Yoga in Paris!

Paris is...amazing. From the gorgeous Arc de Triomph to the lovely Louvre to the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower, this awe-inspiring city instantly stole my heart- and I don't think I'll be getting it back any time soon. 
I began my adventures in Paris at Montmartre, the bohemian city on a mountain overlooking all of Paris. Vincent van Gogh, Degas, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Picasso all lived in this charming artist community. The Sacré-Cœur, the ornate basilica translating to "the sacred heart of Paris"  towers over the entire city, and is one of the most stunning churches I have ever seen. I was truly overwhelmed with the meaningful silence that filled every guest's heart and soul upon entry.
The Salvador Dali museum, also in Montmartre, was one of my favorite collections of his surrealist masterpieces. His psychological manipulations on objects and canvas, using personification with inanimate objects, is a testament to Freudian psychology and the complexity of the human mind. See the famous "Persistence of Memory" sculpture by Dali below. If you look at it from the side, it can be seen as the profile of a human face, dripping away. This metaphor describes how humans believe they control time (with watches and clocks), but really, time controls us... This is why time goes by when you're having fun! I cannot describe how true this statement is to me right now. 

Next, I visited the Musée d'Orsay, a museum featuring hundreds of paintings by Van Gogh, Degas, Monet, Manet, and countless other geniuses. I saw the ever famous "Starry Night" by van Gogh, and it was more brilliant than I'd ever imagined.  

Finally, I attended a yoga class smack dab in the middle of the courtyard where the famous Louvre museum resides, with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower as a focal point for my balance poses. The class was surprisingly taught in English, by a wonderful teacher named Louise. I had the fortunate opportunity to ask Louise questions about her experience teaching yoga in France. I first asked Louise about some challenges that local practitioners face. She described how yoga sadly costs a fortune in Paris. It can be around 20 euros per class (and that's on the low-end of things). Further, yoga classes don't have as much publicity in France as they do in the United States. Classes are a lot smaller and harder to find in France. She informed me that this class is one of the few taught in English in Paris (boy I got lucky!) and most travelers have a hard time understanding the language. I have a feeling this will be me in a week when I find classes in Angers (they may be expensive and taught only in French), but part of the fun of studying abroad and learning a new language is having culture shock! Finally, I asked Louise about some cross-cultural differences in flow and practice between the United States and France. She answered that French yoga teachers mostly teach in a strictly Indian way... meaning the classes are very structured and strict when it comes to flow, versus in the U.S. and the U.K. where classes are more open to be changed and a mix of different types of yoga are formulated by the instructor's personal taste. For instance, the class I attended in Paris taught by Louise was a Vinyasa Flow class (a lot of Chaturanga "yoga push ups" and sun-salutations) and did not stray away from that particular form of yoga. 

Attending yoga in the middle of Paris was truly a peak experience, and I am so grateful to have been able to do this! Tomorrow I leave for Angers, where I will start my formal study abroad program! I am so excited for the adventures to come. Au revoir until next time.


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