that kirtan groups tend to be quite social compared to many yoga class settings (where the students comes and goes after the yoga class). Sometimes, there is also a social gathering that comes with kirtan meet-ups, like having a meal together. A perfect setting to meet like-minded yogi friends.
Mantras and yoga music goes deep! It’s so much more than just a group of people sharing songs… There is a whole science behind it. Did you know we have 84 meridian points in the roof of our mouth that get stimulated while we say each mantra and sing? Do you know that this can have such a beneficial effect on our body? there are hundreds of songs and mantras that are used in yoga. With regular kirtan sessions, they start to become very familiar – with each musician/artist adding their own energy to it. >>>Read more about the science behind mantras.
No judgement, no need to feel shy... Just show up for your Self, join in the singing when you feel ready, allow the magic of sound to open your heart space up and let it all flow. I guarantee that even if you feel nervous and awkward at the beginning, you’ll leave this space feeling like you have wings.
🌟Ecstatic dance bliss…
Dance like no one is watching! An alternative to clubbing, ecstatic dance parties are great for enjoying conscious inspired tunes, movement meditation and people who love the whole “conscious clubbing” movement – where green smoothies replace alcohol and the dress code can be super creative.
🌟 Go to local yoga and health festivals…
Nowadays health and yoga festivals are EVERYWHERE! This is a chance to get to know people around you who also love similar lifestyle choices – whether it’s vegan food, the environment, yoga, meditation etc… or all of it lol!
I find that the “business of yoga” has also played a key part in the popularity of these types of events. Each year they seem to attract more teachers and yogis that want to share their knowledge. If you’re a yoga teacher, you could offer to teach or have a stand at the event. If you’re a yoga lover, join in all the workshops. You’re bound to find local yogis to connect with!
🌟 Yoga and therapy exchanges…
If you are a yoga teacher or have any interest in learning new skills, you can always exchange skills with new people! I first came across this concept in London, where people would exchange conversational language sessions with others to improve. No need to be a teacher, just being a native speaker in the language and making some spare time to meet new people is all you need. I soon found out that you could also apply this with any skills that you want to learn/share.
What do you want to learn? What do you have to offer? – It’s as simple as that! If you’re already a native English speaker, you could do an exchange with someone to practice speaking in the local language or to do yoga classes with a local teacher in exchange for English. And vice versa… If you’re a holistic therapist or yoga teacher, you could offer to exchange this for a session of practising a new language. These are usually informal meetings at a coffee shop or anywhere suitable for the yoga session (like the park or beach) – a great way to spark up new connections and make friends.
🌟 Create or join yoga loving groups!
If all else fails, why not create your own group? Popular Websites like MeetUp.com make it so easy for people to create and join gatherings of like-minded people who want to enjoy activities together. So, have a look at what yoga classes and events are out there for you to enjoy.
Many yoga teachers also start these groups to gain new students, meet other local yoga teachers and start doing new classes. It’s not easy starting up as a yoga teacher in a new location. Gaining regular students takes time, but these group websites make it much easier to get out there and meet amazing people – both as friends and as a growing yoga teaching experience.
Have fun! ❤️