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  • Writer's pictureMarie

Keep Calm And Practice (Even If It Sounds Greek To You)

Learning something new? Breathe. You’ll find something familiar in the foreign. (Personalized yoga doll from

Two days ago I signed up for an unlimited pass at a yoga studio in the heart of Basel. Yesterday I went to the 6:30PM Thursday class, where it turns out, is taught in Swiss German. This was explained to me by the sweet teacher who would be conducting the class. It didn’t take long for me to tell her, “it’s alright, I’ll just watch you and follow along. I should get used to the language, anyway.”

The class was a full one, with about 15 of us comfortably filling up the entire room. I was in the third row, and as things would have it, my view of Rafaella the teacher, was blocked by the student in front of me. Since this was a packed class, I couldn’t move my mat left or right, lest I lock arms with my seatmates, er matmates, in the sun salutations. Instead of panicking, I calmly listened to Rafaella’s peaceful voice as she told us to move this way and that.

I took my cue from people in front of me on where to face, which body part to lift or cradle or balance on. And even if the entire sequence sounded Greek to me (save for the few Sanskrit terms she threw in occasionally), I instinctively remained unflustered and looked at my classmates’ expressions of the poses, mentally referred to my asana (yoga pose) stock knowledge, and executed each pose as best as I knew how.

A little over an hour later, we were done. I wasn’t any better in Swiss German, but I went home knowing that no matter what language you speak, if you understand Yoga, you can practice it anywhere in the world.

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