At our small, alternative school in Chiang Mai, we have a few unique activities that we participate in each week that are pretty different from what we might do at an American school.
For example, on Wednesdays we do yoga with all of the prathom (elementary) students.
P1-P3 (1st-3rd grade) usually do yoga in the library, which also doubles as our office and is where Jake and I spend most of our time when not teaching. P4-P6 (4th-6th grade) are usually just upstairs in the music room.
We join the group in the library every Wednesday since the translated schedule we received on day 1 clearly stated, “the school would like you to do yoga with the students”.
I love yoga. I bought a (pink, Hello Kitty) yoga mat at Big C shortly after we moved into our apartment and I’ve been doing great, free, full-length yoga classes online from home. Jake on the other hand, kind of hates yoga.
The only problem I have is that the class is entirely in Thai, and I have yet to learn very much Thai at all. I also set up my mat at the very back of the room behind all of the students. Then whenever we lie on our backs, each row usually alternates head forward or feet forward so that no one’s feet are near anyone’s heads—a very big no-no in Thailand. For Thais, the head is the most sacred part of the body, while the feet are the lowest and the filthiest.
This usually puts me facing backward for any poses that start off on our backs. I don’t understand most of the Thai directions, so I spend most of this time craning my neck around trying to figure out what everyone else is doing, getting into whatever pose that might be, and then realizing that they have already moved on to something else. The other problem with just copying whatever the students are doing is when 6-9 year olds are your model yogis, often none of them are doing the same thing as the instructor anyway.
This should say, "Me at Thai yoga".
However, the yoga instructor always seems very happy that we join her class, and the mid-workday savasana is amazing.
As a final highlight, the Kindergarteners do yoga on Tuesdays. Kindergarten yoga is possibly one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.
If you’re thinking of visiting or living in Chiang Mai and like yoga, there are tons of yoga studios, retreats, and classes you can take. I’m actually considering attending the Chiang Mai International Yoga Festival in January, so I’ll keep you updated on that as well.
Anyone else do yoga? Would you have liked weekly yoga in school as a kid? Comment below to let me know what you think!