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Yogi I am not, but since trying yoga in Sámara, I decided to look for a class while I studied Spanish in Heredia.
I didn’t have to look very hard; my host family “brother” invited me to his yoga class my first night at the house. So the next day after Spanish classes, I went home to meet up with Andy and head to the yoga studio.
We walked towards the university and found the studio right across from the McDonalds. I turned my back on the French fries and went upstairs to class. Rocío, the yoga instructor, welcomed me immediately as if she had known me her entire life. She asked if I practiced yoga and I told her I was just a beginner. I walked around the studio and checked out the t-shirts for sale and looked at a poster of yoga poses I could only dream of doing. As people trickled in, everyone greeted one another like close friends. I was starting to think this was going to be a great addition to my cultural experience in Costa Rica—yoga class in Spanish. I grabbed a mat—they have really nice thick ones—sat down, and Rocío announced that today was “Yoga en pareja.” Now, my Spanish isn’t great, but I was fairly sure she said “Partner yoga.” I looked at Andy and he was looking at me wide-eyed—remember, we had just met 24 hours before and now we were getting paired up for partner yoga—and I was pretty sure he was making a mental note never to invite another middle-aged Spanish student to yoga.
Class started off well, mat to mat with Andy, and I knew most of the poses from the classes I took with Lindsay in Sámara. After about 45 minutes of what I considered to be a fairly normal class, I thought I’d escaped without any major awkward situations.
Next thing I knew, Andy and I were holding each other’s hips to do headstands, modified pair downward dogs, partner childpose, and extending stretches using each other’s weight. This may sound somewhat uncomfortable and I was uneasy initially, but you know what? Rocío, Andy and the other members of the class made it so relaxed and welcoming that I had a great time. All the other pairs were laughing and struggling with the poses and the atmosphere was positive. I even was able to do my first headstand with the help of Rocío and Andy.
I later found out that this was the first time they attempted “yoga en pareja” – they usually do a standard yoga class. While I had been nervous at first, it ended up being a great experience that I’d recommend to other Intercultura Spanish students looking to meet Costa Ricans and the opportunity to practice their Spanish. Plus, the first class is free!
S.K. Intercultura Spanish student