Bucket List Item #14…Check!

November 24, 2013

So my mother’s response to my bucket list item was, “Yoga in Israel? On the List? Really???!!!!” (I may have added some punctuation here but otherwise it’s a direct quote).

Well, yeah, yoga in Israel, On the List. Really.

I started practicing Bikram Yoga in 2008 on the recommendation of a dear friend of mine who is a dancer and definitely more in shape than I am. She suggested I try it in advance of my trip to Israel so I’d feel my best on my trip. I barely made it through my first class (almost passed out 2x), but I did make it, and I went back for more. When we left for Israel, I had done some google searching and found out that there were 2 places to do Bikram yoga in Tel Aviv and there were even classes in English! I definitely was going to go.

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If ONLY my head touched the floor this easily!

But then, you know, LIFE happened. I got scared and I chickened out. I had no idea how knowing absolutely ZERO Hebrew was going to kind of be a problem. I was to scared to go alone and my husband (and travel partner) was not yet ready for the challenge. So I packed the yoga clothes for nothing. Oh well.

In 2009, I had another trip to Israel and though for sure THIS time I would make a trip to the yoga studio, but it never happened. I was too busy socializing and eating and shopping to fit in a 90 minute class. Another dusty pair of yoga shorts went unused.

Now, four years later, we are finally back in Israel. I have a regular yoga practice and my travelling companion (read: reluctant Ran) had PROMISED to go with me. This time it was much harder to find any information on the internet, and the phone numbers were out of service. What had happened to Bikram yoga in Israel? Was it gone? Had it failed to gain traction here just like Starbucks? I was starting to panic! I thought, “I had 2 chances to go to yoga and I squandered them!”. Luckily, Ran remembered an acquaintance on Facebook who often posted things about going to Bikram yoga. So through the magic of the internet, Ran messaged her and was able to get all the details on where/when and which teachers could speak enough English so I could get through the class. She was a God-send! She told us that at 10am Sunday she would be going to class with one of the best teachers and we could meet her there. It sounded like a great plan on Saturday night.

But on Sunday morning at 8:20 as my MIL tried to wake me, I was seriously having second thoughts. It went something like this…

“Ugh. I couldn’t sleep last night. Jet lag till 3am. I’m tired, I want to sleep rather than go to yoga. I can always go another time. It’s so nice and warm in bed, and hell, I’M ON VACATION, I don’t want to do yoga! (I just want to eat and chillax, dude)”

So I woke Ran and told him we gotta make a decision pronto! Because we need to leave in 20 minutes if we are doing this thing. He said, “I’d rather go now than later today.” And with that I decided, “Let’s go man!” We dressed and got out of the house as quickly as possible and go ton the road. We drove as fast as we could, and even still we were cutting it very close. We got there with about 10 minutes to spare, so I jumped out of the car to go do our paperwork and reserve our places in class while Ran searched for parking. Parking in Tel Aviv is on par with parking in NYC, so there is none. So Ran had to park in a business high-rise where the Israeli KPMG offices were (to the tune of 67 sheckels – about $25). He also parked several blocks away and had to run the streets of Tel Aviv to make it in time for 10am class. Bikram classes are notorious for being punctual and they do not allow late comers.

While Ran was parking, I went into the building and realized, I didn’t know what floor the studio was on, and the signs were only in Hebrew so I was He-screwed. My plan was to take the elevator up to each floor and investigate but then someone came in behind me. I asked him to read the sign for me, but he said, “No yoga.” I was sure I was in the right place, but honestly, I had no idea! The second man who came in after me totally had a “yogi-vibe” and he told me yes there was yoga and I could follow him there. Whew! I was in, finally! I was finally going to take my first international Bikram yoga class! I just kicked my yoga practice up a notch.

The class was great. I was able to understand most of what was happening (even though it was in Hebrew) because Bikram yoga is the same 26 posture the world ’round. I could even kinda figure out what the teacher was saying because I know the dialogue so well. I decoded the words for “lock the knee” and “breath in”/”breath out.” I felt worldly!

I’ve gone to yoga on vacation once before, but that was in Florida. It was still fun and felt great to be exercising on vacation. Vacations can be sinkholes for calories. You just eat out so much and really let loose. It can be great fun but really hard to come back from once the vacation is over. I find that fitting in a little exercise makes me feel like I am just thatmuch more on top of things than I would have been in the past. Taking this practice International was truly one of the things on my bucket list. I wanted to experience a class in another language and also be out of my element a little bit. It freshens things up! Especially when you take the same class for 5 years!

If you get the chance to exercise on vacation, I highly recommend it. In this case I treated it as touristy thing to do because I got to take a class overlooking Tel Aviv and observe how Israelis did Bikram yoga. Instead of chickening out and being afraid, I just went for it. And believe me, during that first breathing pose, I was cursing myself. Why am I here? Why do I do this to myself? I hate this pose, blah blah blah.

But then I reminding myself (as I do at every class), that is its a privilege to be there and I am very lucky to have the opportunity to be in the class on that day and that moment. So just breath in and breath out and enjoy.

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2 Responses to “Bucket List Item #14…Check!”

  1. Felicity said

    Hi Marie, where was the class? I’m trying to find information online, but can’t find anything! Thanks!

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