I know, it’s too long I do not write. I would like to update you on my Sociological Experiment, I would like to tell you about the horrific giant cockroaches that infest my home, I would like to take a few hours off to discover the lost corners of Hong Kong, like taking the ferry, leaving the island and go to read the future from Mong Kok’s fortune tellers.
Instead, I spend all my time and all my energy in Yoga. So now I’m talking about it. Have patience, the heart cannot control.
First and foremost, a premise that I have a heart to do after reading the comments and the atrocities on the various social media as a result of Gentiloni’s attempt to put yoga in schools.
Yoga is not a sport: so thinking of PE teachers teaching it, as good as they are, would be a serious mistake. Those who practice only the physical part of yoga are not doing yoga. Yoga means a union between body (which must be healthy and strong), mind (which must be calm and balanced) and spirit (soul, subconscious, call it as you believe).
Yoga is not associated with any religion: therefore, whatever you believe it’s fine. Religious Mantras are not taught to children, the songs and all the various sounds are used to stimulate internal vibrations in different parts of the body, if everything in the universe pulsates and vibrates, why should we not do it too? For example, the famous “OM” correctly pronounced sounds like AUM. The sound A starts from the first Chakra (the Muladara) more or less located between the anus and the vagina and climbs up to the solar plexus (navel point), the U goes up until it vibrates the throat and the palate. Finally the M sound ascends to the sixth (Ajana Chakra located between the eye brows) and the seventh chakra (top of the head) to end in a deep silence, in physical and mental immobility. Stillness. To make a simple example: When I was pregnant, my obstetrician at pre-childbirth class asked me to open my mouth and pronounce the letter AAAA out loud. If you try, you will see that the first Chakra also opens (the anus, the vagina and the perineum relaxes). This helps not to engage the abdomen during contractions and to feel less pain, to make the abdomen vibrate and to lower the baby faster. So, let’s learn how to sing and vibrate in a way that makes us good. We open instead of closing, let’s relax instead of contract, instead of holding back let’s go. Very beautiful.
Yoga does not break your back: yes, yes, I also heard this. In yoga practice it is not just stretching, but also strengthening of the weak muscles to reinforce the body by rebalancing the alignment. Yoga not only takes care for the back condition and all musculoskeletal pain but, if practiced daily, prevents a lot of diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, respiratory diseases and digestive systems diseases. I stop here not to be boring, but the list may be infinite.
Yoga isn’t just about seat and breathe: Children need to move, not to sit. This is the one that made me laugh out loud. As yoga is not just physical activity, so it isn’t just meditation. But learning how to breathe and how to make space in your thoughts to see things from the right perspective does not seem wrong to me. If we learn to control our breath, our emotions our thoughts, we will also learn that we cannot control that of others. Acceptance. Let it go. Maybe we’ll have fewer men who give fire to their women just for having received a NO, fewer kids who commit suicide because they failed a college test, less frustrated pissed off guys who tear apart the ears of a taxi drivers with his teeth.
As for me, I started doing yoga 5 years ago in Shanghai. It was a difficult time, my body was completely blocked, rigid, no longer belonged to me. I was very “gray”, always angry, screaming with the girls, I had lost my beautiful smile, my joy.
One day my friend Giovanna tells me:
“Sunday afternoon there is a Yoga workshop, shall we go?”
“Yoga? I’m a basketball woman, Yoga is for nerds.”
“Well, your beloved basketball broke your three knees and you only have two.”
“But at least it’s fun …. Om om om … what is it? “
“Really! Let’s try! We leave the girls to their dads and we’ll spend the afternoon together. Will be fun. Plus, the yoga Master is hot. “
“If the Master is hot, okay, I will come.”
So in one of Shanghai’s rare beautiful spring afternoons, here we are, speeding through the city with electric scooters from Gubei to Jing’an, risking life at every intersection just to do yoga with this hot Indian guy, Ganesh.
Ganesh did not yet have a yoga place so the workshop and all his classes were held in a Persian carpet store. This meant that all the yoga equipment were lacking such items as mats, blocks, pillows, straps, wall strings, no shower or locker room. Everyone had to bring their own yoga mat to lay on wonderful woolen and silk colored carpets, meticulously yarns by precise skilled hands. The vibes of the room was always full of energy, the dim light of the candles lit up the nuances of tapestry hanging on the walls of a warm amber hue, Ganesh was really hot.
Beyond his hot guise, Ganesh has a smile that warms your heart, he smiles with all the muscles of his face, with all his 700 white shining teeth, with his eyes, with his heart. His deep voice passes yoga passion to every sound he utters, his whole body is “thick”. When he enters the class, his Aura wraps you and you no longer see the beautiful white-teeth smiled guy, you see the person. Such a wonderfully happy, calm and profound person to delight the spirit of anyone who crosses him.
So Giovanna and I spend three hours listening, breathing, moving muscles we do not know we have. We try to enter a millennial world new for us, unknown. I feel inadequate, disconnected, divided into two. Just sitting on the ground with legs crossed and still make me unconfortable. My back is not straight, figuring out if I can stretch it, turn it around, bend it all at once. I am always in apnea, I should inhale and exhale from the nose, at pace with the movement. It seems trivial, in fact it is impossible for me. My mind continues to think, fuck it’s raining and I’m on a scooter, fuck my back hurts, what are my girls are doing right now?, last night Gray’s Anatomy’s episode was a crazy shit, I’m hungry.
Then for 20 miserable seconds (maybe for just two), I can breathe, I can concentrate on what I am doing, I can relax a muscle, stretch out another, close my eyes and not lose my balance, and magic of magic I feel good. I feel one again. I feel alive.
For those 20 seconds I started doing yoga.
Ganesh has become a dear friend, my body, my mind and my spirit are united, or at least are speaking each other, I have no sore throats, I have no knees pain, I’m a little less stiff than before, I feel full of energy, I have a lot more patience, I poop every morning. The list of things that have changed in me is very long and somewhat personal. The good of yoga is that there is no finish line, there is no end goal, it is an endless path that teaches us every day.
I am now in Hong Kong where I spend all my mornings at Anahata Yoga studio where I study, learn, practice on my body, unite, lose, breathe, sit, make space, purge, detox, stretch, reinforce, accept, forgive, let go, learn myself. I discovered that I am far for being perfect, and I like it. The rest of my time I try to teach yoga to others.
And I tell you one thing, most of the time, I’m the one who learns. Again.