We left Paris yesterday morning after an action packed week that included trips to the Louvre and the Musee D’Orsay, Notre Dame, and a full moon cruise on the Seine complete with fireflies. Paris is a city that really grows on you as you become more familiar with everything. We did a lot of walking everyday and there is always beautiful old architecture to look at and thousands of quaint little cafes and shops. The venue for the yoga workshop was quite far from where we were staying and involved three different lines on the metro. It was a little daunting at first to find the right line going in the right direction and remember to get off at the right stop to take the next leg of the journey, but after a time or two was actually kind of fun, and offered a totally different glimpse of the city (from underneath it).
Now we are in Copenhagen, which is also a very old and charming city, but with a much different vibe from Paris. The locals are open and friendly and everyone rides bicycles. It is a city surrounded by water and in the summer time, everyone seems to want to be outside enjoying the long days of sunlight and relatively warm weather. We are staying in an apartment that is a five- minute walk from the yoga studio—a far cry from three different metro lines. My hosts at Ashtanga Yoga Copenhagen, Robin and Eskil, are very gracious and amiable. They took me to a favorite lunch spot near the studio called the Laundromat. After all the rich and exotic foods of Paris, I was happy to find an avocado sandwich on the menu. Henrik, one of the students in the workshop, joined us for lunch and expressed some concern over tomorrow’s scheduled second series practice. He explained that due to a previous “very dangerous job” his body was now held together in places by titanium rods. I asked what the nature of this job was and he explained that he had worked for a time as a bodyguard in Los Angeles, and in the line of duty had to sacrifice his body at times to protect his clients. Before that he had been a power lifter. After all the abuse his body has suffered he started doing pilates and eventually found his way to ashtanga yoga. He is still a big guy, but a very committed and enthusiastic practitioner. I’m looking forward to helping him in kapotasana tomorrow.
This evening we had dinner with our old friend, Regina Nilsson, who is visiting from Stockholm. I had a very healthy and delicious vegetarian meal at a place called the Atlas Bar, and then we had a lovely walk through some of old Copenhagen. Robin has loaned me his bicycle and I’m looking forward to exploring the city with it at some point. The locals all ride clunky old bicycles that are not designed for speed, and don’t wear helmets. When you see a group of people wearing helmets and riding mountain bikes, you can be sure that they are tourists (most likely Americans). No one seems to be in much of a hurry around here, which is a nice change from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Another old friend here for the workshop is Ruth Lovegrove Jones, a physical therapist from England. Today Ruth presented me with a copy of her recently published book—Chronic Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction. I showed it to my wife who said, “Looks like a real page turner.” I’ll admit it looks a bit technical, but there is a wealth of information for those of us who are interested in pursuing an in depth study of the pelvic floor.
I will be teaching here in Copenhagen through Sunday and we will be flying home on Monday. Just to make our travels a little more interesting, that old trickster Mercury goes retrograde on Saturday July 14th at 7:16pm PDT until August 7th. If all goes according to plan, I’ll see all my homies next Tuesday for a reunion Chalisa.