Leaving the Nest: Teaching Yoga in KL

Warming up to take flight

Warming up to take flight

While we were in Hungary, Brad had an ‘out-of-the-blue’ idea that I should teach yoga on our travels. I thought it was great, because it would keep me in touch with teaching, and soothe the somewhat difficult process of giving up classes in Budapest. We looked up studios in cities we were going to hit, and wrote to the ones that felt sort of intimate and less commercialised as most of the yoga spaces in big Asian cities can be. We had a response straight away from this place called Aravind Yoga in KL, and after a bit of back and forth, we agreed on me teaching a class.

I choose the theme LEAVING THE NEST, which was to be a two hrs class full of challenging bird poses. The aim of the class was to inspire confidence – enough to be able to “fly” so to speak, and leave confined comfort zones, expand and explore outside of what we know and what we feel at home with. Basically, the concept touched on the very essence of my life right now, and I must have chosen it sub-consciously as the correlation between the theme and my current experience didn’t occur to me at the time.

We left our home in Hungary roughly a month ago. We had an established life, and more importantly, a very comfortable and rewarding one. We both were doing what we are passionate about, we both had a nice circle of friends and also common friends for the first time in our relationship. Leaving all that behind felt wrong at times. So the subject of the class seemed like a pretty good analogy for what I was going through: leaving our Hungarian nest, our home, and flying into the big wide world.

As you may have read in a previous post, it didn’t take long for India to teach us a a very hardcore lesson in dealing with discomfort. Then I headed into Asia proper: the far East, a culture I was (and still am) completely new to. I’ve never been in this part of the world before and, I’m going to be honest here, I found it quite intimidating. Almost everything about it, starting with the food, the size of the cities, the consumerist attitude to life and the obvious lack of open communication, was challenging. In Hungarian they have a saying “Ez nekem kínai!”, which Hungarians use when they don’t understand something. It translates into “it’s Chinese to me”.

Chinese culture is basically Chinese to me. Insight of the year.

So then I went on to teach. And it was fun. 20 people showed up, the owners of the studio were super sweet and we had a smashing class. I’m really happy that Chris and Phillipe, took a chance on me, and it all turned out really well. If you ever end up in KL I couldn’t recommend their yoga studio enough.

Me and the owners of Aravind Yoga, Phillipe and Chris

Me and the owners of Aravind Yoga, Phillipe and Chris

Fun fact: a Hungarian guy, Akos, and his Malaysian girlfriend, Cheryl, showed up to the studio (but accidentally an hour late, so they didn’t participate in the class), and we went out to have coffee afterwards with them and their friend Su Mei. So the five of us, in a surprising, but totally awesome, Malaysian-Hungarian cultural exchange, ended up in a Hungarian Bistro (in a KL food court) run by this older Hungarian woman called Piroska (shown on picture). We ate kurtos kalacs, a typical Hungarian sweet, and drank some bad Hungarian coffee. Akos and Cheryl invited us to a Hungo ex-pat party to celebrate one of the girls’ birthdays. We went and had a blast. More Hungarians than Malaysians showed up and we thought it so strange that we could find ourselves in a bar in Kuala Lumpur in this situation, when only hours before we didn’t expect this at all.

Piroska and her kürtős kalács

Piroska and her kürtős kalács

The Hungarian ex-pat party

The Hungarian ex-pat party

The next day Brad and I went out for sight seeing and for some reason I was in a foul mood. I was whinging about the heat outside and then the antarctic AC settings inside, the culture, the contrast of our value systems, blah blah blah…then Brad stopped me. He reminded me what I talked about in my class to others just the day before: about how to broaden our minds, how to become comfortable with the unexpected and how now I wasn’t applying any of it.  That’s not exactly what we call walking the talk…

It was not nice to hear as you can imagine. He doesn’t confront me a lot, or question my integrity but when he does I do listen because I know he is coming from a true place and I need to go straight away and get some real perspective.

So I went.

This is where we are right now. I’m working on finding that constant calm, that space inside where I can always retreat to regardless of the circumstances. A place which is always there for me to tap into, and guides my behaviour. I do believe that we all are the same in the end, we all just want to be happy…

Right now, we are on the plane to Singapore after a week spent in bustling Hong Kong with his mum and granny. A post on that is coming soon, but for now we are spending the day with our good friend from Sydney, Chris in an another Asian mega-city. Then tomorrow we are off to BALI!!! Finally! Back to my own Zen Paradise! Or not… Will see soon enough…

Another chance to practise being at ease with the unease.

For updates on where I’ll be teaching in the future like my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/yogamesh

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