When I was a little younger, tagging along to my mom’s yoga classes, or doing yoga in the living room with Dixie Carter and that other blonde woman in the white unitard, or with Rodney Yee who had a ponytail and did yoga in a speedo on a deserted beach, I was always nervous when it came time to chant Om three times at the beginning and end of class. I never did it, or sometimes I would only do it really quietly—barely a whisper. And if there was one really tone-deaf person in the class whose Om wasn’t quite hitting the right note, I would snigger to myself. I don’t remember the first time I “Om-ed” without reservation, but since then I’ve never looked back. I LOVE to Om. My Om is loud and deep and round. I like to feel it vibrate in my chest and throat, and watch it spill out of my mouth like warm, white smoke from a winter chimney.
I hope that everyone loves the sound of their own Om.
Gradually, as I have overcome that selfish/self-conscious feeling that everyone in my yoga classes is looking at me, yoga has become one of the few activities I do where I feel I can completely abandon all of my anxieties or self-imposed restrictions. I breath loud when it feels good, I fart (you know you’ve done it), I let my belly hang out, I close my eyes, relax my face and don’t care what I look like, I Om as loud and as long as I want. And no one cares, because we’re all just trying to feel good in our own ways.
My yoga class on Tuesday was incredible. I found a different studio that’s just two blocks from my apartment in Belgrano! It’s called la Fundación Indra Devi, founded by the “first lady of yoga”. Indra Devi was a student alongside B.K.S. Iyengar and some other big names. And fortunately for me, she opened a lovely studio in Belgrano. The best part of the class was the instructor, Norma. Norma is probably in her 60s and is the warmest, most wonderful person I have come across in this city. She does beautiful yoga effortlessly, like a dancer. At the end of class I thanked her and she gave me a huge, warm, bear hug that made me realize it’s the first time I have been hugged since I left my parents at the airport. Ya. Not OK. My next class with her Saturday… I’m really looking forward to class, and hopefully another Norma hug!
For me, comfort has been hard to come by here in BA. Whether it’s culture shock, city shock, homesickness, it’s been difficult for me to feel completely at ease. At first, I sought comfort in peanut butter. Now I feel it at yoga with Norma. Definitely a healthier, more productive alternative. If only the Haymarket were just a few blocks away. Still searching for that cozy café with wi-fi…