When you’re in a foreign country and blogging about your experiences, there are some events ya just know you’ve got to blog about; events when you think to yourself, “I wish somebody back home could see me right at this moment.” My yoga class today was one of those moments.

Let me backtrack: in Vietnam exercise is not a part of the routine; occasionally people play sports, but absolutely nobody, insofar as I can tell, goes on jogs. This was confirmed to me when I went jogging about a week ago and noticed people laughing at me. Some people I ran past on the street even started running with me. It’s also absurdly humid here.

I’ve noticed, though, that near where I live there’s a gym that offers yoga classes. Given my lack of exercise and yearning to try something new, I figured this might just be the time to give Vietnamese Yoga a shot. I’ve done yoga before and really not enjoyed it (I am quite inflexible and find the whole ordeal really painful), but hey, when in SE Asia why not do some yoga, right?

So today I went to my first Vietnamese Yoga class.

As I walked into the room where our class was held I found that I was not only the only man, but also the only person under 50 in our class. The instructor, who was sitting at what I thought was the side of the room but turned out to be the front of the room, told me to sit down in front of the whole class.

After about 5 minutes of feeling self-conscious because of the 6 to 8 elderly women whom I heard giggling behind me, a deep cry erupted from the back of the room. I’m not sure exactly what I thought was happening, but I remember feeling terrified to hear a voice yelling in a language I didn’t understand. I quickly realized that the class had begun.

And so it was at this point I thought I’d made a huge mistake: I couldn’t do yoga in the US, so why had I thought I could do it in a country where I didn’t speak the language? Not only was I inept at yoga, but also, I was realizing, without an instructor to follow (given that I was at the front of the room I couldn’t copy what my lady friends were doing behind me) I had no idea what I was doing.

But as it turned out the instructor was quite friendly and willing to personally rearrange my body when I couldn’t quite understand what she wanted from me. She didn’t speak much English, but amid the awkwardly sexual hip thrusts, bouts of laughter, and confused hand gestures, I had to smile: “Man, I wish people back home could see me doing this,” I thought to myself.


 

Post by our teacher in Long Xuyen, Nick Schcolnik.

Original blog post from http://nicksexcellentadventures.wordpress.com/