8,008 km so far.
For the past three days I have been teaching yoga again every day. My current schedule has me teaching at least eight days without a break, 14 classes. When I get next week’s schedule, this is likely to increase to 10 days, 12 days, or more. With most jobs, working this many days without a break would get you down. Teaching yoga, at least for me, is different.
It enlivens me, it wakes me up, it fills me with joy.
Karma Life Yoga has two studios in Shanghai, and I am teaching at them on alternate days. The studio in Pudong was their first, and has been there for 10 years. They have built a student base of strong practitioners, mixed with people newer to the practice. The Laoximen location opened this year, and is still growing. It has a different mix of students, many new to yoga, with some who have practiced for a long time and have found a new space to practice in.
Making a class appeal to a wide range of students is hard work, and takes quick thinking in the moment. I find this stimulating – it keeps my brain firing while I teach.
Both studios are beautiful. Like, luxuriously beautiful.
The costs of running a studio here are pretty low compared to North America. For example, rent is about one twentieth of what it would be in LA. Labor costs are low too, so both Karma Life studios employ a handful of people who work full-time to clean the mats, sweep the studios, and keep everything looking just right. In LA, this is usually done by the owners, managers, and work-exchange staff.
The changing rooms belong in a high-end spa, with frosted glass showers, under-floor heating, and hairdryers. There are lounge areas with magazines, water dispensers, and statues of Hindu gods. The studio rooms themselves are all laid out with mats, floor-to-ceiling mirrors on one wall, subtle lighting, and more under-floor heating for hot yoga classes. The only studios I have been to in North America that come close to this are the YYoga spaces in Vancouver.
I am lucky that the relaxed nature of our trip has allowed us this time in Shanghai, and I am grateful to Nelly and the team at KLY (and their students) for inviting me into their lives for these four weeks.
Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready
It’s day two of my earnest efforts to become a better photographer, and I feel I am already making progress, if not in the end results, at least in the way I am looking at the world around me.
Today’s photo assignment was to get in close. This is not a macro exercise (I have been fighting the urge to buy a macro lens for almost as long as I’ve had my camera), but an exercise in cutting out all the extraneous details, and getting down to the very essence of the object. Let’s see how I did.
Without a lunch plan today, we ended up eating overpriced Japanese food in an underwhelming restaurant. At least the chopsticks were pretty.
Later, I found a street market, selling all kinds of plastic junk. This book stall really stood out.
China has helped fill the world with mass-produced plastic stuff, but they still use brooms made of twigs to sweep the streets.
You can just leave things out in the street here and no one seems to mind. This wooden chair was just sitting in the parking lane, waiting for its owner to need a rest.
Electrical wires are wrapped around everything. As conduits of power to all the tiny households around, they hold a deep fascination for me.
Hydrants are so specific to place, you can almost tell what city you’re in just by looking at them.
Getting up close, you really start noticing how visually interesting even the most mundane items can be.
There’s so much depth in this peeling light pole.
Splashes of dirt draw your eye.
Your idea of an object shifts. When’s the last time you thought of a palm tree as hairy?
You start to look at things for their story. What valuable secrets hide behind this lock?
Tomorrow we take a new look at some everyday objects. See you then. ♥
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Hi, I’m Stephen. I travel the world leading Adventure Yoga workshops and trainings. Plus I run My Five Acres with Jane. I’ve taught yoga in 25 countries and we’ve had adventures in more than 50! My goal is to empower you to decide who you want to be and what you want from life — and to help you cultivate the courage you need to to go get it.